Some Candids from the Field

Manila Airport at 3AMHere are some additional photos from my first week in the Philippines –

I pulled an overnight at the Manila Airport on my way to Cagayan de Oro. I landed at midnight, but was surprised to see how many people were still out and about! Philippine Airlines apparently runs lots of early morning flights. I had to wait for the Philippine Airlines ticket office to open at 2AM before I can get into the domestic terminal; the office had just closed at 10PM. There were loads of people waiting/sleeping outside the terminal though, as well as scores of policemen patrolling around. With a bit of help from my Nintendo DS, I found the wait quite manageable.

My first day in Cagayan de Oro turned out to be a bit rough because of severe jet lag and homesickness. However, I felt lucky to meet Mr. Lioter Cuer and his wife Jane the following day, on my first day of work! They were so warm, friendly, and easy to talk to that I felt pumped about all the client interviews ahead! They run a chicharon business, selling snacks made out of fried pig skin – I got to try a bag, and it was quite tasty.

Lioter Cuer - Chicharon Snacks

We also tried to visit Mr. Francisco Ave that day, but he wasn’t in. We found him the following day though, and his interview was particularly memorable. Not least because he’s running a very successful business producing cinder blocks with seven other employees; he’s also used his second Kiva loan to put up a second business, a sari-sari (variety) store right next to his blocks production site.

Francisco Ave - Cinder Block Lot Francisco Ave - Sari-Sari Store

The visit to Ms. Lizalie Caralde turned out to be another memorable one. She manages a sari-sari store while her husband runs a t-shirt printing business just across the street. After Lizalie’s interview, we stepped over and watched him silkscreen a batch of shirts for a nearby university’s engineering department. To see the two of them working separately, yet together for their family was quite inspiring.

Caralde T-Shirt Printing Business

The following day, I rode to Tumpagon with the other HSPFI staff to conduct more client interviews. Tumpagon is a barangay or village on the outskirts of Cagayan de Oro City. By motorcycle, the trip to Tumpagon took a three hour ride over rocky mountain roads. We passed by several barangays to and back from Tumpagon. I was informed that many of the locals are indigenous, and they often supplement their income by panning for gold in the nearby river. A quick reminder that the city isn’t called Cagayan de Oro for nothing!

Gold Dust

I snapped a shot of this barangay because the main street was lined with multiple sari-sari stores, up, down, and across.

Sari-Sari Street

A few of our motorcycles had flat tires tires on the way back. Luckily, all the loan officers are skilled mechanics – and I guess you have to be to manage the demanding rural roads, or else you won’t be able to get to your clients every week!

Motorcycle Tire Repairs

After an hour or so of brisk disassembling, pumping, and reassembling of the tires, we were back on the road and I was ready for my next adventure…

Barangay View

    • vicky
    • October 16th, 2009

    Dear Eva,I enjoy your report a lot. Every day is an adventure. I would like to share it with my friends from Philippine. Grace be with you.

    • Sure! Thanks and take care auntie 🙂

    • Rosa Wang
    • October 24th, 2009

    Dear Eva,

    How are you doing? Barangay looks like peanut brittle. Is it sweet? Are you riding motorcycle?
    Take care & my prayer with you.


    • It’s actually quite salty – mouthfuls of oily fatty fried goodness. My co-workers told me that this snack is particularly good with beer 🙂

      I’m actually riding quite a bit of motorcycle… not always with a helmet so I keep my fingers crossed a lot! I need to get better about wearing one on a more regular basis. Thanks auntie –

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