Duwende Responsible for Leaving Our Lights On!

Latest electric bill for January 2011 at "The Compound" in Guimaras was only P1,580.55 (35.81 US Dollars.) Not bad for a family of five, and one of the lowest bills we've had since moving to the Philippines in July 2009. Our December 2010 bill was P2,236.84 (50.61 USD),  November bill P2,666.23 (60.31 USD),  October bill P1,617.39 (36.58 USD),  and our September bill was a whopping P3,506.01 (79.32 USD) up from a charge of only P1,204.91 (27.26 USD) in August. Our local power company in Guimaras, Guimelco,  increased our bill in September due to the buying of power from Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development. When you're on a fixed income as we are,  the difference in the higher bills can really impact our budget. Lawn Gnomes


EVERYONE at our home is ecstatic when a low electric bill is delivered via motorcycle messenger because that means the resident kano will be very happy. I cannot begin to tell you the countless times I've had to go into rooms with lights left on,  and when I question our 11-year-old nephew or 13-year-old niece, no one ever knows who left the lights on. I guess a frickin' duewende did it, but since they're too short to reach the light switches,  I do not have any idea how the mischievous little buggers are doing it.  (But I have also caught my 77-year-old mother-in-law leaving the lights on in a room so I guess it can't ALL be blamed on the duwende.)

I'm sure the decrease in our electric bill in the Philippines is due in large part to the relatively cool weather we have been experiencing (or maybe the duwendes have not been as active in turning the lights on.)  This past January felt so much cooler than January 2010. We only ran the air con about half the time we usually do (which is every night on an eight hour timer), and I haven't needed the fan blowing on me constantly all day. Our rural province of Guimaras doesn't have any big cities and masses of people which can generate more heat,  and the temperatures have felt  moderate.

The lows have been 21 ºC (69.8 ºF), and a high today of only 26 ºC ( 78.8 ºF.) There's been some very pleasant breezes blowing all day and night which makes for some comfortable conditions along with the lower humidity of 83% versus the usual 87% or higher. While the recent spate of cooler weather is not "fallish" in any fashion, it still is a welcome relief because the extremely hot and dry months of April and May are not too far off (highs of 35 ºC , 95 ºF,  with intolerable high humidity levels.)

But who knows? Maybe I'm just getting better acclimated to the weather or some duwendes are fanning me with palm tree branches as I sleep. Whatever the reason, I'm glad that the cost of electricity has gone down this month and hope it stays that way.  A lower electricity cost on our little slice of paradise at "The Compound" in Guimaras always makes this kano smile.  That along with the fact that I haven't been shoveling any snow like my friends back in the Midwest have been or running around freezing to death. Who cares if we have duwendes? I can live with them. As long as the little mischief makers remember to turn off the lights!

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

31 thoughts on “Duwende Responsible for Leaving Our Lights On!

  1. Hey Dave,
    Maybe the duwende flies up to the switch and flips the lights on. The weather there sounds great to me, it is better than being in the middle of the winter storm plaguing the U.S. right now. If I was living in my hometown south of Dallas, I would have an outrageous electric bill due to the heater running constantly.

    1. Hmmm, didn’t think about the duwende flying, jakeb, good point. Yes, the weather is fine, really moderate temps and a strong breeze. I can relate to what your bill in Dallas would be. Back in central Illinois, our local power company, AmerenCIPS, aided by some corrupt officials in our Illinois legislature, allowed a rate hike. Our monthly heating bill more than tripled to over 400 USD a month, and that’s with the thermostat set at 67 during the day.

  2. Greetings from beautiful snowy Girard! Lucky you! We are in the midst of a humdinger here, which i am sure you have heard about. Major highways were closed during the night, curfews in Springfield and surrounding areas. Enjoy your warm weather and low power bill Dave. I’ll think about you as I watch the snowflakes fly. lol

    1. Hi MarcieB. Wow! I’ve heard about all the snow! My former employer, AT&T, actually closed the office. In my almost 30 years with the company I can never recall that happening before. Well, be careful and hopefully that snow will melt. I’m concerned that the lady that sends us our monthly deposit from our retirement account won’t be able to make it to work to release our funds. Thanks for the info and drive carefully. I know how bad that stretch of Route 4 can get by Girard when that wind starts blowing.

  3. My electric bill usually stays around 2000p to 3000p at my apartment in Tagum. Which is about 5.9p per Kwh. I had one very high bill when I first moved here (16,000p) and I hit the roof. The next month we limited and then eliminated aircon usage and it was 1800p but for only 20 days. I asked the local power company why that one was so high and they said it was a computer problem and they gave me a credit of 6000p (still high at 10,000p). I wonder if they gave the credit to everyone? The cool weather has helped me also and this month was 1887p but still around 5.9 per. I check my meter regularly, and I see that my usage has gone down so far this month. Like John Jackson anything under 4300p is a welcome compared to the 450$ bill I got during July back in Georgia.

    1. Wow! 16,000 P? I would have hit the roof, too, Richard D! I think you were lucky to get a credit but P10,000 is still a lot. I hope the cooler weather continues. We had a cool stretch back in December 2009, but nothing like this current trend we are experiencing. I love it.

