Saturday, June 2, 2012

Living La Vida Loca

Covered stairs to our native deck.
Puerto Princesa is experiencing unprecedented growth is the last 2 years. We have been here going on 4 years and it's changed drastically. New hotels, Inns, restaurants and even a giant Robinson's Mall has gone up in this amount of time. Brownouts were already hurting many small businesses back in 2009. Now it's affecting everyday life even more.

We just had a 10 hour electrical brownout from midnight to after 10 AM today. I'm just so grateful that Dave is such a handyman arming us with solar lights at night and a generator to power the refridgerator, TV and aircon.  With the roads being fixed and the rains coming now, the roads are muddy and it takes us almost an hour to get to town. We usually stock up on meats and such to store in the freezer to save on trips, without the generator all this food would have spoiled, or we would have to spend more time going to town for food.
Our electric motorbikes are
charged by the sun.

At least if all else fails and there is a little sun, our electric motorbikes can be charged via our solar panels and we still have transportation around the village for our staff. We like to drive our electric Trikes around the village, it's hard to charge them with no power, they take more solar panels than we have at the moment to charge.
A two carabao sled family!

Yet, even with all this to deal with, I do love living in the countryside here in Luzviminda. We have clear blue skies. There is no traffic to speak of. What traffic there is, are Carabao (water buffalo carts or sleds) trundling down the paved road and making no noise at all, except for my dogs barking as they go by.

I must admit, when they cut down the 20 or so hectares of old mangoe trees for put in a Robinson's mall, I was the first to feel deep sadness over the loss of those trees. Now I am Robinson Supermarket's most avid fan. I still do wish they had left some of the old Mango trees for shade, between the mall and the Go Hotel next door, the cement with no shade has heated up the temperature that part of town quite a bit. I do also wish they had put in solar panels on the massive roof to offset the power the mall sucks up. I know this is contributing greatly to the mass and lengthy brownouts.

What with Cebu importing 85% or more of potable water, I was hoping the City Planners would have taken note and had new develpments use some sort of rain harvesting system to water their plants with. We do harvest a little rain on our land in Luzviminda where we are trying the best we can to learn about sustainability.  We collect about 2000 liters of rain water at a time in our two 1000 liter reservoirs.
The electric Trikes we drive around Luzviminda.
I'd love it if businesses had to replace what greenery they cut down with equal shade value. Robinson's, as most businesses in town seem to favor the Palms, which are slow growing and take so long to give the much needed shade. I can only assume this is because most shade trees lose a lot of leaves and therefore present a maintenance issue. Surely there must be a type of tree that grows faster than a palm and gives shade without too much debris.

We all need to think sustainable if we want to save our dear Mother Earth.

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