Monday, February 15, 2010

My life in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Me and Dave with former
Mayor Edward Hagedorn.
Presenting to him a book I
was in by GoNegosyo
In Oct. 1, 2009, my husband Dave Dewbre and I, Diana Limjoco, moved to Puerto Princesa, Palawan with our daughter. We first came here in May of 2009 as Dave came to consult with Mayor Edward Hagedorn about his electric vehicle conversion project to protect the clear blues skies and residents of his beloved city in a forest.

Me with Jacques
Cousteau in 1976
We were very impressed by the friendliness of the people and also the cleanliness of the town. No trash to speak of, scattered here, there and everywhere like most cities in the Philippines. I had heard about Palawan in general from Jacques Cousteau in 1976, with whom I worked in 1976 on his Involvement Day Project. It was one of the first seminars to teach us how we were polluting our oceans with our daily chemicals such as laundry soaps, which eventually leach into the sea.

Me with former Mayor Edward Hagedorn
In June 2009, we were invited by by Mayor Edward Hagedorn to connect an existing local tricycle side car to one of our company's 3000 watt electric motorcycles. His thought was to convert the existing sidecars to all electric. Dave successfully converted one, and it did indeed operate quite well, but the sidecar was too heavy to haul a load of passengers up one of the steeper hills in the city.  The mayor had also by then, seen the Electric Trikes that the cities of Makati and Taguig (Fort Bonifacio) were using and decided he liked the look of those instead, and that they would be more appealing to the increasing number of tourists visiting every year.

Dave and me in front of our half moon shape
electric tricycles.
View from of our backyard in Subic 2008
Meanwhile, we were living in a beautiful home in Subic Freeport, Olongapo, overlooking the pristine forests there. But it was lonely in our citadel on a hill and we didn't like that you can't actually own the land, it has to be leased for whatever period is left by former owners.

After much scouting about the various towns in Palawan, we decided to move to a a farm lot outside of Puerto Princesa city, but still within its jurisdiction. We though it would be a great place to raise our young daughter. 

It's hard to believe it is going on 7 years since we moved here. So many changes since 2009. The traffic is horrendous now, too many tricycles, unskilled motor cycle drivers, more private cars and tons of tourist vans clog the narrow streets. I don't think past city planning ever thought the city would grow so fast in such a short time. I hate to even go into the city anymore, except to buy food and life's other necessities.

For those of you thinking of moving to Puerto Princesa, here are some facts.

There  are many Supermarket here now to choose from.  I happen to like a little Bakery/Coffee shop, Café Olé for my flour tortillas for my home made burritos. Actually, it's the only place I have been able to find them.

If you are looking for a car, there are many dealerships, like Kia, Toyota, Hyundai and recently a Honda and Ford dealership. (Although they are still working on the Ford building)

The only recommended hospital is the Advestist Hospital.  We had to take our little girl there. She had a high fever, they never even detected the fever and they didn't catch that she had a bladder infection. We wound up taking her to a local Pediatrician who did nail it and gave her the appropriate medicines. Most people who really have something severe fly to Manila, so keep this in mind if you think you want to move here, but have serious health issues.

Good US standard housing is almost nil, and if the houses do come up for rent, the cost is about 20 to 30,000 pesos which for here, and what you get here, is usorious.

We sorely need responsible developers to come in and build good housing. I'm hoping that they will try to implement some sort of green construction techniques like grey water recycling and rain harvesting, or this city will go the route of Cebu, and when the population explodes someday, we will have to import our potable water like that city.

The city's infrastructure and power grid are sorely lacking. We have been having electrical brownouts every day now for the past month, for 3 to 4 hours at a time. Dave has put in lots of solar features which run all the lights in the house, and 3 fans. We have a backup generator as well, for those rainy days.

Now the powers that be want to put in a Coal fired plant, and I am fighting to save a one of a kind marine sanctuary, Turtle and Binunsalian bays, in my own backyard as it were.

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