If you have your heart set on living in the Philippines, Mindanao in particular, are you sure Mindanao is where you want to be? No, I’m not referring to the notion that it’s dangerous here; all the (rare) activities that make the news – bombings, kidnappings, political killings, etc. I’m referring to the infrastructure.

Specifically I’m referring to the power supply issues, though the congested roads and flooding issues due to development are real problems, too.

“You just wrote about the brownouts, Randy. We know all about them now.” Yes, I did and I’m going to write about them again. Because that’s what’s on my mind and it’s difficult to ignore them. We had one last evening for an hour or so, another this morning for a good 1.5+ hours. They put out a schedule, but I quit printing them out, as they weren’t following it. Besides, the schedule wasn’t nearly specific enough to know when they would happen, even if they had followed it.

I won’t dwell too much on the specifics of the brownouts, other than to say I don’t have much confidence in any promises that are being made for the end of the schedule. All this is supposed to be over by June. Tingali!

One thing all these brownouts have done is made me consider if I would recommend Mindanao, including Davao, to others asking about where to live in the Philippines. There are so many other cities, big and small. Do you really NEED to live in an area where they can’t provide power on a consistent basis? Oh BTW, in case you’ve missed my mentioning it before, we also lose water if the power is out long enough. Just like living in the province.

Truth be told I had considered living in a province and/or Samal Island at one time. These kinds of things I would have expected. The choices of living remotely versus close to a big city will often include these trade offs, at least in a developing country, as the Philippines most surely still is. I even expected occasional brownouts in Davao, as had been my experience during my previous times in the Philippines. As I started visiting here about 8 years ago, you would think these issues would be improving. Unfortunately the growth that is happening here, is not allowing it.

It does seem odd to me that investors/developers are willing to come into this area given the problems that exist. Make no mistake, they are coming and most certainly adding to the issues.

If one has a choice of where to live, and they were moving here soon, I’d recommend they look around at other areas if they were to ask my opinion. It’s a good idea anyway. The Philippines has a lot to offer, and the more you can see, the better chance you’ll find the perfect spot. Long-term I had already decided to check out other options anyway, mostly due to the traffic congestion that is increasing here. I’m not sure I to want to put up with that situation in the future.

Given the latest power issues, I think there are other options that may be better short-term for those that are not tied to this area. I’m not really in a position currently to get up and go. It’s possible by the time I am that all this will be nothing but a memory. If it’s not, it’s going to be an easy decision to move.

There is a lot to like about Davao, and the greater area of Mindanao. The question is whether it’s enough to outweigh the issues that you might not experience (at least to this degree) elsewhere. Just something to think about before you make a long-term commitment.

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