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Dust and Dirt and Mildew

Here in the Philippines, unless you’re in an upper scale sub-division there is old roads, open areas, planting or construction. Many places have block walls without any concrete plaster covering the block walls. Plus there are so many vehicles spewing black smoke from their exhaust. With this there is a lot of dirt, dust and soot in the air.
In America, if you live in most communities, it is fully built. The streets are paved and the lawns are done. There is dust, but that dust is usually made from clothes or carpet. You clean, dust and vacuum your home maybe once a week unless you live in an area where you keep your windows closed and central air conditioning on most of the time. Then maybe you clean every other week.

With all this dust in the air, every morning someone in the family or a maid will sweep the floors and dust the furniture. This is a never ending battle. If you have a car, even if you just washed it, by the next morning it will be covered with a level of dust. If it rained the night before, you will see the blotchy spots.

If you have an air conditioner, you need to check the filters regularly and have a service tech come out the recommended every 6 months to clean out the internal mechanisms.

Something else you need to keep an eye on is your books, luggage and other items packed away or under the bed. With the humidity items that can absorb moister is a great breading place for mold and mildew.brooms

My bedroom has this problem and it is an increased problem because we use air conditioning at night. The room and everything in it gets nice and cool over the night. Then when we wake, we turn the unit off. Now the humid air comes in and the moisture condenses on the cool items.

As I have written in other articles about homes in the Philippines, ventilation is the key. The more windows you have, and the more fans can move the air, the less the moisture problem, but as this article was intended, with the open windows the more dust and dirt comes in.

Something else I have noticed with many Filipinos is a kind of conditional tunnel vision. They see what’s in front of them and do not use their peripheral vision. Also many are into the philosophy “if not seen, it does not exist.” What do I mean with this, well if they are cleaning the sink, they do not see dirt on the counter. Or if they are cleaning the counter, they do not see dirt on the cabinet in front of them. This goes further with house cleaning.

They sweep the floors around the furniture but do not think to sweep under. If they are dusting and there is a tall cabinet, they will clean the front and maybe even the shelves, but do not think to clean the top of the unit.

With the personalities, you have to mention as a thought and not an order or complaint to direct them to clean in areas not thought of. I am not saying all Filipinos but many.

I was at the mall one day and saw someone I knew. They were with their family at a kiosk donut shop. I walked to the counter and acted like I was checking out the donuts. I was only about 4 feet away and the person never noticed me. I stood there and looked at them and I was invisible.

As much as we think we know the Philippines and the Filipino people, we will continue to learn the differences. Who is right and who is wrong, who can say. Just remember, you are in their county. They lived here longer than us and we are the outsider. Even though we might know ways to do things better, this is their life and you have to be diplomatic showing other ways to do something.

12 Responses to “Dust and Dirt and Mildew”

  1. don m. says:

    My in laws just lost their maid to the bright lights on Manila and now she gets five hundred more a month. For that she has to do the laundry and many other chores. Also they dont treat her as a member of the family on trips to town and at meals. Does this fit under this heading?

  2. Rob says:

    I thought it was just one of my wife’s habits of having tunnel vision. But it did strike me as strange when I got on an elevator and stood next to one of my wife’s friends who acted like we had never met, except when I greeted her. (She had been to our house many times)

    • Bruce says:

      It is not just you. At first I thought it was like the Japanese. Since they live in close proximity to neighbors, they only see straight ahead so they are not looking into others life, but it happens with everything. They look straight ahead and not use their peripheral vision.
      With you on the elevator, maybe she did see you and tried not to be noticed. hahhaha

  3. Negra says:

    I am privileged to tell you after reading your statements which tells me that you are a person that does not have profound knowledge what you are talking about and does not know even your fellow countrymen (Americans) and your country. What a pity!!!

    Dust and dirt in some parts of America is just as bad as Davao. Humidity is also a big problem to many Americans that lives near the coast. True, most lawns in America are done because the fines and penalties are not worth the fight. A mandatory ordinance of nearly every city to have a lawn and maintain it-meaning the freedom NOT to grow grass does not exist in most places.

    I must state that you are also one of those Americans that have tunnel vision…believes that you are better than anyone else and the worst part is that you also probably believe YOU ARE FREE and IN A WAY you are right. You’re free to pay taxes, buy licenses and permits in everything you want to do, and generally do as WHAT YOU ARE TOLD MANDATED by more than 10,000 American laws and ordinances to which you are oblige to live with and follow.

    The term for “not being noticed or invisible” is incorrect….most of the time you are seen by these people ( Filipino) but not acknowledge- and there is a BIG difference! What comes to mind is a question, do you need a greeting person that like those robot-type people that say “ How are you?, how’r you doing? “ insincerely and do not even wait for reply? I’ve seen many of these people in United States. Robot-type is the perfect term for these people since they say the phrase “ How are you?, how’r you doing?” less than 5 feet away that is like your presence is a sensor for them to say the phrase. Are you one of these people?

    Cleaning …you need to know your fellow countrymen…I have known a lot of Americans that does have filthy houses were dog poop and cat poop dried out under the bed, under the coffee table, under the kitchen chairs and every places that the dog and cat pooped. And where the dog and cat pooped usually stinks with a very horrible smell of urine. Sad to remind you that these are top of the many reasons why Americans are sickly- living in a house with cats, dogs and or both.

    As you are the one that knows “the way to do things better” …why you never came up with a solution to your problem…perhaps using a DEHUMIDIFIER!

    • Bruce says:

      I do not know why your so insulting and bitter. I do not try to insult others or their life. I try to write about life here for others to understand the difficulties and differences.
      Also I am not trying to hide from taxes or American laws. The Financial Crises cause me loss of occupation with no options in the same industry. Yes I could have looked for a low paying job at some other type of job but chose to move to be with my Fiancee.
      You are right, there are clean places in America and some that are just as bad, but on average the US has more cleaner living than here.
      I do not know why you are so bitter, but I will post your comment and reply since you have the right to tell your views here.

      About greeting others, I agree, in America many people say “how your doing” and keep walking. At times I replied “Do you care?” Here if I ask someone how they are doing, I wait for an answer.

      I try to live in the Philippines with respect to the authorities and peoples. I am nice to people and try to keep a nice relationship, even to those I do not see regularly.

  4. Banot Asawa says:

    I guess that I am blessed that my wife keeps our home hospital clean, heh, I can only imagine that when we arrive there in
    Davao she will be all over the maid to do the same.

    • Bruce says:

      You are a lucky man. I was confused with your blog and last comment, I thought you were the Filipina. I am sure she will do well as long as she does not drive the maids away with too much work. Look forward to meeting you once you arrive.

  5. Banot's Asawa says:

    Lol i get that alot, wives rule the roost anyhow no? so you can feel free to consider us 1 in the same, I will not be offended heh

  6. Banot says:


    Didn’t know my husband is posting here now, usually just lurking and browsing. Don’t be confused Vanessa and Banot are the same person. I posted here not too long ago under Vanessa dont know if you still remember, Banot is my nickname in college. Banot’s asawa is my husband Richard(the one emailing you about the home construction/designs .

    With regards to the cleaning, i will probably do more cleaning than the maid. I like to do it my way and would rather do it myself if i can. But an extra hand always help when lazy days kicks in.

    Maayong buntag Bruce!

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for clearing up. I remember you commenting but not what. I look forward to working with you both on your dream house. I understand the lazys kicking in, I am waiting for mine to kick out.

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