Friday, June 18, 2010


“Once a writer always a writer”. How melancholic. It sounds like a century has passed you by and there you are, finding yourself tinkering with your computer keys again to write. But like all artists would tell, you can never abandon your first love; you always find yourself drawn to your first love.

Whatever it is that you are most passionate about, you always find yourself pulled back or pulled in. Sounds familiar?

So for starters, thank you to Mindanao Bulletin for allowing me to write again. What an inspiration. You are the best guys!

Since this is my first column after three years, and written three days after my birthday (published after a week), I think it is fitting and proper that I dedicate this column to my father, the original writer in the family who passed on to me the gift of writing.

My father passed away on December 14, 2009. It is lonely losing your remaining parent. As my friend Emma Concepcion Ingking-Ytol said, “It’s too early for you to lose both parents Bett”. I had to agree. Many of my parents’ friends and contemporaries in Bohol are still living. I see them in malls. I meet them at airports and seaports. They are alive. They may not be as healthy as they were some fifteen years back but definitely alive.

Oh well, some leave very early; others early; while some others late. Each has a reason for being.

My sister Delora and I worked on father’s head stone. He worked on Mother’s; we worked on his. We chose the words carefully. We chose a minimalist design. He chose an elaborate design for mother’s head stone complete with roses. And colored at that. I mean the roses.

We all have memories of our parents. Some of these are good; some are not so good. But through it all, we remain their children.

In my Facebook account, I wrote this: It is lonely to lose a parent. It is lonelier to lose both parents. Thus, enjoy your parents while you still have them. It does not matter if you are grown men and women and lead your own lives. When they go, you will have maximized your time with them and regret nothing.

It must have touched hearts because I received several feedbacks. It only goes to show that the subject on parents is not lost on us. It is essential. In fact, it is an integral part of our being. It is real.

And so I am dedicating this column to the first person who taught me how to proofread at fifteen; do dummy at seventeen; illustrate and oftentimes loudly at that, the basics in newspaper work while I was going through college; and train me how to write which I silently resented because I felt I was forced into something major when all my high school and eventually college friends were so enjoying the movies and lacuacha.

Who would have thought that the girl who resented her father’s training would ultimately start writing professionally at thirty-four! Some twist.

But what goes around; comes around. All of us will eventually come full circle. The earlier we embrace it; the better and sharper we become. And life becomes more challenging and color-filled.

It is said, writers are not made. They are born. It is a gift. That’s my father’s gift and boy! Am I glad that he shared that gift with me, my brothers and sisters, and the upcoming generations. After all, genes are handed down from one generation to another. Or are they not?

And so father, it is time to write again. By writing, I will always revisit your memory and be inspired by your story.

- o 0 o -

As I write this column, the power supply situation in Gen. Santos City has improved a bit. The load-shedding or load curtailment schedule (in the Visayas Island, it is called Manual Load Drop or MLD) has decreased to three hours. It is an improvement from the nine-hour load shedding scheme broken into three sets.

For the longest time, Mindanao has been dependent on hydro power. We never learned our lessons. I remember when I first set foot in Gen. Santos City some nineteen years ago and the long dry spell triggered a massive power interruption of sixteen hours. That was the worst then. Boy was that bad! And that was straight sixteen hours.

The reason given then was the occurrence of El Nino. At that time, the water elevation in Lake Lanao was abnormally low hindering the hydro power plants from operating at full capacity which caused the enormous load curtailment scheme.

Fast forward to 2010, the reason for the power shortage is the inability of the hydro power plants to generate power supply because of the low water elevation of Lake Lanao. So what’s the difference? Nothing is. It is totally a repetition of the past.

Mindanao is caught unaware again; unprepared for the dry spell and its impact on our power supply scenario.

Mindanao needs additional power supply. That’s a fact. True, hydro is a cheap source of power supply, however, it is unreliable during dry spells.

The government planners could have learned the lessons of 1991-1992. The planners could have worked on ensuring the balance of power sources.

On the one side, some distribution utilities maintain their own generating sets so their consumers do not feel the wrath of the power shortage. But it comes with a price. It’s pricey. They only need to check their power bills to know. That’s the cost of reliable power supply during crisis situation. It always comes with a price.

We hope that this present experience will finally teach our government planners a lesson. There ought to be a balanced mix of our power supply sources to ensure that this experience will not happen again.

And consumers have to bite the bullet. We can raise our voices to hell but the fact remains that if we do not invest on other sources of power and continue our heavy dependence on hydro power because it provides the cheapest source of power supply anyway, translated into cheaper power bills, we can be sure that this situation will revisit us.

Give it some time and we will be back to this present state. It will be a never-ending cycle for all of us.

- o O o -

I want to thank Ms. Marie Espina of Robinson’s Gen. Santos for the opportunity to join the Fab Mom mini fashion show on May 9, 2010, Mother’s Day.

The experience was fantastic for me and the kids. It made for a colorful summer experience.

More shows to come?

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