AboitizPower and Davao Light’s Sitio Electricity lights up a basketball coach's hoop dreams in Malabog, Paquibato

Electrification Program Update
Warren Castillo (pictured) plays basketball in the newly lit multi-purpose public gym, which was made possible through Davao Light’s Sitio Electrification Program.
Warren Castillo (pictured) plays basketball in the newly lit multi-purpose public gym, which was made possible through Davao Light’s Sitio Electrification Program. (Photo by Mark Perandos)

Warren Castillo is championing youth basketball in his community. His dream is for the players to play in the bigger leagues and eventually make a name for themselves. 

“Ang akong pangandoy gyud kay naa miy produkto nga makaabot gyud sa mga prestiyoso nga mga liga pareho sa PBL, UAAP—masking unsa ka hilit ning among lugar, naa lang gyuy makarepresenta sa among barangay sa mga dagko nga liga,” Warren said. 

(My dream is for our team to have a player who can play in the prestigious leagues like PBL and UAAP. No matter how far-flung our barangay is, we want it to be represented by one of us in the big leagues.)

A 37-year-old resident of Sitio Balamban, Barangay Malabog, Paquibato District in Davao City, Warren has dedicated his life to the game. Even before their community was connected to the power grid, basketball was already seen as an opportunity to obtain scholarships and other academic opportunities — a stepping stone to even bigger dreams.

“Naa miy napagraduate last year. Naka-avail siya og scholarship for athletes sa UM Panabo. Ninggraduate gyud siya as team captain. Dako pung tabang kay gauma ra ang mga ginikanan. Karon nagtrabaho na siya as teacher sa eskwelahan diri sa amo ug siya nagatudlo pud og basketball ug gascouting ug mga bag-o nga talento sa kabataan,” Warren shared. 

(We were able to send one of our players to UM Panabo on a scholarship for athletes. He graduated last year. [The scholarship] was a huge help to his parents who are both farmers. Now, our player is a teacher at our barangay high school. He also teaches basketball and scouts for new talent among our youth.)

Warren can now watch basketball games on TV any time of the day with electricity.
Warren can now watch basketball games on TV any time of the day with electricity. (Photo by Mark Perandos)

Warren now serves as a volunteer coach for his team, Sambergat, which plays in local basketball leagues from barangay to city-wide meets. His decades-old little league team is known for being a good squad decorated by multiple district championships. 

In the past, preparing for little basketball league games was tough due to their barangay’s irregular electricity supply. The entry of solar-powered lights extended their practice hours into the early evenings, but even this was sometimes insufficient. 

On cloudy days, the solar batteries held less power, resulting in shorter lighting durations. Warren and his team needed light in the evenings more than any other time of the day to accommodate their after-work, night practices. More practice meant a better fighting chance against the other teams.

As a volunteer coach, Warren discusses the play with his team during an evening practice.
As a volunteer coach, Warren discusses the play with his team during an evening practice. (Photo by Mark Perandos)

In 2023, the lights finally went up in their sitio, covering their homes and their public gym. Their community was fortunate to be a recipient of the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) implemented by Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. (Davao Light), an Aboitiz Power Corporation subsidiary. 

SEP is a project of the Department of Energy in partnership with the National Electrification Administration, which aims for 100% electrification in the Philippines.

Davao Light's active involvement in SEP underscores its vision of expanding access to electricity and supporting national development goals. Davao Light is the country’s third-largest electric distribution utility and holds the franchise for supplying power to the cities of Davao and Panabo, as well as the municipalities of Carmen, Dujali, and Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte.

With the electrification of Sitio Balamban, Warren and his teammates are now able to practice at night at the new Barangay Malabog public gym.
With the electrification of Sitio Balamban, Warren and his teammates are now able to practice at night at the new Barangay Malabog public gym. (Photo by Mark Perandos)

With the gift of electricity, Warren’s team can practice in the newly lighted public gym at night. More regular weekly practices in the evenings helped them clinch their latest win: a 1st runner-up title in their barangay league championship game.

Davao Light’s SEP played a major role in uplifting their community and family life. 

“Dako kaayo among pasalamat sa Davao Light na ningabot na ang kuryente diri sa among sitio. Gaan na sa among paminaw nga naay kuryente. Nakatabang sa pag-study sa mga bata. Dako og tabang sa panginabuhian labo na sa among tindahan ug piso wifi. Ug makapraktis na mi og mas dugay sa basketball,” Warren said. 

(We are very thankful to Davao Light for bringing electricity to our sitio. We feel relieved to have electricity now. It helps our children study, supports our livelihood, especially our sari-sari-store and piso wifi, and allows us to practice basketball for longer periods.)

Warren and his team wish that the same opportunities can also be extended to other communities, including having a reliable access to electricity. Harnessing electricity ensures that basketball becomes a pathway to both athletic and academic success for the youth in his community. 

The Sitio Electrification Program, which aims for 100% electrification in the Philippines, is one of the government’s priority programs for economic development and poverty reduction. Through Davao Light, an AboitizPower subsidiary and the country's third largest private electric distribution utility, the unlit sitio of Barangay Malabog, Paquibato in Davao City was fully energized in 2023.
The Sitio Electrification Program, which aims for 100% electrification in the Philippines, is one of the government’s priority programs for economic development and poverty reduction. Through Davao Light, an AboitizPower subsidiary and the country's third largest private electric distribution utility, the unlit sitio of Barangay Malabog, Paquibato in Davao City was fully energized in 2023. (Photo by Scott Woodward, courtesy of AboitizPower)

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