Published: August 25th 2007August 25th 2007
August has been a fairly quiet month here. A couple of typhoons have passed by out at sea without bumping into the Philippines (Taiwan wasn’t so lucky). The second one was a category 5 super typhoon but it didn’t make the international news anywhere near as much as a hurricane in the Caribbean does. The Philippines will probably get hit by one or two over the next month or so as they start to track further south. That means devastation where they hit land but here we are far enough south that for us it just means rain and the start of the surfing season.
For the last couple of weeks I have been glued to my laptop listening to BBC radio, surfing the web and talking to people on Skype. My internet connection was installed with the help of a big pole to get a good signal for the Ariel. Its internet over the mobile phone infrastructure with a receiver mounted on my 40 foot pole then a conventional cable going to my laptop. The picture shows Ray the installer shinning up the pole to adjust the aim of the receiver - that wouldn’t be allowed
Me in a gold mine
by UK health and safety at work regulations!
We are making good progress with our forest management here in Lanuza at least above ground, suddenly everyone seems to want to mine the hills! Earlier this week I found myself heading up into the forest to have a look at reports of some illegal small scale mining activity. We found a tunnel about 15 meters long sunk into the hillside. Not in itself very damaging but they are looking for gold so the onsite processing would be releasing mercury and arsenic into the river. If its in the river its in the mangrove and the bay and will quickly be on everyone’s dinner plate bio-accumulated to high concentrations especially in the Tuna. Over the next couple of weeks I will be looking at 2 or 3 applications for “small scale” mining covering about 20 hectares each which adds up to quite an impact if it all gets to go ahead. Thankfully the local politicians sound like they will block the applications. Like I said in my last blog there have to be mines somewhere but the regulatory structures are just not in place here to make it acceptable - at
Ibuan water system
This is the header / storage tank for the village water system. It feeds half a dozen communal taps dotted round the village.
least in my opinion.
Ibuan is a sitio (village) in the mountains of Lanuza. There are about 70 houses in the village which has recently benefited from a new potable water system. I attended the handover of the newly completed water system to the community taking the opportunity to do some education about retaining and protecting mature forest because of its importance for the water supply. It is an indigenous peoples community with their own language and cultural practices. Electricity hasn’t made it up here yet. On the picture of the water tank you can make out blood stains under the bow from a traditional blessing ceremony which turned out badly for a chicken.
I went to another wedding last week (summer is obviously wedding season) so there is another picture of me in a barong. The groom is my next door neighbours brother so that was the connection. This was a proper local wedding which was nice to experience. This time I have had no trouble with the bridesmaids (I am still getting messages from last months wedding) but I did have one of the (male) make-up artists asking all day “Sir Matt, please can
I kiss you - just one kiss”. Hum....I think I prefer the bridesmaids!
I have also had the chance for a long weekend so I hopped on the bus and ferry to go and visit a few of the other volunteers working over in Eastern Samar (a next door island to the north). On the ferry I was chatting to the engineer who cheerily told me about being rescued from a bulk carrier by the Canadian coast guard when it sank in ice. It got into trouble when the engines failed. The ferry was rolling quite a lot and taking a very long time to lumber back upright from each starboard roll. The trip even took an extra couple of hours because of a very mild headwind. Of course I had every faith in the engineer making sure the ship got us where we wanted to go. The weekend was great fun just relaxing eating and seeing somewhere new.
Here in Lanuza we have been out crab catching again getting about 4kg of small crabs off the beach. These are cooked in coconut milk, garlic, onion and pepper. The resulting soup is delicious but I cant be bothered
Jiji and Gaga
The bride and groom. The groom is my neighbours brother.
with picking the meat out from the crabs. That’s no problem because there are plenty of people around who will pick them clean.
I hope you are all having a good time
Note: Shortly after I posted my last blog the servers at TravelBlog crashed so you might have looked and found nothing, missing words, missing pics or just an error message. Its all back to normal now with all of the old entries restored - Thanks to the TravelBlog team for working hard to get everything recovered.
There are more photos below