Some people get diarrhea after studying abroad on Cebu Island for a week, and others say that they did nothing after studying abroad for half a year. What’s the difference?
As the Philippines is a developing country, I have an image that it is easy to get diarrhea with food and water, but as long as you follow the precautions, that’s not the case at all.
There are 2 things to be careful of: “Where and what to eat” and “Keep fit and wash hands”.
Here’s a closer look at both.
Dietary guidelines “List of foods you can eat and dangerous foods”
Almost 100% safe
Dangers 0 to 5 are the same level of safety as in Japan and can be said to be “Almost 100% safe”.
Risk 0: School meals
There is no doubt that the meals served at language schools are considered to be “safest thing” when eating in Cebu Island. Every school pays the utmost attention to the hygiene of meals.
There is almost no risk of food poisoning if you only eat meals at language schools. However, there is a possibility if you neglect physical condition management and hand washing, so please be careful about that point.
why school meals are safe
1.They put more effort into providing meals than foreign students expected.
Each language school operates under the recognition that it is a language school that offers not only classes but also accommodations and meals.
We provide meals with more thorough hygiene control than restaurants.
2.They always use fresh ingredients.
What’s different from restaurants is that they don’t take orders. So you don’t have to stock extra ingredients, and you can always cook with fresh ingredients.
3.I’m also thinking about nutrition.
At schools that serve three meals, not only are menus devised so that students do not get bored, but they also pay attention to nutrition. For that reason, I take care not to get unbalanced nutrition by having meals at school so that I can manage my health.
Risk 0: PET bottle water
Of course, the water in the plastic bottle is safe. You can buy it at any supermarket, convenience store, drugstore, etc. 500 ml is 10 pesos for 1 bottle (Approx. ¥21). There are also sizes larger than 5L.
The most famous one is the water from the brand NATURE’S SPIRNG in the picture. There are 3 types of NATURE’S SPIRNG.
・PURIFIED (purified water)
・DISTILLED (distilled water)
・PH9 (alkali ion water)
The alkaline ionized water below is the most expensive, but there is no problem with the cheapest purified water. The difference is about 5 pesos (Approx. ¥10) for 500 ml, so those who are particular about water should choose the expensive one.
The water in plastic bottles is mostly soft water, so it goes well with Japanese people.
Danger 0: Fruit (I cut it.)
The fruit itself is safe. I’m worried that it’s been a while since I cut it.
There is no problem as long as it is freshly cut. It’s even safer if you peel it with your hands.
There is a juice stand in the mall where you can drink fresh apple juice, orange juice, carrots and apple juice, but of course they are also safe.
Just in case, please be careful if a knife or a cutting board is okay.
Severity 1: Water Server
The water in the water dispenser itself has a risk of 0, but in rare cases, the water dispenser machine may not be cleaned.
The restaurant’s free water (It’s called Service Water or Glass of Water.) is also from this water dispenser.
If you are concerned, you can order bottled water at the restaurant.
Risk Level 5: Big Fast Food Stores
McDonald’s, Burger King, and Philippine brand Joliby.
It costs around 100 pesos (220 yen) per person, so the price range is not so different from a low class restaurant.
However, major fast food restaurants are very hygienic and safe because they have a thorough manual for the cooking process and hygiene control.
Danger 5: Restaurant (high class)
Restaurants (high class) are high-priced restaurants in shopping malls and commercial facilities, or restaurants in hotels.
At this class restaurant, they use good ingredients, so you can eat without worry. Popular restaurants have especially high turnover rate, so the ingredients are fresh, so you can say that the risk is very low.
Risk 5: Cafe, Spa Tea
Most massage parlors in Cebu offer tea, juice or water after the massage.
Some discount stores have concerns about their appearance. As it is not a restaurant in the first place, I think the awareness of hygiene management is weak, so I think you might be a little worried.
But I use the water dispenser for tea and water, so it’s okay. If you are still concerned, I think you should refrain from drinking after the massage.
Danger 5: Tap water (Gargling and brushing teeth)
You can’t drink tap water in Cebu Island. However, if you only gargle or brush your teeth, you can use tap water.
It’s not as dirty as “I filled the bath with hot water and it was brown.” as you might find on trips to other developing countries.
