Question about food and water

OK, I know that I can't drink water from the tap and that even with other water my stomach probably can't handle water that a local's stomach can handle. But, a few questions for those of you living in the Philippines a long time:


  1. If the water is dangerous, do you also avoid eating ice-creams and drinking juices from roadside vendors? They could all include water that a foreigner's stomach can't handle, right? I guess coconut water direct from a freshly opened coconut is okay. Any other such drinks that are 100% safe?
  2. I've lived in India for years, a long time ago, and got acclimatised to the local water. What about you in the Philippines? Do you now drink local (unbottled) water and how long did it take you to adapt to it?
  3. Roadside foods: Ok, stuff like balut is, er, an acquired taste, but it's likely to be safe (from a bacteria point of view). What type of roadside foods would you avoid (purely on grounds of health / contamination, not from the disgust factor)? 
  4. Can you trust ALL bottled water?

The water quality in our condo in Boracay is near drinking water. I use it for ice and in the bathroom. I never got an issue with any bottled water.


The food is quite safe to eat. It is a matter of taste. I prefer the food from restaurants but my wife eats the balut and fish too.

Great question. My wife won't let me drink the water at restaurants and always orders bottled water. I trust her judgement and don't think I will attempt to be like the Filipinos when it comes to the H2O, the growing pains might not be pretty!

Tap water is chloride here for obvious reasons. But I have used it here in Cebu City for brushing my teeth for 10 years and never had a problem.


Drinking Water from the Gallons is usually manufactured by the most used technique and millions of people drink it daily without having issues. So why should you have any?

do not drink any mango shakes or any blended shakes anywhere (even Halo Halo)....because they are normally made with ice from tap water, same for coke in a restaurant, order "no ice", same in a bar for any drink with ice...not safe for me....4 days St Luke's Hospital....I may be different .....my stomach is very sensitive......I am SOOO careful now......

No ice, yeah good point @attykroll


@GoetzPhil, I'm assuming any genuine bottled water is safe. My question was, I guess, about whether there is any bottled water around that was, er, bottled by some enterprising local using tap water and resealing the bottle. ;)


@bhphill44, thanks, yes, that's a good tip to avoid water in restaurants unless it comes in a sealed bottle.


@Andy_1963, thanks for that input.

I do use tap water when making my coffee, maybe you say What?


Paul Harvey: Now for the rest of the story, I use an electric percolator.

I've never had a problem drinking any bottled water. Today is my 2 year anniversary living in the Philippines and the only thing that has made me sick is sweet potato tops. I had a hankering for a mess of greens so I bought a bunch of the leaves, the ones that have a red tint. Nanay cooked them up and I ate a plate full and was very ill with diarrhea and stomach craps for about a week. My wife only ate half as much and was only half as sick.


CtUyPX.jpg

Interesting topic, I would also like to know if it or how it effects Ex Pats living over there if they return to their home country for any period of time and how it effects those of us who just vacation there for a few weeks or months.


I have never avoided the shakes or the water served with meals in the restaurants but do try use bottled water to clean my teeth and I have not suffered by doing this. I do notice though that for about the first 3 days, my body goes through a sort of adaptation period. No problems with sleeping but my normal bodily functions are out of sync and it takes a few days to adapt,

To the OP Joe. Suck it and see. Like others here knocking around for a long time and never been crook/ill from food/water in all my travels around this country nor others around the world, perhaps I have a cast iron gut?

We have well water here that is slightly contaminated with E.coli/coliforms and High mineral content, we shower, clean teeth, wash dishes and clothes and I never had a problem, nor the better half in 4 plus years living in our paradise. We do buy drinking water for consumption and cooking and at 25 pesos for 5 gallons delivered costs us less than 100 pesos per week,,,,, for drinking, Ice and cooking. Cheap, Yes I had the refill station checked out with the lab that did our well water testing, no problems and surveyed every 3 to 4 weeks as per DOH law.


