Leaving the hassle of El Nido behind, I end up at the other side of Palawan, a total contrary world, which brings me back to basics, back to a more sustainable lifestyle.
There is no water, unless the wide ocean right in front of the huts. Nor is their electricity or light, unless the full moon which lightens up the white beach. There is no noise, unless the concert of geckos and roasters, and other animals of the forest. I love it.
As I described before, living without running water makes you very aware of the amount of water you use, the same goes up for electricity and any other ‘resource’ you use on a daily basis.
No energy waste
For instance, the electricity runs here 4 hours a day, which means that you have to charge whatever you want to charge in these 4 hours, combine that with the fact that there is 1 socket per person, so you have to plan charging cycles. Or to take it more precise, you have to determine which electricity source you really need, and which you don’t.
A phone becomes extremely unnecessary, switch off all kind of battery-consuming functions and you be left with – in my case – the navigation application, but without gps signal, and the flash light – in case my normal flash light gives up on it.
Since the climate is warm and the sun lights the day, while the moon lights the night, you actually would be surprised about the little amount of electricity you actually need. In my case, I have to charge my laptop once, but here as well, by switching off wifi, Bluetooth and any unnecessary running application, you can do quite a bit on one battery only.
Showering with the Frogs
The same goes for the water, there is a bucket to shower, to flush the toilet, to wash your hands, to wash your clothes or any other purpose you might need water for. Once again, you become very aware of your water usage, and it does not bother me at all. I even find a trick to get my hair washed without consuming too much water.
The only thing is about timing, it is easier showering when it is still light than in complete darkness, even only to watch the animals around. As what happened in another hostel where I lost the light for a second while showering, and while getting out the dark again, two frogs where having a great time in my shower. Luckily, I did not hit them by accident.
Walk to the Village
Since I’m still a journalist and need to check in once in a while with the world outside, I have to find a place to connect on wifi. There is obviously none in this electricity-free zone, even my phone has no reach.
On the other hand, the water out of the bucket is good for washing, but my stomach would not be too happy if I start using it for drinking as well.
So, every bit I take a walk to the village, to get some water and food, and connect my laptop for a second with the world outside of Palawan.
It reminds me on how lucky I am in general, and how few people understand how fortunate they are to have running water, electricity and even internet at home. Services which they can obtain in a wink of an eye, but for which others in the world have to walk hours. I’m not talking about me, because this is my choice. But in a lot of countries there is still no running water, nor electricity. For their basic needs, mostly the women and/or children of the families have to walk a water source nearby, which takes them every day a lot of time and energy. The same goes for the lack of electricity and the need to find burning material to light the stoves at home, for cooking.
The energy and time these women and children spend in finding water and energy sources causes a huge gap in emancipation, in their right to develop personally by going to school or to work. Therefore, goals about water and energy concern gender equality and human rights as well. These aspects should not be forgotten when discussing the topic.
And for those who have water and energy in their vicinity, please be aware of these precious sources and consume them responsible.
Rest in Peace
One day I walk to the village, a bit later than other days. I was supposed to head back before dark, but darkness set in earlier than I thought. It turns tremendous dark in the village, where moonlight is blocked due to the high trees. Some houses are lightened with candles, others have a diesel generator. The sound of the generators guides me from house to house.
The walk between the village and my house those days is safer along the beach line, where the moon lights up the waves and the sand. It is peaceful. No noise, no light, no phone calls, no messages on social media, no nothing. I breath the pure air of the ocean and hear the genuine sounds of the nature. It becomes silent in my head.
That night when I’m at home, laying in my bed and listening to the sounds of the insects, I rethink the day and all days before. Until all at a sudden the light goes out and the sound of the diesel generator stops. It becomes silent and dark and my mind sets off to the other dimension.