Day 2/6 Koronadal City (South Cotabato)

Survived the first day of data gathering. Four farmers interviewed. About 26 more interviews to complete in the next three days. I’ve given up the hopes of being able to interview proprietors of agriculture supply stores in the area.

At this point, I would thankful to be stereotyped as the slow clueless student with no idea how to go on about her research. This way, people are kinder and more understanding – more probably because of pity.

Talk about timing. I was already leaving the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) as I was informed that the provincial agriculturist (PA) was at the city hall for the usual Monday flag-raising ceremonies – usually followed by a series of meetings (Monday meetings seem to be a government office thing) – when I saw the familiar face of the PA’s office. That meant he was around. True enough, he noticed the awkward figure by the PAO entrance. Thank goodness he remembered me.

And so in a span of 15 minutes, we’ve covered the budget and contacts for the ride/guide and a possible itinerary for the day. I sat there trying to catch up, processing everything that’s happening. I’m learning a lot from how the PA uses his time. It’s never hurried. Things are clarified/confirmed. Everything’s done now. And when everything’s been arranged, just wait for things to unfold. No use in worrying about things you have no control of. Make every event an opportunity.

And so I found myself with free snack and lunch as I tagged along to the PA’s activities for the morning. That happens to be the 1st Regional Bantay Peste Forum at South Cotabato Gym and Cultural Center in Koronadal City. Got a free shirt – as if meeting contacts for my research wasn’t enough.

Spent the entire afternoon in Barangay Magsaysay, a 30-minute motorcycle  ride away from the city proper. For researchers, it’s cheaper and more convenient if one’s local contact knows someone with a motorcycle who can help you with the translations and is familiar with the area.

Here I was worried about what I’d be offering the farmer-respondents for snacks. I was the one being offered/served merienda by my respondents. I take about 30-40 minutes of their afternoon and I’m served with snacks. Gotta love Filipino hospitality 😀

The tractor’s humming continues in the background,                                                    prepping the soil for the next day’s seeds

People here are generous with their time and their networks. They work fast. And although I may be lost in the rapid Ilonggo and Ilocano conversations, I only have to focus on their gestures, facial expressions, and their warmth to feel that I am welcome. I am well taken cared of.

Barangay Magsaysay, Koronadal City

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