Status Of Quarantines In The Philippines

Status Of Quarantines In The Philippines

Passing this message along from the US Embassy:

Starting Sunday, January 3, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the Philippines will temporarily ban the entry of travelers from, or who have transited through, the United States. Passengers coming from the United States or who have transited through the United States who arrive before Sunday should be allowed to enter the Philippines, but will be required to complete a 14-day facility-based quarantine regardless of their RT-PCR test result.   


Health Alert for U.S. Citizens in the Philippines:  Updated Travel Information Related to the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic


Through January 15, 2021, the Philippine government has suspended all flights from the United Kingdom and will bar entry to travelers originating or transiting from the following locations:  the United Kingdom, South Africa, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Israel, Hong Kong, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Lebanon, Japan, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Australia, France, Iceland, and South Korea. 


Passengers already in transit, or who were in any of the locations listed above within 14 days of their arrival in the Philippines, and who arrive before December 30, 2020, will be allowed entry but are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine, regardless of a negative RT-PCR result. 


For more information, see the Manila International Airport Authority website


The Philippine government also announced that the following quarantine classifications will be in effect through January 31, 2021:


General Community Quarantine (GCQ): 


Luzon – National Capital Region (Metro Manila), provinces of Batangas, Isabela and Santiago City; 

Visayas – cities of Iloilo and Tacloban; and 

Mindanao – Iligan City, Lanao del Sur, Davao City, and Davao del Norte.   


All other areas are placed under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ). 


As a reminder, the Philippine government mandated all persons to wear full-coverage face shields together with face masks while in public places. Local governments continue to implement additional requirements to slow the virus’ spread. For more information, please see our COVID-19 information page

What Is The Chief Crime Of Babylon?

What Is The Chief Crime Of Babylon?


Whore of Babylon - Blake

My acquaintance with eschatology goes back many decades. I grew up hearing many different men speak on the subject. I loved to hear all of their varied interpretations of the Revelation and Daniel and other books thought to contain glimpses of our future.

One interesting topic that came up quite often and still does is the use of the word "sorceries" in the Book of Revelation:

Re 9:21  Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Re 18:23  And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Early on there was not much expounding on this word and it was simply passed off as some form of witchcraft used to beguile the world. 

But eventually I picked up on the fact that the Greek word behind "sorceries" is more interesting than most give it credit for being.

The Greek word used in those two passages is φαρμακεία, transliterated as pharmakeia. You notice this is the word from which we derive pharmacy and pharmaceutical.

 The word φαρμακεία is found in Strong's Concordance reference # 5331:

1) the use or the administering of drugs
2) poisoning
3) sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it
4) metaph. the deceptions and seductions of idolatry
This indicates that the global administration of some sort of drug(s) plays a key role in the end time.

But there is a lot more to this word φαρμακεί.

In general, both the Greek (φαρμακεία) and the Latin term (veneficium) indicate a type of homicide or attempted homicide: so in Greek themes the charge of φαρμακεία is essentially interchangeable with φόνος, as well as with ἐπιβουλή; - Law and Ethics in Greek and Roman Declamation, p. 157

φαρμακεί (sorceries) is interchangeable with φόνος and ἐπιβουλή?

What is the meaning of these two words?

φόνος: murder 

ἐπιβουλή: plot (conspiracy)

for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived

I believe that the metaphorical sense (deception) is active in the meaning here, but there is also a strong possibility that it also involves a world wide conspiracy to commit mass murder with drugs.

This is the chief crime of Babylon.

And what is the punishment for her crimes?

Re 17:16  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

Who is this Babylon?

Germany is the largest pharmaceutical exporter. Switzerland is #2 and the U.S. is #3.

Seems Babylon is a multi-polar operation.

Who pays leaders of other nations to push their drugs?

All makers of pharmaceuticals it seems: (ex.1, ex.2, ex.3, ex.4 (several examples in #4), ex.5 and many more).

