I was at my hour and a half of sleep when my alarm started ringing at 3:30 in the morning. My normal morning routine went on – shower, breakfast, and off I go. But this time, the final destination was not just school but somewhere even better.
The sun was not yet shining when I arrived at the sec-B foyer at exactly 4:15 in the morning. I could still feel the breeze of the dawn while I sat at sec-walk and waited for my friends who are, as usual, late. The crowd, who were mostly Biology and Life Sciences majors, were already having a good time – laughing, talking, and smiling at the very hour of dawn. It was as if the field trip had already begun. I, myself, could not contain the excitement no more! For the very first time, in almost three years I have been studying here at the Ateneo, I was going for a field trip! Finally, a legit field trip just like the ones I had in high school – we were bound to Subic for a mangrove reforestation and to Bataan for a beach “look for organisms” time.
While I was entering the bus, I could almost feel the road-trip feeling. The road-trip feeling I get when I knew I was up to something different.
An hour later we arrived at the stop-over. Everyone had to step out of the bus and buy some food for lunch (yup, at 8:30 in the morning). While majority of the people were busy checking out fast-food chains for food, some people were also busy doing something else. Some guys were out for a yosi break, while some girls were either checking themselves out at the restrooms or were actively chatting with fellows.
By the time we stepped in the bus again, everyone slept until we arrived at the first stop – the mangrove farm. Actually, we were supposed to go to a government-owned mangrove farm which would not require us to pay for anything; but sometimes things just could not go as planned. At first, we were not obliged to plant since we were going to pay – those who wanted could go and those who did not could stay at the bus. But well, the purpose of the field trip would be defeated if we did not push through with the planting. The price was only Php 50.00; however, I noticed that no matter how small or big the amount was, all of us in the bus were freaking out “Bakit kailangan magbayad???” I guess that’s just how it was. Nowadays, people valued money more than ever.
We entered the farm and soaked our feet into the cold water. We dug the soil under the water, took of the plastic off of the plant, and started planting the tree. It was awesome. I felt like I was actually helping nature!
After things were over at the farm, we were headed to the beach. We were tasked to look for fauna organisms which we tackled under the phyla topic (alright, I don’t wanna sound geeky here, so pardon me). When we arrived at the beach, the sun was intensely burning my skin; not to mention the sand which was just tormenting. My group mates and I instantly started the work in spite of the sun. I plunged into the ocean and started searching for sea creatures. While I was busy looking, I noticed two girls who dived into the ocean wearing their two-piece swimsuits. Alright, I got surprised! I didn’t know we could wear those kinds. I was sort of expecting a rash guard instead of legit swim suits. Furthermore, I noticed how some people were not really doing the task instead they just swam and swam. It was kind of funny how they made the excuse, “Du’n ako maghahanap ng starfish!” Adding to the interesting people I noticed during the sea-searching, were the kids (probably from Australia because of their accents “Hey mate!”) who could help us with our task. Surprisingly, these kids dug a hole in the sand where they kept all the creatures they got. Oh good Lord these kids were astonishingly brave! I wouldn’t even dare to touch any of those (not because I’m maarte but it might be dangerous) (Not to worry, I found little crabs on the shore).
After the task was over, I took a deep breath and sat at a hut. I had done work for both bio and SA. I noticed how we students, labeled as Biology and Life Sciences majors, were totally different persons all just contained in the three buses that set off to Subic and Bataan. Come to think of it, each year level had its distinct characteristic if I might say. The freshmen were mostly the noisy ones. They dominated the whole place with their laughter. They were usually the ones playing games to knock off boredom after a tiring task. The sophomores, on the other hand, were the quiet ones. They just sat in a hut and talked about life, I guess. The juniors and the seniors were the chillest group of people in the trip (well, maybe because they have been doing these kinds of trips for a long time). I noticed they were just enjoying their trip with their music or their funny conversations or their interaction to the lower year level.
While we were on our way home, morning repeated itself. We were just sleeping and slacking off our faces on the chairs. Reality check, we were bound to Manila.
At the end of the day, I was exhausted and very grimy. From my feet being soaked in the water, to my whole body being submerged in the ocean together with the sea creatures I’ve searched for… nothing has beaten what it actually felt like to be at peace with nature for the first time. Bottom line: it was all worth it – even more.
Participation vs Observation
As a first timer in a bio field trip, participating really helped because I got to experience everything at first-hand. I got to plant a mangrove tree, to collect different species, to interact with new people…etc Also, I got the chance to completely know the feelings of being one of the participants of the field trip. If I just stayed at one of the huts and just looked at people from afar, I wouldn’t actually get to define what field trip was all about – adventure and learning. It would be like as if I just really attended the trip for requirement’s sake – nothing more, nothing less. Furthermore, I was not limited by the questions I had in mind before hand but, rather equip me with more relevant information.
I didn’t really see the purpose of the fieldtrip at first. It was sort of “I have to go kasi kailangan.” As a participant of the event for the first time, I really needed someone who could explain stuff to me; I always hated the feeling of being alienated to a task. Having talked to my friend (who has been joining several bio fieldtrips), he showed me how directed the fieldtrip was – that every task we did during the trip came with a purpose and was not planned just for the sake of having a fieldtrip for the students.
Participant observation vs Questionnaires and Interviews
Sometimes having to learn new things completely on your own gives you a good feeling, as if you have just accomplished an achievement. This kind of relationship with the topic cannot be achieved when you are simply collecting data from surveys, interview, or questionnaires. I believe that in writing about something, the person conducting study should have an idea on how the topic goes. Being close to the topic will eventually give a very effective article/paper to its future readers.
Advantages of Questionnaires and Interviews
However, on the other side of the note, if I was doing a research that would require quantitative data from a large group of people, a questionnaire would be the ideal way to collect data; not to mention if I needed some recent information that no one (or anything) else could deliver or suffice. Furthermore, interviews would be great if I am to collect detailed information that can only be obtained from an expert.
Ansay, Marie Francesca M.
SA 21 – Y