OUTFOX in the Philippines

posted Jun 13, 2011, 9:10 AM by Todd Fox   [ updated Sep 24, 2016, 8:45 AM ]
All those that joined us in the Philippines had a great time!  The sites, people, events and everything in between were better than expected!  We loved mingling with the people, learning about the filipino culture and tasting what they had to offer!  Most of us didn't know what we were getting into, but we knew the adventure would be amazing.  We came home with a better understanding of a great culture. 
It was a challenge navigating the clean water issue, having to carry several liters with us most of the time.  In general, we were all blown away at some of the hygiene standards that were non exisitent (in comparison to Western Culture).  For example, bathrooms were worse than expected in that they were rarely maintained, lacked clean water and were used my hundreds of people.  Their flushing and clean up areas were a nightmare.  We lived with hand sanitizer at our fingertips.
They had a mandatory power shut down in most areas which was a cause of concern for perishable food handling.  We had to be very selective with the meals that were ordered since meats, cheeses, and other items were not refridgerated consistently.  We only saw a few rats but saw traces of where there were colonies present. Diseases and illnesses received on our trip are yet to be determined :0.
Each group member was/is on Malaria prevention medication but that did not stop us from loading up on deet bug spray!  Despite our efforts to avoid bug bites, I still ended up with 30 as well as other group members.  It is yet to be determined if we were able to successfully avoid any major issues.  The squatter villages over water areas were also a main concern as we traveled around them.  Trash, feces and you name it were scattered below the hovering huts in several areas we visited.  It was a perfect place for bugs, bacteria and viruses to thrive!
The market area revealed hundreds of kids roaming around without supervision.  We saw a group of 5-7 year olds sharing a few cigarettes and playing money games in the street.  Just down the street we saw an infant that was naked sitting in a dirt and garbage area.  It made me wonder what the survival rate and average life age is in the Philippines...
Overall, the experience in the Philippines was an awakening for how important it is to teach hygiene from the beginning of a child's life.  The school systems seemed to be decently organized but we were not able to witness a classroom or investigate their curriculum.  If hygiene was better taught in schools, there would be a greater awareness of ways to stay healthy.  A hygiene movement could help reduce the amount of deaths and sicknesses caused by low hygiene standards.

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