Fieldwork in the Philippines

Letter from Clarence Batan
IBYR editor
August 2005

Hello my dear friends:

Good day. It has been about six months since I left Dalhousie for my Philippine fieldwork. The first three months were challenging. I have to re-introduce myself to our local university where the usual bureaucracy made it difficult for me to carry on with my initial research work and secondary data analysis. Also to my surprise, my body was unable to adjust well to the warm tropical climate which made me very sick for two months.

But something great happened in the middle of March. This is when I received the confirmation that I won the IDRC Doctoral Reseach Award! I was given a full 10 months support from the IDRC, and as a consequence, my fieldwork was extended until December instead of August. You know what this means — that I do not need to worry about my research expenses! All that I need to worry about is how well I can understand my youth data set (for analysis) and to gather all pertinent information from my two case study sites.

As of now, I was able to gather local literature and got to meet fellow Filipino researchers who have done similar work in the field of youth studies. I am getting more and more excited working with my data sets, as I discover various directions for their analysis. This means that I have to learn more complex statistics in the future.

The short but memorable sojourn of Victor (Thiessen, my dear adviser) and his wife Barb in the Philippines last May 26-30 was another reason why I am so inspired in doing this research. Not only that I was able to introduce Victor and Barb to my colleagues through their lectures at the University of Santo Tomas, but more so, they got the chance to visit my community, meet with my parents and family, and got to see and interact with my friends and respondents at Talim Island, my rural case study site. We all had a great time together! This week I started working with my contact at Manila for my urban case study. Hand in hand with the case studies, I am working with my secondary data. ‘Guess the real research work has just started!

If you want to have a peek of what my past and present works are, you can visit my own personal website at . It is not yet fully functional but I think this is a good way of reminding you that somewhere in Southeast Asia, you have a Filipino friend. I am attaching, too some of my recent pictures. Take care and I miss you all! Hope everything is fine with you and your family! Missing you dearly,