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We Don’t Have That

January 12, 2012

Citizens of countries like theUnited States, Canada, theUK, and most developed countries get used to the little necessities of life and have the feeling that such things are universal. That feeling changes when you set foot on Philippine soil. For instance, the pharmaceuticals you’re used to simply not sold at any price. A popular pain remedy for sore teeth and gums is Anbesol or Oragel. You will not find even a replacement brand here because all pain killers are prescription only and only certain physicians can write prescriptions.  Even if you are lucky enough to find such a doctor, the product is not on drugstore shelves. Should you be unlucky enough to get the flu, you may want Nyquil.  No such thing here, but you can ask the druggist for something that will relieve the symptoms.  It might take several separate medicines though. Some people with dentures need dental adhesives like Poligrip or Fixodent. Those very products are sold in the Philippines, but it takes time to locate a reliable supply. It seems that people who need the adhesives buy in quantity at the store and deplete the stock. You will have to wait for another month before a new delivery is made. Often, it takes a trip to the nearest mall to find blades for a man’s razor because local stores don’t stock razor blades of any kind.  Even then, it’s not a sure bet that the blades your razor takes will be there. As for foods, certain items are completely impossible. Cold cuts like salami and baloney are nowhere to be found, however hot dogs are in plentiful supply. Sliced ham is for sale though it doesn’t look anything like the ham you ate at home. It looks more like a blotchy quilt of colors. Hamburger is sold but whatever you do, do not buy the grayish frozen patties sold in many stores. They do not taste like any beef you know. Get freshly ground meat from a meat market. Some things you may want are sold here, but under a different name and it takes time to find out what that name is. I happen to like mustard. This is not something Filipinos ever try, so it is usually not on the store shelves outside of the bigger cities. I fixed that situation by myself. Every time I went into my local supermarket, I asked for mustard. They now stock it. As for catsup, you have two choices. Tomato or banana catsup. Banana? Give it a try. You might like it.

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