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Posts from the ‘Practical Tips’ Category


On Big City and Small Town Living: Advocating a Simpler Lifestyle

Moving back and forth between the big city and a small town in the Philippines lately makes me realize the stark contrast of their ways of living.

For one, I now know that I’ve been collecting or utilizing products and services popular in the big city, which I’ll be perfectly fine without in a laidback town. (Disclaimer: I’m not promoting anything here; some products mentioned I actually use.)

  1. Liquid Hand Soap. Not so long ago, I thought liquid hand soaps were really cool to have at home, until I discovered a cheaper alternative – the good, old bar soap. I recommend Palmolive soap since it’s firmer and is effective in removing grease.
  2. Joy Dishwashing Liquid (or any other brand). I used to think this is a staple in the dishwashing area. But recently, I chanced upon a cheaper and more practical alternative – Dazz dishwashing bar. (I actually cut the bar in half to make it last longer; each bar costs less than 6 pesos.)
  3. Wardrobe. While shopping at the city malls provides convenience, ukay-ukay is the cheapest way to update your wardrobe. Especially if you have kids, you’ll come across really nice ukay finds. It helps if you have loads of patience and some (at least minimal) fashion sense; otherwise, tag someone along who has both.
  4. Distilled and Mineral Water. In the city (and even a growing number in town), people can’t live without distilled water (priced at 15 to 25 pesos per 5 gallons) or mineral water because tap water has been deemed unsafe to drink. But at home in town, we rely on our good old bomba (deep well manual water pump) as general purpose water. Just last year, we had an electric water pump installed but we still use heavily the manual pump due to frequent unannounced power outages and brownouts.

  5. Breastfeeding. Need I say more? In fact, I know of many working moms who are and were able to exclusively breastfeed their kids until they’re 3-5 years old. Ask me how they do or did it. It saves the family around 6000 pesos (cost of formula milk) a month. As an added benefit, breastfed babies are way healthier than formula-fed babies.
  6. Transportation. If you live in a small town, especially if you’re near the commercial centers or marketplace, you can walk to and from your destination. It gives you a healthy dose of physical exercise while you get to save on transportation cost.
  7. Leisure Parks and Recreation Centers. In big cities, people usually go to malls, resorts, or recreation centers for leisure. In small towns, we make use of public beach (to those in coastal areas) or town plaza. In Dipolog City (a third class city), the Sunset Boulevard is a popular hangout spot where you can buy all these food—tempura, siomai, peanut, popcorn, shake—for less than 100 pesos.