Three years after we completed the construction of our small farm house in a village somewhere in Tugbok district, we started raising Kois, a variety of fresh water fish intended for ponds. As years went by we realized that the fishes now getting big and weighing about half a kilo each, were not only appealing to our sight, they were also becoming our stress reliever.
They have become so accustomed to humans feeding them at certain times of the day that when they see anyone approaching the pond, they come to the surface of the water showing that they are waiting for the food to be thrown at them.
There were roughly sixty of them sporting various colors that made them a pleasant sight to the beholders. So every morning when we have no work and we went home to our rural residence, we made it our responsibility to feed the Kois and clean the water of the pond beside our house. The fishes had become so tame to us that we can even touch their heads with our hand during feeding time.
But sometime in 2013, a strong wind coupled with extremely hard rain caused a bamboo groove along the barangay road in Biao Guianga to collapse. It hit the power line and starting at around 9 p.m. there was power interruption. Electricity was restored only after about 15 hours the day following.
The outage reached our rural residence and it was too long that the non-operation of the aerator machine in our Koi pond was unable to supply the needed oxygen to keep our Kois alive. In that incident 37 of the Kois died. Each weighed about a kilo each. We have to bury the fish in a big hole as even our dogs and cats were not interested to eat them even when cooked.
It took us some time to erase from our mind the loss of the lovely fishes as their colors seem to have been imprinted in our psyche. But we content ourselves with the thought that there were still 30 of them left in the pond for us to feed and to take away the stress we feel due to our daily work grind.
But lo and behold! Another freak accident somewhere in the Davao-Bukidnon road caused yet another power outage the duration of which was also several hours. And it happened while only our niece and her daughter were left to tend the house as we were in our downtown residence.
So, when we came home the day after, we were shocked to learn that only one had survived of our remaining Kois because of the prolonged power interruption.
What more can we do but accept the fact that our “de-stressers” were all gone except one with a surviving janitor fish. And it did not take long for the remaining Koi to follow its ilk possibly because being alone in the pond was too lonely for the fish.
That incident happened more than three years ago. We did not bother to raise new Kois as we were afraid they will end up having the same misfortune of getting killed due to lack of oxygen because of power outages.
But last Monday, our son brought to our rural home 10 new Kois he bought from a supplier in Cabantian. He told us that it may be of help to our continued stay in the rural area while the modified general community quarantine is still in effect in Davao City.
We told our son that it would have been a wise option if he had chosen some other fresh water fish variety for our vacant pond instead of the Kois because the latter are so vulnerable from low oxygen supply. But our son insisted that he too loves having Kois in the pond. Well, he was the one who paid for Kois at P150 each, so I’d rather not make more arguments with him.
Since the pond was not yet ready for the transfer of the Kois into it, our son had to temporarily place the small kois inside a vacant aquarium installed with an electric powered air pump. That was Monday afternoon and everything was going well until early evening of the next day, Tuesday or barely 24 hours since our son brought home the fishes.
But at about 6:30 of that next evening when there were strong rains and wind, brownout struck. It lasted until 1:30 past midnight of yesterday, Wednesday. Early morning when we inspected the aquarium, all but just two of the ten small Kois survived the loss of oxygen.
Of course we are already prepared for such eventuality. Power outages are normal occurrences in electric service.
The real story is our being clueless as to the cause of the interruptions because in most areas of the barangay where we have our rural residence, there is no signal for existing telecommunications service providers.
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has long strung their lines in the area but until now telephone service is not yet available. The lines are not yet activated. Every time we inquire when the service will be available the answer we got from agents manning the PLDT Calinan sub-office is “Hapit na Sir.”
And this “Hapit Na Sir” answer is the same refrain since two years ago. So, if we need to call the power firm to inquire about the power outage we have to go to areas where signal is available. And the nearest is about five kilometers of road to be travelled.
Yes, there are areas with mobile phone signal that are nearer. But these are not easily accessible. We have to walk through thick cogonal sites or wade through muddy farms or climb some slippery hills.
So the story about our Kois and the power outages that caused its deaths are only the ice breakers. The real meat is our inability to communicate to those concerned so we can be guided what to do.