You never know what to expect in the Philippines. Sometimes it’s a shabu, meth, dealer that is firing his weapon at a next door neighbor. Other times it could be your niece that has decided to shack up with the son of Jesus. Or it could be my father-in-law, afflicted with dementia, who lives with us and has physically attacked me twice this past week. Our current crisis is dealing with 11 hour brownouts in paradise, the mandated rotational power outages that have hit our mango island province, Guimaras. The scheduled brownouts, from 6 am to 11 pm, hit our area every other day and great impact our daily life.
But though they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, this 62-year-old geezer is making adjustments along with the rest of my family at “The Farm,” our enclave in rural Guimaras, to deal with these outages caused by some moron that dropped an anchor from their ship on the undersea cable from Iloilo to Guimaras that provides our electricity. This incident happened in mid-July and there is no estimated time as to when we will have full power again. Maybe not until the Second Coming.
(Relaxing at The Farm with Papa Duck and our spiffy spouses in the old days when I could drink beer)
I’ve been up since 2 am this morning, tweaking the ad copy for Volume 2 of my E-book, “The Philippines Expat Advisor,” and working on this new story. I have less than two hours before the power gets shut off. I will have to wait until 11 pm until our electricity comes back but I’ve got it easy.
My poor asawa got up at 3 am and started running our washer. Today is laundry day and my hardworking spouse, along with our helper, Mera, and niece, Shaina, who I woke up at 4 am, are getting started washing clothes before the brownout begins.
On top of that, we haven’t had any running water for the past 24 hours. Our concrete water tank was cleaned the other day and our caretaker, Gerry, discovered it now has a leak. Gerry had to empty the tank and lay down a new layer of cement on the tank floor. He’s at our house right now, at 4:30 am, turning the water back on and checking to see how good our water pressure is.
You learn to adjust to events that you have absolutely no control over. Why the Philippine Coast Guard does not do a better job of monitoring vessels around the seas of Iloilo and Guimaras is beyond me. The impact that it has on the quality of life for residents of Guimaras, especially the business owners, is staggering.
Mera’s family is not impacted much, however, by the outages. They don’t have power and never have. Our helper, a relative, lives near the main road about 15 minutes from us. The caretaker of the land, Cousin Alex, the foreman who supervised the building of my wife’s first home, “The Compound,” and now out on bail for murder, has finally consented to allow our local utility to put up power lines on the property.
We saw Alex the other day whizzing by on a tricycle as my wife and I made the 45-minute trek to pay a cable bill. But nobody argues with Alex, though many residents on the property wanted electricity, Alex didn’t. Without his permission, no electrical hook-ups could be installed until now.
But fat good that will do anyone until the undersea cable can be repaired. So you wait. And wait. Since I cannot swim, let alone dive, I can’t help the repair team fix the undersea cable so I’ll keep busy with other chores and keep an eye on Lolo. And believe me, that’s a full time job in itself!