Not trying to be out of line here but we had another member on another site how do we wash cutlery/dishes to be safe, washing clothes and showering was another of his worries, I suggested he harden up or stay where he is with what he knows,

Philippines is fine.


OMO.


Cheers, Steve.


Food? We eat in mum and dad stores, take aways from the local night market as well as fish and meat from our local market,,,,, never an issue, As for Ballute I tried once in Palawan 13 years ago and didn't like, My better half has had 2 bad gastro experiences eating that cr@p and now won't eat, stay away from Ballute.

@Cherryann01


my normal bodily functions are out of sync and it takes a few days to adapt,


Does that mean you cannot have intimate relations with your GF?

No it means I don't go for a poo for 3 days then the next day I go and go and then, problem solved. So morning of day 4 with any G/F could be tricky

No it means I don't go for a poo for 3 days then the next day I go and go and then, problem solved. So morning of day 4 with any G/F could be tricky
-@Cherryann01


I see. So to pinch Steve's phrase it would be another case of 'Sextus Interruptus' but without the Police involved.

No it means I don't go for a poo for 3 days then the next day I go and go and then, problem solved. So morning of day 4 with any G/F could be tricky
-@Cherryann01

I see. So to pinch Steve's phrase it would be another case of 'Sextus Interruptus' but without the Police involved.
-@Lotus Eater

Yes but not for the first 3 days, no discomfort and sometimes it only lasts 2 or 3 days

@JustCallMeJoe

I just came back from the Philippines on vacation. Definitely avoid tap water, even the locals said not to drink it. The first week I was fine. Went to Bohol and enjoyed. Then went back to my own condo in Manila to work on it for a couple of days. Most of the time I was rushing so I ate meals mostly at Jollibee. The day I'm heading to Boracay on second week of vacation, my stomach was aching. I started loose bowels. I bought some immodium pills which rescued my vacation. I decided to watch what I drink. I had three baluts in Bohol and I was fine. I had two taho in Boracay and I was fine too. It must be something at Jollibee. The spaghetti, because I was drinking bottled soda.

@rr tds


When the proverbial 'Delhi Belly' hits we look for a specific reason. It is often a simple case of the change of diet when we go abroad and sometimes your stomach lining takes a while to adapt. Moreover many visitors & expats (not all) tend to drink more alcohol which actually reduces the capacity of the stomach to process the food. I'm guilty on the alcohol side but tend to stick with San Miguel light which has always served me well in the hot sticky climate of the Philippines. Of course you can never discount food poisoning but that usually manifests itself out of two of the orifices instead of one.

            We have Filipinas here in PA who drive across the bridge to NJ to eat at Jollibee.  I would not walk across the street to eat at Jollibee even if some one else were buying.

Here in rural Luzon, those who can afford it use a water delivery service.  These small businesses (water purification shops) are regularly checked.  Cost is minimal.  We spend $6-7 per month, as noted earlier p25 for 5 gallons.  We have our own jugs and the young men drop off and pick up regularly by kolong-kolong.


Roadside food is generally unappealing, compared to my wife's cooking.  We seldom stop at small, unknown shops when we are out and about.  There are PH chains like Andok's, Mang Inasal that we trust, and all the American brands -- McDoo, KFC, Burger King -- and Jollibee too.


Locally, we know the restaurants and the owners too, generally.  There is a wide range of choices from a very local ihaw-ihaw (roadside brazier) to almost Western sit-down restaurants.


Only problem I have is asawa ko.  She prefers to buy fresh at the palengke and cook every meal!  Most days we have three hot meals.  She was OFW for twenty years, so "She can cook in five languages."  No kidding.  The best bolognese I've ever had.  The best meatballs I've ever had.  She makes ... OK ... don't get me started on this -- I'm off topic!


