Archive for June 2009

start your day with power

June 23, 2009

today, i will be  edith bueno, waking up early and switching on the power that runs  all over the country. this day i shall be a warrior of light.

but first,  i will say my prayers  and thank God i am  bodywise and heartsavvy. then i will take my first hour at work by walking briskly inside the building to greet all my staff , smile at them and accept what they prioritized for  yesterday, today and tomorrow.  the agenda has been set. we  in NEA  and all of the country’s 119 electric coops need to finish the electrification of 45,000 barangays. this goal had been set forty years ago by the national government during Marcos time.   let me share a brief story of electricity  before we  leap into the future because you  need to know how  electric power  goes to the people and why the people should own  and conserve it .

david bodanis,in his book Electric Universe, wrote  who were the first to discover metal electricity. the story  of electricity begins with  the love story of alexander graham bell and mabel hubbard in 1875. alexander bell  invented an artificial voice box that mimicked the human voice in order to court mabel hubbard who was hearing-challenged. this voice box became the telephone.  mabel married alexander bell.  mabel  became a model for women’s rights during the victorian era and  overcame the obstacles that a woman with impaired auditory nerves encountered . mabel  became a partner to bell’s inventiveness and they run the Bell Telephone company with great success. they had a happy and productive life.

alexander  bell’s telephone put the telegraph business at risk and thomas edison was hired to crush alexander bell in 1877. as a patent breaker, edison was notorius but in the end, thomas edision became interested in how bell used electricity and worked at producing artificial light. thomas edison spent millions but succeeded in inventing the electric bulb. the irony is that” thomas edison could have been the greatest electrician of his age, yet he didnt know what was happening inside the electric wire.”(david bodanis Electric Universe,page 52). it was joseph john thomson called J.J. who discovered the electrons. Electrons creates the electricity inside the wire.

electricity  is everywhere, inside our bodies, inside all metals and in force fields. david  bodanis said that it took many centuries to prove it.   the  imaginative scientists were ,joseph thomson, michael faraday, heinrich hertz, watson watts and alan turing. when we buy our electrical items we see the words amperes, volts , watts ,hertz and turing.  these labels on technology and gadgets have a history of people who lived, imagined, loved, betrayed and who persisted to harness the power of electrons. we are indebted to these people, especially alan turing who started the exploration of a thinking machine we now call a computer. there were lso women scientists and writers. mary shelley who wrote Frankestein and imagined electricity as the spark of life. ada countess of lovelace , the daughter of lord byron , worked on the early notions of computer programming during faraday’s times.

In our country, electricity came to Manila in 1892 with the founding of La Electricista, which began providing electricity to residential customers. With the completion of a new power plant in 1895, La Electricista began providing street lighting service to the city as well. By the beginning of the 1900s, La Electricista boasted some 3,000 customers, as well as its streetlight business. (see Meraclo’s story in its website).

In 1903, the young government of the Philippines began accepting bids to operate Manila’s electric tramway, as well as providing electricity to the city and its suburbs. The only bidder proved to be Charles M. Swift, a Detroit-based businessman, who founded a new company, The Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company, or Meralco, in 1903. Construction on the tramway began that same year. The following year, Meralco added its first electrical power operations by acquiring La Electricista. By 1906, the company boasted a yearly power output capacity of some eight million kWh.

The Philippines government itself responded to the growing demand for electricity in 1936 by establishing the National Power Corporation (Napocor), with Meralco signing a contract to purchase the entire output of  Napocor’s first facility.

At this juncture of my story, let me jump  over  a hundred years, from   1892 to 2009 . Bear with me as I put you into several platforms to understand where we are going.  . Am  Edith Bueno, your NEA administrator  and has to implement  EPIRA.

so what is this EPIRA,  is this another invention that gives power to the people?

