Category Archives: Peace Corps Philippines

Learn what it’s like to be a Peace Corps volunteer from Tommy’s experiences during his service in the Philippines. This section includes highlights from more than two years in the Peace Corps Philippines program.


Dumaguete Buglasan Rodeo: Palm Trees & Cowboy Hats
Standing next to the dusty corral I thought to myself if I blurred my eyes and couldn't see the palm trees I might think I was back in Montana instead of Dumaguete. As a part of the provincial Buglasan Festival…
Live Music at Hayahay: Frying Nemo Plays Dumaguete
After two months of playing and practicing around Dumaguete, Frying Nemo was starting to gain some momentum, although at the end of August Steve De neef our lead guitarist had to return to his home in Belgium t…
Snorkeling the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary
It's always great to have visitors from home stop by, and in July my friend/mentor/former boss Kenny Mendez from Trout Unlimited came over to the Philippines with his family to visit relatives on the island of …
Scuba Safari from Dumaguete to Apo Island
Before our friend Noriko, a JICA volunteer from Japan assigned to help teach new pottery methods to local people in Dumaguete, returned home we planned a group dive to go to Apo. It was a trip just for the day,…
Dumaguete Santacruzan Parade: Wanna Be Famous?
At one of the provincial tourism meetings I've attended in Dumaguete I was asked to be an escort for Santacruzan Parade in May. I was surprised to be invited, so I said "yes" right away. After getting my tradit…
From Dumaguete to Apo Island: Scuba Getaway
After a visit to the Balicasag Marine Sanctuary in Bohol, Kris and Kristen came over to Dumaguete to see Apo Island's famous marine sanctuary. Their friend Emily from back home was traveling through SE Asia, so…
Perfect Conditions at Apo Island’s Coconut Point
After two great dives in the Balicasag Marine Sanctuary, Kris and Kristen wanted to compare it with Apo Island. They had heard a lot about Apo, but hadn't had a chance to visit there yet. As it turned out their…
24 Hours in Dumaguete: Exploring the Gentle City
After leaving Palawan, Preston and I headed back to my Peace Corps site in Dumaguete. It was fun to show him around some of the highlights of the town here since he's the first family visitor, and I had to make…
Scuba Diving Apo Island During the Peak Season
Our first stop in Dumaguete when my brother Preston came to visit was Apo Island. He wanted to experience some of the best diving the Philippines has to offer, and to me Apo is the best place that I've ever bee…
Sea Kayaking Palawan: El Nido to Monkey Point
After our adventure to Dilumacad Island, Preston and I decided to paddle around in Kris and Kristen's bangka boat for an afternoon without the gear that we took on the overnight trip. We pointed the little craf…
The Optimist’s Guide to Island Beach Camping
Kris and Kristen bought a small traditional Filipino boat known as a bangka to take on short trips to the islands surrounding El Nido. Preston and I borrowed their little boat one day to take an overnight trip …
Diving El Nido: Scuba Diving Day Trip In Palawan
Preston and I decided to start off the visit to El Nido with a dive trip. Barely 24 hours after he had arrived in the country, we were suited up with scuba gear and underwater to see the different varieties of …
Experiencing Apo Island Life at Liberty’s Resort
Since my friend Steve is the first visitor from home I've had to my site in Dumaguete, I wanted to be sure he had good things to say about the place when he got back to the States. Apo Island is pretty much my …
Shopping Dumaguete: Exploring the Local Markets
Buying fresh food is a part of daily life in Dumaguete, and the local produce market is the best spot to pick up the ingredients you need for breakfast (pamahow), lunch (paniudto), and dinner (panihapon). The D…
Exploring Manila: Big City Lights & Stinky Streets
For most Peace Corps volunteers, a trip to Manila is something to look forward to (because of the food) and something to get over with (because Manila is not a really pleasant place). Coming from a small city l…
Dynamite Fishing, Mount Mayon, and Diving Bicol
In July Corey Ridings, a Coastal Resource Management volunteer from my Peace Corps group invited me to her site in Bicol to take photos of the San Miguel Island marine sanctuary. The local barangay captain was …
First Trip to Apo Island: Exploring Dumaguete
In May 2004 I visited Apo Island, a tiny former volcano located about 45 minutes by pump boat from a small fishing village south of my Peace Corps site in Dumaguete. In 1986, the forward thinking residents of A…
Tagbilaran Fiesta & Carnival: Craziness in Bohol
Fiestas are a huge annual event for every community in the Philippines. The timing of the fiesta varies according to the patron saint of each city, town, and village, but they all have a few qualities in common…
Things That Aren’t Supposed to Be Funny, But Are
Sometimes things that aren't supposed to be funny turn out to be hilarious. Maybe it is the neighbor who builds a 30 foot tall mural of himself in front of his house completely obscuring his otherwise nice view…