Thursday, May 12, 2005

Surviving the heat

This must be the hottest time of the year. The temperature readings are between 37 to 39 degrees Celsius. A lot of people are buying bottled water and ice tea. Air-conditioners sales must be up, unless of course (like me) you are in no position to do. So what to do? Go to the nearest beach or go up to Baguio City or any mountain retreat. Unfortunately if you work in Metro Manila you are doomed to stay here from Monday to Friday. By the way according to the show I watched on the Discovery Channel, it seems that cities, with its tall buildings and concrete surface are heat sinks, the city takes up heat. Anyway here are some tips on how to survive the humidity for the city-locked Filipinos. First, wear clothes and headgear made for the tropics. It always amazes me when I come across people in the Philippines wearing winter clothes and headgear. Also I am in awe whenever I see people wearing suits in this weather, granted what they are wearing might be tropical suits, sans lining, still they must feel the heat. If you go to the museum at the San Agustin Church one of the rooms on the second floor houses the old vestments and clothes worn by Spanish priests when they celebrated mass. Just looking at those clothes makes me perspire. I wonder did the some members of religious orders wear hair shirts, ugh! The irritation must have been unbearable given the nature of our tropical climes. Second, start the day early. There is some wisdom in the phrase, "Only mad dogs and Englishman go out in the mid-day sun". Or go out late in afternoon, the Insulares and Peninsulares on Intramuros used to do that. One of their favourite pastime was to promenade on beach front. But more on that later. Third, Drink water not soda. I hear that drinks like Gatorade might be effective, but just to be sure stick to water. Fourth, Eat light. Fifth, If you have to walk after nine in the morning wear a hat, personally I prefer a lighweight tropic hat, or an umbrella. Sixth, Get a haircut. I myself now sport what is commonly called semi-kalbo haircut. No hassle and you get a well-ventilated head. Seventh, Go to the shade. Get under the protection of the shade of a tree. Go work in office with a good airconditioning system, where you will be immune from present humidity. Most of my co-workers spend more time inside the office these days waiting out the Sun. One can also go to temporary sanctuaries from the heat. Beat the heat go to a mall. Or watch a movie, whatever movie might be airing. Or got the nearest Internet cafe at 30 pesos or so an hour its worth it. Eight, if you are trapped in the house with no available aircon dress lightly and activate your electric fans, yes fans more than one at least. I close this post with a passage from "Cuentos Filipinos" by Jose Montero. This was taken from one of the short stories. This particular short story was about two Spaniards - one newly arrived and the other an old hand in the colony, who seemed to have gone native. "Thats because you are not adjusted to the life in the country. In the Philippines, one does not go out during the hot hours unless he rides a coach. It costs very little to maintain one. Stay at home clad in Chinese attire, which is most comfortable to wear; take a bath every day; always have a paipai handy, and recline comfartably in the butaca. Since fresh breezes blow continually and the houses are big and well ventilated one does not feel the heat much." (Montero,2004) References: Montero, Jose V. Cuentos Filipinos. Jose Montero y Vidal; translated from the original Spanish by Renan S Prado et al; Edited by Renan S Prado, Lourdes C Brilliantes. Quezon City; ADMU School of Humanities- Department of Modern Languages 2004


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