University of Manitoba 2015

Pharmacy, The Philippines Iloilo

It feels really bittersweet today. I am so excited to see my family who are visiting Iloilo for a few days before a 2 week vacation travel trip around the Philippines. But at the same time, I am so sad to leave the WTW house.

I have made some incredible new friends from the UK and Australia who I will miss terribly, and always remember.  I feel so lucky to have been part of the WTW family and I really have had the best 5 weeks of my life. This trip has been such an adventure. The WTW team has exceeded my expectations in every way.

The UK staff kept me on schedule and kept me well informed about what to expect and how to prepare for my trip.  They were very friendly and were only a phone call away whenever I had a question (e.g. Visa requirements, money, liability insurance, etc).


The Iloilo WTW staff were amazing. My inbound flight was delayed by 3 hours and after fumbling with a foreign payphone and strange money, my anxiety was put to rest as soon as I got hold of the Iloilo team on the phone. Everything was organised for me, I was picked up from the airport, oriented to the culture and placement tour around the house and city and hospital. My first day was overwhelming, but exciting.

The cooking at the house was fantastic! We had delicious local food for about half the meals and international foods like pasta, fish and chips, the other half. I felt it was a shame to go out for dinner because I didn’t want to miss the caterers amazing meals.

The WTW house is great – clean, cozy, spacious, homey with a lounge on the 2nd and 3rd floors, rooftop terrace has superb views of the city. It was about 10mins away from the mall and 15 mins to the hospital. Nice restaurant and bars within walking distance.

My pharmacy placement was very different to what I expected. The major role of pharmacists here is dispensing with few clinical opportunities (although they are trying to grow the clinical pharmacist position).  I learned a lot about the Philippine healthcare system, government vs. Private hospitals and that family members are so integral in a patient’s care. They pick up meds from the Pharmacy, provide basic care, help the nurses. I had the incredible opportunity to spend a week watching surgeries, while helping out in the OR pharmacy. I spent a week in the NICU where antibiotic vials are shared between 7 or 8 premature babies to save on cost. 1 week in each of the main pharmacy and outpatient pharmacy where I got to try out my few Hiligaynon phrases learned in language classes.

I spent my last week on the Village Healthcare Experience. What an amazing experience. Life there is simpler, with no running water and limited electricity. My host family was so kind and generous. I’m so glad I decided to do the village option.

WTW has been so organized and a really great organization to travel with. I would definitely recommend it to any student thinking about experiencing a completely different life from home.  Thank you so much for a once in a lifetime adventure!

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