Who controls the poppy fields? Seems as though a multinational conglomerate does.

Who controls the heroin and coca trade? Another coalition of the willing. Same with ice and every economically viable illicit drug. 

Many hands upon the poisoned chalice.

Many nations sitting upon many waters and many peoples, multitudes and tongues are joined together as Babylon.

Do not kid yourself about cartels. Cartels cannot exist without a lot of aid and comfort from government. As the book says, the whole earth lieth in evil ruled over by vessels fitted unto destruction. 

There is always a price to be paid. They shall pay it to the flame.

Also of note is the fact that φαρμακεία refers to criminal poisoning. The word virus is from the Latin meaning poison.

The chief god of Modern Babylon is Apollo, who both casts the plague and heals it. The arrows of Apollo are flying.

It is probable that the United States is Babylon The Great.

US Passport Photo Requirements

Passport Photo Requirements


The United States Embassy in Manila has released a notice to the public in regard to the poor quality of photos that they have been receiving with passport applications. The notice states that poor quality photos are the number one reason for passport delays. 

I personally have found that being proactive with quality assurance is quite necessary in making sure that I get acceptable passport images (or images for any other use).

If you have the proper equipment and setting, then you can produce your own passport images by following the Passport Photo Guidelines provided by the U.S. State Department.
The top five reasons for passport images being rejected by the U.S. Embassy:
  • Photo is digitally edited or retouched – Do not alter or edit your passport photo. This includes airbrushing the background to make it appear whiter (as this sometimes affects the shape of the head) and photoshopping of attire. Your passport photo should be the best likeness of you; do not use filters commonly used on social media.
  • Eyeglasses – Please remove your glasses for your passport photo, even if you normally wear them. If you cannot remove your glasses for medical reasons, please include a signed note from your doctor with your application.
  • Photo is more than six months old – Your photo must have been taken within six months of submitting your passport application.
  • Head size is incorrect – Often, the photo has been taken from too close or too far away. The head should be centered in the photo and sized between 1 inch and 1.4 inches (2.5 cm and 3.5 cm).
  • Poor-quality image or photos – We cannot use blurry, grainy, or pixelated photos, or photos that are not printed on photo-quality paper. Your photos should always be clear and as high-resolution as possible. 
This information is good to keep in mind not just for your US passport photos, but for any and all images that are required for IDs and other purposes. Size and background color of images may vary depending on the use.

2020 Philippines Census: Expats Count

2020 Philippines Census

It Is Census Time Again In The Philippines

The Census begins and ends in the month of September.

Census taker was one of the hats I wore when I was working through college. I am well aware of the very common antipathy for filling out the Census questionnaire.

Did you know that in the US you can be fined for refusing to fill out the Census questionnaire?

The Philippines also takes the Census very serious, so serious that Section 25 of  Republic Act 10625 is referred to twice on the front of the Census questionnaire:

Obligation to Provide Information. – The National Statistician shall determine whether a statistical inquiry or survey to be conducted is with or without an obligation to provide information. If such obligation is stipulated, all respondents whether natural or legal persons shall be liable to reply to the statistical inquiry or survey. This section applies to all statistical inquiries or surveys conducted by other statistical offices in the PSS.
A lot of times the Census takers like to sit down with each individual and fill out the form. The Census taker will probably be someone you know who is from your own community, so they will probably let you have a copy to fill out at home at your leisure. 

There is nothing too invasive about any of the questions, but I understand the appeal to personal privacy that some people may put up. 

Still, responding to the Census is the law of the land and as the front page of the questionnaire states, under RA 10173 data privacy does not apply to the material you are asked to disclose for the Census.

Your answers are confidential, but like I said there is nothing too juicy in there. Your neighbors probably all know that you have a flush toilet and a fridge.

After you complete the process, the Census taker will place a sticker on your residence noting that you have been counted.   

