Bridging the Gaps (Post Bohol Quake 2013)


While many remember the churches that were destroyed in Bohol during the quake, the destruction of bridges have had greater logistic impact for the province. Because of the breaking of Abatan and Moalong bridge of the Tagbilaran North Road the western part of Bohol proved to be a very taxing challenge to those that would bring help to the affected parts of the island. What used to be a direct 20 to 45 minute ride became a 2 to 3 hour ride via a circuitous route that requires a traverse of the interior roads of Bohol which are not in great condition to begin with.

Abatan Bridge as shown last month…

A month earlier people used make shift foot bridges or rode kayaks to get across.

…has become usable again earlier this week.

Abatan bridge ready for light vehicles up to 5 tons
Abatan is an important access road to the town of Antequiera
Construction still ongoing, which apparently includes road widening. Hopefully the bridge can soon be rehabilitated to its former 20T carrying capacity.

DPWH has kept it’s word to make the bridge usable within a month of the quake for that I’m sure the residents of Antequiera are thankful.

Islands of Light

Typhoon Haiyan has left Bohol in a power crisis. This is seen very clearly demonstrated every time the sun goes down. The not so gentle revving of generators big and small riddle Tagbilaran City as establishments try to stay afloat during these dark times. Visitors need not fear though, malls still operate at normal working hours though BQ mall is the only one with a working movie theater. ICM is set to open it’s theaters around the first or second week of December.

Many resorts are hip to the new practice of using industrial scale generators. Hospitals are also permanently lighted as a matter of necessity. Even internet cafes have gone into the generator bandwagon. However the law of supply and demand has caught up with sector. As only a few cafes remain open many have dropped the “open time” open or per minute usage and has gone into one hour blocks with rates easily double of the pre-blackout prices to recoup their expenses on the gasoline expenses for the generators.

For those who cannot get charging done at home or at work, charging stations have become the business of necessity in the city. They can ask for 20 to 30 pesos for services ranging from a per hour basis to fully charged.

What’s more important however is that the majority of the regained power has been dedicated primarily to securing drinking water. The promise of power rationing has however become very dim as there is no reliable time when power returns. The shortage can go on for upto 72 hours at a time for residential areas. This week on my side of town we’ve experienced power twice in  twelve-hour blocks. I have no idea when the next rotation will happen.

The situation however has not dampened the spirits of the Tagbilaranons. Tomorrow, Bohol will join the rest of the Philippines in watching the Pacquiao-Rios fight on Pay-per-view

in the many establishments that will be hosting the event in their screening areas. These include theaters and restaurants and hotels. The event even overshadows the special delayed barangay elections set for the 25th of November 2013, Monday.

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