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All I know is…

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Quoting Will Rogers, the twentieth century American humorist, “All I know is what I read in the papers.”  That is where I stand (or sit) right now.  Other quotes about journeys and destinations come to mind, but I will not use them as “filler” for this article.  Newspapers – especially in electronic formats – are my sources for most news from “home.”

I am limited to newspaper reports of events back home in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte until we arrive and settle in.   Oh yes, the “bamboo grapevine” or “coconut wireless” supplies endless tsismis on every possible topic, but factual?  I do not know. Being factual is not really a solid publishing requirement for some newspapers – just “newsworthiness.”  Still, there is always some element of truth in a news story.

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It is difficult to find “news from back home” while in the process of moving.  When I do find something, I devour every word and savor each thought those words produce.  Thank goodness for reliable The ILOCOS TIMES, on-line version.  Without it, my news-oriented mind would starve.  While it is a weekly publication, and sometimes delayed in its electronic conversion, every article that does make it to my screen is most welcome.  Reading about my beloved Pasuquin (whenever an article does appear) brings me closer to home.

Pasuquin needs an agricultural or industrial revolution.  A neglected irrigation system limits farmers to one yield of rice per year.  Increasing prices for fertilizer further limits that.  The situation calls for action, whether restoring the irrigation system or moving away from agriculture.  Residents, especially the hard-working farmers, are literally becoming “dirt poor” with currently inflated prices devouring their pesos.  Recent newspaper announcements, however, seem to provide the salve for these financial aches and wounds.

Development is occurring in Pasuquin.  The other year, Hawaii-based developers erected a mango processing plant.  Unfortunately, the jobs it created, while good, are seasonal.  It was a start, though.  Next, foreign developers identified a breezy, higher elevation barangay of Pasuquin for sighting a windmill farm.  A smaller scale farm exists on the northern coast of Ilocos Norte at Bangui.  Pasuquin’s farm will be much larger and able to generate much, much more “green” power for the province.  Now these developments do not take away much farmland (the windmills will occupy lands that have not been used for farming) but may employ some from the farmers’ households.  Jobs that the windmill farm will create will not be overly numerous, but they will not be seasonal either.

The headlines for the most recent issue, “Japanese investors set to finance P3.5B coconut plantation,” trumpet another new development.  This time, agricultural and industrial worlds will join hands.  I hope that farm family net worth will benefit, too.  It will not be another copra operation, nor look to the coconut as a source of human nourishment.  These coconuts will “feed” industry – the transportation industry in particular.  Coconut trees can be grown practically anywhere, and Japanese investors will plant the trees on about 400,000 hectares of “denuded, unutilized public lands in Northern Luzon, including Ilocos Norte.”  The desired product is coconut methyl ester (CME).  When added to fossil diesel fuel, it produces the only fuel that meets Japanese biodiesel standards.  There are millions of hungry buses and vehicles in Japan waiting for their buko juice diesel!

How does Pasuquin fit into the equation?  It will be the location of a coconut mill plant, providing a new source for jobs.  Other locations in Northern Luzon will have the coco-diesel plants producing the CME, but Pasuquin will be a mill town.  I am sure that many are happy that Pasuquin will receive a mill and not a coco-diesel plant.  Change is hard to accept in the province, and Pasuquin does not handle change any differently.  Pasuquiños will find this change – as well as the pesos it brings – welcome.  After all, it is change a little at a time.

Our hat is off to Rep. Roque R. Ablan, Jr. (1st district, Ilocos Norte) and others who bring these changes to Pasuquin.

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PaulK

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 40+ 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"!

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Michelle
12 years ago

Manong Paul, I have been AWOL here for some time. How have you been? Maybe it’s because it is quite late here and that I’m half asleep that I probably need to read this again tomorrow to really appreciate this neat article of yours. Or maybe my mind just couldn’t get past that really cute pose you did on that pic. 🙂

Kidding aside, congratulations to Pasuquin and good luck to all Pasuquinos!

maria
maria
12 years ago

paul
how about a regular column here on lip once you get there?

maria

Paul
Paul
12 years ago

Hi Maria – Thanks for the vote of confidence! I agree!

The “Grand Plan” does include a regular column once I’m back “home” and have settled a little. That settling means obtaining internet access at our residence which, while it takes a little time, is a “do-able” thing.

Bob has asked me and I have agreed to provide a regular column that provides a little “Way Up North” flavor to this wonderful web magazine.

Keep watching and reading! (& thanks, again 😀 )

MindanaoBob
12 years ago

Hi maria – I have not announced it yet, but that will indeed happen. I have a number of announcements coming soon.

maria
maria
12 years ago

hooray bob! i love presents, ha, ha, ha. my husband and i have established fridays as “present day” so i hope you announce on a friday.

erik cable
erik cable
12 years ago

Paul

I would like to know more about the use of the coconut tree!
If possible can you produce a story on the different ways for the local farmer to use the whole fruit?
And what equipement will be needed to process the coconut.
Can we make coconut oil?

Paul
Paul
12 years ago

Hi Erik – I will have to put researching a coconut use story on my “to do” list. It is an interesting topic, and would fit right in as a follow-up to the development involving coconuts. Local farmers are pretty low-tech when it comes to coconuts. A bolo (machette) to the top takes off just enough to get to the buko juice (milk). Another blow splits it into halves that will make the meat accessible for scraping out. That’s about as far as I go in the “watch & learn” department. 🙂 It would be interesting to discover more. Thanks… Read more »

erik cable
erik cable
12 years ago

Paul

My pleasure to read you
in the states I had hulu and I followed the food channels
I came across a 30 min episode on the philippines
On it they showed a processing plant in the coconut field
this guy had bamboo poles linked tree to tree so he could drain the tuba joice
than the stuff was purt into a home made still
160 proff booze came out on the end product
than at the bar the juice was thinned down and a color flavor and name was put on the bottle
what do you think?

erik cable
erik cable
12 years ago

ps this site has no spell check so my words are a total mess
sorry for that

Paul
Paul
12 years ago

Hi Erik – I’m sure the diesel additive isn’t too far away from tuba! I’ve had some that would definitely move a jeepney! 😀

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