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Friday, December 12, 2008

Lifestyle Changes Living in the Philippines

Living here in the Philippines there are many things you do and accept that you would never accept in America. There are many lifestyle changes too. Over the next few articles I will give my views and feelings about these differences.

In your home country, you have lifestyles and attitudes that once you’re here, you find change. The way you live, interact and views on things are very different.

One of the things I am slowly learning adjust about is the insects and rodents. In the States, there are standard ways to keep these pests under control. Drainage is underground, trash and garbage is put in containers and picked up. People are conscience of littering and there are laws to discourage throwing food waste and litter out on the streets. And people while walking and eating a snack will try to thorw garbage in a container.

Here, there are people and a lot of kids will just drop their trash where ever they are. I have seen kids eating corn on the cob and when finished just drop it on the sidewalk as they continue there walking.

Also here in the Philippines toilets go into septic systems but the rest of the water waste from sinks and showers are discharged into trenches or canals along the streets. These canals run along the roads to eventually meet up with a larger canal. Where this water ends up I am not sure. There are a few problems with this; some roads have deep concrete canals that are not covered. The sides are lever with the road. I am sure, especially on a rainy night, cars will get a wheel stuck in these. I find myself very cautious making a U-turn or parking that I do not get stuck. Also because of dirt, garbage or refuse falling into the canals they get blocked. Then the water will build up and run into the streets. The newer sub-divisions have these canals covered so the streets are concrete and go from curb to curb. But these are just in the better and newer areas.

With all this open and most times standing water, it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a food source for roaches and rodents.

When I first moved here I was constantly scratching those itchy bumps on my arms, legs and most other places. I thought the mosquitoes put the word out for a new cuisine in the neighborhood, American. At nights those little pests fly in and look for anybody to dig their little nose in and drink your blood. Over time, maybe because of diet change, I am not attacked as much. But they are still flying around. Here there is also the species that carry dengue fever. These mosquitoes are out during the daytime as I have heard.



Another problem to get used to are the ants.

From the web I found this information . There are 394 ant species known from the Philippines. Many areas remain to be sampled, and the total number of species is estimated to be closer to 1,000.
From what I have seen, there are many types from real big to some so small they are hard to see. There are black ones, red ones and some that are white and are either spiders or ants but act like ants to I will mention them too.
In America if you see ants in your home you get out the sprays or call the exterminator. Here, unless they are in your food or on your bed, you usually spray a little and hope they just leave.
You will see ants everywhere. One person has mentioned if you see ants on fruits, you will know these are the sweetest of the group. If you look up you will see ants along the tree limbs, along the gutters of the house. You will see them on walls and along the ground. They are everywhere.
I have found using the product Terro works since it kills the nest instead of just killing on contact. Terro is like food to them and they are attracted to it and send the word back to the nest there is a feast. For a day you or so you will see more ants than you thought there could be. They are eating and bringing it back to the nest. Then the whole nest will die. Unfortunately latter you find another family has moved into the old nest and decide to torment you again. Black ants die faster. The red ants will feast for days until the nest dies.

You can make your own with Boric Acid, sugar and water and I am sure you can find the recipe on the net.

On my next post I will continue this discussion. I welcome your comments and/thoughts on this subject

10 comments:

rick bowden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rick bowden said...

Hi Bruce

Left a previous comment that had so many spelling mistakes, even me i was ashamed and i don't shame easily. Deleted it and starting again it went something like this....

Bites, those mozzies, they do like new blood don't they, never heard an explanation about why that is?

Drains, like you say they go from local drainage channels to water courses and outlets to the sea. Its not what we do at home but as we both know this is a long way from our home but it seems the only practical way here, not qualified to comment on the health aspects of this.

Ants, bloody ants, i kill as many as i can and let them take their revenge knowing they will get me and everyone else in time.

Good topic here Bruce, best regards

Bruce said...

Rick,
Thanks again for the comment, but even with corrected, it could use some translations into American. (joking)
Look for more about roaches and rats.

Take care

James Mangubat said...

Hi Bruce,

Sorry 'bout that. :) Thanks for dropping by my blogsite. I am not good at blogging. Barely started years ago, but I'll do my best read-worthy from now on :) I hope you'll drop by some other time and know what you think.

Regarding your present problem, the pests, best thing to do i think is put a screen on your windows and always carry along an insect repellant. Especially when with children. The least you can do with mosquitos and other flying insects.

My Lola (grandmother), used to smoke the whole house during dusky afternoon with a burned coconut husks and lemon leaves. Filipino age old insect repelant. Typical of us in the provincial homes. Though not good for astmathics and allergies. :D

James Mangubat said...

As for the other problems like the drainage system, garbage disposals, etc. While there are a lot of residents doing their best to make it better. There are also lots of people who just don't care and won't cooperate. I'm ashamed and wished they will understand the importance of sanitary discipline. I always wanted to see my town to be the best place to stay when me & my family come back for good. After all there's no place like home. Even if yours have mountains of problems to solve yet.

Bruce said...

James,
Thanks again for visiting and commenting. About screens, it is difficult with current house but next one, it will be a priority.
About waste, I realize the way the city is designed it would be impossible to put in sewers and how do you change the mindset and habits of a nation.

BrSpiritus said...

Rick is right, the canals drain into either the Davao River or the sea. I can show you within a short walk from my place one of the outlets into the river. Not too healthy and explais why swimming anywhere on the Davao side of the bay is not a good idea. My theory on the Mosquitos is that the American diet is richer in protein and sugars so our blood tastes better to them. They are drawn by the ammonia in our sweat so the more meat you eat the more ammonia you produce. Once we change our diets and eat a more balaced diet we're not as appetizing to them. I found after I had Dengue that they leave me alone now. Dengue is not as much of a problem here as in Cebu. The canals here are mostly sloped properly to make good drainage and running water. If you think trash is a problem here take a trip to Cebu, it's 20x worse there. At least here we have Cenro picking up the trash.

rick bowden said...

Yes Bruce, i can not translate from english into american, anyway you will be educated in time (joke back from me)

BrSpiritus makes a good point i never hear before about the "greed" mozzies have for new blood, thanks for that, good theory

davaobase.com said...

Hey Bruce,


I've been a resident of Davao City since I was a kid. I guess these unsightly things will just grow on you. After all, once you get past the mosquito bites, ant stings and drains that go someplace you don't want to know, you'll begin to appreciate the beauty of this city.

Bruce said...

DavaoBase,
Thanks for reading and commenting.

I am getting used to the bad parts and looking and acknowledging the beauty. To me the best part is the people and beautiful women.