Saturday, June 2, 2012

AMSEP Thailand for Philippines: Summer 2012 Exchange Report

Last April, 15 delegates from AMSA-Philippines visited Thailand for a academic-cultural exchange through AMSEP Thailand.

Read about the AMSEP Thailand Experience through chief delegate Robert Sarmiento's report below:

AMSEP Thailand for Philippines 2012

It was definitely a trip of a lifetime for a group of 15 Filipino delegates who participated in the Asian Medical Students’ Exchange Program Thailand for the Philippines last April 23-29, 2012. Accompanied by a different Thai medical school every day, the week-long program provided the delegates knowledge about Thailand’s healthcare system, medical education and culture.

The delegates for the program are the following:

Jake Anthony Albarico, AMSA-UERMMMC
Karen Alonzo, USLS-COMEDSC
Shaula Gail de Ocampo, SBCM-SC
Ryan Empleo, AMSA-UST
Maria Monine Manalo, USLS-COMEDSC
Marion Rose Marquez, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Kimberly Mendoza, USLS-COMEDSC
John Irving Merca, SBCM-SC
Precious Juzenda Montilla, AMSA-UST
Sarah Samantha Obida, AMSA-FEU
Nikolai Gil Reyes, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Robert Joseph Sarmiento, UP MSSR-IPPNW
Jessica Belle Sy, AMSA-UERMMMCI
Marirose Valenzuela, USLS-COMEDSC
Ralph Axel Yabes, AMSA-UST

DAY 0: APRIL 22, 2012
Fourteen delegates arrived at SuvarnabhumI International Airport at around 9:00 AM.  After being fetched by some members of AMSA Thailand staff and students from Pramongkutklao Medical School, they rode the Airport Railway and taxi to their hostel at Sukhumvit Road. 

After freshening up at the hostel, they rode the Bangkok Transit System (BTS train) and walked to Platinum Fashion Mall. Some stop-overs were made to taste different Thai street food but the delegates had the first taste of authentic Thai meal as lunch was served in the food court of the mall. Some members of AMSA Thailand Executive Board joined the delegates for lunch after coming from a pre-AMSC event. After an afternoon of shopping at the mall and snacks at Swensen’s Ice cream parlor, the delegates and the AMSA staff had dinner after enjoying a game of “Pinoy Henyo”.

DAY 1: APRIL 23, 2012
The delegates had a tour at Ramathibodi Hospital with the students from Mahidol University, Faculty of Medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital. It was a morning full of learning as the students toured in the Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Departments of the said Hospital. 

A trip to the Radiosurgery and Stem Cell Research Laboratory also took place in the morning. A short tour to the different facilities like the gym, badminton courts and the hospital library followed after a sumptuous lunch.

The group proceeded to Yaowarat Heritage center after touring around Jim Thompson House, the residence of the person behind the Thai silk Industry. 

A stop in Terminal 21 Mall was made before attending a karaoke-themed welcoming party where delicious Thai dishes and desserts were served. The delegates showed their innate Filipino talents as microphones were passed and spontaneous dance steps were made to enjoy the opening night of the program.

DAY 2: APRIL 24, 2012
After a two-hour ride, the delegates headed to Ayutthaya, a province known for its temples, palaces and different tourist attractions.  The first stop was a nearby market where AMSA staff from Faculty of Medicine, Thamassat University and Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University accompanied the delegates to shop for souvenirs and snacks. 

The group then visited Wat Phrasri  Sanphet where Fortune Stick Seamsee was done to predict the fortune of the delegates. A photo-op in the majestic Wat Chaiwattanaram Temple followed.

After a traditional Thai lunch in Ayutthaya Floating Market, some delegates watched a show also found in the floating market complex while others went shopping and had an elephant ride. 

The Filipino delegates were finally completed as the fourteen delegates were joined by Mr Yabes who just arrived from Manila. 

A tour around the Bang Pa In Royal Palace took place in the afternoon. It was followed by a relaxing break in front of the Chinese temple where some Filipino games such as “Luksong Baka” were performed; a small entertaining yoga competition between Thais and Filipinos followed. 

Dinner consisting of delicious sea food was served in Ton Naam overlooking a river and the sunset. The delegates then drove back to Bangkok after a day full of experience in a Thai province.

DAY 3: APRIL 25, 2012

The day started with a special treatment as the delegates had a meeting with one of the heads of the National Blood Centre of the Thai Red Cross Society. Together with Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, issues about blood donation and storage were tackled and sides from Thailand and Philippines were heard and compared

The delegates also had the chance to visit and witness the remarkable collection of snakes in the nearby Snake Farm. A short lecture about antivenom manufacturing followed a live venom-milking session. 

A trip back to the Blood Bank was held in the afternoon where the delegates followed the steps of blood processing from donation to distribution. Several blood component separation techniques were also witnessed as the delegates toured around the different divisions of the Thai Red Cross Building.

