Toilet, Dunny, thunder box, water closet, shit box, outhouse.
I am sure that there is a book out there somewhere which talks about toilets. I am sure someone somewhere has studied the worlds toilets, comparing them and revealing the inner sanctums of the worlds lavatories. I cannot profess to knowing much about toilets, but I will discuss the toilets in the Philippines.
As a youngster in Australia, I do remember the occasional blockage in the toilet. As kids, you had to push the limits and see just how far things could go; and the blocking of the toilet was one of those tests. After wiping, one could deliberately fill the average Australian dunny (toilet for the uninitiated) with approximately a quarter of a roll of dunny paper before it could not be flushed away. Up to that point, it would flush and dwell for ten seconds or so and then disappear with a resounding swoosh and a chug. Past that point and the wad, a mixture of you-know-what and paper lodged in the s-bend and the toilet filled to the brim with water. Sometimes — if you had enough paper in there — it would actually overflow. To a five year old, this was a work of art. The point is, that in my almost fifty years, I found it quite hard to block an Aussie dunny.
Enter the Philippino toilet. The drains in the Philippines, as I have stated earlier, are not the most efficient. So getting the effluent away is problematic at the best of times. But, it would be much better if their royal thrones had been designed better.
At first I thought, logically of course, that maybe it was a simple matter of size. I am an average size Aussie, around 5’8″ or 174 cm. On average, quite a bit taller than your average Filipino, though that is changing; which I won’t go into yet. Hence, I reasoned that perhaps, I was passing larger than Filipino-sized lumps. This could explain the constant blockages. But I don’t think there is that much difference. Not that I have been observing. I think it is the design. The toilets themselves are almost flat. When you sit on them, your bum is a mere few inches away from the water. When you flush, the water fills the bowl and then swirls around, gathering the solids and creating a small whirlpool at the bottom. It’s not very effective and the solids don’t always get sucked away. Aussie toilets by comparison are tall and the water squirts in under force from the edge of the toilets forcing the solids over the s-bend and away. I have never, in my adult life, blocked an aussie toilet. Never!
Now, we have developed a technique. For any wishing to frequent a different country and are confronted by the small flat bowl … here is the method.
- Be seated (obvious, I know). But if you think it is going to be a longer than normal one, be prepared to snap it off half way. This is not a joke!
- Lower a length, no longer than approximately 6″ or 15 cm. If it is, snap it off.
- Immediately flush! Don’t lift your arse off the seat, just reach back and flush. Leave it too long and it drifts to the bottom where it could possibly lodge in the first bend.
- After that you can either release the other half or, if it of normal length, go for the first wipe. This part is important. We are talking no more than a small handful. If you need more, perhaps because your arse is larger than some, or you just take a few more wipes to finish, than DO NOT DO IT. A small handful. That’s all!
- Reach back and flush. Take your time on the first wipe as you must ensure that the cistern has refilled first.
- Wipe a second time.
- etc, etc, until you have finished your business.
The toilets are reminiscent of the entire country. I am sure that some houses have modern toilets but many are still using the same type that was introduced to the country early in the the twentieth century. As the country continues to follow the world’s trends, it gets better just as the rest of the world does, and things change and modernise, so too do the facilities.
But for those new to this neck of the woods … heed my warning.
P.S. I refrained from providing pictures to go with the directions.