Travelling alone has its disadvantages:
1. You don’t know who will be sitting with you on the plane;
2. You don’t know how the person who will be sitting beside you smells; and
3. You don’t know how long your nose can take the violent assault.
So it happened that there was just me on the plane ride to Bacolod City on Thursday last week. Alex arrived there a day earlier via ferry from Iloilo City, there was a show on Thursday evening and I was hoping to catch her before the show started. Not wanting to drive to the airport during the morning rush hour, I chose an after-lunch flight. I opted for web check-in to avoid the queue. We left the house at 10 o’clock in the morning thinking I’d get to the airport with no need to rush. But Metro Manila traffic is not legendary without reason. To cut a stressful story short, I barely made it.
All’s well that ends well, right? I did make it on time, after all. There was no reason to spend extra to rebook. I had about fifteen minutes to waste before boarding time, I looked around for someplace to have coffee, but I was at NAIA 2 and the only decent eatery there was Cafe France. I ordered coffee and a danish, I asked for a glass of water but was advised that there was no service water and I’d have to pay for bottled water. Whoa, Cafe France. No service water?
But, anyway, that’s not the real story. This is really about how I discovered the windmills of Guimaras during the flight. As clearly implied from the first part of the post, I found myself seated beside a young man who looked and smelled like he walked the last five kilometers to the airport under the noonday sun. His hair was stringy from dried perspiration, his skin appeared oily and he smelled…
It was a good thing that when I checked-in online, I was able to get a window seat. I squeezed myself against the window and as far away from the smelly man as best as I could. I turned my head away from him and, from the time he took his seat to the moment I got up after the plane landed, I kept my eyes toward the window.
Of course, I took photos. But there was a period of about 30 minutes when there was nothing but blue skies and clouds, and one can only take so many photos of clouds. It was after the plane started its descent that upright white objects caught my eyes. Surely, they were windmills…?? But what island were we flying over at that point? I took photos anyway.
My friend, Gary, picked me up from the Bacolod-Talisay airport and we drove straight to L’Fisher Hotel where the event that Alex was working on was going to be held in the evening. I checked in on my daughter, told her I’d be back to see the show, and Gary and I went to do what we like to do best — eat. Did he take us to Cafe Bob’s last year, he asked. No, I said, although I remembered that it was the first place he wanted to take us to, it was still closed after our early morning flight. For some reason, we didn’t go during the next seven days when we drove around central and northern Negros Occidental.
So, off to Cafe Bob’s we went. And, over pizza and pasta, I showed him the photos of the windmills and asked if he knew where they were located. I told him I was sure they were on the last island before Negros but there are islands to the north, east and west of Negros, and it was hard to guess. He thought the windmills might be in Iloilo but wasn’t sure. He said he wasn’t even aware that there were windmills in the area.
At home, several days later, I Googled “Visayas windmills” and found several articles citing two locations. Windmills in Aklan and windmills in Guimaras. The windmills I saw were definitely not in Aklan. Too far. I Googled “Guimaras windmills” and voila!
The 54-megawatt (MW) wind farm, located in San Lorenzo in the island province of Guimaras, consists of 27 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 2 MW each. The project supplies power to Panay island through a submarine cable connecting Guimaras to Iloilo province. [Source]
Last year, Gary told us about the solar power farm in San Carlos City. I was impressed. And from a news report published today, “Construction of a $175-million solar power project, said to be the largest in Southeast Asia, has started in Cadiz City…” I’m even more impressed.
The Visayas is way ahead of Luzon in harnessing renewable power sources. And I attribute that to the absence of a power monopoly — the kind that Meralco wields over the National Capital Region and surrounding areas that make up Mega Manila.