Thursday, January 31, 2008

Trip is confirmed!

Hey everyone! I completed my rescheduling of my flight for March 27 to Seattle. I think I will have to pay $50 in penalties, but it could be worse.

I also just bought my flight ($90) and reserved a hotel room for Bohol. I'll hopefully be staying at Isis Bungalows...I sent them an email trying to reserve a room. If it's full I'll have to look elsewhere. Looks like a nice place though, eh? Only $50/night! I'm going to look for something cheaper for the other 2 nights I'm there. I might even go stay in another city or another beach.

I'm leaving for Ilocos in a few hours. Hopefully I can sleep on the bus. :o\

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'll take some Cleistothecia with Ascospores, and a BIG FAT "F" please...

I'm just kidding about the title...But this Plant pathology stuff IS ridiculous.


video

I can't wait until tomorrow afternoon, when this is over with. I think I broke my brain studying tonight.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Trips Galore

The month of February is going to be full of travel for me! I'm pretty excited about it all. My schedule is shaping up like this:
My school trip takes us to Baguio, Ilocos, and Vigan. I was not excited about this at first, but I really am looking forward to the history and just seeing a different part of the country. All of these places are in Northern Luzon (Luzon is the "big island" where I am now.)

Baguio is referred to as "the Summer Capital of the Philippines." It's high in elevation, so it's cooler, and they have PINE TREES! :oD

Ilocos Norte is my professor's hometown, so he's quite proud of it. And from what I've seen, it looks beautiful. Vangie (Frisco and Vangie host our small group) is also from here.

Vigan is described as "the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonnial town in Asia." It's a very spanish-looking town, that should be very interesting. I expect we'll be studying the architechture.

"Ohh By George! look, there's three pillars. It MUST be a direct reference to the Holy Trinity! Did you know dat? Now you know it."
-Dr. Z
uhhh... :D

So that's my school trip, and I'm leaving for that late next Thursday night.

For my vacation, I'm going to Bohol for the weekend of February 21-25. Many of the hotels only cost $25-50 a night, so I should be able to do it all for a reasonable price. My plane tickets to and from Tagbilaran should cost less than $100. This map serves as a reference point so you know where I'm going:
Just to reassure you (Mom) that I will be safe. :D As you can tell, I'm pretty excited about all this. I'll hopefully be able to borrow Jason's snorkeling stuff, and I'll definitely make it to the Chocolate Hills and explore the other sites. I'm going to be staying at Alona Beach. Maybe I'll even see some whales or dolphins!

I am glad I'll be getting to see a lot of the Philippines before I go home. I'm a little sad I didn't get to Banaue, but I will have seen a lot of other things. I'll be able to add Baguio, Ilocos, Vigan, Manila, Los Banos, Sabang (Puerto Galera on Mindoro Island), and Bohol to the places I visited while I was here.

[Edit: 9:30PM] The more I think about it, I am going to at least look into getting to Banaue in March before coming home. It's a 9 hour overnight bus ride form Manila, but it's cheap. I could leave on a Thursday and come back Saturday or Sunday. I figure I may never come back here, and if I want to see the Rice Terraces, I should go ahead and see them. I have the money, I'll just have less when I get home. It's a once-in-a lifetime thing I don't really want to miss. I'll keep you posted.

Well, that's all for now. Tomorrow I'm going to try again on the Botanical Gardens...if it's not raining!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Politics

Wow, you'd think the election was next week the way that people are talking about politics these days. I have a bunch of friends who also have blogs, and 2 of them were about politics today.

Even filipinos, and other Asians at IRRI, seem to care about the election. Whenever I have a meal with someone in the cafeteria, they ask me about the debates or the electoral college, or how primaries work, etc. For some reason, they're interested.

It interesting because I think this is the most informed I'm going to be about an election in a long time. Even when I wasn't old enough to vote, I usually tried to at least figure out what the issues were and what the candidates represented. It's just a little weird this year because I'm NOT surrounded and bombarded with it like I would be in the US, and it's actually interesting to me to look into it myself.

I must admit, I'm enjoying finding things out about them this year, completely without the bashing commercials that I know are on TV right now. Of course, I get to look forward to all that when I get home. But I'm pretty sure I've already made up my mind on a candidate, so I can stop listening now, haha.

Thank you John for keeping me informed. I always feel like I get accurate information from you, because you're smart. If you want to read about politics and Michigan sports, check out his blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A lesson in Church and German history

I haven't posted for a while because I keep telling myself I am going to do another video blog, but when I get a free moment to do one, I either think of something else to do, or I am tired so I go to bed. Maybe tomorrow, haha.

Tonight in my small group, we watched the movie Luther (Dad, I think you'd enjoy this one). It's a biopic of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Reformation. I really need to learn more about the Roman Catholic church. I've been to Mass once in my life, but I still have no idea as to what doctrine is preached, and what their belief system really is.

My entire concept comes from movies like this one, or The Three Musketeers, where the Catholic Church is always portrayed as a corrupt establishment that is eager for nothing but money and power. These make for a great storyline, and I'm sure some of it is true, but there HAS to be more to it than that. I've decided that I'm going to attend a Mass here in the Philippines next week, it should be interesting. It should give me a new cultural experience on top of the new form of worship. I'm just interested in learning more about it all.

What made tonight even more interesting was that Christine (A native German in our small group) had a lot of history to explain parts left out of the movie. It's amazing how intertwined religion and politics were during that period in history!

