PADRE BURGOS, Quezon – Two island villages of Lipata and Tulay-Buhangin in this laidback and 4th class town in the Bondoc Peninsula are now energized, after electricity was brought here via submarine cables.

Padre Burgos Mayor Roger A. Panganiban on Wednesday said local officials, townsfolk and villagers were jubilant with the completion of the local electrification project after it got stuck for more than two decades in the drawing board.

Panganiban, with Vice Mayor Pablito Flores and officials of Quezon Electric Cooperative 1 (QUEZELCO 1), National Electrification Administration (NEA) and Asia Philippines and the two village chiefs, led the Switch-On Ceremony of the 3-Phase Submarine Cable and Energization Project last Monday (Dec. 10) in the island-village of Lipata.

The idyllic Lipata Island is home to the now famous Borawan Beach, a contraction from the words Boracay - because of its fine sand, and Palawan, due to jutting of rock-cliff formations on the island shoreline.

The island inhabitants are mostly fisher folks and some engaged as boatmen and tour guides for swimming excursions, beach camping and arranged boat rides and island-hopping adventures by tourists and visitors.

Panganiban recounted how he sought Manila Electric Company’s help as having the nearest grid in its power service distribution to nearby Pagbilao’s Grande Island, which is now connected via a land bridge.

He said the plan was put on hold pending compliance with several documents required for the interconnection.

This time however, Panganiban expressed gratitude to NEA, which spearheaded the project in collaboration with Quezelco 1, through the support of the Suarez family.

“Bagama’t mas magastos ang pagpapadaloy ng kuryente sa dalawang barangay dahil kailangan pang maglatag ng dalawang kilometro submarine cable sa dagat ay hindi naman ito naging hadlang sa dalawang ahensya na ituloy ang nabanggit na proyekto (although the electrification project entails higher costs which requires some two-kilometer submarine cable to reach the two villages, but this did not hamper the two agencies to continue the project),” Panganiban said.

He said NEA set aside some PHP 50 million for the energization project of the two barangays.

The town mayor also mulled the construction of a bridge by December next year, hopefully set for completion at the end of his third mayoral term.

Meanwhile, Jose O. Avedillo, marketing manager of Asia Philippines, the company behind the submarine cable and underwater works for the electricity connection to the two islands, described the project a huge step point for the two island villages.

“Dahil ito ang simula na magtataasan ang presyo ng lupa rito dahil sa posibilidad na pagtatayo ng mga hotel dito dahil na rin sa ganda ng islang ito, katulad sa nangyari sa Boracay after na rin malinyahan ng kuryente (this is the start for the land appreciation value as hotels would be constructed in the beautiful island, similar to what happened to Boracay after putting in place its electricity connection),” Avedillo said. (Gideon Belen/PNA)