Depending on the school, the area where the accommodation is, or the water supply facility of the building, it may not be recommended, so it is all right if you follow the school orientation.
5: Mango shake, halo, coffee
Halo-halo is Philippine shaved ice, also available in restaurants, fast food restaurants and dessert stores. I think you are worried about ice in mango shake, but tap water is not used, so it’s okay.
What I want you to be careful is whether fruits are refrigerated in the case of drink specialty stores. In the case of a drink specialty store, you can see the inside of the kitchen, so you can avoid it if you feel uneasy.
The coffee I drink at a café might be rated 1, but there are rare privately owned cafes that are not very hygienic, so I set it to 5. If it’s only a major coffee chain, I think you can say the risk is 1.
How is the ice in the restaurant in Cebu?
Ice cubes are purchased from ice makers at all levels of restaurants. The ice in the drink is also purchased from an ice maker, so it’s safe. There is almost no ice using tap water.
Some major fast food restaurants and Korean cafes use purified water to make ice, but that’s not a problem.
If you freeze tap water, it will be “cloudy white ice” just as if you made it in your freezer, so you can easily find it. “clear ice” is safe.
If it bothers you, ask the restaurant staff before ordering.
rarely cause stomach problems
Basically, the degree of danger is 10 to 20.
10 risk: local bakery
There are many bakeries in the city of Cebu. Cheap restaurants start from 5 pesos (Approx. ¥10) per 1, which is very cheap and delicious, so I recommend it.
Bakers in malls are almost 100% safe, but bakers in cities rarely have insects in their showcases.
It is safe in the shopping mall, but you can buy it in the downtown area where the store is clean and the turnover seems good. If possible, buy it in the morning. The bread of Cebu is delicious, so please try it!
Danger 10: Restaurant (middle class)
It doesn’t have a high-class feel, but the appearance of the restaurant is firm and I think it will be fine. All restaurants introduced on this site are middle class or higher. More than 100 pesos (Approx. ¥210) per person.
In terms of hygiene management, I don’t think there is such a big difference from a high-class restaurant.
But if it’s a middle-class restaurant in town, it might not be that popular. In that case, I really care about the freshness of the ingredients.
If there is a restaurant near the school where you can’t decide whether you can go in or not, school staff and foreign students who have been there for a long time know about it, so I think you should ask them.
Danger 10: Restaurant Fresh Vegetables
Raw vegetables (Salad) that are eaten at restaurants are also fine. You might want to be careful with things that are obviously not fresh (a cut that has changed color).
Risk level 10: Sushi/Sashimi
You can also eat sushi and sashimi at Japanese restaurants on Cebu Island. We are concerned about the hygiene of raw food, but the restaurant is aware of the danger of raw food, so we serve it carefully.
Even so, sometimes the refrigerator or freezer doesn’t work well, so you should be careful compared to eating in Japan.
Risk level 20: Yatai Mura
The picture shows a street stall village “Sugbo Mercado” in the IT park for weekends only.
Even though they are called Yatai, they have electricity and water, so they are totally different from street stalls in terms of sanitation. Some stores store food at room temperature or sell pre-made food, so you need to be careful.
Risk rating of 20: food court
Food courts in shopping malls are one rank lower in hygiene compared to store-based restaurants.
You should choose based on “take a look at the store”, “to select something through fire” and “a restaurant where you order and then cook”. There are times when the cashier and the cooking staff are together, so there are some shops that don’t wash their hands every time they touch money.
The biggest problem with food courts is that they take a long time to prepare. In particular, fried foods tend to oxidize easily, so it’s better to avoid them. If possible, I recommend that you eat at the food court during lunch time between 10 AM and 14 o’clock when the mall is open.
Risk 20: Island hopping lunch
I also set the risk level of the island hopping lunch to 20 because it is often pre-made. However, in the case of island hopping, we make it in anticipation of eating at lunchtime from the beginning, so basically it’s okay.
There are tours where you can grill a BBQ on the spot and shops that keep it cool in a cooler box, so it’s safer to choose such a shop.
Hazard level 20: Shells and crustaceans
I wrote shellfish and shellfish, but what you should be especially careful about is oysters.
