Our trip this year was VOSH-MN’s third trip to the Philippines, and it was another good one! Fourteen volunteers headed out on a 17+ hour airplane odyssey that ended in Manila, where we all overnighted. Then it was off to the island of Busuanga, in the province of Palawan, another one hour flight.
We worked first in the small village of San Jose, a remote farming area with no access to eye care. We had worked there 2 years ago, and saw some of the same people we helped last time still
wearing their glasses. That is always a happy sight to see! We worked in a daycare like setting and had a lot of help from the local government health officials. Since it was such a small area,
we ran out of patients about mid afternoon.
We then moved on to the city of Coron, the largest city on Busuanga. There we had an unusual situation develop. We were told by our hosts that we may not see many people that day, a Sunday. They expected most people to stay home, not to go to church; but to watch the Philippine’s national hero a boxer, Manny Pacquiao, fight in Las Vegas.
The Coron city officials had it on a large screen in the city auditorium. The fight started around 11:00 am local time, and after 12 rounds, we all heard a loud roar indicating that Pacquiao had won. We never really noticed a smaller crowd during the fight, but the percentage of women was much higher during the fight.
We worked in a local health clinic while in Coron and had good cooperation from the local health officials again. During the mission we saw 1100 patients, from the quite young to the
very old. We again saw large amounts of high astigmatism and did our best to help them out. We did not do any surgery on this trip as the facilities were not adequate.
After our work was over our group split up to venture on to other parts of the world. Half of the team remained at our base camp at El Rio y Mar Resort where we enjoyed great food, great hospitality, excellent snorkeling, and a few even did some scuba diving.
Our team this year consisted of Dr. Paul and Tracy Cardinal, Jan Cartwright, Dr. Jim and Margie Hess, Dr. Cindy Hung, Debbie Johnson, Dr. Larry Morrison, Dr. Bob and Susan Ostrow, Dr. Adrienne Pyne, Benita Swenson, Kirk Thomas, and Dr. Bob Warshawsky.
Submitted By Jim Hess O.D.
This trip was led by Jim Hess, O.D.