I first set foot in the Philippines in June of 1983. That was the month I met my wife. Back then, due to the corruption in the Philippines national government under President Ferdinand Marcos, it was expected that things just wouldn’t work right. Fast forward to April of 2006, when I moved to the Philippines with my wife. Surprise! Things still didn’t work right and it couldn’t be blamed on Marcos. Fast forward to the present day and things still don’t work right. Who’s to blame?
Back to Back Brownouts
Despite all the rumors I’ve heard since I returned from vacation on February 11, 2013, the government isn’t to blame. The electric company has been privately owned since early 2012, possibly sometime in 2011, depending on who you listen to.
One thing is for certain: Someone isn’t doing the job they’re paid to do. Even though I was in the US from mid-November 2012 to mid-February 2013, I continued to pay my electric bills (I had lights turned on and off every day). A bilas of mine took care of the errands while I took care of the money. Trust me, you don’t want to know about the hoops I had to jump through.
Whatever debt the city government may owe to the privately-owned electric company has absolutely nothing to do with that electric company delivering power to my home (rather, the entire street). If I actually listened to my relatives, I would probably believe the mayor is at fault. I don’t listen to nonsense.
Trust me when I tell you, the reason I haven’t been as active online as I have been in the past is because of the number of brownouts I’ve had to endure since my return. Only one of eight days has been brown-out free, and I can’t be sure of that one day since it could have happened while I was sleeping. The worst part is that these have been back-to-back brownouts. The power would come on for 10 minutes and then cut off. Each outage could be anywhere from 10 minutes to three hours.
For me, my priority is to save enough money to buy a generator, preferably an automatic backup generator. Many of the downtown businesses in Olongapo City have backup generators, but I’ve only witnessed a couple that activated automatically. That’s what I want — automatic. I don’t want to have to go to where the generator is and start it up, especially if it turns out to be one of the many 10-minute brownouts.
Pricing is an issue, obviously. More importantly, I want my automatic backup generator installed correctly the first time. I can’t count on my fingers how many times I’ve had to have things “redone” because it wasn’t done the right way the first time. It’s extremely difficult to make a Filipino understand that he/she wasn’t taught the right way to begin with (kind of like some of the issues with my plumbing).
I can’t be angry with the Filipino way of doing things, however, because they do things they way they’re taught. Having lived with my wife for nearly three decades (off and on due to work separation), I can personally state that stubbornness is a family trait dating back more than a century.