It is the same in Japan, but oysters may have bacteria such as norovirus. It will be fine if you cook it thoroughly, but it may not be done, so check it when you eat. Please be careful about shrimp and scallops. Butter grilled scallops is one of the recommended dishes of Cebu, but I recommend you to go to a Philippine restaurant which seems to have a good turnover rate.
The safe way is to have the fish in the tank cooked on the spot.
The restaurant is famous for some Chinese restaurants, seafood city and seaside restaurants in Malibago Blue Water.
Personally, I really want you to avoid the 5-star resort “Plantation Bay Shrimp Dishes”. My friend and I ate it at different timing. 。。。
People with weak stomach should avoid it.
I want you to be especially careful from now on.
・Those who are aware that their stomach is not strong.
・Those who study abroad for a short period of one or two weeks, or tourists.
I think it is safe to avoid those who apply to both.
If you are a foreign student or a tourist for a short period of time, it would be a waste to stay for a short period of time if you have an upset stomach, so I don’t think you need to try this level of restaurant.
Danger 30: Restaurant (law class)
It’s a local restaurant called Karendelia. You can eat 1 meal for 50 pesos (Approx. ¥110), and since you don’t have to wait after ordering, it is convenient to say “It’s cheap, fast, and delicious.”.
However, there are a lot of shops that are not beautiful even if you flatter them. If you really want to try it, choose a shop that looks relatively clean and has a lot of customers.
And above all, please make it only for lunch time. Dinner is often leftovers and it’s easy to win because time has passed.
Severity 30: Barrot
Barrot is a boiled egg of duck before hatching. In the Philippines, it is famous as a food that gives you energy.
I think it’s okay because it’s sold before the shell is peeled, but it’s not sanitary because it’s sold on the street. Also, I don’t know how long it has been since it was heated.
It looks gross, so it’s like a game of punishment. I can show off when I finish eating.
Risk 40: Barbecue stall
It is a street stall type BBQ shop and stores the ingredients as shown in the picture.
In fact, it’s okay because it’s already well seasoned or has been pre-baked once so it doesn’t hurt.
However, I think you don’t have to go to stalls because there are restaurants with good hygiene such as AA BBQ.
Risk 50: Street stall
There are many stalls on the streets of Cebu. The price is cheap, and I think people who want to experience it locally will be interested. There are many kinds such as fried banana cues covered with sugar, tofu called taho with brown sugar syrup, and fried chicken. The taste is delicious.
However, there is no business license as a store, so it is not sanitary at all.
Risk level 60: liver sashimi, yukhoe
In Japan, the provision of beef liver sashimi was banned by law in 2012. Liver sashimi is available at some yakiniku restaurants because it is not prohibited in Cebu. But I recommend not to eat it.
It is reported that about 10% of cattle in Japan also carry Escherichia coli. So it’s not a matter of freshness or sanitary control in the restaurant, but there’s always a risk of food poisoning from raw beef liver.
If you have food poisoning, it is likely to cause serious symptoms.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has also issued an announcement saying, “There are no effective preventive measures, such as inspection methods or washing and sterilization methods, whether fresh or not. Not eating raw is the only way to prevent it.”.
Here is a story of a person who had food poisoning after eating liver sashimi.
I have traveled to more than 30 countries around the world and have eaten various kinds of Getty in all kinds of unexplored regions. But I’ve never had any serious food poisoning, and I believed my stomach was made of iron.
However, that overconfidence collapsed here in Cebu.
You can eat liver sashimi in Cebu, which you can’t eat in Japan! As I heard that, I went straight to the restaurant that was rumored because I liked liver sashimi.
The liver sashimi I ate for the first time in years is delicious! You can’t stop drinking beer with sesame oil and salt.
I don’t know when I can eat it next time, so I ate too much and ate up two plates.
It was around the evening of the next day that something unusual happened. I had an important meeting, so I held it and worked for the time being, but when I got home, I fell on the sofa and couldn’t move. If it is diarrhea or vomiting, you can give it out.
However, the thing that bothered me the most at that time was “pain” that I had never experienced before. Periodically, a knife-like pain attacks the stomach, preventing people from standing, sitting, or sleeping.
It was already night, so I had to be patient that day. overnight bearing of diarrhea and vomiting and pain. When I went to the hospital early the next morning and told them about my symptoms, they said, “It is Cambirobacter. Yes, I do. a person who is infected by eating raw liver”.