I shower, brush teeth, wash dishes, etc., with our tap water / well water.  It has an iron taste to me, but never been sick from it.  We do use the water service as do all who can afford it.  YMMV as some are more sensitive than others.  I think being cautious is good, fearful is bad.  Around here, no one is getting sick from the water.

This is where we buy our beef.


https://youtu.be/IpZwaCnCugQ

@Moon Dog yea, Filipino beef is fine for grinding up into ground beef. And that's all. The wet market here we only buy fresh ground today. We know the meat shop owner well because they buy all of our fattened pigs for slaughter. So they at least tell us when it's fresh ground that day. But basically, the beef sucks there too. Tenderloin? You call that a tenderloin? lol (I used to buy whole tenderloins, PRIME QUALITY, at Costco in the US, trim and cut into steaks in my truck and freeze for cooking on the truck).


I went to Cebu City Saturday and bought meat at Landers. Even there, if you want any type of quality at all you have to know what to pick. They have highly overpriced US beef that wouldn't pass for anything more than USDA  Select grade in the states. But if you look hard, you may find 1-2 steaks that are ok. The Brazilian beef is generally too lean, not enough marbling to be tender. But that ground beef is very good. I had a hankering to make an old fashioned beef stew. I found some meaty short ribs that I could easily trim into stew meat and use the bones as part of the stock. Bought two cans of US beef stock for the base. I scored a 10/10 yesterday when I cooked up the batch of it. Today the leftovers heated up over rice. Yum good.

@Larry Fisher She buys about 5 kilos of the lean stuff and has it ground then pats out 40 or so patties for the freezer. It wouldn't hurt to add a bit of pork since they are a little dry, but I like them. We have burgers on the grill about once every 2 weeks so it lasts a while.


She has the guy thin cut or butterfly the tenderloin. Tatay stews it up with some onions in what they call beef steak and it cooks up tender and fit to eat. It might make a decent Philly cheese steak if you could get some actual cheese and the right rolls and onions.

Roadside food is generally unappealing, compared to my wife's cooking. -@NN3M/DU3


I'm guessing I won't have access to your wife's lovely cooking when I'm there! ;)


asawa ko, palengke, OFW - I've got a lot of new words to learn, LOL.

@Moon Dog *IF*

@Moondog and @LarryFisher, it sounds like you guys are missing food from back home.


MoonDog, one thing I noticed in your video - there aren't a lot of flies despite there being so much meat around and that being such a hot country. Or am I mistaken.


Here in the UK, I open the windows in summer and I ended up with hordes of flies buzzing around (and I don't even have raw meat on offer for them). To make it worse, they are particularly thick flies. They know how to get in but keep buzzing around the glass unable to find their way out!

             I agree, Philippines is a good place to not eat meat.  I stick with seafood and beans for proteins.

@JustCallMeJoe We don't have a lot of flies for some reason, or a lot of mosquitoes. The meat merchants have the rotating thing that keeps the flies we do have away.


We had burgers on the grill this evening which were basically made from ground round roast, no fat. It is OK for me, I'm not a picky eater, but the burgers would probably grill better and not break up so easily with a little fat. I suggested next time she buys 5 kilos of lean beef to add 1 kilo of pork. That's what I used to do with venison and it worked.

@Moondog and @LarryFisher, it sounds like you guys are missing food from back home.
MoonDog, one thing I noticed in your video - there aren't a lot of flies despite there being so much meat around and that being such a hot country. Or am I mistaken.

Here in the UK, I open the windows in summer and I ended up with hordes of flies buzzing around (and I don't even have raw meat on offer for them). To make it worse, they are particularly thick flies. They know how to get in but keep buzzing around the glass unable to find their way out!
-@JustCallMeJoe

The only meat/cut of meat I can remember having in the Philippines that was of good quality and similar if not the same as what I can get in the UK was Lamb Chops. I had these on 2 occasions, the one I remember being at the restaurant in the XYZ Hotel in Tacloban (upstairs by the pool and not the downstairs restaurant).  This was around 2018/2019 and the chops also came with a good mint sauce.

