Malapascua is a tiny Island off to the north of Cebu Island. You have to work quite hard to get here. It’s an half hour boat ride, after a five hour, hot bus trip from Cebu City. Chances are you’ve flown to Cebu, or if not, you’ll have missioned hard with ferries, buses, trikes and jeepneys to make your way there. The point is, getting people to Malapascua is hard, getting ‘things’ to Malapascua is arguably harder.
Everything needs to be brought here from the ‘mainland.’ On the boat that I was on, the crew were loading filtered water bottles, a 3m2 piece of chipboard, bags of rice, a box of tomatoes etc. Later I saw someone getting off a dinky boat with a satellite dish. Every single brick that has been used to build the numerous guest houses will also have come from the mainland. And the boats are not big. What this means too is that all the petrol and fuel required to power the generators here, or the motorbikes puttering around, also need to be brought in. It’s not a surprise therefore that electricity is a very expensive resource here.
It’s hot on this island, yet I have felt aircon once since I’ve been here, in the most expensive dive shop on the island. You can have aircon in your rooms, but it effectively doubles the room’s rate. Having a TV in your room is also an extra where I’m staying. (Not that this is any sort of bother. Filipino soaps. Nope.)
There appears to be fairly reliable electricity supply on the island. I’ve read that there are still occasional brownouts, but that most guest houses have back up generators. There are also a number of little renewables installations, like for the comms tower shown below. I’ve also read about a mini solar and wind installation in one of the schools here.
Most of the houses in the villages that you walk through don’t have power, or if they do, they seem to have some very basic lighting and not much else. It’s clear that the main focus of the electricity infrastructure is on powering the tourist related facilities, but slowly this should be extended to the locals, and the electrification of the island is reportedly a focus area of the local authorities.
That’s a very nice use of shading on these modules… Of the 32 modules installed, I saw at least ten of them partially or fully obscured by shading at about 9:30am. A bit of tree trimming may be a good idea…
Even so, with finite energy resources on the island they still managed to have a thumping party until 2.30am, what felt like right outside my spot last night. Techno knows no borders. Ntsa Ntsa.