Last May I complained about the heat, and after thinking, man it's still hot, (but nowhere as near as bad as May and June!!) I should share the secret tips of appearing "refreshed." I remember another volunteer, back when we first got to site, was so proud when one of her co-teachers told her she looked "refreshed" when she returned to school after the lunch break. And I must agree, aside from hearing you have mastered "Philippine hospitality" and "You're so sexy Ma'am," it is one of the best compliments you can get.
So here they are, the major things I've learned about how to stay alive during the heat:
1. Umbrella ALL the time. Rain is obvious, but sun is just as big. I constantly get the "where is your payong?" question, and many people won't accept my "I want a tan," reply. I'll be honest, I use an umbrella WAY more now.
2. Dishtowel down the back. I hated this at first. My host mom would stuff a towel down my back, as all moms do here (quite forcefully!) to absorb the sweat and keep your shirt dry. Now, it's not such a big deal. It really does keep you from having to change your shirt 10 times a day, thus saving you from washing 9 unnecessary shirts!
3. Baby powder. Baby powder is a girl's best friend. You just gotta use it, in the morning, mid-morning, after lunch, before bed, it's with you all the time. One of my friends also showed me how you can sprinkle it on underwear and bras to help absorb sweat... lovely right? Whatever, it works.
4. Fans. electric or hand, both rock the party. I don't leave my house without a hand fan. It's multipurpose also, seconding as a fantastic back scratcher and pointer for class. I can't imagine getting through a class without having my fan in my hand to make a breeze.
5. Hanky. I always thought they were dorky when I was younger... silly me. They're awesome.
6. Shower time 3 times a day. It's not questionable to shower in the morning, during lunch break, and before bed. It's a necessity.
7. Shade. God made trees for a reason, and if you cut one down, you obviously don't have to stay outside for extended periods of time. One a side note, since I've been here, I've begun to wonder why people plant trees that don't bear fruit? Shade and fruit are 2 of my most favorite things.
8. Pot-Pot. It's a bicycle taxi that I used to avoid cause I thought they were a waste of money. Again, time has changed me though. That extra ounce of sweat it saves is worth the five pesos.
9. High quality H2O. I actually used to complain about drinking plain water. Can you believe that?! I would say I "didn't like the taste." Oh man, major eye roll on my behalf, right now, as you read this. I can pack in 4-5 liters a day now in the summer time.
aaaaand, #10, and arguably the most important one:
Halo Halo. I will do a blog about the amazingness of this sweet treat another time. But for now know this, nothing is better than shaved ice and condensed milk.