Oops – I drank the water

Water in the Philippines is not good for visitors to drink. Heck, it isn’t always good for locals to drink! Most restaurants have filters installed so the water they serve to customers (in drinking form or in ice) is fine to drink. But after 10 days of eating at that kind of restraurant, even I can get a little lazy about asking.

Which is why I didn’t ask about the iced tea. **Sigh**

We went to a restaurant with our host – a pizza restaurant run by a couple from Switzerland. VERY good pizza! Thin, crispy crust, lots of meat, even green bell peppers which are a rarity here. A tiny bit of cheese on top, pretty good for a local place. Anyway, the choices for the drinks were Pepsi products or iced tea. I don’t care for Pepsi and nobody else had a preference, so we ordered a caraffe of iced tea for the table. It was sweet tea, which I don’t really care for so I only drank a few sips. My husband loved it and drank two glasses.

Our host forgot to ask if the water was filtered. I forgot to ask. My husband forgot to ask. So now we’re remembering how much we appreciate Imodium!  :-\

Nothing too graphic here, but a discussion about how different symptoms can be. Hubby’s hit within the hour of us leaving the restaurant, but was very short lived. Mine didn’t hit until the middle of the night, but kept me up for hours. (Remember he drank two glasses and I had only the top inch of mine? Traveler’s Tummy is not a fair ailment.)

So far that seems to be all that we’re experiencing from it. I skipped breakfast this morning, so the wife of our host came to check on me (she’s a doctor). She was very concerned, they had already figured out from what my husband told them that it was probably the iced tea. I got a lecture on remembering not to drink the water unless it was filtered, and was offered some medicine. I had already taken the Imodium, so she was pleased with that. I felt well enough to continue with our plans for the day, especially since I knew we were going to be near bathrooms.

As a cultural note, apparantly its OK to discuss the health status of visitors here! We saw the doctor a few hours into our day, and she had already told one of her coworkers about the problem. So I had to answer all the same questions from her that I did from the doctor we are staying with. I had thought it on the normal side when the doctor herself had asked all those questions (timing of those midnight bathroom runs, frequency, consistency, you get the idea), but answering them for yet another doctor when I wasn’t the one who told her I was ill was … unsettling. I had forgotten how open the Filippinos are about topics like that. Of course they would have to be, with diseases like Dengue Fever, Typhoid Fever, Hepatits A, and others making the rounds. (Remember we’re spending time in the poorer areas – squatter villages and slum areas.) I kept assuring my host that I would be fine, that I didn’t have a fever, it was only digestion, etc, but I could see a hint of all the things she was concerned about in the back of her eyes.

Sometimes it’s nice to have people who worry about you, even when you’re an adult. I’m sure if I run even a one degree fever in the next few days, she’ll pack me off to a hospital for observation.

Drinking coconut water in the Philippines
Drinking coconut water in the Philippines.

We ate lunch at a new restaurant, and our host ordered coconut water for us. It’s a young coconut, still green, and they bore a hole in the top of it for you right there. Safest water on earth. Tastes lightly sweetened, and not at all like regular coconut. And it’s naturally cool, no ice needed. The inside of the coconut has a layer that can be scooped out and eaten, too.Very good, and good for my stomach. This, along with some nicely predictable red meat and rice, and my stomach is back up to par.

And now that I’ve had my lesson, I will take steps to ensure I never forget to ask if the water is filtered again!


2 thoughts on “Oops – I drank the water

  1. […] Culture shock. I drink coke in a bag, everything is shorter than I am accustomed to including doorways, and the water is not safe to drink. At the grocery store, packages of food are sold in much smaller sizes. Many things look similar to what I expect in the United States, but then they are slightly different. In the United States, my brain does not have to work extra hard to recognize Coca-Cola, toilets, or safe drinking water. […]

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