Faces of Cebu People and Ideas

Empowering Rural Lives: AboitizPower and Visayan Electric transform hog farmer’s livelihood in Naga City

By: - June 21, 2024

Electricity is a fundamental utility that significantly influences the quality of life and economic opportunities in any community. Its impact extends far beyond the flick of a switch, profoundly influencing the daily lives and aspirations of every individual. Access to reliable power sparks change, as it not only illuminates homes but also boosts productivity and connects localities that were once isolated, particularly in rural areas where its absence is keenly felt.

Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower), through its electric power distribution utility, Visayan Electric Company, Inc., has been at the forefront of this transformation, delivering electricity to remote and underserved communities across the region.

56-year-old Arnulfo Tiempo raises hogs for a living in Barangay Bairan, Naga City.

56-year-old Arnulfo Tiempo raises hogs for a living in Barangay Bairan, Naga City.

One such beneficiary is Arnulfo Tiempo, a 56-year-old backyard hog grower from Purok 4, Nangka, Barangay Bairan in Naga City. He has lived in this rural area for 32 years and dedicates most of his life to raising pigs, despite the many challenges posed by the lack of electricity. 

His persistence reflects the many years he and his family relied on traditional kerosene lamps, or ‘lamparilla,’ to illuminate their humble home and the pens where their livestock were kept secured.

“Sa wa pay kuryente, lisod jud pod ilihok kada gabie lamparilla ra gud amo gamiton,” he recalled. 

[When there was no electricity, it was challenging to move around at night, relying solely on a lamp for light.]

A narration of his reality in the absence of light

Arnulfo attends to his hogs daily to ensure that they are clean and secured.

Arnulfo attends to his hogs daily to ensure that they are clean and secured.

Arnulfo’s daily life unfolds in the quiet rhythms of rural mornings, specifically at 4 AM—a time when the world still slumbers under the cloak of night. 

With quiet determination, the first light of dawn finds him already at work, attending to his beloved hogs and piglets and ensuring their well-being. For him, these creatures are more than mere livestock; they are the heartbeat of his livelihood, the embodiment of his commitment to his craft. 

Despite his hard work, the harsh reality of life without electricity becomes obvious to the extent of making it difficult to be productive after sunset. 

“Pahuway nalang og sayu kay dili naman kalihok kay wala may kuryente,” he explained. 

[The absence of electricity restricts more movements, leading us to rest early instead.]

For 32 years, Arnulfo and his family endured these hardships. Amidst these obstacles, they stayed because his wife is from the area, and they have built their life together in Barangay Bairan. 

The shift of living circumstance

Visayan Electric works hand in hand with the community to bring electricity to Barangay Bairan, Naga City

Visayan Electric works hand in hand with the community to bring electricity to Barangay Bairan, Naga City

Everything changed when the second largest electric utility in the Philippines, Visayan Electric, brought electricity to their community in December last year through the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP). The SEP is an initiative that facilitates and forwards the connection of remote areas, such as Barangay Bairan in Naga City, to power distribution utilities. This program holds prominent significance in advancing the lifestyle of every Filipino and fostering economic growth felt not only by specific people but by all.

In Arnulfo’s case, the integration of SEP into his place of residence has been nothing short of life-changing. With light in his hog pen, he’s now relieved and assured of his animal’s safety, even at night. 

“Karon nga naa nay kuryente, hayag na, makalihok nata magabie,” he expressed.

[Now that there’s electricity already, we can already see and work at night.]

Radiance equates to impactful change

Arnulfo and his family can now watch television to get the latest news and be entertained with different shows.

Arnulfo and his family can now watch television to get the latest news and be entertained with different shows.

Evident and impactful change entered not only Arnulfo’s home but also that of their family’s life. The time pressure to finish all tasks before the sun sets became loud sounds of excitement with the aid of electric-powered appliances, bringing about modern conveniences like a television to keep them informed about current events and weather conditions. They no longer rush to chase the daylight, and they can rest easy knowing their animals are safe and secure.

“Bintaha na amo kinabuhi kay makagamit na og appliances kay naa naman kuryente. Ma-gabii, masuga-an na ang baboyan. Importante siya kay makita nato unsa ila sitwasyon sa tangkal. Bintaha sab kay makakita ta og balita, ma[check] og unsa ang panahon” he noted. 

[Our lives are better now that we can use appliances since we already have electricity. At night, we can already put a light in the pig’s coop to know their situation inside the cage. And it’s great that we can now watch the news and be updated on the weather.] 

The Tiempo family now enjoys modern conveniences with the aid of electricity.

The Tiempo family now enjoys modern conveniences with the aid of electricity.

With the improved conditions, Arnulfo has been able to expand his business. He can now breed pigs more efficiently, with each piglet selling for around Php 4,200. His neighbors have also become his customers, which created a local market for his hogs.

“[Pa]buntisan ang anay [unya ang baligya kay] 4,200 pesos [kada] baktin… Nagpasalamat mi sa [AboitizPower] kay naa nami kuryente diri. Dili na gyud mi mag lisod lisod ma-gabii ug maka[gamit] nasad mi sa among appliances,” he added. 

[We get the hogs pregnant and sell every piglet for Php 4,200. We are thankful to AboitizPower because we now have electricity here. We no longer struggle at night, and we can now use electric appliances.]

Arnulfo and his family pose at the entrance of their love-wrapped home.

Arnulfo and his family pose at the entrance of their love-wrapped home.

With Visayan Electric’s goal of empowering every home and dream, the light it has brought to Arnulfo’s home has provided a lasting transformation for their well-being. The once dark and challenging nights have become bright and productive, which could now enable him to create a brighter future for his family.

Visayan Electric President and COO Raul C. Lucero said, “We believe that electricity brings progress to an area and Visayan Electric, being Cebu’s electricity provider since 1905, is committed to bring progress to the communities we serve. We have been and will always be Cebu’s partner in progress.”

Visayan Electric Company, Inc., a subsidiary of AboitizPower, serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga, and the municipalities of Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla, and San Fernando. 

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