by James “ Kojak ” Hughs

While working as the superintendent at a local private school I had a conflict with the President of the school. She had instituted a policy that I felt was an unfair imposition upon the students, not only in conflict with Filipino culture but even unsanitary.

She made it mandatory that all students use the schools toilet facilities in accordance with western culture. To enforce this policy she stationed upper class-men at each CR. To pay these upper classmen she required students using the facility to pay a small fee. When I protested this policy, I was ignored. The result was many poorer students were forced to go long periods unable to relieve themselves. In addition it presupposes that the western, or dare I say “colonial” style, was the best and most sanitary way to use the facility. This is demonstrably and scientifically not true.

In January of 2008, Amador Benabei was fired from his job in Australia because he insisted on using the traditional method of cleaning himself after using the CR. To his credit, Amador sued the company and won. His use of the traditional cleansing methods is far superior to the “Colonial” style. You will never see a brown stripe in the underwear of a Pinoy using the traditional “Tabo”.

For those that may not know “Tabu” is not the bucket, it is the label or dipper. The bucket is called a “Timba”. In a traditional Pinoy home “Palayoks” ( tabos and timbas) were located all around the home. One was located at the front door for cleansing the feet and hands before entering the house. Historically Filipinos have been a very clean people. Visayans have special words for every type of cleansing. Sadly the adoption of the western toiletry customs is making Filipinos less sanitary and endangering their health. Talk to the attendant in the mall CR’s. Many, particularly foreigners, never even use soap and water to clean themselves before leaving the facility.

Tabo is not only a more sanitary method of using the CR, it has a lot of other features that make it an even more superior cleansing system. First, it uses less water. Using less water is not a critical feature in the Philippines, but using less water also translates to less pollution of the environment. Second, the use of toilet paper clogs up the sewage system and requires more frequent pumping of waste from holding tanks. I questioned several Filipinos and found out the waste that is pumped out of your septic tank is often just dumped in the countryside where it again pollutes the environment, including some commercial crops. This is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. I once spent a week in a hospital from eating fruit contaminated by human waste. Finally, the western style of elimination is not natural and is ergonomically counter productive. It puts pressure on delicate nerve centers, requires us to strain and disrupts the natural action of peristalsis.

I will never understand why the Philippines keeps adopting the worst features of western culture. In the final analysis the “tabo” system is far superior to the western style. To foreign guests, sometimes different is better. If you are interested go to You Tube and look up “Mickey Bustos”. He has posted some tutorial on how to use this superior system.

“Pinoy ka kung gumagamit ka ng tabo pag mag hugas ng pwet” ( You are a Pinoy if you use the tabo to clean your butt).

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