Philippines Expat Credit Card Basics

Credit Card Basics For Philippines Expats

Table Of Contents:


Be Careful About Closing Cards

Maintaining credit cards from your home country may be a hassle, but think twice before closing credit cards when you move permanently to the Philippines or any foreign country.

We closed all but two of our credit cards within a few years of moving to the Philippines. That is not necessarily the bad thing. The bad thing was when we eventually closed the other two cards. We reasoned that we could just use a local card from a Philippine bank.

Then the time came that we began thinking about what we would do if we ever returned to the US. We would need a US credit card for flights, hotels, rental vehicles and lots of other things.

It is also important to note that not maintaining at least one credit account while you are overseas could hurt your credit rating. What I noticed is that my credit score was unaffected even after years with no active accounts. This might be due to several longstanding accounts that I had closed, but which remained on my credit reports.

According to Equifax, accounts for which you have a good record will remain on your credit file for up to ten years after they have been closed. These positive marks on your record will continue to give you a bump long after they have been closed.

However, when I did apply for a new us card the initial credit limit was only a small fraction of any card I had previously held. This may have been an issue if I had been in a hurry and needed a higher limit due to an upcoming return home.

Maintain A US Street Address

Consider how your cards will be delivered to you overseas. Before I ever thought of the question, one of my card companies mailed a renewal card to me through regular mail. The card arrived with no problems, but for personal peace of mind this is not an option that I wanted to repeat.

I now maintain a US address with a mail forwarding service. The card company mails the credit card to that address and the mail forwarding service sends the card to me via courier, such as FedEx or UPS. It costs about $100 to ship a card from the US to the Philippines via UPS, but it allows me to track the shipment and gives me greater peace of mind that the card will not be diverted AND the card arrives in about one week.

The mail forwarding service also comes in to play for the US bank account that you will want to keep open to pay your credit card bill. Due to Patriot Act requirements you may have a problem maintaining an account with some banks when they discover that you have a foreign permanent address. There may not be any way for you to even input such an address into your bank account's online profile and you may have issues when you contact them by phone. A mail forwarding service can provide you with a real street address (not a PO Box), as many banks require.

To set up an account with a US based mail forwarding service you must download Delivery of Mail Through Agent form 1583 from the US postal service and have it notarized. You will give this form to the mail forwarding service so they can prove to the USPS that they have legal right to receive mail on your behalf. We had our form notarized here in the Philippines by an attorney. Be sure that you pick a trustworthy attorney to notarize your form.

Maintain A Text Capable US Phone Number

When you live overseas and use US based credit cards it is essential to have an SMS text capable US phone number. Many credit card companies cannot send one time passwords and other security messages to foreign numbers. You may be able to make everything work with a single number or you may need a combination of services to be able to get messages from all of  your cards. We have provided some ideas for international voice and text.

Patriot Act And A Foreign Address

When you apply for a new credit card or bank account you might see a Patriot Act notice similar to this one:
Federal law requires that we obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account, including joint owners. Within this application, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents. Approval of your application may be delayed pending further verification of your identity.
It's worse when you are living abroad and your US bank tells you that they must terminate your account because you do not have a US address. One bank in which I held an account, upon learning that I lived overseas, did not close my account, but told me that I would need to obtain a US mailing address soon or they would have no choice but to close the account. Not all banks are this accommodating.

Rules for US banks, as they pertain to private accounts, can be found under Section II of the USA Patriot Act Section 312 Fact Sheet:
(3) What are the general due diligence requirements of the private banking portion of the final rule?
U.S. financial institutions covered by the final rule are required to establish and maintain a due diligence program that includes policies, procedures, and controls that are reasonably designed to detect and report any known or suspected money laundering or suspicious activity conducted through or involving any private banking account that is established, maintained, administered, or managed in the United States.
Specifically, financial institutions covered by the final rule must take reasonable steps to: (1) determine the identity of all nominal and beneficial owners of the private banking account; (2) determine whether any such owner is a senior foreign political official and, thus, is subject to enhanced scrutiny (described below); (3) determine the source(s) of funds deposited into the private banking account and the purpose and expected use of the account; and (4) review the activity of the account to ensure that the activity is consistent with the information obtained about the source of funds, the stated purpose and the expected use of the account, as needed to guard against money laundering, and to report any suspicious activity.
If you have a foreign address some banks may not be able to maintain your account under the current federal requirements, because their processes are focused upon Continental US clientele.

