Rain Check

I was going to lecture today in a hospital in Arayat, Pampanga, as part of my requirement in the community rotation I am currently in. However, last night, the rain began subtly, and other cities and provinces has announced no classes for elementary and high school. Of course, college was not suspended just yet because the rain wasn’t too hard for the government officials to think otherwise. And even if they are suspended, we are already post-graduates in School of Medicine, so we would still be left out of the “no-class-festivities” if ever the college classes were suspended.
The lovely thing is, even if me and my groupmates are post-graduates, currently 4th year, thus Junior Medical Interns in the School of Medicine, we are not in any hospital rotation right now to require us to be present, rain or shine. We are in community rotation, so our head of the department in Preventive, Family, and Community Medicine, sent us a message saying we will not meet today. I received the message around 5am, thus, I slept and extra 6 hours. Hey, I have to enjoy this free time because my major hospital rotations are fast approaching again and I won’t taste good sleep in my last 6 months of junior internship.
I didn’t take any photos yet of the nice bed-weather, but this photo I will share was from my Psychiatry Rotation a month ago. I was already done with my 36 hour duty and hence I was going from Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center in Manila. I don’t live in Manila, nor do I drive a car, so I take the bus home to and from Angeles, Pampanga. It was also raining most of the time of my two week rotation there, and I took this as I was going home:
Rain or Shine
On the way home…
So yeah, this bed-weather is, what else? Enticing me to go back to bed. Which I think I will after I take my lunch. So that’s it for now.

Slice of Life: Community Rotation in Arayat, Pampanga

My groupmates with the “Barangay Health Workers” that also act as our guides; not pictured… ME.

Funny how things start so scary since we don’t know what we are getting ourselves into, such is the case with me and this community rotation; as with many students, even if the task is daunting, scary, or plain boring, one will still strive to rise against such a challenge in order to get the grade, pass the subject and course, and then, eventually graduate. But such is the case also, that at times, you are blind sided by the fact that what you perceive as daunting, scary, or plain boring, can become the most fun you had in years.
The past few rotations we had so far, were challenging in their own right, and had their own sense of fun (I will be posting about our previous rotation some time later… really later), but we had an idea on what is to be expected of us from our residents, etc., with this community rotation, we really had no idea at first, but once we were acclimatized, as always with me and my groupmates, we get the job done in such a quick, orderly, and most importantly, efficient manner, and that’s why I love my group.
Being a city boy, well, being a geeky-stay-in-your-room-Filipino-American-city-boy, I was at first, at a loss; not in the sense that I couldn’t get the job done, but in the sense that it is as if I wouldn’t survive there in Arayat, for a day, but that quickly watered down when the Barangay Health Workers were the nicest bunch of ladies I have ever met, and the people in that live there are just as friendly and extremely humble.
I keep on rambling on about this job we had to do in Arayat; so what is this job anyway? We had to go around around their neighborhood, doing a survey, based on their current living situation in order for the local health organization to list possible ways to improve their living situation. 

Melody interviewing the locals

Ditto with my groupmate, Paul.

The whole experience is humbling, and in a way, worth while; I for one, who has spent most his life in the sense of familiarity, finds this new area, these people, a refreshing experience as it pits me out of my comfort zone. I am not well adept in the local dialects, but I was still able to communicate even with my half-ass attempt to speak Tagalog (one of the many dialects). Also, its not as if, English is a total mystery to these people, as for me wanting to practice medicine here in Philippines, I still spoke in Tagalog even amidst them insisting that I speak in English.
Alas, here I am interviewing…
Apart from interviewing, I had another assignment given to me by our consultant in charge, Dr. Rene Santos, and my groupmates, that is, obviously, to take photos for the documentation of this project and it will serve, for me and my groupmates, of our rotation here in the community. I was the obvious choice, since ever since I was first year, when we used to have medical missions with Dr. Rene Santos, I was already the photographer for such events, and everytime there is a class activity or college activity, I am always in the front line of photographers, thus, my classmates’, and in this case, my groupmates’ go-to-guy for documentation.
Of course, I wouldn’t say no to such a task for a number of reasons, one I wouldn’t have to pick my brain out for Tagalog words, and two, I get to be reacquainted with my beloved DSLR named Nikki (because she is a Nikon). But I’d soon find out, that I should have declined and rather interview than take photos…

I didn’t start shooting on day 1 of our community service, the first 3 days, I was also interviewing the locals, it wasn’t until the 4th day where I took photos, but ironically, out of all the days we have been there, the 4th day happened to be the hottest day as the sun finally peaked through the other wise cloudy day. And to top it all off, I had forgotten that me and my groupmates usually split up with our respective guides in different areas of the neighborhood in order to cover more ground and finish the job a lot faster. So I had to walk arounf in this heat looking for my groupmates in different areas of the neighborhood. Of course, not being around there, I had asked my guide if she would help me find my groupmates so I can document, however, like any parent eventually sending off their children on their own, she let me go, with her blessings, to find them on my own. This wouldn’t bother much if I was actually really familiar with the neighborhood, but being a complete tourist, lugging around my camera and such, on my own, wandering the streets, looking aimlessly for my friends, one could imagine my fears of being mugged or kidnapped. Thankfully no one did so. But that was an exciting moment, however, I wouldn’t want to experience that again. At least just that part.
Now, it wouldn’t be any much of a shooting trip if I don’t have any creative shots that I usually call “the money shots” when I am tasked to shoot in an event. I had a couple or so shots that I really enjoyed taking and post processing and below are but a few of them:
“The Other Side”; I added the monotone to make it more gloomy since it was too sunny for its own good. Visit my Flickr photostream, link on the bottom of this blog post, for higher resolution

“It was a blur”; had no tripod in taking this shot, but it turned out alright. Visit my Flickr photostream, link below this blog post, for higher resolution

My groupmate, Vyel. Visit my Flickr photostream, link on the bottom of this blog post, for higher resolution

I felt like playing around with prime’s bokeh. Visit my Flickr photostream, link on the bottom of this blog post, for higher resolution

In here, people are more than willing to be your model. LOL Visit my Flickr photostream, link on the bottom of this blog post, for higher resolution

I saw this toy in such a strange location. Being vigilant, I took the shot of this imprisoned  toy. Visit my Flickr photostream, link on the bottom of this blog post, for higher resolution
Our community rotation is far from over, but I couldn’t wait to blog about this experience of our’s; we still have to tally our surveys, make reports and present, etc., but the was things are going thus far, I feel that everything will turned out anything but daunting, scary, or plain boring.
I guess, that’s it!

My Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/56842701@N02/