AFS 2014 Field Notes: That Time in Field School
By Marian Isabelle Carlos and Erika Joy Navarro
For this year, batch 2014 of the Anthropology Field School composing of nineteen determined students and two ever-supportive faculty supervisors, Field Director, Asst. Prof. Efenita Taqueban, and Faculty Supervisor for Anthropology, Asst. Prof. Janine Ochoa, set out to explore the ever-curious Misamis Oriental. Divided into two phases, the training for Field Methods in Social Anthropology was conducted in Cagayan de Oro, City, while the training for Field Methods in Archaeology was held in the Municipality of Initao.
For the Field Methods in Social Anthropology, our batch was fortunate to have the opportunity to work as interns for the research study, Chemical Youth, with the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). The study aims to investigate what chemicals young people use every day, why young people use these and what effects these have in their lives. The study has conducted many grand tours in France, the Netherlands, Indonesia and the Philippines. In the Philippines, a grand tour on the Filipino youth’s chemical use has been conducted in Batangas, Batanes, Palawan, and just recently by our batch, in Cagayan de Oro City (CDO). The compensation we received from the internship alleviated the costs of our field school.
In a span of approximately three weeks (from the period of April 10 to May 8), we accomplished both the deliverables for the internship and the outputs for the field methods class. This was done through the conduct of different methodologies in data gathering, parallel to the series of build-up reports for our Methods in Social Anthropology final paper. Through this training set-up, we were not just students enrolled in a course expected to deliver for a grade, but students who were expected to deliver with a consciousness for standard and responsibility.
Field work in CDO: A quick read
Alas, my first time in this much-heard land of Mindanao. While we were still on the plane, I was just looking past the clouds and blue seas wondering what this land might look like, what this land might feel like. Being a Manilenya all my life - with parents willing to travel everywhere in the country but this “dangerous, and troubled” Mindanao we usually see on the television, I admit there was this tingle of anxiety creeping up my back. Even if I have long doubted the integrity of the media, I still wasn’t sure of what to expect. I just muttered to myself, “chill, you got this girl whatever this is.”
Driving through the highways from Laguindingan Airport to Cagayan de Oro - the provincial capital, I felt that immediate tap of relief I needed. The streets were clear, the people even waving at us while we were on the express ride. Children grouped together playing under the sun, and busy shop workers making a living. I did not see a “deranged and war-filled” Mindanao, but a land of its own people, of its own nature. In the Cagayan de Oro city proper were tall buildings, shopping malls on the rise, small stores and boutiques striving for a better local economy. Well, it is indeed a city, and a city not entirely different from what I have long known - the everyday traffic, the smoke, the smog, the on-the-go nature of the people walking down the streets. Ah, the streets. Urban anthropology, hello hello CDO.
Winonna Ysabel Fernando