Washing Machines in the Philippines

washing machines Having lived in the Philippines for over seven years, I can tell you the kinds of washing machines I see the most.

It’s the cheap, almost completely made of plastic washing machines.

With most Filipinos living below the poverty line, it’s a step up from washing clothes by hand.

Believe me, many Filipinos still wash everything by hand because that’s all they can afford to do.

These Cheap Washing Machines

Costing anywhere from 4000 to 10000 peso (or from $100 to $200 USD), these washing machines are made of mostly plastic. Only a few parts, including the motor, are made of anything else. They don’t last. I’ve seen my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law replace their washing machines at least once during my time there and I’ve also seen them being repaired.

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.

No Cheap Washing Machines for Us

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 from my monthly pension to buy the other things I wanted in the house. Even if we had the money to buy a washing machine, we had to wait until our dirty kitchen and laundry extension to the house was completed.

My memory fails me, but I believe the last piece of that extension was completed near the end of 2010. My wife was in the Philippines during the first few months of 2011 and it’s during that period (either February or March) that we bought a Whirlpool washer and dryer set. 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 US dollars at that time (around $1500 USD, if I remember correctly).

Within a month, a couple of my in-laws asked if they could use our washer and dryer. I wanted our machines to last as long as they would in the United States, so we politely refused. We weren’t being selfish. We were being practical. I always ask them what they did when we weren’t around (and I’m not talking about washing clothes in particular). They just don’t get it.

Photo Attribution: By Solomon203 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

November 20, 2013


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ANA (2013)

I guess in your seven years of living in the Philippines, you haven't learned the meaning of being a "Filipino". While I don't think you are wrong for refusing your in-laws to use your precious machines, it was your "I always ask them what they did when we weren’t around (and I’m not talking about washing clothes in particular). They just don’t get it." comment that seem to trigger my Filipino pride. I grew up in the United States and every now and then I go back to visit family and friends. Much like you, I refuse to share certain things because it will cost a lot to fix, I guess I can say that's a normal reaction for us who have been blessed to have comforts and luxuries. Not trying to attack you personally in any way but I hope you never have to answer that question yourself because not only is it a "Filipino thing" to help one another which makes living in the Philippines so much different from living in the U.S., but it is also a human thing to do. I am sure that during the remodel or building of your current home, many of your relatives/neighbors would have been happy to oblige if you had asked politely for their help, often for little to no pay. Had you swallowed your pride once or twice, I am sure that you would have neighbors share their meals and services with you. So yes, those people might not be "smart" enough in the sense that you are hinting to "get it", but they have huge hearts. It is the Filipinos ability to come together in good and especially in bad times that makes me proud to say that I am a Filipino. I have very poverish family but I live richly here in the U.S. When I visit them, they are often happy with what I have for them and if I don't happen to have anything for them, they still come just to "talk stories and catch up" often with a bowl of soup, or a bag of veggies, fruits, or seafood that they could very well have kept for themselves to feed their families but they share it with me instead. So yes, they "don't get it" but my question to you is "Do you get how the Filipinos truly live?"

RT Cunningham (2013)

Touché. The reason I ask questions like that is not to be selfish. The relatives we speak of are 10 or more years younger than me and my wife and live in the compound that we have provided for them. They have become way too dependent on us (along with my mother-in-law, drawing Social Security) for just about anything out of the ordinary. We've been trying to help them to help themselves (by putting some people through college over the years) but they stubbornly refuse to look beyond the present. That is what I mean by them "not getting it".

slimer (2014)

When you buy an American style washing machine, you should consider the environment. They guzzle water. European style, front loaders use a fraction of the water.

RT Cunningham (2014)

Unfortunately, I couldn't find front-loading washers at all.

slimer (2014)

Yes RT, it used to be difficult, but now Electrolux, and Whirlpool are more available. But I agree, beats hand washing!

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