Until this point, all my research has been in the realm of the mind. It has been months of dainty little floating models, an endless stream of words on paper, but now no longer.
Fieldwork has officially started and with it comes raw data. I have never been happier in my life.
This is primary data, liquid— well, intellectual— gold. For many of my resource persons, such as the political assistants and secretarial staff in Congress, I am the first researcher that they have spoken to. For my micro-case study areas of Manila, Cebu, and Davao, despite being highly-industrialized international cities, research on SRHR is similarly limited… perhaps because few people are willing to touch the topic of sexual and reproductive rights, particularly in a country like the Philippines.
In my case, I am very grateful for the opportunity to be one of the first to embark on this kind of research, and for all the support I am getting— particularly from those key actors in the Philippine SRHR debate who have already agreed to speak with me. It always gives me a warm feeling, knowing that they would take out time from their extremely busy schedules to speak to me. It warms the cockles of my little researcher heart.
And on a pragmatic level, I am grateful for my parents, who unquestioningly sponsored my return flight and essentially my entire stay in the Philippines. I could have done it on my own, that’s true, but at a much more basal comfort level. Admittedly my parents may have their own motives, indeed one would hope that they would be pleased to see their daughter again for the second time this year (if it may be counted as the second time, considering the first was just sending me off on my flight to Brussels). Nonetheless, whatever the reasons, altruistic, emotional, or otherwise, they got me here and I’m extremely happy to be back!