Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Public Toilets...A Disaster in the Philippines

After experiencing a slice of life in some First World nations, I must say that I have grown to appreciate more what I have in the Philippines like the fair weather I enjoy almost every day, fresh seafood, a variety of colors for 12 months, youthful-looking skin, more approachable people, and lighter clothes to name a few. However, I am still disgusted with the deplorable state of our public toilets. Being a Third World nation should not be an excuse for having such vomit-inducing washrooms, especially since the government has been trying to win over tourists who prefer Thailand over the Philippines.
When I was abroad, I would seldom have much of a problem if I suddenly get a bout of loose bowel movement ( LBM) or needed to pee. The toilets were usually clean and there was an available roll of toilet paper for public use. Usually, I saw several rolls of tissue inside one cubicle. Running water was also existent and toilets could be flushed. Of course, there was also the complimentary liquid soap, paper towels and hand dryer. Trains also had toilets that I could use with ease. Sometimes, I needed to pay a bit to use a public toilet in Europe but it was a small price to pay for being able to use a clean toilet to relieve myself.
That is not the case in the Philippines. The most decent public toilets available are usually situated inside five-star hotels and posh restaurants, which are shunned by the masses. Some respectable places do maintain clean washrooms but in other venues, people will encounter several problems. One major problem is the lack of running water so toilets cannot be flushed. Another one is the lack of toilet paper. Sometimes one can find liquid soap, but more often than not, this necessity is unavailable. I can accept the lack of paper towels or hand dryers, and even the lack of liquid soap. I just have an issue with the lack of water in a country surrounded by water, albeit saltwater. No wonder public toilets in the Philippines generally stink!
Unclean toilets seem to be one of those perennial problems in this country. Most government buildings have no decent toilet. Heck, most buildings in the cities have a problem with running water so this affects the washrooms. Even most schools do not have decent toilets, unless they are the private schools for the rich. It is even worse in the provinces...uggh! I cringe at the thought of my own out-of-town experiences.
Never mind the fact that toilets in the Philippines are outmoded. What is important is that it is relatively clean. But with the city-wide (not to mention nationwide) water problem, I doubt if public toilets can be truly maintained. There are some places that charge people a few pesos to use a semi-decent public toilet. The payment goes to the maintenance of the toilets. However, unlike in Europe, this is more of an exception than the rule. Hence, public restrooms that can be used for free will usually give you an eyeful of poo and concentrated pee, and the stench of a pigsty (Yuck!) Yes, people actually have toilets at their disposal but they should be ready to be grossed out.
Though it would be a dream come true for me when the Philippines finally has decent public toilets, I just have this gut feeling that I would probably not witness it in my lifetime. I don't know. I just get this feeling that both civilians and the government couldn't care less.


Anonymous said...

Pee and Poo is heavenly intoxicating... people should learn to appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I am British born Filippino. I was in the Philippines not so long ago. Urgh toilets are nasty!! Whole entire place needs a revamp. Im off to Thailand soon, I hear lots of positive stuff about Thailand.