Depends on source...

Quality of tap/well water depends on where you are located at or traveling to, here in Cavite Mendez/Indang area everyone with a deep well has drinkable water, me and family have been drinking from our well for 8 years as everyone else in our barangay, I believe higher elevations with deeper wells are ok like Tagaytay and Baguio etc but in metro and other condensed areas only treated bottled water for us...we have a second house at the beach in Nasugbu and well water is foul, Wells are maybe

10-15 feet deep, any deeper and it will be salt water so when we are there it's only bottled water for us but bathing, washing & cleaning seems to be okay,

as for street foods it's the same, hit or miss thing, sometimes I'm ok other times I get cramps so I learned to mostly stay away from those and stick to restaurants or home cooking... never had a problem with ice for drinks anywhere

@Cherryann01


Lamb chops in the Philippines? My favourite on the BBQ or a leg of lamb in the oven, trouble is I have never seen lamb for sale here in supermarkets nor restaurants, perhaps I need to get out a bit more.


Cheers, Steve.

If you ever visit Tagaytay there are a couple restaurants here with lamb as a main dish, probably in BGC too...


Off the top Antonio's and Marcia Adams, Tagaytay


Also a few online ordering for cooking at home...


https://mrsgarcias.com.ph/products/lamb-chops

@Cherryann01
Lamb chops in the Philippines? My favourite on the BBQ or a leg of lamb in the oven, trouble is I have never seen lamb for sale here in supermarkets nor restaurants, perhaps I need to get out a bit more.

Cheers, Steve.
-@bigpearl

Out of interest I have just had a look at the menu for the XYZ Hotel and it is very extensive. Some lovely looking Sushi, Thai, Malaysian dishes and also Rib Eye and BBQ Ribs and a good veggie option also. They also have Vietnamese Pho and some nice looking fish dishes including Salmon.

I generally spend 3-6 months in the PI each year, for almost 10 years now. Only once have I ever gotten sick, and that was from a plate of roasted veggies at the Marco Polo, of all places. It was room service, though, which I rarely do. Sick for a day and a half.


Other than that no issues, although she doesn't let me eat street food. But we eat out pretty regularly, in decent restaurants, and I almost always have a mango or banana shake. Same at resorts all over the PI. We do always drink bottled water at home (5 gal, delivered) although I cook and brush my teeth with tap water, which is from the municipal system. My coffee is made from bottled water, haha.


Wells are where you will run into more problems I think, due to the proximity and lax regulations of septic systems.

OMG I would love to get a whole leg of lamb. We don't have an oven. Just a little toaster oven with rotisserie. But I would cut that leg up and make 10 meals worth (or more) of lamb stew! I am planning on building a smoker/offset oven/grill in the future, so roasting is in our future.


Lamb chops CAN be found! I forgot to look Saturday when I was at Landers, but when I was there earlier in the month I found some decent lamb chops. Not great, but decent. The flavor was nice, it's just the amount of fat vs edible meat per chop that makes the selection harder here. We definitely don't get top quality in the stores. The few imported meat specialty stores are uber expensive. Not hard to see 3000+ php price on one steak. Even then you need to pick the best ones for quality.


Years ago the world went on this great rampage about eating fat. Everything needs to be lean. rada rada. I call bullshit to that! Animal fat is natural and normal for our bodies and part of the food chain. And fat is where the flavor and tenderness comes from.  Canola oil is not! Vegetable oil IS NOT part of that natural food chain. Furthermore if you look at anyone that been on a strict carnivore diet for some time, they're generally fairly lean in terms of body fat and quite healthy. That KETO thing is real, but like many things can become an overblown fad.

@mugteck 3 times eating  at 3 different jolibees 3 times diarea ,last time 3 ppl eating different menu and all 3 les than 1 hour to get heavy diarea .

so no more going there ever !

