Recently graduating from Cardiff University I found myself facing the inevitable question, ‘’what do you want to do when you finish?’’ I found myself struggling to define what exactly that was and drawing back on my experiences at university I remembered the passion and enjoyment I felt when carrying out any work to do with marine life and their habitats. Marine conservation however is a competitive world and experience speaks louder than words. With this in mind I set out to find somewhere where I could hone my skills and help me to gather valuable experience in marine conservation. I came across the Zoox experience program and reading up on what they do I felt that it suited perfectly and thankfully I am here now in Puerto Galera, Philippines.
Having never travelled on my own before, leaving ‘’sunny’’ Wales and flying out to the Philippines was a daunting prospect but with the benefits in mind it was going to be worth it. Arriving in Manila was an experience to say the least. Seeing firsthand the complete polar difference of the UK and a developing country was a bit of culture shock but extremely interesting. Walking through Manila at first felt a bit uneasy but you quickly realise how nice and approachable Filipino people are. Arriving in Puerto Galera was like arriving at paradise. Beautiful beaches, brightly coloured everything and amazing forests of palm trees. Met JJ at the port followed by a short journey ride in the tricycle which at first is a nice experience but two weeks in you soon get fed up of ‘’Bicycle sir/ madam’’ however you have to give them credit for their persistence and service. The small barangay (Village) of Aninuan is a vibrant area and the morning orchestral performances of the dogs, cockerels and background noise provide a brilliant alarm clock….. The surrounding area is naturally stunning and not a bad view to wake up too. You leave the comforts of home far behind in the Philippines but it isn’t a bad thing. Hand washing, tuck shops and food made with fresh ingredients from the tuck shop are the order of the day and it’s like being a student again.
Starting the Zoox experience you quickly realise how experienced the staff are and the in-depth knowledge they provide. The course itself is intense so far but in a good way. It isn’t too stressful but just enough to get your mind flowing and bring your knowledge to the surface. The focus on group discussion or debate also is a great way of sharing and developing ideas and really instils a sense of teamwork. Two down six to go and I’ve been enjoying it from the offset. I am looking forward to seeing how we develop as a team and how our individual knowledge will help us to develop. I feel really positive about the direction the course is going and can’t wait to see the final outcome.
by James Reseigh