Whether you’re a tourist just here in the Philippines for a few days, or a would-be expat scouting for business opportunities, be warned of this important fact: THERE’S NO TOILET PAPER IN PUBLIC RESTROOMS. And that’s not just in malls or gas stations. Sometimes, even in private buildings, there’s no toilet paper. You might find a vending machine inside the restroom which sells tissues many times over their actual retail price. But that is very rarely. So bring your own toilet paper, or a packet of tissues, wherever you go.
So why is there no toilet paper in public restrooms? It’s because people keep stealing them. Not even the bulky industrial sized 2 feet+ diameter rolls are safe. At Fitness First, the gym I used to go to (but not anymore because it’s just too pricey), I heard that one of their large dispensers in the ladies’ room was broken into.
Back in the US, my former employer’s office bathroom had a dispenser tube with a hard to reach release lever in the middle, where you can’t remove the toilet paper until you’ve finished the roll down to the cylindrical cardboard. (The reason why our company had that dispenser is because that’s what came with the rented office space, and not as an anti toilet paper thievery device.) But I think even with that dispenser in place here, some Filipino would patiently unroll the paper onto a stick and worse, take the dispenser.
A comic strip Beerkada (don’t know if it still exists), makes fun of the issue of the missing toilet paper. A guy in the cubicle was in need of toilet paper, and asked the guy outside if he could spare some.
Guy1: Could you spare me some toilet paper?
Guy2: Sorry, don’t have any.
Guy1: How about regular paper?
Guy2: Don’t have them either.
Guy1: Hmm. Do you have change for 100 pesos?