Things I wish I had known

Although we talked to all of the people from last year’s IRRI group, there were so many things I wish they had told us before coming.  Here is a list that I making for those going to IRRI next year that I wish I had known:

  • Don’t worry about forgetting something, they have a supermarket (South Supermarket) that sells basically everything you would need
  • IRRI is an extension of University of the Philippines- Los Baños, so the town does have lots of other college students and is very safe.
  • The IRRI bus schedule is pretty straightforward.  Just look at the schedule they provide you.  Things to note about the bus schedule:
    • Harrar Hall is the cafeteria location
    • When they have multiple locations, it means the first one listed is when the bus gets to that stop at the time listed and then will go to the other stops afterwards
    • Try not to do the 5:20pm bus because it is the same bus as the 5:00pm bus, just on its second loop back to Harrar Hall so it will be super crowded and chances are you won’t get a seat and will have to wait for the 6:00 bus.
    • There’s an 8:15pm bus back to IRRI from the UP Gate that isn’t on the schedule but you can take anyways
  • GO INTO TOWN!!! Los Baños is a nice city with nice people and lots of restaurants.  Go explore the side streets too, those have the best restaurants.
    • Specifically Raymundo gate.  It is just one stop past the UP Gate and if you go through the gate, its like the Wardrobe to the Narnia of food.  This is the area where all the college students go so it’s a lot of fun and the food is great.
  • Ladies, bring your own tampons.
  • Laundry is taken on Monday and brought back to you by Wednesday.
    • if you want extra laundry done on a different day than Monday, it costs extra and is pretty expensive
  • Sheets and towels are traded out on either Thursday or Friday.
  • Internet
    • Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, HBO, Spotify, Snapchat, basically anything that has videos or require larger bandwidths is blocked.
    • Facebook and Instagram are blocked from 7am-12pm, and then from 1pm-5pm.
  • Due to all the blocks on the wifi, get WhatsApp to talk to friends and family.
  • Restaurant recommendations:
    • Bonitos (Filipino and American)
    • Seoul Kitchen (Korean)
    • Venice (Italian)
    • Auntie Pearl’s pizza
    • FAT YARDS IS LIFE GET EVERYTHING THERE- lots of stalls selling different things like boodles, burgers, tacos, poke bowls, wings
    • Habib mediteranean
    • Sibligs
    • Max’s fried chicken (best fried chicken ever)
  • Weekend trip recommendations:
    • Puerto Galera (Beach)
    • Taal Volcano (you can do this in one day)
    • Bukal Falls
    • EL NIDO IF YOU CAN BECAUSE ITS SO WORTH IT
    • Manila is okay, you can definitely do it one day and one night
  • Any room issues, talk to the dorm staff or the housing people (ex: cold showers, insect problems, etc.)
  • TALK TO AFSTRI
    • the people who went last year did not utilize AFSTRI that much but this year it has been saving our lives.  The president, Dr. Suchit, is so so helpful and he has arranged almost every weekend for us.  They help you with transportation to and from anywhere you want to go, travel plans and getting you the cheapest trips, and they can help you with your research/internship if you are having troubles with your group.
  • Getting to Manila
    • if youre going to the FNRI or to the airport, take the bus to Alabang from south supermarket to Starmall.  Then take a taxi/Grab to your destination.

Hope this helps everyone next year!

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