I was given special antibiotics and painkillers, and I had to rely on my natural healing power, which took me more than a week to heal.
There is a reason why it is prohibited in Japan. I understand why you feel like trying something while traveling.
However, in order not to waste your precious time in Cebu, I do not recommend adventure here. In Cebu, please make sure to eat well-cooked meat deliciously and safely!
Even if your stomach is strong, you may get food poisoning.
From now on, I want you to avoid it.
Even Filipinos should avoid it.
Danger 80: All foods and dishes that have been cooked for a long time
Avoid foods and foods that have passed your time.
What you should be careful about is when you take out a meal and the time passes. Even if you think it’s a waste, dispose it.
Risk 80: Cut fruit (Leave it for 5 hours.)
Fruits that have been cut for a long time are also dangerous. There is no problem if you cut it with a hygienic cutting board or a knife and store it in a refrigerator after that, but there are many cases where it is not sold as cut fruits.
There is a fruit shop on the street, but you should avoid cutting it. They are also sold at supermarkets, but it’s better to avoid them. It’s easy to eat, so many people buy it and eat it in the room, but many people get this cut fruit.
The only problem with cut fruit is that it “I don’t know how many hours it’s been there.”.
In other words, the cut fruit served in the breakfast buffet at the hotel is served as soon as you cut it, and the turnover rate is fast, so basically it’s no problem to eat it.
Risk 90: Tap water (in the case of drinking)
You can’t drink tap water. It is basically okay if you gargle and drink a little, but please avoid drinking tap water.
Even local Filipinos take it for granted that “Tap water = Undrinkable” so it is rare for any level of restaurant to provide tap water.
To reduce the risk of food poisoning
Hand wash, alcohol
It is a basic thing, but hand washing and alcohol disinfection before meals are very important.
If you don’t do this, you might get an upset stomach even if you only eat school meals. You can buy the alcohol disinfectant in the picture at a supermarket or a drugstore, so it’s good to have one.
daily physical condition management
It’s as important as washing your hands. Even if you eat normally, you may have an upset stomach if your physical strength is low.
Many people have diarrhea after the second week because they are tired from studying and living abroad.
I think it’s good to take antiflatulent as a part of daily physical condition management.
Some people bring Biofermin from Japan.
Stop eating when you think “It might be dangerous.”
Even if it is a high-class or middle-class restaurant, there is an emergency. If you order a bite and think “It might be dangerous.” stop eating.
If you have an upset stomach,
Even if you are careful, you may have an upset stomach. At the orientation of the school, I think you will hear about how to respond in case of an emergency, so please follow the orientation after you enter the school.
There are various causes of food poisoning. Please do not take medicine on your own judgment, and consult with the medical office or see a doctor again. Until then, don’t forget to drink water.
Consultation at school
First, let’s talk in the medical office at school!
If you can’t go to the school infirmary at night or on Saturdays and Sundays, I think you ask for the contact information of the school staff, so please consult them.
In addition, there are 4 hospitals on the island of Seventy Mactan, called “Japanese Help Desk”, which help Japanese people to see a doctor and apply for insurance. The fee for using the Japanese Help Desk is also paid from the insurance.
Flow of hospital visits in Cebu
1.Contact the hospital where the Japanese Help Desk is located, make an appointment and go to the hospital.
2.There is a Japanese Help Desk office in the hospital. The doctor will come to the office and examine you. There are Japanese staff at two hospitals in Cebu City, so they can help you translate your doctor’s examination.
3.If you are prescribed medicine, you can get it at the Japanese Help Desk office. Even if you have to be hospitalized, you can go through all the procedures.
4.Basically it is cashless treatment, so you don’t need to pay at the hospital.
Meals with a risk level of 0 to 5 “Almost 100% safe” are enough to complete a meal while studying in Cebu. There are many foreign students who can eat within this range.
This “dietary guideline list” is just a guide. It depends on the restaurant, so please pay attention to the following when eating out.
・Avoid the appearance of the store if you are concerned.
・choose a restaurant to cook after ordering
・to select something through fire
Again, the important thing is to wash your hands and take care of your health. While studying abroad, I take 6 ~ 8 hours of classes a day and study after school. There are many people who push themselves too hard without realizing it.
If you feel sick, it is also important to take a rest before getting sick.