Manila, Philippines

Typhoon Pedring Leaves Us in Brownout, Powerless

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What a scary way to mark the 2 years that have passed since Ondoy showed us of what Mother Nature and our collective irresponsibility can do to us. And so typhoon Pedring resumes his wrath and onslaught, battering windows and locked doors and roofs, howling in the night with all his might, showing that he still had a lot of wind in his arsenal. He remains strong and deadly, after blowing by and pouring ice cold heavy rains in Luzon and NCR the whole day today.

Pedring only gave us a peaceful pitch black dinner; afterwards he went back to work, sending powerful winds against our houses. I can already foresee that he will not give us a peaceful night’s sleep, no matter how cold the atmosphere is. I am writing this post with what remains of my laptop battery, and since it’s been blackout since 9am today, I will just post this when Meralco’s power services and Smart Bro’s connection resume.

 It is pitch black outside, no noise of TV or radio or tricycles or even families discussing over dinner (and thank God no videokes too!). It seems that everybody is huddled in dark silence, and letting Pedring do all the talking and blowing. Work was cut short today, those already in the offices and at work were eventually sent home (goodluck on their way home, especially the brave commuters) while those who have yet to leave the comforts of their homes this morning (still asleep, eating breakfast while watching Umagang Kay Ganda, or still blow drying their hair even if it will get wet anyway once they step outside etc) were privileged enough to resume their bonding time with their beds and sleep.
I had extra time to sleep today (ciesta) as I got home from work way earlier than usual. Was thankful that the whole family and friends are all safe (and the roof still intact) but was disappointed when I found out that we don’t have electricity. Blackout. Or in Filipino terms, brownout. Like most part of the Metro, we were also affected by the power outages and intermittent electricity supply. I asked myself, what the hell will I do aside from bond with my bed and with my family, and eat in the dark silence?  No TV, no radio, no Internet, low batt cellphones, no prepaid load, poor telco signals, no lights, no electricity.
And so I remembered what my colleague once said (yes I’m fond of remembering quotes if you haven’t noticed by now). He said that it’s amazing how advanced our lifestyles and gadgets have become in the last decade, and yet if you think about it, we are all still reliant on electricity, same old electricity (colleague’s an ECE major by the way). It remains as our basic primary sole energy source.
Yes gadgets have their own batteries but for how long will the battery charges last? In a matter of hours or days, it will still look for the electric socket to power up. And so with no electricity supply from Meralco (I’m sure they have very valid reasons as to why they decided to cut our electric lines, primarily safety reasons), with no electricity, I can’t help but feel helpless. Powerless.  All our gadgets and lifestyles have become next to impotent, wherein their performance is only as good as how long their batteries last. And in this situation wherein we can’t really tell when Pedring will grow tired of sending us winds and water, and we don’t know when electric services will resume, it will be wise not to use up the battery charges that we have left (reminds me of Ondoy) and conserve as much energy as possible.
In my commuter blues posts, I’ve highlighted that transportation is a vital cog of an economy. And at this situation, it also shows that electricity is another vital cog of the economy. And so is communication. Not just of the economy but of our daily lives as well (economy and our daily life are very much connected anyway).
As they say, one will never realise how important the things in his life are, unless these things are taken away from him (But please bring them back soon!). And now we are reminded of how important electricity is, and how reliant we are on it. We are also reminded of how our lifestyles have become very much reliant on technology, and that if these are taken away from us, our world seems to stop. With no other alternative but to bond with our beds in this cold wet night.
PS. I will back date this post when the electricity and internet connection resumes, to remind me of the date and time that I was so bored, I wrote a blog post in MS Word. Hopefully they resume soon!
PSS. It also shows us how lucrative the power generation and distribution businesses are in the Philippines. I think we are still a long way off from being less and less reliant on electric energy. So that’s happy business in the meantime for MER and FGEN and other companies on the same field.
PSSS. But who knows? Pedring might show us how to harness wind energy, so that if there are typhoons and electric services are cut down, we can still have energies in our homes via the typhoon winds. Why not?
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