Monday, February 23, 2009

Someday Soon!

Many people are asking if we will ever finish the Phoenix Gas Station. The short answer is YES.

It would take a lot out of me to explain all the complex things that have happened over the past few months. But to help quite down the rumors, let me just say paperwork was a much larger hurdle for me to leap than I first thought. Even the land where we will be putting the Gas Station was a problem. That land was in fact owned by a wonderful gentleman of the community, but it was under protest by an official that only had his own bank account in mind, not the good of the community.

The truth about the land was easily discovered by a trip to the Regional Office of the DENR. And for any in this area, you should take that trip yourself if you have any dealings with the official I mentioned.

My wife and I spent many hours talking to the owner, explaining what we would like to see in the community, and what we believed could be done to improve the economic conditions in the area. We have always believed that the community needed jobs for its citizens; a place to work, where a salary could give a family much needed support in very trying times. And much more than this, a business site that the community could feel pride in, a showcase for the area. That is the reason for choosing Phoenix, a mythical bird which near the end of its life - builds itself a nest of myrrh twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. In our mind St. Christine could rise out of the ashes of the Lianga Bay Logging Company and be reborn, to live again and become what my wife’s family loved about their community. Our plans are to have a beautifully landscaped area where people will enjoy stopping by to fill their tanks. With a play yard for children, so on those long rides mom and dad can let the kids take a break from the car and just play a while. A comfortable stop for people to sit down and have a snack, with shaded tables, a friendly place to remember when the trip is over.

The owner out of kindness to us and their community decided on a plan that would GIVE a small portion of the 2.1 Hectares to us for the Gas Station to improve the community under the condition that we agree to hire people from the local community first. Then the Barangay would be given the largest portion, under the agreement that they would build, at some point, a Barangay Public Market on it and that we would help with the financing when that started. The remaining portion would remain with the family. Under the agreement the Barangay would lift the 16 year old protest.

All seemed to be going good until certain people wanted to get their hands involved. It took much longer to get the paperwork complete so we could submit everything to the Phoenix Company for their approval. So we convinced the company to come here without all the paperwork and they were convinced that we had indeed picked the perfect location. Many times since they have called to check on our progress, and have invited us to meetings, parties, and conferences. Phoenix is a community loving company; they give back to the community and go out of their way to fit in, a lot like this American.

Most of the struggles have now ended, and as you can see from the picture; some moves are underway. At times we have had to put the filling on hold while we concentrated our efforts on other projects like the Mini-Sawmill which will be employing 16 residents when it opens. And of course I had a little driving problem in January, but all this is just minor and will in no way stop what we are doing. We believe in our community and we will keep working as hard as we can to achieve our goal of helping our friends.

More to come later, but we hope that this helps some of you understand where we are and where we intend to go. Please keep us in your prayers and give us time to finish what we believe will be something everyone will be proud of in this community.

Mark and Merejen

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for keeping the faith to improve st. christine. Gas station is good business. But since the place is banking on fishing it is wise i guess to put up a facility that will keep the fishcatch fresh.

    I mean, an ice plant is a lot better or any post catch facility will do. It could be a fish processing plant? right?

    Anyway, this is just an insight. try to look at the entire Lianga Bay, it is a place where eco tourism could flourish. food supply facilities are in place, who knows Shangri-La chain of Hotels might be lured to put up one.

    Lianga has its flora and fauna beauty that could attract tourists.

    tha's only for now more to come.


Please feel free to express any opinions about our businesses here or the way we deal with our neighbors. We will try our best to respond to all who make comments if you include an email address.

We are trying our best to support our community in every way we can. Sometimes we face struggles, which interferes with our timetable, but we can only do so much. Please be patient with us, we are doing the best we can.