On a different subject, I'm thinking of scratching my trip to Boracay and going to Bohol instead. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mall of Asia

It's been a while since my last entry! I'm not dead, just busy... :D

Wow...It is raining BUCKETS. We haven't had any rain really since I got back from Washington, so I guess we're catching up today. It was raining when I woke up this morning, and it's raining even harder now at 11pm.

I left for Manila today, and had a GREAT day at the Mall of Asia. I had Wendy's for lunch (and it surprisingly tasted like home...they had good cheese! :D ), complete with a frosty. Very, very happy about that. Notice the "all-american burger" on the tray...I sort of doubt that.

Then I went to Starbucks, and had a great grande mocha. It's nice to get a little taste of America once in a while, after days of Chowking and KFC. I don't even count KFC as American food anymore, because I don't eat it in Michigan, EVER.

Here's some pictures of my adventure:












Haha, they even had pho. There was some sort of concert thing going on in the blue round area...I have no idea who it was, but they were REALLY bad at lip-syncing.

The ride home was loooooong. It took over 3 hours this time because of traffic! It's only 40 miles! Next time, I will go later and stay later. The traffic is much lighter later in the evening. The buses run until 11pm, so I could just catch a movie at the mall or something. I thought about seeing the new National Treasure (It just came out this weekend), but didn't want to stay too late this time. Maybe next time! :D

Well, hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Running away from ferocious dogs...

Hey! I went up to take a picture of the view today, but got chased by some of the mangiest, meanest looking beasts I have ever seen. I was legitimately afraid. I need to get a stick or something. I didn't see these ones last time I went up there. It's amazing how territorial dogs can be. Here's the album with a few pictures in that area (pre-evil dogs) and then down near IRRI. The sunset behind Mount Makiling is a good one. :o) (The newer pictures are at the bottom of the album).

Around Los Banos
I had a pretty decent day today. Busy, but good. I found out that I did much, MUCH better on my Plant Pathology exam than I thought, and that was a relief. I also discovered that I don't have a final in that class. YAY! I only have a potential final in Plant Physiology--one that I am working very hard not to take. All I need is a 60% in the lab and the lecture, and I should be able to pull that off. Although, this is the first time the lab has ever been harder than the lecture portion of the class. The lab for this class is totally ridiculous...it's INSANE. We have lab exams (bringing the grand total of exams for this 3 credit class to a whopping SEVEN EXAMS in one semester.), and I get scores like 6.9 and 6.65 on my labs. I don't get her grading scale at all.

Humph. :D I'll make it to 60%, I'm sure. I just have to study hard. Developing discipline was one of the goals of this trip for me, and I'd like to think it's going well. I have been running every day for the past week, and spending a lot of time studying. I put up some strict rules for myself and am forcing myself to abide by them. I'm not always happy about it now, but I'm sure I will be in the long run.

OK, that's enough for today. Have a good one! :oD

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Guess What I found!

I try to take an hour walk every day, on top of my running, to just enjoy the scenery around the campus, because it's so very different from anything we have at home--even what I've seen in Florida. Yesterday, I decided to take a different route. I turned right out of my dorm instead of left, and walked up the hill.

I haven't gone that way before because I was chased down by a couple of guard dogs in the dark last time I was up there, and it seriously FREAKED me out. So I went while it was light out this time, and turned left at the top of the hill instead of right.

WELL, let me tell you, this is the most beautiful area in Los Banos that I have seen yet. There are orchids hanging from the trees, and there's an AMAZING view of IRRI and the city. WHO KNEW? There's a lake! A big lake! I knew Laguna De Bay was out there somewhere, but I didn't realize it was like right on the other side of the supermarket! Plus, I could see past the mountains surrounding the town, and into the next valley.

I will definitely be bringing my camera up there next time I go, and I will post the pictures on here. It's gorgeous! Today is mostly cloudy, so there wouldn't be as great of a view--maybe tomorrow afternoon or something.

I have to be careful where I go over there, though, as well. I got chased down by some vicious dogs again. It must be required to own a mean animal to live on the hill. I'm careful though, I just try to act like they don't phase me, because they can sense fear. But they phase me, and inside my head I'm running for my life, haha.

Well, Have a great Sunday!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Transplanting

Today was a good day. I observed transplanting for the Long Term Continuous Cropping Experiment, and learned a lot! Weatherwise it is close to the best day I've had here. It was party cloudy and maybe 74F with a breeze. And there was less haze then usual, so I could see much further into the mountains than I had before.

Here's some pictures:












They use a long flat board with pegs on the bottom to carve out a grid on the soil surface, and then plant on the corner of each square. The rice is previously planted in a green house, and comes in rolls like you would see with turf. They did the entire one-hectare plot in about 6 hours, so they work quickly. From what I could tell, there were about 50 people out in the field.

I did quite a bit of homework today, so I'm pretty proud of myself. Hopefully this trend will continue, haha. Well, I have a few things I have to get done. I'll post more tomorrow! :D

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Weather disfunction

It's actually sort of cool today. There's quite a breeze, and for once I'm not sweating! Hopefully it won't be too warm on Friday when we're planting rice for the long-term experiment. I don't know how involved they expect me to be, but I plan on being out there for a while. :D It should be interesting and fun. I'm looking forward to it.

Not much happening today. I think I have class at four, but campus is still dead. There are very few students walking around, so I'm wondering if we'll have class.

I've decided that I'm going to start running every night. When it cools down, its actually quite pleasant, and I've been needing to get some type of exercise. I think it will work out pretty well.

Well, I'm going to get ready for class. I'll post more later! :D

*EDIT: 5:04pm* Apparently the chancellor canceled class today! :oD Yay for an extra hour and a half NOT in class!