5 things: handbag essentials for the Philippines

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We haven’t really sat still since we’ve been here and I feel like I’m constantly packing and repacking my bags. We have traveled to some remote and not so remote places and I have noticed a pattern in the things that I need to carry with me.

So here are 5 things that I have learned to never take out of my bag for anyone traveling to the Philippines or South-East Asia for the first time:

1. Tissue Paper (especially if you are female): In Asia, the sewage system and pipe work is small and not as developed as in Western countries. Hence, why you will see signs to not throw any tissue paper or waste down the toilet; because if you do a nasty blockage could soon follow. I’m not sure if this is the reason most toilets (a.k.a ‘comfort room’ or ‘CR’ in the Philippines) don’t provide toilet paper or if it’s just an extra cost, but to maintain your comfort throughout the day make sure you BYO toilet paper or tissue paper.

2. Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer: for the similar reasons as above but also to ensure you don’t catch any nasty bugs. Unless you are in a mall or hotel, most bathrooms don’t have any soap, and sometimes you’d be lucky to have running water! I carry Thank You Hand Sanitiser and Organic Clean Natural Hand Sanitiser.

3. Sunglasses: the sun is bright and quite glarey (is that even a word?!) in the Philippines, so to make sure you’re not squinting all the time, pop a pair of sunglasses in your bag. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Sunnies Studios (I won’t tell you how many pairs I have 🙂 ).

4. Sunscreen: as I mentioned above, the sun here is HOT. After just over two months here, I have a bunch of new freckles on my face. The SPF 15+ in my normal face moisturiser wasn’t cutting it, so now I put an extra layer of sunscreen on so I won’t look like a chocolate chip cookie when I get go back to Australia. I use local natural Filipino brand, Human Heart Nature Safeblock Sunscreen.

5. Snacks: not just because they are cheap and plentiful here 🙂 But after you have been gallivanting and exploring in the hot sun for a few hours you will feel hungry and by the time you find a restaurant and order some food, another hour or so will have passed (our experience, anyway).

Is there anything else that you always carry with you when you travel?