– By Shikha
As I sit huddled up on my chair and write this post, I can’t help but think of the past few days that have gone by. We landed in Iloilo city in the early hours and even though I was feeling groggy from the lack of sleep, I was woken up by the sharp surge of excitement shooting to my brain. The first thing that crossed my mind when I set foot on the Philippines is that the people here are really friendly! We crossed over to Guimaras island on a ferry and could sense that big times await. Guimaras and Hong Kong are poles apart in many aspects. Hong Kong has a never ending rush hour where people are always in a hurry to get to their next destination while over here people are quite laid back, which is a refreshing change. There are also little signs of any industries or major banks in Guimaras which can be, as explained by few of the locals, attributed to the island being sparsely populated.
The home stay families are extremely accommodating and after meeting them my initial fears were completely displaced. I was sincerely impressed with the fact that even though with the large families they have, they’ve still made place for us and have tried their best to make our stay as comfortable as possible. As we are living in the interior region, the water supply , which we take for granted in Hong Kong, isn’t continuous and needs to be pumped out from a bore well. While it was a first for many of my classmates, it wasn’t my first time pumping out water as growing up in a developing country I have used it a couple of times and is quite ubiquitous in my home country. However, in the macro perspective, I was finding it hard to understand that why would water supply be a problem in any of the region in the Philippines considering that it is surrounded by water! The answer might require some more research, but from what I could find out is that the desalination process is still very expensive or there is a lack of intervention (government or corporate) to rectify this issue.
Us taking a plunge!
In just a matter of couple of days, I was able to try out many new stuff. After a presentation by a marine biologist on eco-tourism, he took us for snorkeling and cliff diving. I was instantly enamored by the beauty of the place; the white sand , the clear blue water, the corals and the fishes! But this activity wasn’t only for the purposes of fun because in this process we were able to understand the nature and scope of ecotourism and made us think of the way we could expand ecotourism in Guimaras. There came a point when a couple of us even while floating on the clear, blue and surreal-like water (could use more words to describe its beauty!) were shooting out some ideas of developing an ecotourism business. We were subconsciously acting like consultants and were trying to sharpen our skills before REAL consulting project begins.
The first day of work was yesterday and considering the large size and various different offerings of the business (an eco-park), I have just realized that we have a mammoth amount of tasks on our plate. However, I’m hoping that things will clear up in the following few days as our team is setting up several interviews with the managers and staffs and collecting data to give a more indepth understanding.
In fact there’s a very important interview tomorrow that I’ve to prepare for and will have to sign off here. My next post will be more focused on the business and will definitely update you on our progress.