Dagami - Take Two!

Trip Start May 07, 2012
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Trip End May 30, 2012


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Flag of Philippines  , Western Visayas,
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Since we didn't get too much into the patient care yesterday in Dagami and the travel to this location is a bit tricky, I decided to go with Allyson and Gabby again for a second day. Both are feeling really sick today (physically and emotionally for a variety of reasons) so I thought it would be best that I accompany them and get them through the day. I didn’t get any sleep last night either, so we’re a team that’s falling apart, ha!

Doesn’t it figure that the day they both feel terrible it’s a very busy day at the clinic. We saw over 20 patients in the first hour alone. Again today, many young mothers pregnant with crazy amounts of children at home (9, 7, etc…). Today kept them very busy in the clinic and we also spent some time in the medical laboratory with the lab tech. She was doing TB slide smears and we were able to watch her intake patients for possible TB and urinalysis. Both of these tests are traditionally done at the hospital level here due to lack of resources.

After clinic we had lunch at a wonderful Italian restaurant (Gustivin’s) in Robinson’s. It’s so funny to order food here because you really never know what you are going to get. Photos and descriptions on restaurant menus aren’t really followed and the Filipinos have a really hard time with vegetarianism. Meaning they think I’m nuts whenever I order or ask for anything with no meat. Today I order Pasta al Olio which should be spaghetti noodles with olive oil (according to the photo). It comes out piled with basil in their version of a VERY strong pesto sauce. My noodles are neon green. I don’t mind it, as I do like pesto and there’s not meat so I’m content. This meal was a bit more expensive than our normal lunches; I spent about $5 today versus the usual $2-3, so it’s safe to say this was a "fancy" lunch. I loved it regardless.

Weather this afternoon is questionable again. It’s no fun to be caught in a rainstorm since the roads flood terribly and then you’re treading through standing water (which often is sewer here). We are still trying to get some souvenirs from our trip as the girls are all worried about what to bring home to their families. So we head downtown in another attempt at shopping. Here’s what we discover – there’s no such thing as “souvenir” shops in Tacloban and we can’t even find the “I love Tacloban” t-shirts that everyone wears here that all the girls want. We found nothing. We walked all around the downtown area, which is confusing and difficult to navigate. We ended up at the Fish Market – phew. It was absolutely the most disgusting smell ever (which I could insert a scratch & sniff here so you could experience this for yourself). I’ve never seen so many fish in my life in one place either. Literally 1,000’s of fish all laid out on tables for rows and rows. Here’s where we also experience the children who don’t get to go to school and have to “sell” to help earn money for their families. They were begging like crazy, trying to push their fruit or vegetables on us and when we said no they spit at us. Tough scene, so we didn’t stay long.

After the attempt at shopping we decided to finish the afternoon with a trip to Santa Nino Shrine. This is a historical home was built for the late Ferdinando Marcos for his wife, Imelda and turned into a museum. Markos is a big political leader and Imelda was born in Tacloban and he and his wife are friendly with leaders from around the world. This home was built to house all the gifts received from these leaders and they have never actually lived in it. This is the #1 tourist attraction in Tacloban City as well. I wasn’t sure what to expect here and (unfortunately) history is mostly lost on me L but this was quite a place. Enter a huge mansion and see each room, themed for different parts of the world and all the furniture, décor, bedding, even the walls (in some cases) were designed to depict the Marko’s relationship with their friendship and country. Massive ballrooms with Persian rugs, grand staircase and foyer made of Italian marble, dining spaces with Chinese sculptures, hallways with ivory statues from Africa, all imported and given as gifts to the Marcos family. There were bedrooms/bathrooms/walk in closets all set up for every member of the family, guards, nanny’s, extended family members and not a single person has even staying a night in this house. We recruited a local guide who graciously took us through each room and took photos for us in many of the spaces. For less than $2 entrance fee, it was certainly worth it to see this historical mansion.

I’ve got a girl very sick today, throwing up and coughing like crazy. All but one person on our trip has experienced some type of minor illness since we’ve been here. Normal for traveling to a third world country and having exposure to the type of pollution we have been. I’m watching this one and hoping for the best as we are now on the homestretch to returning to the US.
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