Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why Isn't the Philippines Investing in WTE Energy?

I don't understand why we're not inching our way to sustainable energy plants here in the country. As a large, trash-producing sector of the world, the Philippines has one of the best potential for producing 49 megawatts for every 950 tonnes of of garbage.

Given Metro Manila's production of 8,600 tonnes of trash per day, one could easily see the amount of energy just this metropolis can produce. If you're too lazy to do the math, that'd be roughly 443 megawatts per day. To put it in perspective: the overall demand of ten large malls with centralized air conditioning is 200MW / day.

So far, however, we've only one waste-to-energy power plant in the country: the pilot project of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation in Davao del Norte. The said power plant can only produce at most 6MW of energy, although its representatives say that it could easily scale that up to 300MW.

And the kicker: it's still under construction.

One could say that the problem of its CO2 emissions is one reason the government's been reluctant to invest in these types of power plants. But there's been research in artificially replicating the natural process of photosynthesis in laboratory environments; this is something the Aquino administration could really get on board with, since it's a great opportunity to create more science and technology jobs in the country.

In fact, by creating a whole system of efficient garbage collection, energy production, and environmental research, the government could ideally create enough jobs to make a dent in the whole unemployment problem.

That's just one of the benefits of this solution. There's also the environmental impact of WTE power plants, once you address the carbon dioxide byproduct; people would actually be more interested in properly disposing their trash since this goes into the energy they use every day. It could be the drive this country needs to be disciplined enough to start being mindful of their waste.

Kudos should be given to the Pangilinan-headed MPIC for getting the ball rolling. What about the other big corporations in the country? I know both JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and the First Philippine Holdings, Corp., are heavy players in the industry. There's a great opportunity here for virtually any corporation willing to make the investment.

And the government stands to benefit from this, as well. This won't necessarily remove the country's reliance on fossil fuels - an important aspect to consider since that sector of the industry is a heavy contributor to the government's coffers. But by developing a hitherto virgin, at least in the Philippines, territory in environmental science, waste disposal management, and energy production will give them a boost in ratings that can be felt not just by the current generation, but by generations to come.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Whale Sounds on a Friday Evening

Here in this country, weekends and holidays are automatically branded as karaoke nights. It is one of the hazards of living in the Philippines. People fight because of karaoke. People even die because of karaoke. If you're ever here, don't even think of singing "My Way", unless you've a death wish. Trust me. Just don't.

Half the time, these evenings are filled with loud, bass-driven pop songs of the 90s and 80s (and 70s, my goodness), and, depending on where you are, can be some of the most impressive things in life, or the boombox from the gates of hell. Most of the time, it's the latter, since the impressive crooners are either in some of the older piano bars of Malate / Ermita, or in the comfort of their own homes, with their magic mics.

The destitute, the drunk, and a good majority of the general population, however, gather into these dingy dive bars called beerhouses where the walls are thin, the bass is loud, and the neighbors are resigned to their fate. Or, in the rare occasion that there's a street party happening somewhere, they rent one of those videoke machines, set it up in the middle of a minor road in the residential area, and blast their sorrows into the night sky.

This is, understandably, a terrible thing to endure if you're a person with nothing more than a wish to spend a quiet evening at home, with a glass of something stiff, and a heavy date with the television.

But just this evening, I encountered something strange from the otherwise cacophonic sounds of the karaoke-filled night.

See, it's nine in the evening. It's a payday Friday, which means everybody's out in the malls, wasting all of their money. So there are fewer karaokes out in the open tonight.

But here, in Pandaca, there's a sonic shrill in the air, and, from a distance, you can hear the muffled tones of a mic being plugged in. This, the lone karaoke machine in the middle of a quiet evening. But I don't hear the awful squawking of pop star wannabes this time around.

Instead, I hear a kid. I hear him singing something unintelligible, but you can tell that he's making that rookie mistake of holding the mic too close to his mouth. The sound of his voice is muffled. There is no music. The sound of the child's voice carries over the air all by its lonesome, like sonar whale calls in the depths of the quiet ocean. It's eerie and disconcerting, but only because it seems like an alien sound in the night sky.

In my mind, I wonder if I was mistaken. This wasn't a child singing too close to the mic, with the music turned down in volume. This was, instead, a lone karaoke machine, sending its calls out into the evening, looking for its mates. It is a weekend, it senses, and there should be a gaggle of us out in the open. It is calling out, sending its messages via sonar, the only way it knows how. Hey guys, I'm here. I'm ready to start tonight's happenings. Guys, you there? Guys? Guys?

The lonesome karaoke's wails continue deep into the night.

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Cat Revolucion

The cat revolucion began, at least in the Philippines, way back in the early 2000s when sites like I Can Has Cheeseburger started operations (although that particular site was born much later in the decade). To this day, however, finding a decent cat implements remains to be problematic in a country that increasingly sees our fun feline friends as pests who steal from the table at every opportunity.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Hey Cute Colegiala on the Jeep

You're young. You're pretty. And you've got your problems up your sleeve. It's a pleasure sitting next to you on this crowded thoroughfare.

You're looking doggedly at nothing in particular, alternating with quick, furtive glances to your phone. There isn't a new message from Viber or Whatsapp, or whatever it is you young whippersnappers use to chat nowadays, but you channel absently through your active messages anyway, before shifting to the true purpose of your charade: to look at the time.

Oh I know it's just at the upper-right section of the screen, but I can see the quick darts your eye makes to that corner of your phone.

Your breeding - if at all - prevents you from admitting this out loud, but you can't stand where you are right now. I mean, right right now. This jeep on this busy thoroughfare, with the radio on full blast playing a song by Sugar Ray, a song from a band that's not your generation. You'd rather listen to something from today, Psy or Ylvis or something from Miley fucking Cyrus, I dunno.

These people stink to high heavens! Where has that old man with the Manila folder been to, to get so sweaty?! And that fat man in the candy-colored shirt, what is wrong with his hair? Why doesn't he comb it? For crying out loud, has he been out on the road all day? Hasn't he heard of the washroom?

And the driver, my gosh. Can't he play something from this decade?! What is this song, something from the 90s. I was a CHILD then!! How uncool can you get?

Ew, here comes one of the gusgusin street kids. What is that on his hand? A rag? What. The. Fuck. He better not touch my Galmia Pepes (or whatever shoes you were wearing), with that dirty thing, he better - oh shit, oh shit YOU DID NOT JUST DO THAT. Fuck fuck fuck what do I do my shoes are DIRTY NOW you frakking street urchin.

This is what you're thinking in the short span of time it takes us to travel from Recto to Sta. Mesa. I don't need to read your mind. I can tell all of this, with the toss of your shoulder, with the slight glances you make my way, with the purse of your lips.

Ah! Finally it is your stop. You demurely yell "Para ho!" to the driver, who's in the throes of "Boys Don't Cry", and as he (tries) to pull up to the curb, you swivel your ass doorward, in preparation for disembarking.

And then you're out the door.

Good-bye, cute colegiala. Too bad. You were pretty. But you've got a terrible attitude.