The delegates and the Thai students then proved they can never go low on energy as a sumptuous barbeque dinner and another round of karaoke followed after a bloody and fun day.

DAY 4: APRIL 26, 2012
In the morning, it was a long climb to the Golden Mountain at Wat Sraket as the delegates were joined by medical students from Mahidol University, Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital. The group visited the temple and had a good view of the Bangkok panorama. A short lecture about Buddhism was also given by a monk prior to the climb.

The delegates learned more about the Thai monarchy as a trip to the Congdom museum and the Adulyadej Yikom Building followed.

Lunch was served at Siraraj Hostpital as Chief Delegate, Mr Sarmiento had a courtesy call with Dr. Supawadee Likitmaskul, the Deputy Dean for Student Affairs and Assistant Professor Chakrapong Namatra, the advisor of Siriraj International Relations Club.

It was an inspiring afternoon as the team learned about Prince Mahidol, the prince whom the university was named from, and a member of the Thai monarchy who decided to become a physician. A trip to the hospital’s library, Anatomy museum and History of Thailand, Pathological and Forensics museum followed. AMSEP Exchange Officer Mr Lokachet Tanasugarn then joined the delegates for food tripping, shopping and dinner at Wanglang market. The day ended as the delegates attended a festival for the opening of a new hospital building.

DAY 5: APRIL 27, 2012
Despite the hottest temperature recorded for the summer season, the delegates, together with students from College of Medicine, Rangsit University and Faculty of Medicine Vajira Hospital, University of Bangkok Metropolis were on the go to visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace.

It was followed by lunch and a trip to King Parajadhipok Museum where the delegates learned about Queen Sirikit and the history of the Thai parliament.

The delegates then proceeded to Siam Paragon, a premiere shopping mall in Bangkok where they parted ways to shop, eat and take photos. The delegates were then joined by more students from Vajira and Rangsit as Japanese food was served for dinner.

The delegates were all “at home” in the hostel after a spontaneous plan to watch a “Home”, a Thai drama movie in the Terminal 21 took place.

DAY 6: APRIL 28, 2012
The delegates started the day early for a two-hour bus ride to Pattaya, Thailand. The delegates had a small trip around the world as a stop was made in Mini Siam, a park featuring miniatures of several monuments in Thailand and around the world.  

After freshening up in the Coconut Resort, the students had lunch at the Pattaya Floating Market where they were joined by Dr. Nic Thongdeethae and Mr. Terk Tarikerio, a past and the current AMSA Thailand president respectively. This was followed by a trip to the beach where the delegates bonded with the Thai hosts. 

Later in the evening, a farewell party was prepared by the Thai hosts. Wearing attires from different parts of the country, the Filipino delegates showed a video and performed a dance number of “Choose Philippines” following a fashion show. The Thais prepared a Thai game which was enjoyed by everybody prior to the giving of certificates and tokens.

DAY 7: APRIL 29, 2012

After spending some quality time with each other in the morning, the Filipino delegates and the Thai hosts visited a grape yard where a famous Thai lakorn or “telenevola” was filmed.

Letters, tokens and gifts were then given as the Filipino delegates and Thai hosts bonded and traveled back to Bangkok, Thailand. 

Upon reaching the hostel, Ms. Manalo and Ms. Marquez had to bid farewell to join their families who were also in Thailand for a vacation. The remaining delegates were joined by the Thai hosts for dinner in Terminal 21 Mall.

FAREWELLS AND POST AMSEP: April 30- May 3, 2012

April 30, 2012
Mr. Empleo, Mr. Merca, Ms. Montilla, Ms. Obida, Mr. Sarmiento, and Ms. Valenzuela left early morning to catch a bus to Cambodia. The rest of the delegates a spent a day of desserts and bonding in Siam Paragon where they were also joined by several Thai students. 

MAY 1, 2012
Mr. Albarico, Mr. Reyes and Mr. Yabes were brought to the airport by several members of the AMSA Thailand staff on the night of April 30 for their flight on May 1, midnight. Ms. Alonzo, Ms. de Ocampo, and Ms. Mendoza were also fetched in the hostel to catch their flight back to the Philippines later on the same day.

MAY 2, 2012
It wasn’t alone time for Ms. Sy as she was also accompanied by Thai students during the rest of the day. She was also brought to the airport to catch her flight on midnight.

MAY 3, 2012
The delegates who had a side trip to Cambodia were welcomed back by several Thai students as a last minute shopping and farewell shabu-shabu dinner took place at MBK mall. The six delegates were bided off at the SuvarnabhumI International Airport to catch their flight on May 4, midnight.

On May 4, five in the morning, all Filipino delegates were officially back in the Philippines after an unforgettable sojourn in the Land of Smiles.

(written by Chief Delegate, Robert Joseph Sarmiento, UP MSSR-IPPNW)


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