Some Banks Are Strict About Foreign Addresses

If you attempt to open an HSBC checking account online you will see this notice under "what you need to apply":
"Current U.S. residential address and a U.S. residential address for the past two years ."
If you attempt to apply for an HSBC credit card you will receive this message:
"You must have a current U.S. address to apply online. Please call 1-800-975-4722 or visit your local HSBC branch to apply."

Some Banks Accommodate Foreign Addresses

Pentagon Federal can accommodate foreign accounts. When you go to the Penfed link you will discover many ways that you can be eligible for membership. If all else fails, then there is that last option in the drop-down list:
"None of the above apply, but I would like to join PenFed"

If you are commercially attractive, i.e. have an income and decent credit score, then you probably have a good chance of being granted a membership. 

If you have  an account with a mail forwarding service that provides you with a US postal address that is not a PO Box, then you will not have to worry about what bank to choose.

I no longer recommend Penfed. In fact, it is my opinion that one should avoid Penfed.

If Your Account Is Closed Due To The Patriot Act

Your bank may attempt to talk to you about this matter before they ever close your account, but they might just suddenly close the account without warning. If this happens you can contact the bank and if that fails, then you can contact the Treasury Department to file a complaint.

If you go to the Treasury Department website you will find a link to another government site called "Help Me With My Bank". At you will find potentially bad news:
The bank closed my checking account and did not notify me. Is this legal?
Generally, banks may close deposit accounts for any reason (e.g., inactivity or low usage) and without notice. Federal banking laws and regulation do not address the closing of deposit accounts.This issue is governed by the Deposit Account Agreement you received when you opened your account. Review that Agreement, and contact your bank directly for more information.
Even though this is the case you still might be able to prevail by filing a complaint:
If you need to file a complaint against a credit union you do so at

The complaint process does not look like fun. The bottom line is that to avoid Patriot Act snafus and bank account closures or threats of closure simply maintain a US address through a trusted friend/relative or via mail forwarding service. The mail forwarding service that I use is a gem and costs between $0 and $50 per year depending upon what I need to do with it. Others may cost  somewhat more than that for the basic address parking and whether or not you want it to receive post mail.

Using A US Based Credit Card Overseas

Be sure that the bank knows if you will be using a credit card overseas because they may disable the card to prevent fraudulent activity.

Some card companies, like Capital One, do not require you to submit any travel notification:
You don't need to notify us about your travel plans anymore thanks to the added security of your Capital One chip card. You can use your card abroad the same as you use it at home. Please check that your email and phone number are up to date in case we need to reach you. Safe travels!
This is due to the use of an EMV chip. Any credit card that uses the EMV chip should operate in the same way. You may be able to ask your bank to upgrade your old cards to this new standard.

Be certain that your credit card company has current email and phone contact information for you in case they need to contact you about a purchase yo are attempting to make or potential fraud they may uncover. You may find out only too late that the number you gave them for SMS text is not capable of receiving their messages for one reason or another.

Some card providers are implementing the ability to tun the card on and off from the online account. This is a great security feature for added confidence. When you are not planning to use the card it can be disabled online and with a few key presses it can be turned on before you go on a shopping trip.

Many card companies do charge a foreign transaction fee, so I chose cards that do not.

Like the foreign transaction fee, the exchange rate can be another gotcha on your credit card bill. Unlike the foreign transaction fee, the exchange rate cannot be avoided and just happens to be where the card companies pull in their highest earnings per transaction.

