Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beat Heat Filipino Style

From Ludwig
There's not enough words to describe tropical heat. With the ozone layer thinning down and the greenhouse effect increasing the temperature of the world, our warm tropical country becomes hotter. 

A few hundred years ago, maybe it was already this hot. Practices and customs were different during those times. Also, if its around a hundred years ago, no one would complain much about the heat because you would have other things to worry about like war and invaders. Its just now that we aren't really busy of anything "life threatening" that we worry about heat and complain about it.

But we Filipinos know that all along and its one thing about the Philippines that we cannot change, so we adapt. When it gets too hot, here's how we Pinoys beat the heat.

Beaches and rivers.  We are an archipelago. This means there's more water than there is land in the Philippines. Its a great excuse to become a beach babe or dude since it just takes a few hours, and you can be standing in a river or sea you can enjoy. One can never run out of coastlines to go to. There's always a place in the country where waves crawl the sand, the trees shade off the sun and the beach breeze take the heat away. One of the fringe benefits of being Filipino.

From JoLiz
The "Con Hielos." The "iced" treats in the Philippines existed only after the Americans brought refrigeration and air-conditioning, along with electricity. There is no way that ice existed in the country before the Americans (unless you count the Ice Age), so there's no way that the "halo-halo con hielo", "mais con hielo", "saging con hielo" and all the others existed before the American Era.

"Con Hielo" means "with ice." Since we have no means of refrigeration and the only way to preserve food is through salting and drying or cooking stuff up in thick sugar. When ice started to get produced, someone thought of putting preserved sweets and fruits in it and they instantly became a hit. A real treat especially during a hot afternoon!

Abaniko. For the commoner in the Philippines, the abaniko gives plenty of comfort when the wind is not offering any. A few quick strokes of the fan can be gloriously refreshing. Sometimes colorful, sometimes not, its indispensable tool especially during summer when the heat don't seem to show any mercy. Of course it was almost forgotten by everyone when the electric fan and air-conditioning was introduced, but there are still practical uses to this native fan thus its present survival.

Salakot. Useful during the rainy days, useful also during the sunny days. This organic head wear doesn't choose any weather so its one of the best all around protection one can get. But since wearing it in Metro Manila isn't really that fashionable anymore, not everyone would want to get one. It used to be popular many decades ago though. In the provinces, its use has been dwindling too. When toiling in the field or just being in the sun, the salakot shields the head from the heat very well.

Siesta. It is a way to escape the heat. Sleep away all your troubles and also the sweltering weather, and you wake up to a much more tolerable temperature. The best times to sleep is when the sun's scorching heat had made everything so hot between 1 or 2 pm until 4 pm. Actually it is a defense mechanism of both warm and cold blooded animals to seek the shade and sleep through the hottest parts of the day. And since humans are classified under mammals, you do feel that urge to shut down and sleep when its hot. Whether Filipino or not, you entitled to sleeping in the afternoon.

If these things aren't readily accessible, a quick splashing of water with timba and tabo usually would do the trick. As a rule, keep off the sun. And if keeping off the sun doesn't help, just do anything that would keep you cool and drink lots and lots of water.