Sunday, March 24, 2013


It is customary for the majority of Filipinos who are Catholics to bring with them coconut palm leaves and fronds to church today in celebration of Palm Sunday which itself commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem and marks the beginning of the celebration of the Holy Week.  This custom is so ingrained in Filipino religious tradition that no self-respecting Catholic would dare to appear in church today empty handed especially in the more rural and provincial areas like here in Lianga where religious conservatism is the always the norm.

The fronds are blessed with holy water during the Mass and them brought back home for safekeeping.  Many Filipinos believe that lukay that have been consecrated are sacred objects which if pinned to doors, windows and walls have the ability to protect homes from evil spirits, fire and lightning.

Early this morning I saw a clump of young coconut leaf fronds on the wooden table in the lanai at the back of the house which someone had thoughtfully provided for my mother and the rest of our household to make use of.  I immediately asked if any of the household help knew anything about making the often elaborately woven palm branches that churchgoers bring to Mass and was surprised to receive negative replies to my inquiry.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Here We Go Again

Every right thinking resident of Mindanao knew when the electric power crisis in the island first made itself felt in 2010 (see blog posts here and here) that it was a serious problem that would take some time, a lot of serious consultation and, of course, costly investments in new power generation and transmission infrastructure before it can be remedied.  After enduring, at that time, rotating brownouts that lasted for as long as 8 hours daily in some areas, the people here were more than willing to bite the bullet and put up with whatever short term and long term measures (including higher electricity bills) the government was cooking up in order to swiftly and permanently solve the then emerging power shortage.

There was talk I remember back then by government energy officials at that time of quickly implementing rehabilitation plans for the aging Agus and Pulangui hydroelectric power plants in Western Mindanao on which the entire island depends for 64 percent of its total energy needs and the fast track programming and construction of coal powered electricity generation plants in key areas all over Mindanao in order to help close the energy supply gap.  President Benigno Aquino III when he first assumed office made assurances to industry and civic leaders in the southern Philippines that the government had the crisis well in hand and was working hard to solve it at the soonest possible time.

Yet more than two years since then, the lights are again going out all over Mindanao and as the whole country enters the hot summer months when electricity needs are often at their yearly peak, Mindanaoans are once again forced to consider living with the depressing inevitability of the fact that they may have again to suffer through the nightmare of the long brownouts and power outages that they thought they have consigned to memory in 2010.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Blogging 101

I was both surprised and more than a bit nonplussed to receive in the past few weeks more than a few e-mails from readers of this blog asking for some advice and pointers on how to start their own blogs or improve the blogs they have already started.  These requests while flattering to say the least have also forced me to reexamine and reflect once more on the reason or reasons why I continue to blog after more than six years and almost 360 published posts.

If someone wants to start a blog and has dreams of finding the right mix of design, subject matter and content that would boost readership and page views, a magic combination that would make that blog immensely popular online for the ultimate purpose, say, of eventually monetizing it then I am probably the last person to seek advice from.  There are plenty of examples of such well known and commercially successful blogs to be found in the blogosphere that a neophyte blogger can seek and get guidance and inspiration from.

The truth is I blog for the plain and selfish reason that I find personal fulfillment in doing it.  My blog posts all trace their origins from events and situations in my daily life that provoke in me a great emotional response or some degree of intellectual interest and fascination. The motivation for this particular blog remains the same as when I started it in 2006 - to chronicle to the best of my abilities the unique qualities, peculiarities and eccentricities of life here in Lianga and what life, at least in my own personal view, is really like in this little corner of the world.