How’zit, BRO?

Well, Super Typhoon Juan (Megi) passed well south of us, and is now wreaking havoc in China and Taiwan.  Even though Juan diverted its path and spared us, I just can’t understand how a super typhoon passing so close hardly does much damage.  Oh, there was collateral damage — old, termite-ridden trees giving up their last thrashes of life to the high winds, and the like — but things could have been much, much worse.

During the entire storm, we retained electrical power and internet service.  “Way to go, SmartBRO!” was my cheer as I monitored the super typhoon’s progress towards, over and away from these islands.  With data transfer speeds higher than average, I could surmise that circuit loading was somewhat diminished, and other users were SOL (Sorry, Out of Luck).

Now, in the week following the storm’s passing, things are different.  Perhaps when I was cheering on my internet provider, I should have saved and used some of that cheer for our provider of electricity.

Is it too late, now?  “Way to go, INEC!”  INEC =Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc.  They kept the JUICE flowing to your scribe’s house during the entire storm.  They continue to provide fine service to consumers.  Typhoons cause situations that these two “stalwarts of science” can’t overcome immediately.  Some situations require days or weeks to resolve.  Luckily, it appears that my providers are not facing any of those situations — or are they.

Since the typhoon’s movement out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility, we’ve had a number of short power interruptions and dropouts of internet connectivity.  Could it be that the province’s infrastructure is experiencing a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?  I doubt that.  Or, could there be another storm out there causing problems?

I’ve seen this type of power/internet action before.  A call to SmartBro’s customer service would be useless, since calls to INEC result in a continuous busy (engaged) signal.  So, somewhere down the line, one or more of the internet nodes awan curriente (without power).  For reasons unknown (perhaps Philippine Time?), many locations with routers and servers have yet to invest in back-up power.  Most frequently, the cell towers, while having back up for the cell system, are powerless when their electricity source dries up.

The cause for power interruptions is most likely repair work, maintenance work, and other work performed by INEC to insure that all consumers have curriente.  Work like grid switching and load balancing top the list.  Other endeavors include repairing power lines, transformers, and other things that didn’t withstand Juan’s might.

I’m writing this article in bits and pieces, between sudden,

short-duration brownouts and their longer-duration cousins in the high tech field.  It’s really

no problem (I compose on my battery-enabled laptop, and wait to transfer the article bits to the

e-zine. What I miss, though, is the ability to look at a preview, upload pictures and place them

in the article, and align the whole thing so that it looks half-way professional.

Still, it’s “Hats Off to SmartBRO and INEC!

Alternatively, I just might have adjusted fully to island life.

Post Author: PaulK (218 Posts)

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 35+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

Learn a Philippine Language


  1. Larry Saum says

    Interesting! It seems from what I have read typhoon Juan threaded between Paul K, and John Miele on the North side and Andy Hyner in Santiago, Isabela on the south side. Note that I subscribe to Andy’s blog on MySpace, and he posted pictures the next day of him and his son swimming in their new swimming pool, surrounded by new palm trees sitting upright still in their burlap root ball bags ready to be planted. Unfortunately my wife’s family has properties in Gamu, Isabela, and suffered major damage to three houses, loosing parts of roofs and lots of windows. Electricity and cell phone services are out and probably will be for a lengthy time. I wired them some repair money this morning. This is another reason I still have misgivings about moving to the PI.

    Then on Tuesday Oct. 26 here in Indiana we had a wind storm that spawned 8 tornadoes in Indiana in about 6 hours, and also had local area straight line winds up to 81 mph, taking out a bunch of houses, barns, trees etc. Electricity went out for some areas, but now on Wed. evening I believe that it is mostly restored. Fortunately I and my immediate family suffered no damages, and didn’t even have any power outages, except some blinks. My DirecTV sattelite TV was blocked for an hour or so. That’s all. It can get you anywhere, but recovery is quicker and easier here.

    • says

      Hi Larry – The worst part of any typhoon is the tail end (or the second part if the eye passes near you and you’ve experiences the first part of the storm). All of our local weather activity was caused by the leading part of the typhoon and, thus, we didn’t “get it” too bad.

      Folks in Isabella, Moutain Province, Benguet, and surrounding provinces got to experience the bad with the worst. New swimming pools were the least of their worries. Thankfully, dam reservoirs were low prior to the storm. Had they been at normal or higher than normal levels, some unknowing work hand fearing a burst might have released water as they did last year. A lot of last year’s damage due to Typhoon Pepeng could have been avoided had not some fearful workers open the spill gates.

      My sons in Ohio said things were pretty bad there as well, but all passed without damage for them. They had more power outages during their storm than I had during mine!

  2. Teress says

    Hi Paul,
    I just read your forum regarding about DSJ TRAVEL & TOURS. I wanna ask more information about it.or do you have any website for that agency? I just sent an email to Bob but he doesn’t know about it.

  3. Jay says

    Well it will be X-mas time soon, well it is already in PI. I mean it will be cool and dry in December, and less chance of typhoons. Would be nice to go to PI for X-mas, but the wife has no vacation time left.

    • says

      Hi Jay – Well, we’re averaging 20 kph winds from the North and NNW, so the “December Breeze” is with us in Pasuquin. Temperatures are cooler, too (from that N wind). Even folks in Laoag are “layering up”!

  4. Bruce Michels says

    Glad to see you made it back home and you are adjusting quite quickley to island living again.
    I must say you really haven’t lived unless you experience a typoon in the Philippines or a Hurricane in the South. Being without power and modern communications really brings out the adaptability in people. Heck brown out and service interuptions and annoying but they do force families into have quality time together instead of the tv and internet. :)
    Maybe thats’s why Filipino families are so close knit no outside interference from time to time.
    I’ll be over there in Oct2011 and should move there in oct 2013 man that’s along way off but buying my time.

    • says

      Hi Bruce – Thanks for the kind words. I’m just happy that my case of MREs remained untouched this year (had one meal during Peppeng’s third pass last year).

      Your time will come. There in the States, time moves faster as you grow older. Here it slows down nicely.

    • Randy W. says


      Your right on when you say the families would be closer w/o tv/internet. I will be moving to the philippines around July 2014, so i have a little longer than you. But time is going so fast so i’ll be over there in no time. Be Safe

  5. Paul Thompson says

    It is just a part of what we signed up for when we moved here, I’m well over trying to figure out the why of it , as when my power just disappears for days at a time. It’s paradise and even paradise will have a glitch once in a while. I’m here for the full count.

    • says

      Hi Paul – I agree, and believe that brownouts add a little “abience” to the scene! They also give me time away from the computer to get honey-do’s checked off the list (the work chili is one of the spices of life). I’ve already finished my honey-do’s through December, so it’s SMB time quite often. After all, it’s after 5:00 PM somewhere in the world right now!

      • Paul Thompson says

        The other trick aside from the 17:00 somewhere, is the sun is over the Yardarm, Just build the yardarm low to the ground. I love it when Honey-dos are Honey-dones. Or like Bob, just add rum to the honey!

        • says

          Arghh! – I always be one to be “Splicin’ the Mainbrace” when the sun is just over the yardarm. ❗

          Gotta do the honey-dos because if you don’t, out comes the bolo and it’s, “Please, honey, don’t”!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *