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Suluan Island Part 1: Of Giants and Serenades

by AX Gaurana and G Alvero We were awoken by the sound of women singing coming from downstairs.  Half-conscious at four in the morning, I heard the song being concluded with “Happy Birthday”. It was the first time we have heard a mananita in our lives.  A mananita is an early morning serenade, usually a birthday song being sung before sunrise as a surprise to the celebrant.  This is one of the many unique …Read More

Stories from the Road I: Why You Should Love Mondays (aka What Really Happens When I Ride My Bike)

Little children  pulling their trolley bags behind them and the older ones wearing their bright blue Unicef knapsacks by the side of the road trying to hitch a ride from the passing tricycles.  This was the scene that changed my whole mood this morning.  I left the site a quarter before six to ride my 26.5er mountain bike, Amidala, crossing the lengthy San Juanico Bridge to the town of Santa …Read More

Here Comes the Sun in Samar Island

by Uro Tahup Solar power technology in the form of portable solar-powered lamps has slowly made inroads into many communities hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda in remote islands and barangays located in Eastern and Western Samar. It all began when UN agencies, international and local humanitarian NGOs, and even private foundations distributed thousands of solar-powered lamps – from the cheap made in China to the sturdy made in Germany – …Read More

A Decade of Clean Energy Talks

How far have we gone and where are we leading to after a decade of efforts to put together into one room the minds of the government, market stakeholders, technology players, academe, media, development partners and both local and international organizations? Monday, June 14, kicked off the 10th Asia Clean Energy Forum at the ADB grounds in Ortigas, Pasig City. The parade of different nationalities getting themselves registered at ADB …Read More

Welcome to a Brighter World Baby Kathryn!

By: Lottie Salarda Just days after the Solar Scholar workshop, Sir Uro and I scheduled a trip to the island town of San Vicente in Northern Samar to assess the power situation of their Rural Health Unit, headed by Dr. Nenilyn Francisco. From Tacloban, it takes a minimum of 6 hours to reach the place, requiring several transfers. From Tacloban City we rode a van to Catbalogan City for an …Read More

Raised to the Nth Power

“How much do you spend every month on a 9.5 watts CFL bulb that works for 12 hours a day, every day?” was one of the few questions I asked of our solar scholars. Being both a renewable energy and energy efficiency advocate and also coming from the electronics field, being conscious about our personal power consumption is one of the traits I’d want for every consumer to develop. I’ve …Read More

The Beach That Haiyan Built

After three hours worth of asphalt, dirt road and finally a path cut through a hill, we finally reached the coastal communities of Salcedo.  The communities on this side of Samar are one of the most badly hit by the super typhoon and are also among the least accessible.  The community of Jagnaya was silent.  There were no people on the road, and very few houses stood on the main …Read More

Sewing to Success: How This Community on the Pacific Coast Bounced Back from Yolanda

“Kapag mananahi ka, dapat may tiyaga ka”, Tatay Felix said as he talked about the tailoring business.  First establishing his own tailoring shop in 1970, he has hopped from the business world to being employed in various industries and even into being an OFW.  Coming home to Brgy. Asgad, Salcedo, Eastern Samar after the supertyphoon, Tatay Felix is now leading a livelihood group known as ASA or Asgad Sewer’s Association.  …Read More

Sunshine over Blue Marlyn

After struggling over long winter days with her newborn son following an unhealthy relationship with her foreigner husband, Marlyn decided it was time – time to go home, time to take her son back to the Philippines. Though her marriage was short-lived and her options limited, throughout her ordeal Marlyn wanted nothing more than the best to offer for her young boy. And so she left him with the custody …Read More

On Losing and Gaining

At a minimum, I cycle every day from my dormitory to the RE-Charge Facility and back.  Before I left Lapu-lapu City more than a month ago, I was at a hundred and twenty pounds and have been working doubly on losing weight by running, hiking and bike commuting.  When I moved to Tacloban, I got caught up in learning my new post at the RE-Charge Facility and settling myself into …Read More