During my stay in the Philippines, I was mainly situated on two islands, Alabat Island and Tablas Island for my rotations. As the only intern and foreigner, I attracted a lot of attention. I learned various words from Tagalog and Visayan dialects. For example, “thank you” is “Salamat po” in Tagalog, but it is “Salamat gid” in Visayan. The people in both locations were friendly and the hospitality was very heartwarming.
Because the people were so friendly, I was given the opportunity to explore different cities and areas of the Philippines. It was a great experience when one of the nurses at the QQ clinic took me to her home over the weekend, where I could meet her family and learn more about the cultural values and similarities we both shared. I was introduced to many delicious local foods and different perspectives to the Filipino life.
During my time at the rural health clinics, I witnessed four baby deliveries, one delivery in QQ and the other three in Alcantara, Tablas Island. It was my first time to ever observe a baby being born. I was in awe of the mothers’ strength as well as how beautiful life is. The midwives and nurses explained and guided me how the general procedure went. I even assisted in delivering a baby with the midwife! When a premature baby boy was born, due to the unavailability of an incubator, a lamp was used to keep the baby warm. The parents of the baby asked me to name the child, so I decided on ‘Christopher’, after Saint Christopher, the protector of travelers. Although the rural health clinics did not have much high-tech equipment, every patient who came to the clinic received the healthcare they needed, or at least a reference to another hospital.
During my 8 weeks on two islands, the people were very kind and gracious. After this insightful internship, I hope to be more understanding as an aspiring healthcare professional so I can also promote equity throughout my own community or wherever my future leads me.