Keep An Eye On Your Credit

Identity theft and credit fraud can ruin your expat life. Some people suggest that you contact the credit reporting agencies to have them place a notation in your file that you are living overseas.

Doing that could lead potential future creditors to turn you down.

You could also periodically place a one-year fraud alert on your credit file to prevent fraud. If you do this creditors will be notified to contact you at a phone number you provide. Creditors will be able to contact the number you provide in the event of suspicious activity or whenever an online purchase transaction is initiated. The number that you give in the fraud alert will need to be text capable.

In some cases you must contact a credit reporting agency by phone in order to place a fraud alert. The number you call from will become the contact number for suspicious activity and online transactions. If that number is not text capable, then you may have difficulty receiving alerts and even completing online transactions. Learn more about monitoring your credit while living abroad.

Philippine Bank Credit & Debit Cards

Some Philippine cards offer fraud protection, like US cards, but you may have to pay a relatively small fee for it. Some of them have EMV chips with true contactless capability.

General characteristics of prepaid cards:
  • not covered by PDIC (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation)
    • PDIC is just like FDIC in the US. PDIC insures accounts up to 500,000 PHP in case of bank failure.
  • cannot receive remittances
  • not usually under FATCA 
    • as the amount of cash that can be loaded into them is far below FATCA thresholds
  • usually do not have a minimum initial deposit or any minimum maintaining balance
Debit cards attached to savings accounts, on the other hand, may trigger FATCA requirements and are covered by PDIC.

Identification Requirements

For any account type that you open (being a foreigner) you will be required to present both your passport and ACR-I card. You will also likely be asked to submit a signature card and perhaps even passport sized photos. I use fuzzy adverbs like “likely” and “perhaps” because nothing is certain regardless of written requirements.

If you apply for a credit card, then you will probably have to submit a "proof of income" document. There is also the possibility that your US Social Security number will be requested for any type of card or account. If you have no issue with that, then give it to them. If you do not want to provide your Social Security number, then read this post, but do not make a big issue out of it with the banker. They are just following orders from on high and they may not have much choice in the matter. The solution might be as simple as finding another bank, but do so politely.

Summary Of Card Features:

Card Offerings

1PNB also offers a Debit Account Lite w/no initial deposit or maintaining balance. 
2BDO does not offer much online information about the Cash Card so inquire at a branch location. 
3Pick the card you are interested in and then follow instructions to apply online.  

Online Purchases

This section might be a little sparse for a while, but there is one important point that I wanted to make about online purchases: Lazada will accept your foreign bank issued credit cards, but Shopee only accepts cards issued by banks in the Philippines. This fact is buried in the policies and no explanation will be given to you when your card is rejected when you attempt to add it to your account.

Toilet Installation Philippines Style

Toilet Installation Philippines Style


One of our bathroom toilets recently required replacement. The water tank had split from top to bottom. That particular bathroom gets very hot during the day and the heat soaks into everything, including the toilet. I had filled the outside well water tank that evening after sundown, so the water was already relatively cool. It was only a few minutes after I flushed the toilet that we heard a loud crack. I rushed into the bathroom to see what had happened and there was water all over the floor. The temp difference between the water tank and the well water could not have been more than 30 degrees or so, but that was enough. Ten years of that minute stress had added up and had finally broken the camel's back.

The new toilet we purchased cost 5,000PHP at a local hardware store and we were very lucky to get it with depleted stocks due to quarantines and shutdowns.

I had no idea what I would find when I pulled up the old unit so I went ahead and purchased an ABS flange just in case:

ABS flange

If you look on either side of the base of your toilet you will notice two bolts. Likely all that is holding those bolts (and your toilet) in place is the flimsy plastic flange as shown above.

When our house was built the installers did not use flanges. Instead, they cemented the toilets in place. Due to this I ended up using a rubber mallet to break up the base of the toilet, as it was locked tight to the cement.

