The Philippines' inflation rate rose to 3.5 % for January 2011, the highest level in the past five months. The increase was mainly due to higher food and fuel costs. December's rate was 3%. We'll be doing our monthly shopping trip in Iloilo this Saturday, and it will be interesting to see if we notice any substantial increase in prices. One thing that is hurting us, however, is the poor rice production on my mother-in-law's land she leases in Guimaras. Seems that the land The Feared Giant Lizard was leasing to a schoolteacher was hit hard by an insect infestation which destroyed most of her rice crop. Because of this, my mother-in-law has voided the lease and the school teacher that was leasing the land had to pay P5000 (around 114 US Dollars) to my mother-in-law. The rice fields have been sprayed since the insect invasion, but it was too late to help the current crop. We've only had to buy a 120 pound bag of rice once this past August since we moved to the Philippines in July 2009. My wife informs me that we are out of rice and will have to buy another bag from her cousin Emma's "Jade and Joe Market" (it used to be just the "Jade Market", but son Joe's name has been added to the signage.)
Fortunately, my sister-in-law Marjorie, who is working in Kuwait as a domestic helper, has sent some of her wages to her bank account in Iloilo, and my wife will be getting P2000 (about 45.69 US Dollars), most of which will go for the purchase of the rice which sold for P1,750 at Cousin Emma's market last August. That nowhere covers the expense we have in caring for Marjorie's 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter that we support at "The Compound," but it helps. But since Marjorie only makes 200 USD a month and has to pay off loans she acquired in order to get to the job in Kuwait, she doesn't have much cash to spare. A bag of rice seems to be lasting a little shy of three months, and I seldom eat any. I'm still somewhat a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy from the Midwest, but will have rice when I eat fish for my dinner.
But with four out five people in our household eating rice three times a day, it seems that the 120 pound bag of rice is stretching pretty far. Just wish that my mother-in-law's rice production in Guimaras would pick up again. The rainy season is over now, and the hot and dry weather will start again soon. Despite some cooler weather this past December and January, it looks like we'll have to run the fan at a higher speed tonight for the first time in two weeks. But all things considered, we're doing fine, and it sure beats working and driving to the job site in bitter cold and on dangerous snowy roads. That I don't miss at all!