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 Band Frying Nemo in the Recording Studio

Frying Nemo in the Studio: Recording the Dumaguete Demo

After we had played at Hayahay on Wednesday nights for about a month and written about five original songs we decided to record several of them for a demo cd. Nowell is friends with Bryan Arzaga who has a small recording studio in his basement, so early one morning we all went north to San […]

Dumaguete Radio Station Killer Bee 95.1 Frying Nemo Performance

Live on Killer Bee 95.1: Frying Nemo on Air in Dumaguete

Kerwin called one of his friends at Silliman University’s radio station, Killer Bee 95.1 to ask if our band Frying Nemo could play live on the air. Luckily for us, they agreed to let us play in the studio during DJ Akhmed’s two hour Sunday night radio show from 6 to 8 p.m.. We all […]

The Buglasan Big Stage in Dumaguete, Oriental Negros

Buglasan Festival in Dumaguete: Frying Nemo on the Big Stage

Every year in October Dumaguete hosts the enormous Buglasan Festival for the province of Negros Oriental. The event lasts ten days and included everything from a rodeo to a fireworks contest to an enormous outdoor food bazaar to my personal highlight: a performance by our band Frying Nemo on the big stage at the Capital […]

Philippine Rodeo at the Dumaguete Buglasan Festival

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 in Dumaguete there was a real rodeo with cowboys, bucking bronco riding, a whip cracking […]

Live Music at Hayahay, Dumaguete's Best Music Venue

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 to study jazz guitar. Luckily Ace Descuatan was back in Dumaguete and had September off because he was […]

Frying Nemo on Rizal Boulevard Boardwalk in Dumaguete

How to Start a Band in the Philippines: Forming Frying Nemo

Dumaguete has a great live music community thanks mainly to the excellent music program at Silliman University. There are a few venues that specialize in live music such as Hayahay by the sea, and musicians in the area play music from most genres. I’ve played for years in a band with my brother Preston and […]

Snorkeling the clear blue waters of the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary

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 Luzon. After a week of unwinding on the resort island of Boracay, Kenny, Liz, Nick, Will and Theo caught […]

Apo Island day trip from Dumaguete

Dumaguete Day Trip: Silliman Marine Lab to Apo Island

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 Luzon. After a week of unwinding on the resort island of Boracay, Kenny, Liz, Nick, Will and Theo caught […]

Underwater Photography from Apo Island near Dumaguete

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, but we left early in the morning from Silliman Beach and got in two great […]

Sporting a Barong for the Dumaguete Santacruzan Parade

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 traditional Barong Tagalog pressed (a going away present from my friend Kenny Mendez) and borrowing a pair […]

Beach Night at Apo Island near Dumaguete

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 she met up with us in Dumaguete the morning that we left for Apo. Also Pam from my Peace […]

Underwater Photo of a Scuba Diver at Apo Island, Philippines

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 friend Emily from college was in the Philippines too, so we all went out for […]

Releasing an Endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Releasing An Endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle at Apo Island

In early May some fishermen from Sibulan, a small community north of Dumaguete, brought a small hawksbill sea turtle to the Marine Lab. The turtle was in generally good health, though it had possibly been raised in captivity. After about two weeks of rehabilitation in one of the sea water tanks at the lab, the […]

Exploring the Balicasag Marine Sanctuary: Bohol Diving

Although I don’t get there very often, Balicasag Marine Sanctuary in Bohol is one of my favorite spots for underwater photos besides Apo Island. I’m especially fond of taking photos of the clown fish that live in the distinctive green anemones in the Black Forest section of the island. In May, Kris and Kristen came […]

Restocking Giant Clams at Apo Island

Marine Biology Field Trip: Restocking Giant Clams at Apo Island

In April I visited the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary with some scientists from the Silliman University Marine Lab where I work, to help re-stock giant clams there. The lab has several large saltwater tanks that are used to breed the endangered clams in captivity and then release them back into the wild for communities that […]

A Witch Doctor from Siquijor Island

Witch Doctors in Siquijor: Real Black Magic in the Visayas?

The nearby island of Siquijor is famous for its faith healers and shamans (some call them witches or witch doctors). During the Holy Week festivities this year I went over for a short visit to see the Stations of the Cross on a mountain on Siquijor, the famous haunted Balete tree, and also paid a […]