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Terrain trends

Vacation navigation needs the right preparation.

By Ivan Olegario, M.D.

APRIL 2013

Every year, travel bloggers showcase their own Top 10 Summer Destinations in the Philippines. These lists include Boracay, Baguio, Tagaytay, as well as Ilocos, Bicol and Camiguin. Reviewing these lists makes you realize the diversity of travel destinations in the Philippines. No wonder the tagline “Wag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan” remains relevant—with our country’s wide array of travel offerings, there is always something new for a traveler to discover.

But the downside of this heterogeneity of travel destinations is that you cannot pack the same backpack twice. You need to pay special attention to each destination, keeping in mind that you should pack not just for pleasure, but also for your safety and health.

As you roam your own top 10 summer places in the Philippines, keep yourself healthy and safe in each of your destinations.






Terrain trend chart

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DESTINATION   WHY GO THERE?    HEALTH RISKS    WHAT TO PACK    WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND 

Highlands
 
 
The cool climates of Baguio and Tagaytay give gentle reprieve from the summer heat. Enjoy picturesque views, horseback riding, relaxing parks and picnic groves.
 
The mountain climes can be chilly and damp. Aside from discomfort, the cold can also occasionally lead to lip chaffing, as well as a release of histamines, leading to sneezing and nasal congestion. Pollen in these pollen capitals can make things worse.

 
• Warm clothing

• Lip moisturizer (with SPF)

• Non-sedating antihistamines
 
Non-sedating antihistamines such as loratidine are taken once a day only. Despite being non-sedating, some people still become drowsy with them. Drowsy people should not be allowed to drive the winding roads to these destinations.


Islands   You have 7,107 to choose from to enjoy sun, sand and surf. Many offer additional activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and kite boarding.
  The combination of sun and wet skin offers perfect conditions for a variety of skin disorders, including sun burns, rashes and fungal infections. The sun and salty water also causes dehydration and muscle cramps.
  • Water-proof sunblock with at least SPF 30

• Moisturizer

• Lots of bottled water
 
Sunblock should be re-applied at least every 2 hours.

Avoid sun exposure from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Moisturize your whole body before bedtime.

Avoid anti-acne products two weeks before your trip.

Treat sunburns with a gentle moisturizer, not with burn ointment or toothpaste.

Avoid dehydration by drinking 500 ml of water for every hour under the sun. 

Avoid alcohol when sunbathing.


Woodlands   Trekking and camping brings true communion with nature. Davao, Bicol, and Zambales have forests, trails and caves to discover. Destinations in Subic and Bohol offer cable rides, zipline, sky jumping and rappelling.
  Communing with nature exposes you to a number of pests and animals. Journeying through unfamiliar terrain may lead to injuries. Campfires may cause burns.
  Pack a complete first aid kit that includes:

• antihistamines

• topical antiseptics

• pain relievers

• bandages (elastic, adhesive and mesh)

• scissors

• tweezers

• oral rehydration salts

• anti-diarrhea medication
 
Learn first aid.

Be familiar with the weather forecast.

Stay dry. Change wet clothes immediately. 

Inspect your terrain or campsite carefully. Do not rush.

Build fires in a wide, open area far away from tents or other flammable material.

Dispose of trash properly to avoid attracting wild animals.

Familiarize yourself with poisonous plants that are common to the area. 


Badlands   Towns and cities come alive during summer, in fiestas and party nights. The months of April and May are filled with festivals, such as the Tanduyong Festival (San Jose, Nueva Ecija); Carabao Festival (Angono, Rizal and Pulilan, Bulacan); and Pahiyas (Quezon province).
  Overindulgence can lead to abdominal pain, drunkenness, and spikes in blood pressure and blood sugar. Large crowds attract criminal activity and disorderliness. You can also catch bad bugs from them.
  • Alcohol gel or alcohol wipes

• Domperidone tablets for dyspepsia

• Multivitamins

• Sugar packets

• Your maintenance medications (e.g. for asthma, hypertension, or diabetes)
 
Most of the time, you catch germs from what you touch, not what you breathe in. Clean your hands often with alcohol wipes.

Eat slowly; chew your food well. Drink lots of water.

Drink only one drink per hour (one bottle of beer, or one shot of liquor). Never drive when you have had a drink.

Alcohol lowers blood sugar, which contributes to hangovers. If you get drunk, take one to two multivitamins and a glass of sugar water (1 to 2 Tbsp sugar in a glass of water) before sleeping. If you have diabetes, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether.

Use your hotel’s safety deposit box for storing important travel documents.


Going travelling this April? We hope this article helps. There’s more on safe travels—plus a guide to healthy food festivals you can check out this month—in the April issue of HealthToday magazine. Grab a copy now!



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