Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life in Puerto Princesa update

We moved to Palawan after searching other islands for our retirement base. I liked Palawan because it was so pristine compared to other cities. I also loved the fact that earthquakes don't happen here, nor the ferocious winds of the Typhoons that strike Luzon and other islands.

In 2009,when we moved here, it was a laid back town. Not much of anywhere to shop for groceries except for NCCC and the public markets. I hated NCCC because they constantly blared Christian music so loud I couldn't even think straight, much less remember what to buy. I don't have anything against Christian music in general, except I didn't expect to have it blasted in my ears at a Supermarket!!! I think that should be left to churches. If I wanted to listen to that type of music...I definitely would have gone to church to hear it. To make matters worse, at checkout, they would stop the process to pray!!! This drove me crazy and I actually had to force them to stop praying and continue to check me out, much to the chagrin of other shoppers, who seemed to think this was normal. I would say, "Please continue to check me out...this is not a church!"

When Robinson's supermarket opened, it was quite a relief to my ears to shop there, even though I was the first to protest the cutting of hundreds of old growth trees to make room for it. I am now happy for the opportunity to shop closer to home. Especially now that traffic has grown intolerable to me. I wish they would have left some trees for shade, as their parking lot is a hell hole in the summer with no shade at all now.

We moved to a farm lot about half an hour from the junction of north and south highways. I am so glad we did. The congestion in the city is maddening. I have always chosen to live in remote areas because cities have no allure for me. I am a nature lover, so as close to nature is where I have chosen to live here, yet only half an hour drive to get supplies.

Our home in Palawan using bamboo from our own
groves for railing and flooring for deck.
Unfortunately it's very stressful to live here  these days. There are electrical black outs 4 hours a day everywhere. Sometimes they are rolling blackouts, so some have power while others not, PALECO, the local power coop, calls this "load shedding". Yesterday it was a total blackout. It isn't as bad for us, since we have installed enough solar panels and batteries to run 3 fans and all the LED lights all day if it is sunny. And we have a backup generator when we need to power the refrigerators.

To make matters worse, there is also water rationing in town. My 96 year old dad, and mom 90, have no water coupled with the blackouts. So when it's hot, there is no way to cool down. Her water rationing hours were 12 midnight to 12 noon. Most inconvenient. We have three deep wells on our property, and even those are beginning to taste like iron, the water tables have dropped so low. We do harvest rain when there is any, but so far there hasn't been enough rain to fill the tanks.

Traffic in town is slowing becoming so congested, I feel like I live in Manila when have to go there. Too many tricycles, tourists vans, more people with private cars, and motorcycles! No one has any manners on the roads, but I guess that is typical for the Philippines.

Then there is the proposed Coal Fired Plant our own Governor is veritably shoving down our throats. Clean coal he says. He won't even read about all the science behind coal. Maybe it's because he is friends with the people who own DMCI, the suppliers of the dirtiest coal in the world.

The marine sanctuary in back of our house is slated, and given permits to become a man made ocean park. The local governing board, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development or PCSD, is also headed by the current Governor who seems to care more for profits and not at all for the environment. Poor Palawan, being touted as the best island in the world, is soon to become a wasteland of man made recreational "nature" parks! They do not care that the otters in that bay will be threatened by this development.

Palawan has the most natural biodiversity of any island in the Philippines, but the only thing our so called leaders care about is harnessing tourism at all costs. The very thing people come here to see, pristine nature, will soon enough be gone. It only took 10 years to ruin Boracay...it will only take a little longer for Palawan.

Instead of learning from the mistakes made in Boracay, and starting to implement renewable energies, and lessons from Cebu, whose potable water has to be shipped in, the City is going ahead with all projects. Allowing hotels to be built in small alleys with no parking, cutting down heritage and old trees to make room for them. No requirements for solar or water harvesting to save our water tables.

I have a hard time keeping my chin up these days. I am grateful for the life we have on our quiet corner of the world, but civilization is catching up to us once more, and not in a good way, and this makes me sad.






Blog of Diana J. Limjoco of the Clan Limjoco