EPIRA  has three main objectives: 1) to develop indigenous resources; 2) to cut the high cost of electric power in the Philippines; and 3) to encourage private and foreign investment. Passage of the Act set into motion the deregulation of the power industry and the breakup and eventual privatization of state-owned enterprises.

Developing indigenous resources is viable in the Philippines due to its many natural resources.The Philipines  has many watersheds and volcanoes,  which are renewable power sites. An indigenous power source is hydro plant, from water power.  It takes five years to develop a hydro power plant and another five years to become fully operational but  can operate for at most a 100 years.

Sidestory : Meralco received new contracts from the Philippines government in 2003, extending its franchise in the metro Manila market through another 25 years. The company’s 100th anniversary celebrations that year were dampened somewhat, however, by a Philippines Supreme Court judgment ordering the company to pay back overcharges to customers from a four-year period. Estimates of the potential payback bill ranged up to P 28 billion ($500 million), a price Meralco claimed it was unable to pay. Indeed, by May 2001, the company, which had seen its request for a fee hike rejected amid a sales slump, reported a net loss of more than P 2 billion ($38 million) for 2002, prompting members of the government to call the Lopez family’s management of the company into question.

Inspiring subplot:“Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technology, it happens when society adopts new behavior”.  Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody

The new behavior was bringing the women into the rural electrification revolution. Women were part of the cooperative development task force that NEA organized in 1969 to energize the archipelago. Edith Bueno, my role model, started to work in the government in the early 1970s.

So what do women bring into the electric domain that qualifies them as warriors of light, or iluminadas ? The power of organizing and educating the citizens, enlivening and enlightening tasks. In 1969, the government vision was that of an energized archipelago, where all the islands have electricity, from the cities to the remotest barangay. This vision saw the organizing of electric cooperatives. Electricity for all  is not possible without political will. Even if private companies like Meralco dreamt of becoming wholly patriotic and served our people, it will not be able to energize 45,000 barangays. It takes a revolutionary policy that brings electricity to all. by revolutionary, it means changing the way people live and think.

in the next blogs, I will share the way women became revolutionary with the coming of  light in the remotest villages.


my father cesar and his legacy

June 21, 2009

Its my father’s birthday today  and am sending  Cesar a 91st hug in heaven. I remember  Tatay in his 61st wedding anniversary in 2008.  In his special  St. Sylvester suit, he celebrated with Nanay their love  together with  13 children and spouses, 44 grandchildren and  5 great grandchildren. We filled the church with so much love. Melo and Maebel celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with Tatay and Nanay.We all cried  and cheered as Tatay and Nanay repeated their 61st vows.

My prayers have been granted : for Tatay and Nanay   had live long enough to see their apos Olivia, Kat, Mikey, Ayen, Nadine, Diego, Krisha Marie, Kris Dominic,Kristel and Julienne  graduate from college.  Tatay was so happy when Olivia Villariba Reyes graduated summa cum laude in the USA for these honors that Olivia gave to the clan meant much more to my father. Tatay would have been a summa cum laude in UP Los Banos if he had not helped a classmate who  needed to pass his final examinations so  he can graduate. He asked  Tatay to take it for him.  Tatay took the exam but  was caught. The college  dean and some professors knew Cesar was running for summa cum laude. They expelled his classmate but punished Tatay   by denying him to graduate with honors.  Tatay fought well to defend the country but he was not allowed to defend his honor. When the UP LB  graduating class published their  1948 yearbook, his name was on the last page : Cesar A. Villariba, Bachelor of Science, Agriculture. There was no mention of excellence, not even a photo.  I asked why.” I didnt have the money to pay for a picture.” Tatay replied. these were the years of reconstruction and Tatay didnt have any money after he gave all his soldier’s backpay to the impoverished  people in his Lucena neighborhood.

During the UP Centennial anniversary last year , I  asked him if he were willing to appeal to UPLB to review his case. “Hindi na,” was his reply.  To make him happy, Sonny and I went to the editor,Monette Flores  of the UP Centennial volumes, got his picture and story as a soldier included in the book even if it were past all the deadlines . The editor couldnt refuse us when we told Tatay ‘s story. ” This is our way of honoring a patriot.” was our  reason and it won her .

