Balikbayan Life in the Philippines - Battling the Heat and Mosquitoes
Our stay this past 40 days in the Philippines is not the same as the previous 12 years. Now, we're not having just a short vacation as OFWs and balikbayans, but we're staying here for good. As I've mentioned in my post Paghahanda sa Pag-uwi, it will be a great adjustment for us as a family. So, how are we doing? Our initial battles are the heat and mosquitoes.
The Heat is On - Where's the Aircon?
|Aircon. Image by MSVG, Flickr Creative Commons|
Because we have been used to having aircon all day (in the Middle East that's a daily necessity without having to pay much for electricity), the heat and humidity here simply seemed impossible for us. When we arrived, we tried not to use any aircon (the unit we bought before was due for repair).
During the day when the children are playing with their cousins, they didn't complain much about the heat. But during the night, that's when the battle is ... it's difficult for all of us to go to sleep even with 2 electric fans running and taking a shower before going to sleep. What's really pitiful are the 2 little girls, Janel and Angel. In the middle of the night, they would cry out "Aircon, aircon" or "Ang init, ang init (It's hot, it's hot)."
It was only in the 3rd week that we had the aircon repaired. Thank God we stayed in my parent's house for a few days the 2nd week, so the children had some good sleep there (they have aircon turned on for a few hours during the night). Though our airconditioning unit became functional, we did not indulge ourselves too much in using it. We're afraid of what that would do to our electric bill. We set the aircon to automatically shut off after 3-4 hours during the night. And since, it had started raining, we now turn it on for 1-2 hours only.
Lord, Protect My Children from Dengue
|Katol. Image by jasongraham99, Flickr Creative Commons|
Closing the windows was no use. Almost all the window screens had holes. We used katol (like incense for killing the mosquitoes) but not all of them die. We try to make sure that our bedroom won't have any mosquitoes but 1 or 2 still manage to escape. My husband put up a mosquito net (kulambo) and had 2 or 3 children sleep with him. They're safe from the mosquitoes but have to bear the heat because it's hot using kulambo. For those of us who sleep outside the kulambo, we're lucky if we don't get any mosquito bites in the morning. For sure, one of us will be scratching here and there. Our poor children ... if you can just see their legs with all the mosquito bites and scars.
My children also included in their prayers to keep the mosquitoes away. The rain became part of the answer. Since it rained, the mosquiotes seemed to have dwindled in number. Also, we had our window screens fixed though it took us a while (more or less 2 weeks) to have them fixed. There are still a few mosquitoes that manage to enter the house but the katol can take care of that. Now, we can sleep during the night and remain biteless in the morning.
I think my family is adjusting to Philippine life all right. Thank God, we can sleep well and, yes, no dengue. I continue to hope and pray for my children's safety from dengue.