Supply shortages hit Malay, Aklan

‘No stock’. ‘Not available’. ‘No deliveries’.

These are not phrases you want to hear when shopping for supplies.

But that’s what we were told several times today as we tried to purchase electrical pieces and parts for the basic wiring of some local Philippine houses.

It seems some fallout from the COVID-19 shutdown is finally starting to filter down to the retail level here, causing supply shortages.

In truth, there have been some instances of ‘shortages’ during our four months of coronavirus ‘travel pause’ here in Malay, Aklan, on Panay Island, Philippines.

Back near the beginning, some grocery store shelves were sparse: employees said trucks were delayed. And over the past few weeks, we have had to make some ‘alternate’ materials purchases for the community projects we are sponsoring for the indigenous Ati Filipino people who reside near us.

Those Ati projects include a henhouse, drinking water upgrades, and electrical connection for about 20 mountaintop homes. We were trying to buy the electrical components for those homes today when we became aware of some dwindling hardware supplies.

Supply shortages hit Malay

Each of the Ati houses we are outfitting for electric service needs a circuit breaker. But we could a only find a few 30 amp breakers after checking four different hardware stores in Caticlan, the small port town nearest us. Needing 20, we eventually settled for 20 amp breakers.

Heavy gauge electrical wire is also in short supply in town. We still need a couple hundred feet of thicker, ‘main line’ wire to ready the project. But none of the local shops have more that a few dozen feet in all.

We plan to ask the electric company tomorrow if, under the circumstances, they might be able to sell us some of the cable. Otherwise, we will have to start venturing to larger cities, further away in the hopes of finding the necessary wire.

But even checking in other area cities may not be fruitful. After checking stores in a 100 mile radius, we’ve basically given up looking for big fiberglass water tanks that we had hoped to use in the drinking water upgrade. (One current tank will suffice for now.)

No deliveries thanks to the ‘Rona

Bottom line, as the hardware stores explained today, they just aren’t receiving any deliveries. And they don’t know when they will. As time passes, what they do have gets sold. As a result, items become unavailable.

Even worse, much of what is distributed in the Philippines comes from the Manila area. And COVID-19 is currently exploding again in Manila. Shutdowns, lockdowns, curfews, and quarantines are continuing; meaning the regular production and shipment of goods is completely upended.

Thankfully, our Aklan province has substantial agricultural resources – and fishing. And food deliveries have been a priority throughout the virus crisis. So even if things get worse, food supplies seem likely to remain intact. Other goods and supply chains? Who knows.

Hopefully, we will be able to procure the electric cable that we need to get the electric service started soon. We did find enough of the various pieces and parts to prepare the houses – so we’ll do that while we can. Worst case, the homeowners have to wait until COVID-19 diminishes and deliveries resume before their lights can come on.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

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Supply shortages hit Malay, Aklan

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