As an agriculturist , developed the coconut industry to a level where many coconut farmers could earn and send their children to school. Tatay taught thousands of students, from high school to post graduate students, chalking up sixty one (61) years of  passionate education work.

Cesar  A. Villariba, my father,was an educator, having taught,not just us , but  many students in the provinces of Quezon, Albay and Manila ,the value of learning. I  estimate the average  number of graduates who had Tatay as teacher  in MS.Enverga University from 1950s to  2008. The  estimate number  : sixty one thousand students, not counting the two hundred barangay high schools students who had enrolled and finished their education due to Tatay’s Education Act CIMG2462  .ibarizal


do you know the story of how we got electricity?

June 16, 2009

this week i am enrolled in a class on the power industry in UP. NEA’s competency and certification program officer Rio Garcia invited ed and me to take the course. ed had other previous engagements so i took the offer. yesterday was my first day and i met the professor, a UP engineer, wally del mundo. i found him very pleasant and asked ” Are you going to run the whole course?” “Yes, he smiled.”

it was quite a first day. i had not been in any UP class since i graduated in 1970. i told Ayen” Ayen i have to wake up early for my class in UP.” “What course are you taking Nanay?” Ayen was surprised. “Electricity” i replied.

the course outline was the first handout i got upon registration. it was a voluminous  powerpoint print out and the contents were all new to me.

“i hope there will be enough time to digest these topics.” i told rio garcia who was welcoming all the people from the electric cooperatives.  rio explained that the course was for board directors of electric coops but that she was inviting more people like me to understand the industry. the room was filled up by electric coop staff and board directors.  and there were more people coming. rio asked me to sit in front so that i can have a better seat where the aircon was modulated.

the first topic was about the electricity. a whole vocabulary, from voltage to amperes, from energy to power, to the various kinds of power generators. the topic reminded me of the book “Electric Universe” by david bodanis. wally made all the technical terms simple and easy on the mind. it was his steady and light storytelling style that got us focused for the whole day.

i noticed all the men and women were listening to wally while i twirled in my seat. i dont go for long lectures much less listen and read content from slides. i go for facilitating sessions for  a maximun of three hours by using a variety of modalities, from experiential learning to case studies. but the way wally presented EPIRA and the drama behind it, i found myself taking down notes and enjoying his vignettes and criticisms of the power players . i noticed very few people were leaving the room even when it was time to take our breaks.

so what did i learn the first day? that the law EPIRA was mainly a response to curb the excesses of  NPC and its monopoly that put us in deep debt. there had been a lot of criticisms against NPC as early as the 1980s. i only knew the great debts that NPC incurred. i  dont know what and how we generate, transmit and distribute our own electricity. i only knew Meralco since i was young. i didnt know the rest of the country was supplied by electric cooperatives.

the story of electricity in the country is a story that is part of our colonial history. it is also a story that dramatizes how our government and its industry players set the power agenda. it is also a story of why we need the electric cooperatives more than ever.

flashback a hundred years ago. wally narrated that the first three arc lamps in Manila were installed in 1890. La Electrisista lighted Manila in 1892 and by 1895, it had built the first power station in Manila. in 1903 the Americans got the franchise to supply electricity. it developed the first tranvia . Meralco was the first company running the tranvia and supplying electricity to the city. it was the private entity that brought electricity in the country.

the government came into the scene after 30 years when it established the National Power Corporation in 1936. then after another 30 years in 1936  NPC got the monopoly in power generation and transmission, and was  mandated to build the three main grids in Luzon,Visayas and Mindanao. the government did not give NPC funds but gave its valuable assets, the large bodies of water in the country. it owns most of the land surrounding the water bodies.  its first power station was built in Caliraya, a river and was transformed into a lake. the government empowered NPC to secure loans for its energy program. thus began its  story of being the richest company and incurring the largest liabilities for the nation.

