Windmills are often associated with Amsterdam or Don Quixote. My childhood memory of a windmill was during occasional Sundays when our family would hear mass at San Nicholas Church de Tolentino Church in Quezon City. On our way to the church, we would pass by a small windmill somewhere in Barangay Banlat. It has been the only windmill that I have seen up close since then until during our recent tour in Ilocos when I saw not just one but several gigantic windmills jutting out off the coast of Bangui in Ilocos Norte.
Officially known as the NorthWind Bangui Bay Project, it is the first Wind Farm in the Philippines. It consists of several wind turbines aligning Bangui’s shoreline facing the South China Sea. The wind farm is considered to be the biggest in Southeast Asia.
We initially thought of just dropping by the view deck located a few meters from the main road to see these engineering marvels. However, we felt that we need to get near these giant turbines for a closer view and greater appreciation.
From Maharlika highway, we followed a directional marker off the side of the road that points to Bangui Bay. After a five minute drive over narrow and uneven road, we’ve finally reached the beach where these monstrous propellers stood some a hundred meters apart from each other.
Aside from the amazing view that is not seen anywhere in country, the windmills has become a solution to the frequent power outage experienced in Ilocos Norte since the province is located at the end of the power grid coming from Bauang, La Union -a province several miles away from Ilocos Norte. As the strong wind from the sea blows unobstructed towards the beach, we realized the energy these windmills can supply as its propellers rotates continuously. More than just providing 40% of the power requirement of Ilocos Norte, this project led by the NorthWind Development Corporation has become a source of renewable energy that helps in reducing emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
The Windmills of Bangui is a strong proof that nature can be a source of perpetual and tremendous energy. Nature is also a source of relaxation and calm. This we experienced in the Beach of Pagudpod.