Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Drinking Water Philippines. Is it safe to drink the water in the Philippines?


Should I drink tap water in the Philippines?

Is it safe to drink tap water in Philippines?

Is it safe to drink tap water in the Philippines?


You can get typhoid from drinking contaminated water or by eating contaminated food in the Philippines.

I do not drink any tap water. I only drink distilled water or at least "purified" water. But only buy it from supermarkets or legitimate stores, not from places where empty bottles may have been re-filled with tap water (for example, from street vendors who walk up to you or who sell water on buses). I did make the mistake of drinking Slurpees a few times at a 7-11 store in Makati, Manila. Later at home I wondered why I was not feeling well. Had to take an Imodium tablet. It took several weeks before I went back to the store and asked the manager at the store if they use filtered water in the Slurpee machine. He answered, "No." Then I looked and sure enough there was a hose from the tap water faucet going directly into the Slurpee machine.

It was suggested that I take "Imodium" to settle my stomach if I ever got a touch of gastroenteritis. I used it on several occasions and it always worked in a matter of an hour or two. Imodium, or a generic (which is in small green and gray capsules), is available at Mercury Drugs and other drug stores.

Canteens sell sodas, bottled water and much more. I have never gotten sick drinking name brand bottled or canned drinks from canteens or stores. Prices are much lower in the canteens than in convenience stores like 7-11 and Mini Stop.

I have a Filipina relative in Metro Manila who got Typhoid from drinking tap water in her own house. She was VERY seriously sick with a very high fever, and needed medication for several days. She recovered. They purchased a double filter system from Ace Hardware which was located in a nearby mall. The filter system is attached to the wall behind the kitchen sink and the line attaches to the faucet. No one in the family has gotten sick from the tap water since the filter was installed.

Water Filter System in the Philippines available at ACE Hardware stores
After installing this the family has not gotten sick from the water.

Common 5 Gallon Water Bottle
Some Philippine convenience stores (like Mini Mart and some 7-11's) do use purified water in drink machines. Be sure to ask and tell them to show you the source before drinking any of their sodas, Slurpees, Big Gulps or whatever. Often they will show you large blue plastic bottles. These are used to hold purified water.

Purified Water Refilling Stations Philippines
Purified Water Refilling Stations

In larger, brand name, convenience stores this water will probably be okay to drink. I have never had a reaction to the "purified" waters, in small 500 ML plastic bottles (16.9 oz US), that SM Malls, Ayala Malls, or Robinson's Malls sell, or the ones sold by convenience stores.


5 gallon bottle of Wilkins Distilled Water  on top
of a floor dispenser


Wilkins Distilled Water, Philippines
Wilkins Distilled Water - a product of the Coca Cola company


Absolute Distilled Drinking Water, Philippines
Absolute Distilled Water

But, I feel it is best to stick with either Absolute or Wilkins distilled water for drinking and cooking. Yes we even used it for cooking. A 500 ML bottle can be purchased for about 30 pesos. We drank those two brands almost exclusively. They can be purchased in 6 litre bottles also. SM Hypermarket at SM City Clark sells several sizes including 10 liter bottles of Wilkins distilled water. Just ask a clerk where it is. The 10 liter bottles are convenient if you drink and / or cook with a lot of distilled water. They are heavy so are hard to carry to a jeepney terminal. Weight is over 22 pounds US or 10 KG. I imagine most people who buy them have a car. From SM Hypermarket a clerk will push your shopping cart to your car or you may push it yourself.

I have read that one must take vitamin and mineral supplements if one is drinking distilled water because it will leach them from one's body.

Like reverse osmosis, carbon block and some other types of filtration systems the minerals will be removed along with contaminants. So, be sure to supplement your diet with daily multiple vitamins and minerals.

I have a Katadyn Pocket Water Filter with me when I travel. For those occasions when we run out of purified or distilled water or when only tap water is available. Have never gotten sick drinking water filtered by my Katadyn. Can filter a gallon or more in a matter of  minutes. When traveling I carry mine in my carry-on luggage.

Learn a lot about water and sanitation in the Philippines at this Wikipedia page.

Check out foods to avoid in the Philippines.

CDC advice about Travelers Diarrhea.

Discover Filipino Foods Americans Like.

I think you will like this buffet restaurant in the Balibago section of Angeles City.

You will find many American restaurants in the Philippines.

There are grocery stores where you may buy American and European foods.

Malls in the Philippines are World Class! And, they feature restaurants from all over the world.

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This article will be expanded upon. Please check back to read more about drinking water, purified water, distilled water and water filtration in the Philippines. Last updated December 4, 2016.