the next blog will continue the story. in the meantime, i have to take dinner and review my notes. how did we become one of the most
expensive countries to invest in? by expensive, i mean the cost of electricity. we have a high cost of electricity when we have so much renewable/indigenous energy sources!

how to tap body wisdom for wellness and illness

June 12, 2009

in your daily routine, how do you maintain good health?  as the saying goes ” good health is wealth”. when you are healthy, you are wealthy.

but many people get sick now. my family goes into a pattern of getting sick like last week. my parents were confined for infections. ed and ayen caught colds and coughs.  so what did we do? tap body wisdom. it is simple. we sit and breathe deeply. then someone taps our head and heart. we sit there encouraging  the body to select which part  needs attention. there is a feeling of ease, of lightness and we breathe well. but when we get an infection, the body goes to work and starts the immune response. it  takes around 20 minutes to get the body response . so why dont we do it often?

busy minds busy bodies. we think  we have to do so much, like work, work,work. or even if we are passive, we watch television, we watch movies, we go to the computer and watch virtually our minds wander in cyberspace. the secret is taking time to relax, listen to our bodies. that is why meditation helps. that is why we need to be quiet for a moment, or focus our energies to listen to the body.

in pinoy practice, tunganga helps. you sit down, empty your mind of clutter and then open it to the beautiful landscape inside you. breath simply and close your eyes if you want. then ask yourself, what’s important today?

there  is  a simple tapping is called bodytak access. learn it, it will make a difference in your life.

How to care for an ailing parent

June 1, 2009

Do you have an ailing parent? Is your father or mother in a hospital?

If yes, we share a common concern. My father, Cesar Villariba, is sick with a number of body pains. First, he has a slipped disc and cannot move without help. Second he has
so much phlegm and coughs a lot. Third, his most painful concern – being dependent entirely on my mother for all his needs. The loss of independence has been a severe blow to his self-esteem. Having been the leader in our community for six decades, since the 1950’s, my father has been active in various fields : agriculture, church, coconut industry, education and politics. Now, in his 80’s, he has to stay in bed and be taken cared of.

So how does my mother cope? With unconditional love and patience. In the hospital, Tatay would complain about all the medicine he needs to take. You hear him coughing and telling my mother that he wants to eat but cannot eat. My mother is 79 years old and had recovered from flu but she has no rest because she had to attend to my father.

What can you do when you have both parents in stressful situation? Quality care comes when you realize that your parents need you now.

You start with the hope that they will recover their strength because the secret is in our bodies. I brought the great grandchildren, Andrea and Patricia, to do bodytalk access on my father. Bodytalk access is an energy medicine and it is effective. I taught Andrea, 4 years old, to tap my father’s head and heart so she can stabilize him. She has fresh energy and she did what I showed her, tapping the cortices and sternum. Then I brought many teenagers, Ayen, Krisha,Pia, Jojo, Ian, Julienne,Felisha, Krisel and Tetet to visit my parents in the hospital. There were so many of them that the hospital security refused to allow the girls who came in groups. The whole Villariba clan numbers around 80 and we sneek in 20 grandchildren. With their hands pointing to my father, I told them to generate healing energies, sending a stream of love to my father.

On Saturday and Sunday, I brought Kath and Olivia, our visiting scholars from the US, to visit Tatay. I had Olivia tapping Tatay on the head and heart until he could relax and feel the fresh energy of Olivia. It worked very well and my father’s mood turned positive. He was happy with Olivia and we continued the healing session.

The bodytalk session is one practice anyone can learn easily. It allows the brain to choose what it needs to do at once – balance the health needs of the body. It allows the whole body to talk to each organ and check it’s health. This is good for all, young and old. Talking and listening to one’s body is the secret to health and long life

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