By Laura van Poucke

March 2016

After four intense weeks, I started feeling quite at home here …but very hard to work or do anything because of (1) the summer heat (now so it’s even hotter than before!), and (2) of snail-paced internet.

The city: not a place to be

I’m in Quezon City now missing the province. The city is so crowded and polluted, so I avoid getting out of my house/ office, which is sad because I haven’t explored the city at all. I hate commuting: every minute spent in a tricycle/jeep is a minute too much. The traffic is so chaotic and uncomfortable.

I don’t even dare to take a jeep alone because I wouldn’t know where to get off since there are no fixed stops and you just have to shout when you want to descend. Horrible. There also are no alternatives for going around because you will be stuck in traffic and gasses anyway. In short: Quezon City is not a place you’d want to be, but a place where you need to be. Try to avoid staying in Manila when doing an internship/ voluntary work.

Work and Play!

Still, I like my stay here very much. I have nice colleagues and everyone is so kind here! I feel more and more comfortable. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I work at the VISSER lab, a physics lab in UP Diliman where I research and prototype a weather station we’re developing for the provinces. On other days I am with AGHAM doing diverse tasks. I haven’t written my thesis yet, but I’d rather work for AGHAM or other organisations now and write during the weekends.

Just like if I were in Belgium now, I got some time off here during the Easter Holidays as well! I got eight days to spend with my family, who are coming over for a visit. We’re going to Coron, a part of Palawan, and I am very much looking forward to seeing them and getting out of Manila!

Visa Issues

I had to extend my visa since I got a 3-month visa in Belgium that expires on April 22. After paying more than triple the price of my passport in Belgium, the Bureau of Immigration extended it only until May 1. I don’t really get the logic here. That means it’s valid until April 21 but since I arrived on Feb 2, it expires on April 1 (59 days later). So do keep a good eye on your visa!

Laura van Poucke, Industrial Product Design student at Howest University shares her experiences and insights during her internship in the Philippines.