Monday, March 8, 2010
Matt, Serena and I (Aileen) are sitting at our friend's apartment in Manila having a few last San Miguels and some vodka and mango juice.
Earlier this evening, we saw my friends reading our blog; it was a strange experience peering at them peering into how we were peering into their lives. Does that make sense?? If not, blame it on the San Miguels.
Check out today's headline on the Inquirer. Joey Salceda was cited as GMA's top adviser proclaiming to the country that while GDP had grown, the rich-poor income gap has widened. Didn't we have a discussion just like that only a few days ago?
A screenshot of the article is posted here.
Now, then, here are a few photos from last week that didn't make it up in real time:
Monday morning: Eric Isham and Laura Rosen confer before a talk at the Asia Foundation:
Thursday morning: Legaspi goes to work
Friday afternoon: Donsol scenes
Saturday morning: Mount Mayon as seen from Legaspi Airport
Saturday afternoon: Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I'd also be remiss if I didn't express gratitude to everyone here in the Philippines who set aside their valuable time to meet with us. We met with so many people who have major responsibilities, and they welcomed us into their offices and took our questions seriously.
I'll write another longer, blog entry later with some more details and observatons about our meetings, but I'll sign off this one by posting a photo from last Sunday that I've been meaning to put up:
That's Alan Deardorff, our favorite trade economist in the world and one of the two faculty members on the trip.
Tomorrow: swimming with sharks. Literally.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to meet with the Honorable Rene V. Sarmiento, one of the Commissioners of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC); he provided some updates on the all-electronic voting process the country will undertake in the June elections.
After our meeting, I asked my colleague Tim, a former Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, to offer up a comparison of an official in the United States that would have the same level of influence as Mr. Sarmiento. His response? "We basically just met someone who's essentially a Supreme Court judge when it comes to defining the election outcome."
So, as you can imagine, our knowledge of this country grows by the moment -- but we're not stopping now. Off to another day of interviews!
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Dear friends and faithful readers,
Tomorrow morning, we finally depart for our trip to the Philippines. !!! After weeks of researching, presenting, and sharing; months of planning and contacting stakeholders; and 10 years of IEDPs before us, we embark on the penultimate stage of our program (our ultimate stage will be presenting our findings to the university community).
We are truly grateful to our many supporters. Financially, we raised enough funds to fully support our program from generous donors by the end of last week. Academically, numerous professors and experts have spoken to us. The likes of Sharon Maccini, Dean Yang, Linda Lim, and Mrs. Weller have enlightened us with their research and knowledge. Our faculty adviser, Tony Chen, has extensively researched various theories and issues of development, encouraging us to examine the broader picture amidst policy team presentations that focused on a specific policy area.
While by no means we consider ourselves to be experts on development in the Philippines, this semester has taught us about the complexities of development, the specificities particular to the Philippines, and the varieties of approaches in policy-making in the areas of economics (FDI, Migration & Remittances), health, human rights, governance, and urban policy.
There is still much more to learn, and what better way than to meet with actual policymakers and stakeholders in the Philippines? As we hear from a wide array of perspectives, including those from the government, civil society, and the private sector, we will continue to blog so that we can share our learnings and experiences there.
Some examples of the stakeholders we will be meeting with include the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the US Embassy, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and many more.
We hope you continue to support us through reading this blog. Your support has been invaluable, and we want to share our experiences in the Philippines with you!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Thank you all for your consideration and supportive giving -- and for continuing IEDP's long-standing tradition of providing an exceptional learning opportunity for its participants without incurring any financial hardship. It is our hope we make the most of this learning experience, and we greatly appreciate your help in doing so!