  4. I have to constantly patrol “The Compound” to make sure lights are off, John. The Philippines has some of the highest electric rates in Southeast Asia, and while my bill is still a lot lower than what I had in the Midwest (where we got $400 a month bills in the winter), it still aggravates me when the “duwendes” leave the lights on.
    Good luck on trying to communicate with your power company. I tried calling them all the time when we had brown outs, and got absolutely nowhere and just more frustrated. Now that we’re down to only about six brown outs a month, I don’t bother.

  5. Dave..that lovely you can drift off and have some little Fillipina duwendes fan you!Maybe they have long black hair and big eyes and talk and laugh heavy while they are faning you while you are being so lazy. So smile and be happy,if they leave the lights on to much or their little electric dryer or it could be that the little Fillipna duwendes are just like the big Fillipinas and like to use a lot of electric. ( I was going to say..use a lot of hot water, but do not even know if you have hot water heaters there )By the way…Your light bill is cheap there I think..but of course understand you want to streach the funds…

    1. Dan, I am not sure if they are little Filipina duwendes or little ladyboy duwendes. That concerns me. If they are ladyboy duwendes than they probably are using some little electric hair dryers to make themselves even more beautiful. Thus, they are using more electricity. Nope, no hot water heaters for us, too expensive. But we can live with the cold water showers.

  6. Hahahahah I forgot about little lady boy duwendes…LOL…you no that there is a site there that has regular fillipinas or lady boy fillipios…and the Cebuanas date site…the Fillipina’s on there ( some of them ) from about 18-30 something are about as close to x rated (and not )as you can get…..

  7. In Michigan I kept the electric bill down to $50.00. That is US Dollars. Here in Tagum City the first bill was 39 pesos. Meriam went to bed early. I don’t go to bed early. Have yet to have a bill over 1,000 pesos. The computer and TV is on most of the time. Fans only, if I wanted to stay cold I could have done that in Michigan and never come here. My feet are in better shape with the heat. Some days get hot here but not too many. I grew up in Kansas and the summers can be hotter than anything here in the Philippines. Of course they have 2 foot of snow on the ground right now. Saw a photo of a friend of mine back in Michigan and he had the snow blower going. It was up to his waist!!!!!!!!!!!!


    1. Man, Gary, I thought I was good on conserving electricity but you have got me beat! Your first bill was 39 pesos? That’s lower than my brother-in-law’s bill this month, he lives in a nipa hut with two light bulbs and a tiny overhead fan. His bill was 58 pesos. I’m impressed!

  8. Dave, have you ever thought of buying some portable solar panels in the U.S. and shipping them over to the Philippines. Then you could take them with you if you move later. It would lower your electric bill plus power your fans and computer during a brownout.

    1. Lance..that is a great idea if possible..This is the 1st time ever heard any body talk about solar for the Phillipines. I would think more would consider that..I quess they have enough sunshine.I also would think you could set up a way to heat your water if you wanted that.

      1. Hi Dan. You can set up a solar water heater in the tropics even without solar panels. Just put a cistern up high with some tightly coiled black PVC tubing on your roof and the sun will warm the water as it sits in the tubing. You can also you a slow pump instead of the cistern. There are lots of videos about solar water heaters on Youtube if you want more ideas.

        1. Had a solar heated swimming pool back in Kansas using the black pipe on the roof trick. Worked well. Used the filter pump to get the water to the roof. Made a box, painted it black. Installed the black pipe then put glass over the box. I am not sure you would need the glass here in the Philippines. Might get too hot. Why would a person want hot water in the Philippines? A cold shower is how I cool off.


      2. Lance does bring up a good point, Dan. With all of the sunshine we get in the Phils you’d have to think someone is doing it. Possible future blog topic. Guess we could rig something up, too, to heat the water, never thought of that.

        1. I read once last year that solar electric is becoming a big deal in Palawan. Not sure how far they have gotten on that, they wanted to keep the air and water clean. Seems like a great idea to me.

          1. I’ve got a brother-in-law in Palawan, Gary, and we’re thinking about visiting him there. My asawa hasn’t seen him in 20 years. Maybe we could check out that solar thing if we get over there.

    2. Sounds like a good idea, Lance, but to be honest with you, that sounds like a lot of work. They do have some insulation at the Ace Hardware in Iloilo which I could have my brother-in-law put in underneath the roof. That might help keep us cooled off and save on electricity.

        1. Thanks, Lance, I’ll check it out.
          Well, Bob, was smart in having a reflective color for the roof, we didn’t do that, but that reflective foil that he has on his website looks like what I’ve seen in the Ace Hardware at Iloilo. I’ll check the price of it when we go there.

          1. Dave, I think a number of expats would be interested in anything that would make their houses cooler, I know I am. Maybe you can post it on your site when you get some details.

          2. Dave, if you are going to Ace Hardware, be sure to say hi to the cute Filipina dancer that wanted you to buy her a laptop, lol. Now that would make a good story if you run into her again.

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