@mugteck 3 times eating at 3 different jolibees 3 times diarea ,last time 3 ppl eating different menu and all 3 les than 1 hour to get heavy diarea .
so no more going there ever !
[email protected].

Tell them no ice in the drinks.

@dirk.c.


Only ever been to a Jolibee once. An extreme example of the polar opposites of cuisine in the Philippines. Alas I did not actually eat anything. When I was in Siquijor last November I had done a 3 hour bike ride around half the island and came back through the capital (if you can call it that) ahem.. Siquijor.

I was quite hot from wearing a helmet and needed to cool down in some air conditioned comfort and there was a Jolibee. Any old port in a storm. I also wanted somewhere safe to park my rental bike and they have a car park.

I ordered an iced tea which was delicious and sat by the window to watch the world go by. I am a little surprised though to hear of so many instances of food poisoning. Would I ever eat there? No, but these food chains generally have excellent health and safety standards and from my observations in restaurants in the Philippines the staff often use hygienic  gloves when handling food.

OMG I would love to get a whole leg of lamb. We don't have an oven. Just a little toaster oven with rotisserie. But I would cut that leg up and make 10 meals worth (or more) of lamb stew! I am planning on building a smoker/offset oven/grill in the future, so roasting is in our future.
Lamb chops CAN be found! I forgot to look Saturday when I was at Landers, but when I was there earlier in the month I found some decent lamb chops. Not great, but decent. The flavor was nice, it's just the amount of fat vs edible meat per chop that makes the selection harder here. We definitely don't get top quality in the stores. The few imported meat specialty stores are uber expensive. Not hard to see 3000+ php price on one steak. Even then you need to pick the best ones for quality.

Years ago the world went on this great rampage about eating fat. Everything needs to be lean. rada rada. I call bullshit to that! Animal fat is natural and normal for our bodies and part of the food chain. And fat is where the flavor and tenderness comes from. Canola oil is not! Vegetable oil IS NOT part of that natural food chain. Furthermore if you look at anyone that been on a strict carnivore diet for some time, they're generally fairly lean in terms of body fat and quite healthy. That KETO thing is real, but like many things can become an overblown fad.
-@Larry Fisher

I would also like to buy quality cuts of lamb or even goat.  But Although around where I live (near Laguindingan airport) you can see so many goats wandering around on the roads but you never see goats milk for sale or goat meat for sale....... I guess they sell it all to the Muslims in Illigan where the can get a premium price.

@dirk.c.
Only ever been to a Jolibee once. An extreme example of the polar opposites of cuisine in the Philippines. Alas I did not actually eat anything. When I was in Siquijor last November I had done a 3 hour bike ride around half the island and came back through the capital (if you can call it that) ahem.. Siquijor.
I was quite hot from wearing a helmet and needed to cool down in some air conditioned comfort and there was a Jolibee. Any old port in a storm. I also wanted somewhere safe to park my rental bike and they have a car park.
I ordered an iced tea which was delicious and sat by the window to watch the world go by. I am a little surprised though to hear of so many instances of food poisoning. Would I ever eat there? No, but these food chains generally have excellent health and safety standards and from my observations in restaurants in the Philippines the staff often use hygienic gloves when handling food.
-@Lotus Eater

All you need to know about Jolibee can be seen by reading the menu, all of their burger meals say "contains pork". HAHAHA

I'm not sure it's the water or the ice either. I never had a problem or concern about iced drinks. But all it takes is one person to not properly wash their hands after using the bathroom and then handling food or trays.


All you need to know about Jolibee can be seen by reading the menu, all of their burger meals say "contains pork". HAHAHA
-@FindlayMacD


Pardon my ignorance, but why is pork evidence of bad food in the Philippines? Is there something I don't know about PH pork? I don't normally eat in UK MacDonalds, but if they added a bit of pork mince to their burgers, I wouldn't see that as a health risk.