Once I was able to remove the old unit I found that the flange did not fit the pipe, so I decided to reinstall the toilet just as had been done before.

First, I set the toilet in place and traced around it with pencil (as a guide for the new cement).

Then I laid the unit on its side and installed the wax ring.

wax ring with flange

Next, I had my wife apply the cement to the floor, because she is better with cement than I am:

I then set the unit upright over the cement and pressed it into place:

completed install

I slapped on a new flex hose and my wife grouted the base. I used teflon tape on the connection threads. Using the tape is best for the connection to the toilet because those threads are plastic. Pipe dope would form a permanent seal that might make it impossible to remove the flex hose without damaging the plastic toilet intake. Silicone is bad for threaded connections because it creates a lot of debris that clogs up the system.

All-in-all this install took about two hours and cost just a little more than 5,000PHP (~$100).

Roasting Peanuts In The Philippines

Roasting Peanuts In The Philippines

My wife knows a lot of secrets when it comes to preparing simple yet delicious treats.

It does not get any simpler than roasted peanuts, but there are a few secrets that it helps to know when it comes to roasting them.

My wife gathered the black sand from the beach near our home. She hand-picked each piece of sand to get the perfect size. It must be small enough to slip through the strainer that separates it from the peanuts, but not so small that any of it gets lodged within cracks in the peanuts themselves. Once she finds the perfect sand she washes it thoroughly.

So why do you need sand at all? 

The sand is heated in a pan. Before the sand reaches it's maximum temperature the peanuts are added:

The sand helps to ensure that the entire peanut is roasted uniformly. You must continually stir the mixture for about ten minutes. At about the halfway point you will hear the peanuts begin to snap and pop. It is like popcorn, but not as loud. At about this time you remove the pan from the fire and continue to stir for another ten minutes. You can sample the peanuts to see if they are done and keep stirring until they reach the perfect roast.

Once the peanuts are roasted to perfection simply strain and enjoy:

As we learned from the Market Day article, a ganta is about three liters. We buy a ganta of fresh shelled peanuts from the local market for 150PHP for one ganta. It works out to about $.60 per pound. Not bad.

Peanuts are as near to being a perfect food as you can get and their nutritional value is impressive:

source of data

If you have insomnia or restless leg syndrome it could be due to magnesium deficiency. Peanuts contain a hefty quantify of the trace element magnesium, among many others, and I have found that adding peanuts to my diet does seem to help me in getting to sleep.

One bad thing about peanuts (and corn and many other crops) is that they can sometimes be contaminated with mold. How they are grown, harvested and stored makes a big difference. The mold Aspergillus flavus will grow on peanuts if they are not handled properly i.e. allowed to become and remain wet until they begin to rot. We try to limit our peanut buying to the dry season. 

Aspergillus produces a toxin called aflatoxin and it is a known liver carcinogen.  Many studies have determined that roasting peanuts significantly reduces the amount of aflatoxin in them.

If you like peanut butter, then make sure that you buy the right kind. In the US, manufacturers used to add partially hydrogenated oils to peanut butter to prevent the peanut oil from separating and rising to the top. A few years ago they replaced partially hydrogenated oils with fully hydrogenated oils, which produce no trans-fats and are thought to be somewhat healthier. Even so, I prefer natural peanut butter with no added oils. The peanut oil does rise to the top, so you have to stir it. You should only have to do that once if you store the peanut butter in the fridge. The best thing is reading the ingredients and seeing only peanuts, cane sugar and salt - as opposed to a long list of terms from an advanced chemistry exam. 

The peanut butter brand that we love is Lily's. We usually buy the 504g  plastic container that is priced at about 180PHP. We probably have a hundred of those plastic containers and use them for all sorts of things.

Emergency Preparedness Philippines

Emergency Preparedness Philippines


"I may have been early, but I'm not wrong." - Michael Burry - The Big Short

The store shelves in Wuhan, China emptied rapidly when Coronavirus struck the region. It is good to be prepared.

