Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marelco, Marelco .. where art thou!

Following the great powercut at the end of last week, it seems that power generation on Marinduque is reduced to 3MW or so, about half the required demand - for that reason the friendly folk at Marelco (Marinduque Electrical Cooperative) have decided to divide the island into East (Sta. Cruz, Torrijos) and West (Boac, Gasan, Buenavista) and give us power on alternating days - power gets restored at around 6pm, and cut again 6pm the next day - it's been like this for a few days now, and it makes life really difficult.

Yesterday I was driving past the Marelco main office, and I noticed their 'vision', painted in large letters near to the entrance gate - I took a photo for amusement purposes, i'm not sure if this 'vision' statement is meant to be humourous, sarcastic, sad .. These are the guys that have managed to screw up an agreement made in 2004 to the point that it's impossible to keep a few lights on, and anyone with a business has to keep a generator going!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Electrical Power Outages 'brownouts' in Marinduque

A few days ago, blogger Eli Obligacion, on his blog 'Marinduquegov', published a very informative article about the reasons behind the frequent power outages here in Marinduque read

From what i'm gathering there was a major failure at the power barge on the night of Sept 22nd, and there has been no power since yesterday. I'm running on generator at the moment, but can't keep it up forever - petrol is quite expensive, and the generator consumes quite a lot!

It is pretty obvious at this point that the reasons behind the problem are almost purely political - it seems that in 2004 the Marinduque Electrical Cooperative (Marelco) decided to ditch Napocor's services and engage a 3rd party power provider - this company (referred to as 'NPP' - new power provider) never did anything, and now, 5 years later, the problem has degenerated to the point where it is causing severe economic hardship to the inhabitants of Marinduque - tourism cannot take off, and the island seems stuck in the 1990's.

Napocor (national power corporation) at this point are washing their hands - seems that Marinduque brought the problem on itself - Napocor say, rightly, that the powerbarge was only meant to be a temporary solution - that it's ageing and beginning to fail (as we are experiencing) and that it cannot be expanded to cope with increased power demand.

And what about the bigwigs at the capitol? it seems they are enjoying their airconditioned offices.. the capitol is well known as the only area of Marinduque that doesn't suffer regular powercuts. Seems pen-pushing is considered more important that any other activity on this island, and all that pen-pushing isn't helping at all when it comes to solving Marinduque's greatest problem - unreliable electric supply!

this post didn't get posted yesterday because my generator decided to pack up before I managed to - turns out it was a problem with the carburettor float, and it was getting flooded - anyway - in Boac later, Marelco sent a van round with speakers on top repeating a message blaming Napocor for the lack of power. The consensus was that we were going to be with no electricity for at least a month, probably till November! Actually power in Gasan was restored late in the evening, so the total outage was about 36 hours or so. I really think that Marelco blaming Napocor, or even sending vans around blaming people, will not help the situation. Someone needs to stand up and get things going - it's been 5 years since the current failed agreements were signed, for pete's sake, something needs to be done!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Butterfly farming

On our way to a visit to the waterfalls, we passed numerous small butterfly farms, and stopped at one to take some photos. South boac is prime butterfly territory, and butterflies, both wild and reared in captivity, abound.

Beautiful examples of Pachliopta aristolochiae (Common Rose Butterfly) feeding.

This Hypolimnas bolina butterfly perched on my glasses .. it's also known as 'The Great Egg Fly' .. silly name, but it's not my fault ..

This one, in flight, is known as Idea Leuconoe or the Paper Kite butterfly .. it flies with leisurely wing flaps, and is a rather large butterfly.

This is a 'Parthenos sylvia', also known as a Clipper butterfly .. difficult to take a photo of since it's constantly in motion.

some more photos of the same species ..

I forget which one these caterpillars belong to ..

but this one definitely belongs to the kite wing

some pupae too .. the one with the gold flecks is the Kite Wing, the others ... mm .. forgot!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A trip to the waterfalls in South Boac

Monday, 31st August, was the last day of ramadan, and even here in very christian Marinduque, it's a day off .. together with my good friend Francis and his family, we organised a trip to the waterfalls that are inland at the very southern tip of the Boac region. Getting there takes a bit of doing - there's a car ride over some rather rough country paths, followed by around an hour of hiking to get to the falls proper. It's well worth the effort, though, the countryside is very much unspoilt, and dotted with butterfly farms - this area is prime butterfly territory, and butterflies are everywhere - and the falls themselves are very beautiful, with clean cold water to swim in!

we stopped at this sari sari store, and the owner even brought us pomelo (pink grapefruit) .. as usual the people of Marinduque excel in their friendliness and warmth

these are tokay gecko eggs, glued to the ceiling of a small cavern

this is the waterfall we went to see .. the pool right beneath the waterfall is quite deep, and the water is nice and cold, and very clean

the kids had a great day too!

after hiking back to the car, we took a couple of photos of the pristine Marinduque countryside

Laila, Mito and I ..

and our great friends Francis, Nurissa and their daughter, Maelee.

Mito and his crush :)

on arriving back in Gasan, we stopped at an eatery for a very nice supper of pork with crackling

so .. a very pleasant end to ramadan .. i'd recommend a trip to the waterfalls to anyone visiting Marinduque!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Filipino Childrens' Day - Little Stars Preschool presentation

Filipino Childrens' Day was on the 29th August, Little Star, the school Mito goes to, put on a show where the children could sing and recite, while wearing traditional costumes from different parts of the Philippines. Mito was wearing the white and red Visayan costume.

good kids even clear up when they are ready ;)

what has red and white spots, and doesn't like being photographed?

these are my best photos yet of a tokay gecko, taken at the clubhouse/restaurant at the Marinduque Hotsprings, during another pleasant evening of dipping and dining!

tokay gecko
tokay gecko

the gecko escaped, and packed himself into the decorative bamboo wall covering - unhappily for the guy, the bamboo didn't lead anywhere. Here Mr. Tokay exhibits his cavernous mouth, he's probably thinking 'I kill you' (actually he's really angry at the camera flash) ..

Construction update photos.

further work going on at the site .. the roof substructure is almost done, the horizontal bars are what the roof panels will be bolted onto.

this is the view from the right side of the house (kitchen and 2nd bedroom windows)

taken on a separate day, the wall of the living room, including apertures is now in place..

this is the view from the kitchen looking into the living room

and the rear on the house, with the substructure for the attic dormer window in place

and a front view - the vertical bits welded under the roof edges are supports for the gutters, the front is being plastered ..