As I have written several times over the past few weeks, Mindanao is experiencing a pretty extreme power shortage. Davao, I am happy to continue reporting, is still experiencing far fewer brownouts than much of the Island. This is thanks to Davao Light and Power Corporation’s power generating plant in Bajada. Every time that I drive through there and hear the generators humming away, I always feel thankful to be living in Davao City.
Here in Davao, at least in my neighborhood we have been having two hour brownouts around two or three times each week. It could get much worse, the longer we go with no solution to this problem, though.
A few days ago I read a news article that really made my eyes open wide. It said that if it starts raining here in June, which is when Summer here ends, then the power situation in Mindanao will be back to normal in December. What? December? Well, basically, that would mean that we went through nearly an entire year of regular power interruptions here in Mindanao. That’s a long time. When I read that, I decided that it was time that I come up with a strategy that would help make life a little easier, even with no power, especially if things tend to get worse in Davao, as they undoubtedly will if we go another 3 months before it starts raining significantly.
One of the things that is important to remember is that when we have brownouts they don’t cover the whole city, just selected areas of the city at any given time. So, if there is no electricity in one neighborhood, you don’t have to go far to find a neighborhood where there is electricity. So, with a little planning, you can actually come out OK.
My first strategy is that I put off doing things that I need to do, until there is no power. For example, if I need to go to the mall to purchase something, or go to a friend’s house to assist him with something, I try to wait until there is a brownout at my house before I do that. Firstly, if you go to the mall, they certainly have power, because the malls have generators that they turn on when the power on the grid is interrupted. So, if a trip to a store is needed that day, I just do my work in the morning until the power goes off. When the power goes off, I take a shower (which also helps you stay cool!), then I go to the mall to take care of my business. When I am at the mall, I can buy whatever I need that day, enjoy the air conditioning at the mall, do some roaming around and such until I have killed two hours and the power will be back online at my house. I find this to be an excellent way to deal with brownouts.
If it happens that I need to keep working while there is no power, my next strategy is to take my laptop to a coffee shop that has WiFi Internet Access. If I do this, I can continue getting my work done, have a couple of cups of coffee, maybe see some friends and say hi, and generally just get out and enjoy two hours while still working. This is not my first choice, though, because I prefer to work in my home office, and also, if there is a brownout, I like to get away from my work for a couple of hours and stimulate my mind by doing something else.
Another strategy that I have not tried yet, but plan to is to go get some exercise while there is no power at home. I used to go swimming every day, 5 days per week, but I have gotten out of the habit. If there is no electricity, preventing me from working, why not get back into the good habit of getting some good exercise by swimming? Not only will I stay cool, but will also be doing something that I should be doing anyway! I have to get started on this in the coming week!
Generally, for any of us who are experiencing these too frequent brownouts, it’s not great, but we can turn it into something good by using the down time to do something else with our time that is still productive. In the past, I would just go sit down and wait for the electricity to return. I would be hot and sweaty, and would get upset about the fact that there was no power. However, there really is not a lot that can be done quickly to get the power situation turned around, and really there is not a thing I can do about it anyway, so why not turn a bad situation into something good, or at least better?