I wanted to post this quick list of essentials to have on hand for emergencies.

These things are good for just about any potential large-scale emergency that may strike: earthquake, volcano, typhoons, alien invasion...anything.  

Medical & Health 
  • betadine
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • isopropyl or ethyl alcohol (for hand cleaning)
  • aspirin (do not give aspirin to kids)
  • neosporin/bacitracin
  • paracetamol (pain and fever - avoid alcohol)
  • Imodium (antidiarrheal)
  • diphenhydramine (sleep and allergies)
  • Maalox/Gaviscon (acid reflux - 1 tsp baking soda can also be used)
  • band-aids
  • gauze
  • surgical gloves
  • goods for personal hygiene (soap/feminine/baking soda for tooth brushing)

Baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing. Baking powder has acidic substances added (cream of tartar), so it will not reduce acid reflux.

Diphenhydramine is for temporary relief of allergies and can also be used for insomnia. Do not become reliant upon it, as their are negative long term effects.

Have you ever noticed that antibacterial soaps are always on sale? This is because many of them contain the chemical triclosan that has been linked to liver damage. Antibacterial soaps are also not good for your septic system. Regular soap and water work just fine and you can use alcohol to sanitize your hands when you go out.

If we are given prior warning of an imminent disruptive event, then it is a good idea to make sure that we have obtained all necessary prescription medications ahead of time. Insulin is of particular importance. Many preparedness oriented websites suggest stocking up on antibiotics, but caution is advised. Antibiotics can save a life when taken appropriately, but they have no effect upon viral pathogens and can lead to resistant bacteria when taken inappropriately.

There is conflicting information about whether NSAIDs (aspirin, Ibuprofen) aggravate COVID-19. When we had Dengue last year the doctors only give acetaminophen. NSAIDs are contraindicated in Dengue due to risk of thrombocytopenia (low platelet count).  

We should always consult with a physician before taking any drug. 

This pdf is a good first aid manual, but in true SHTF you will need a hard copy, so try finding one on or check out your local National Bookstore. 

Mask Update 3-13-2020 The Final Answer (or so we thought) 

This is specifically about N95 masks not surgical masks

18. Do I need a mask to protect myself against COVID-19?
No. People with no respiratory signs and symptoms do not need to wear a medical mask. DOH recommends the use of medical masks only for the following:
  • For people who are presenting with symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Those caring for individuals who have symptoms such as cough and fever, and
  • Health workers.
DOH, together with WHO, advises the rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of vital resources and mis-use of masks.
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean or wash your hands, cover your cough with a tissue or the bend of the elbow, and maintain a distance of at least one meter from people who are coughing or sneezing. (For more information, see Section on protective and preventive measures).

Mask Update 3-17-2020 

After the WHO and DoH and everyone else told us NOT to wear masks the wearing of masks in public has now become the law of the land. You will likely not find masks in the stores so you can make them or they are also allowing scarves etc over the face. 

You can also be arrested for hoarding masks. 


  • rice
  • beans
  • oats
  • pasta
  • salt
  • coconut oil
  • tons of coffee
  • peanuts & peanut butter
  • honey/sugar
  • canned goods (pineapple juice, tuna)
  • liquid bleach (follow instructions for water purification in emergencies)
  • water
  • UHT milk
  • multi-vitamin especially zinc supplements

All of the foodstuffs listed can be stored a long time and stocks are easily rotated to avoid waste. The pasta, beans and rice should be stored in air tight containers. We know from personal experience that weevils and other pests would love nothing more than to ruin your stores.

It is also good to maintain fruit trees and or a small garden if possible. Living in a rural environment can have a lot of advantages when it comes to finding food - of course there may also be drawbacks. 

You will be needing plenty of sleep to keep your strength up, your mind clear and your immune system in shape. For that magnesium does the trick. Magnesium supplements usually come coupled with vitamin c and zinc, but nuts are also packed with magnesium. Peanuts are very easy to find in the Philippines and believe it or not if you eat 100-200 grams a few hours before bedtime they will probably knock you out.  

