Monday, April 30, 2012


The power crisis in Mindanao which has been hugging the headlines in the national news media the past few months has not had (at least not yet) a really major impact on life in Lianga.  Despite the horror stories of daily 4 to 8 hour power outages in other parts of the southern Philippines particularly in Western Mindanao, the only discernible effects in this town of what is being described in the news as an emerging major national crisis has been brownouts lasting at most less than hour which occur almost every day mostly in the early evening hours.

The fact that electric power is often restored relatively quickly after the outages is causing a degree of bewilderment among customers of the local electric cooperatives here who still shudder at dark memories of the Mindanao power shortages during the previous administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo where Lianga had to really endure up to 8 hours of darkness and no electricity every day and even in the evenings.

On cannot really blame them for the inability to shake off the sneaking suspicion that, in their particular case, the current "power crisis" may be more sham than reality and that powerful economic interests are simply using the threat of such a crisis to muscle their way into the extremely lucrative power generation industry in Mindanao.  If there is really a shortage in the supply of electric power in this part of the country then why is the crisis not so apparent as it should be (in Lianga at least)?

To me, it is clear that all the heated arguments about whether or not there is an actual power crisis in Mindanao have, in more ways than one, become largely superfluous if not confusing.  The facts are clear.  In the past 30 years or so, this island's economy and, therefore, its power needs have been growing faster than anywhere else in the country yet little or nothing has been done by the government during this time to plan and implement programs and projects designed to insure that it continues to get all the affordable electric power it needs to maintain its economic growth and development.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Natural High

There is something basic and primeval to mountains that appeal to the spiritual in man.  Mystics, seekers of inner wisdom and pilgrims searching for enlightenment have throughout human history made their way up the high places of the world where in the rarified air and the splendid isolation of mountain summits they sought the often elusive answers to the most vexing questions of life.

Of course, my family's brief Holy Week sojourn in the foothills of Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon province was more of a weekend vacation rather than a pilgrimage or spiritual journey.  But in between the thrills and squeals of the vaunted zip-lines and the zorbit rides, the high adrenaline rush of the buggy and ATV trails and the muscle aching challenges of the nature trails of Dahilayan in Manolo Fortich town, one does have plenty of down time to ponder, reflect upon and essentially "soak in" the unique ambiance of this mountainous hideaway.

Dahilayan is actually the home of a group of tourist resorts capitalizing on the cool climate, unique flora and fauna plus the spectacular scenery that can be found some 4,700 feet above sea level.  These resorts also promote eco-tourism and facilities geared towards the more extreme recreational activities like the already aforementioned zip-lines, ATV and zorbit rides.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Lianga In My Mind

In the past, when life had me spending time away from Lianga for extended periods and life in the city or elsewhere became exceedingly oppressive, I would almost always find some degree of comfort in daydreaming about Lianga.  In these needed breaks from reality, I would instantly be magically transported across the sea, the land and over the mountains and back to this place I have always considered home.

Strangely enough, the images, sights and sounds of the Lianga in my fantasies would always be one and the same every time.

It would always be just past noon after the midday meal and the town would be basking in the midst of a glorious summer afternoon.  The sky above the rooftops of the old houses would be, except for some stray wisps of misty clouds on the far horizon, an almost perfect blue and the streets practically deserted,  The local people would be huddled indoors seeking escape and relief from the scorching heat of the noonday sun while trying, at the same time, to steal an hour or two of siesta sleep.

Outside the windows of our family house, I could, in my mind's eye, see the heat haze shimmering as it rose in waves from the baked concrete of the town's main street, the sultry air forcing its way indoors only to be enlivened occasionally by the sudden cool breeze vaguely smelling of salt and drying seaweed coming from the nearby sea. The only ones foolish enough to brave the heat outside would be the neighborhood dogs who would squabble from time to time for control of their favorite spots of shady ground, the occasional explosion of angry yips and barks punctuating the sound of muted music from a radio set coming from one of the many open windows down the street.