"Lolaaaaa."

"Candelaaaas!"

That was the cry going up on our subdivision Wednesday evening as we experienced our first “rotating brownout.”

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It wasn't so bad. The moon was bright; the skies were clear, nowhere near dark. My neighbors to the right ate their dinner on the verandah - I could hear cutlery rattling against plates - and obviously a success as the family plus friends sat out long after the lights had come back on.

Over the road, another group sat outside the local tindahan chatting quietly. There were no shouts of outrage and why should there have been? We can cook, eat and wash up by candlelight and afterwards sit around and talk. You must remember - the thing that came before television and video games and karaoke, which have reduced us all to goggle-eyed morons staring at a screen.

And look on the bright side - we can claim to be having our very own earth hour every day and weeks ahead of everybody else.

I liked Thursday's leader comment that Presidential Adviser for Mindanao Jesus Dureza was visiting to discuss "with key stakeholders of the Mindanao power industry steps to avoid power problems."

Splendid idea Jesus but, erm, aren't you about 10 years too late?

There was an interesting item on GMA's evening news which showed how, when it came to power generating capacity versus demand, out of the three Philippine regions Mindanao, as usual, came bottom of the table.

No surprise there but which foreign power company in their right mind is going to invest in a region where our politicians' idea of stealing a march on their rivals is to gun them down and no matter where; either in the open countryside or a city's busy shopping mall. I'm amazed that Philippine Airlines is not putting on extra flights for the foreign investors, businessmen, even retirees fleeing the region.

The power shortage is of course, as pointed out by Malacañang, a consequence of the El Niño phenomenon and you and I know that's nonsense.

The current power shortage is due to a lack of reserve generating capacity and that is due to the bureaucrats of the administration who couldn't join the dots; who didn't have the gray matter to realize that an out of control population plus the creation of “super regions” and “clusters” and “corridors” and “hubs” plus a booming call center industry would lead to an increase in power demand.

And El Niño is hardly new. It's been around for centuries, its causes and effects have been understood for decades. To everybody, that is, except those in the administration whose job it is to plan the Philippine's power strategy.