Peace Corps Philippines – John Wennstrom

Philippine Flag


This month marks the 50th Anniversary of the start of my Peace Corps Service in the Philippines, following a 14 week training session in the small town of Pepeekeo on the big island of Hawaii. I was first stationed in Lipa City, Batangas along with fellow Peace Corps Volunteers Brenda BarnesCarolyn Harvey, and Robert Bruce Davidson.

My primary assignment for my first two years was in Teaching English as a Second Language. I visited and worked with elementary school teachers at a dozen schools in the Lipa City area, participated in several teacher conferences, and taught college level courses at the University of Batangas and a special summer session in Baguio City in Northern Luzon.

My first summer there I put my Red Cross WSI (Water Safety Instructor) certification to good use teaching swimming classes at the pool located at the Fernando Air Base in Lipa City.

I extended my tour for a third year serving as a research assistant at the Bureau of Public Schools in Manila, surviving Typhoon Wanda in 1971, which flooded my apartment for a week. I presented a paper on Testing and Evaluation at a 1970 English Teachers Convention in Cebu City.

Exciting times meeting many wonderful people along the way. The Philippine hospitality was amazing though I did have a couple of bouts of dysentery, resulting in significant weight loss. For a while there I was wearing pants with a 28 inch waist.

My travels took me all over the Philippines, including trips to the Taal and Mayon volcanoes, Zamboanga in the Southern island of Mindanao, and the tiny island of Sulu, in the far Southeastern section of the the Philippine archipelago near the border with Malaysia.

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