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Taking a bath in the Philippines

Nowhere is the positive Filipino spirit more demonstrated than when there is interruption of basic services. Like for example: water disruption. A service that’s basic as that, can drive many people insane if its availability is intermittent and unannounced—it certainly would on me. But my family here has taught me to be resilient—to deal with it—and not get stressed out about things not going according my way; for example, like wanting to take a bath after a very hot and humid day and finding out that there’s no water flowing out from the faucets.

We have water and electricity cuts every now and then (ok, more often than I’d like). But back in Finland this would be “disaster”; but here in the Philippines, people just take it in stride. They just adapt to whatever situation they are facing.

If there’s no water, they go and search for alternative water sources; like the rivers (if you happen to live close to one), or in our case, a nearby freshwater well. While many of our neighbours use this well as their primary water source, for us, we only make use of it in times of unexpected water disruption for whatever reason (or after a calamity like Typhoon Haiyan).

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Like that time in the video below. We’ve had no running water for more than 2 days already because the source pipe was being repaired. Luckily, the water cooperative announced beforehand that while they were going to cut the water flow for repairs, they gave consumers a few hours to stock water. So we were able to fill all available containers with water; but still not enough to last more than 2 days for a household of 7 and 4 dogs.

Here at our neighbor’s freshwater well, the kids showed me how to fetch water using a modified plastic bucket. It’s a good way to exercise too. This is a very common way of taking a bath in the Philippines.

I witness situations like these on the streets all the time. People taking a bath on nearby wells or water faucets. Since many people don’t have running water in their houses, these public water sources serve as kitchen, bathroom, and laundry station at the same time.

I’ve noticed one thing very quickly after I arrived in the Philippines for the first time: people here are very clean. Clean, as in freshly showered. It doesn’t matter how basic their living conditions are, most people always smell like soap and shampoo when they walk by me. (I haven’t witnessed this phenomena that frequently back in Europe, to be quite honest.)

This only shows that water cuts—and they occur very often here—is not an excuse for people to stop their daily activities or lower their personal hygiene standards. You just deal with whatever is there, and of course, with a smile.

6 comments

  1. If only the government can complement this good hygienic practice of the people by providing proper garbage disposal system, decent infrastructure, excellent road beautification and comprehensive zoning system, we could have been at par with some developed countries.

    If only….. (sigh)

      1. Chicken and egg situation….The government is formed to educate the masses…to lead/guide the people.

        But anyway, the most desperate way of solving this problem is:

        1.) Improve the qualification requirements for those who want to apply for public office. For national posts, should have at least considerable years of experience as clean public official and should have at least a couple of big achievement, not just renaming the roads/street.

        2.) Increase the severity of punishment of those erring officials. Presidential pardon should not apply to them.

        3.) Educate the masses about how to properly chose the right candidate, through seminars. Continuous reminder to the masses about how to vote wisely should be broadcasted through different media.

        Unless the people will become politically mature, I believe that progress will be very very slow to come.

        Or perhaps, Filipinos are not really meant to have universal suffrage.

        My two cents… 😀

        1. You have some very good points there Kulafu. It is indeed a chicken and egg situation, but like any other nation in the world, the situation has to mature in its own time. Sadly this can take time. But with the internet as a new information source, the citizens will be more informed and have a chance to see over the fence and hopefully will be inspired to effect change.

          1. Indeed, social networking can indeed help the masses getting informed. I just hope that more and more Pinoy will get informed and gradually become politically mature.

            I hope it will come in my lifetime.

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