Having lived in the Philippines for more than 13 years, I can tell you the types of washing machines I see there all the time. They’re the cheap kind, made mostly of plastic. The image I’ve provided is a good example.
With most Filipinos living below the poverty line, it’s still a step up from washing clothes by hand. Believe me, many Filipinos still wash everything by hand because that’s all they can afford.
Priced from 4000 to 10000 pesos (or from $100 to $200 USD) or more, the washing machines are made of mostly plastic. Only a few parts are made of anything else, and they just don’t last. I’ve seen my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law replace their washing machines multiple times and I’ve seen them being repaired multiple times. The washing machine in the laundry room of my house (next to the dirty kitchen) hasn’t been repaired or replaced.
Most of the washing machines I’ve seen have one tub for washing and rinsing and another tub for spinning. My in-laws call the spinners the dryers. I really don’t know why. They don’t have real dryers at all, and they still hang their clothes on lines behind our house when it’s not raining.
After we finished building our house in 2006 and furnished it as much as possible, we ran out of money. I had to save money over a few years for us to buy the other things we wanted in the house. Even when we had the money to buy a washing machine, we still had to wait until our dirty kitchen and laundry extension was completed.
My memory fails me, but I believe the last piece of the extension was completed near the end of 2010. In either February or March 2011, we I bought a Whirlpool washing machine and dryer set. My wife, Josie, bought them without me being present, so the store wouldn’t charge more for an American buyer (one of the drawbacks for foreigners living in the Philippines).
They make those machines in the Philippines as well as in the United States, and the models we got were made in the United States. I don’t remember how much they cost, but it was more than 60,000 pesos, whatever that came out to in dollars at the time (around $1500 USD, if I remember correctly). There were machines that were far more expensive, but not necessarily better.
Within a month, a couple of my in-laws asked if they could use our washing machine and dryer (unsupervised). We wanted our machines to last as long as possible, and we politely refused. We didn’t have any problem with anyone using them while supervised. We relented a few years later and let a couple of older relatives use them after being shown how to use them properly.
While both of the machines still work today, the washing machine no longer turns off when a cycle is complete. It has to be turned off manually. Not only that, but corrosion set in next to the lid (it’s a top-loading machine). One of the people using it didn’t take care of it while we were away, not even something as simple as wiping off the water to prevent rust from forming.
I thought both machines would last longer than 10 years, but I think I’ll have to replace the washing machine far sooner than I anticipated. Hopefully, I can convince Josie to buy one finished in stainless steel, even if it’s a front-loading model.
Photo Attribution: Lazada
Edited and updated. Originally published in November 2013.