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  • Name: New Salt, water light and solar powered led lanterns come to your life
  • No.: water light

A possible power shortage coming in the summer of 2015 has been grabbing the headlines in the Philippines this year.

But this is not news for millions of poor Filipino families off-grid: they have been living without electricity. For them, life stops after dark. They close stores early and make sure to be home before sunset. The night is just for sleeping. Besides, Typhoon and tsunami, which damage the electric power always. So Lighting up their homes takes a lot of effort. They need to cut wood to create fire, or walk long hours to the nearest town to buy fuel for their lamps.

Aisa Mijeno witnessed this first hand when she lived with the Butbut tribe in Buscalan, Kalinga during an immersion in 2011. “People did not have access to electricity and had to walk 12 hours to reach Bontoc, a town about 50 kilometres away, to get kerosene for their fuel-based lamps,” she shares in an interview with Tech in Asia.

Mijeno, an engineer who has engaged in social work, says her experience in Kalinga became her motivation in creating an alternative lighting system that many wouldn’t even think possible. The lighting system doesn’t require electricity, batteries or even fuel to run. All it needs are two basic and natural things: salt and water.

Mijeno had worked in the IT industry until 2008, when she quit to pursue her desire to do volunteer work. She applied for the position of direct dialogue campaigner (DDC) at non-government organization Greenpeace Philippines and lived off her savings. At Greenpeace, she was exposed to the living conditions of poor families in rural areas.


Luckily in 2013, incubator Ideaspace Foundation held a technopreneurship bootcamp in De La Salle-Lipa as part of a nationwide call for entries in its annual startup competition. With the help of Ideaspace, which provided them funding and “soft support,” Mijeno and her brother Raphael created their startup SALt or Sustainable Alternative Lighting.

“Lack of electricity also persists in other countries like Indonesia (63 million of its population), Myanmar (26 million), Cambodia (10 million), Thailand (eight million), Vietnam (two million), Lao PDR (2.2 million), and Malaysia (200,000). We are hoping that they see value in our product,” she says.

Their lamp now costs US$35 (PHP1,570) – which is quite high for a poor family who often must prioritize food over anything else. The lamp has a shelf life of 10 to 11 years depending on the LED bulb, but it need cost USD3-4 for anode and cathode each 6 months


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