Deodorant? Check! Daytime face cream? Check! Nighttime face cream? Check! 2 kinds of sunscreen? Check! Hair de-frizzer? Check! Hair ties, swim goggles, running shoes, strapless bra? Check, check, check and check! Tampons? Aw, drat.
While in the Philippines, I needed tampons. (Ms. Super Planner-Organizer here forgot this essential feminine item.) So, I popped into a nearby mini-mart and scanned the feminine products aisle: Modess, Whisper, Charmee… all pads. Hmm, maybe they keep tampons in a different aisle? F searched as well…nothing. Well, it was a small store. A larger store will probably have tampons, I thought.
We passed a bigger drugstore later that afternoon. While my dad and the girls waited outside, F and I searched for the tampons. Again, I found Whisper, Modess, Charmee and other varieties of pads, but no tampons. WTF?
An hour later we hit SM Hypermarket. Anything by the name of Hypermarket should have tampons, right? Nope. I settled on some Whisper pads and headed back to the condo. My mom would be there. Maybe she would know where to get tampons.
The next day my mom went out to meet her friend Luz, a Manila resident.
“We’ll look for tampons,” she told me as she left. “Luz will know where to get them.”
2 hours later she came back with a plastic bag.
“Here, Wa. Here are some pads. There are no tampons here,” she told me.
“What do you mean here? As in all of Manila? There are no tampons in Manila? The city with the highest population density in the world? Home to over 14 million people? No one uses tampons???” I asked astonished.
“No. You can’t get tampons here. They don’t use them. It’s a cultural thing,” she said.
“What? Is that somehow part of the Catholic thing? I don’t quite understand…” I murmured in disbelief as I took the bulky Modess pads and went to my room.
For the rest of the week, I continued searching for tampons hoping to find them tucked in the corner of some random store. No such luck.
Bottom line: Tampons — Never leave the country without them.