For water we have our own well, which I highly recommend. It is equipped with a 1 hp motor to fill our 600 liter tank. It also has a hand pump. I can fill a 50 gallon drum in 10 minutes using the hand pump. We keep spare parts and gaskets for the hand pump just in case. 

For water purification you can use bleach following the instructions above and if you do not have bleach you can use calcium hypochlorite:

We make our bleach a little strong using three tablespoons to a liter of warm water. A kilo of this substance can be ordered through Shopee or Lazada for about 200PHP delivered. It has a shelf life of a couple of years or more.

Liquid bleach breaks down to salt water after about 6-12 months, so it is not a long term solution for  water purification.

You may see liquid sodium hypochlorite for sale. Sodium hypochlorite has a much shorter shelflife than the calcium hypochlorite granules and much of it that you find online may have already started to lose its effectiveness.

Authorities suggest having at least a two week supply of food and water. I suggest having as much as you can possibly manage. To maintain a serious long term source of food there is no alternative to growing your own.

As far as raising animals is concerned the best all around food animal IMO is the chicken. In most places here you can let them roam around to eat. They are a good low maintenance food source. You can keep goats too, but from what I have witnessed, goats are a lot of trouble for not much return. Turkey and tilapia are also good options.

Pigs are an option, but not one that I would want in our place and I hope that none of the neighbors do either. Pigs take a lot of work between feeding and keeping their pin clean. You have to stay on top of cleanliness or the stink will get out of control quickly. And with the stink comes flies and health hazards and when one pig gets sick they all get sick. I think the law around here is no pig farm operation within one kilometer of an adjacent residence. 

Cows are good, but you need land and they can be a full time job. They are still a lot better than pigs and no risk of trichinella, though trichinella is not prevalent in the Philippines. Pigs are omnivores and they become infected by eating the carcasses of other pigs that are infected with trichinella. 

Tools & Supplies

  • matches/lighters
  • extra LPG
  • solar phone charger
  • razor blades
  • basic toolkit
  • sewing kit
  • toilet paper
  • A box or two of Tanduay for trading or emergency wound cleaning
  • candles
  • lanterns/oil/wick material
  • flashlights
  • generator w/ extra fuel & fuel stabilizer
  • extra can openers (p38/p51 if you can find them)
  • good solid utility knives
  • firewood 
  • hand-crank and or solar powered radio
  • shovels/ax/bolo 
  • scissors capable of cutting denim
  • fishing gear 
  • boric acid (brazing flux) for roaches/ants

If you have good quality can openers from the US, then you are lucky. Most of the can openers I have found in the Philippines are not very good. 

The p51/p38 can openers are good and cheap:

p-openers by TDKozan

You will see a lot of these rotating wheel/butterfly type can openers in the department and hardware stores:

rotating wheel opener by Evan-Amos

butterfly type opener by Evan-Amos

Do not waste your time with them. They are not like their look-alikes in the US. No matter how cheap or expensive they are they are useless.

This is my personal favorite:

They are 49PHP. When you find this type buy several. The one I am using has opened maybe a thousand cans so far with no end in sight. 

Things To Get Done

  • Be prepared mentally and physically. 
  • Get all shopping done before the crowds set in.
  • Take out extra cash from the bank as needed.
  • Transfer money from overseas as needed. 
  • Fill up vehicles with fuel.
  • Have all important documents organized & ready to throw into a backpack.
  • Be prepared to relocate. 
  • Get extra reading glasses and prescription glasses 
  • When communicable disease is spreading:
    • Maintain social distance and hygiene
It might also be a good idea to set up a relative who lives near you with a nicely stocked sari-sari store. Auto-rotating preps. When TSHTF close the shop and you're golden.

Consider everything and make wise decisions. It is never unwise to be prepared.