How can you tell if summer has arrived in the Philippines? Let’s count the ways.
One, you sweat bullets the moment you step outside the shower.
Two, the pavement feels hot enough to cook an entire breakfast spread on at midday.
Three, your electric bill skyrockets after a month of having the air conditioner on at full blast.
Of all the signs, I think I fear the last one the most. About a week or so ago, one of my colleagues decried the cost of using an air conditioner during the summer. Eventually, we conceded that spending money on your comfort is still preferable to doing the same for medical bills after you pass out from heat stroke or whatnot.
However, not everyone has access to an air conditioner. And sometimes, your monthly budget just doesn’t allow for its round-the-clock use. Fortunately, there are still a myriad of ways that you can keep cool regardless. Here are some you can try out when you’re all sweaty and cash-strapped:
- Load up on water and cool treats.
- Go for a cold shower.
- Wear light, loose clothing.
- Close the blinds.
- Swap out your sheets.
- Take a leaf out of the Ancient Egyptians’ book.
Air conditioners are great, but as with a lot of things, it’s what you do to the inside of your body that counts. This means keeping your body temperature down by filling up on cooling fluids and food.
So, whenever the heat gets too intense, drink a couple glasses of cold water as needed. Prefer something tastier? Try making these sweet summertime coolers at home.
On the flip side, summers are off-season for your water heaters.Rinsing off under a cold stream of water helps to lower your core body temperature. This helps you stay cooler longer, as compared to hot showers.
After you’ve had that shower, change into loose, soft cotton shirts, shorts, and underwear. Pick breathable fabrics that can wick sweat away from the body and save the heavier material for cooler months.
Of course, there’s also going au natural, but be sure to do so in the privacy of your home, yeah?
Apparently, up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from open windows. Thus, using shades and blinds can lower indoor temperatures by as much as 20 percent. Closing your windows, especially the ones facing south and west, also helps.
If you’re really committed to AC-free living, you can even invest in blackout curtains. These keep out both heat and light when drawn, ensuring a cooler night’s sleep.
As with clothing, cotton beddings breathe easier and stay cooler than their flannel or fleece counterparts.
For extra oomph, you can store your sheets in the freezer before using. Just be sure to put them in a plastic bag beforehand so they don’t smell of frozen meat or fish.
The Nile dwellers definitely knew a thing or two about coping with desert-level heat. Behold the Egyptian method:
- Wet a flat sheet or bath towel with cold water.
- Wring it or run it through the dryer until it’s just damp, but not dripping wet.
- Place it above a dry sheet and use as a blanket.
Set up a makeshift “air conditioner.”
Now, this is one old-school trick. Fill a shallow pan or bowl with some ice cubes. Place it in front of a fan, and enjoy the cooling mist that ensues. Don’t forget to empty the container and refill the ice on occasion.
Keep some face towels in the fridge.
Take a face towel and place it in the bottom of a clean basin. Top off with some cold water, cover with cling wrap, and chill in the fridge.
Whenever you need to cool down, stat, take the face towel out of the basin. Wring it briefly, and then apply to your wrists and neck.
Get your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise.
Doing so makes the air blow straight down. Furthermore, the higher the temperature, the faster your fan speed should be. These settings will create a wind-chill breeze effect for you and your guests to enjoy.
Kip to your side of the bed.
Cuddling in bed pools body heat, making your bed a sticky, sweaty pit. Yuck. Best sleep alone this season, methinks.
Summers in the Philippines are brutal, certainly. I, for one, marvel at how my ancestors survived them without air conditioners. Whew.
On the other hand, overdependence on these same appliances probably contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer, hence the scorching summers we endure today. Yikes.
All the more reason to seek out alternatives, no?