Contributions By Members > Living Costs in different areas, cities, provinces

Certified organic coffee and more

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we get Organic ifugao white rice at the local rice dealers, and organic black rice at Robinsons.   As far as other "organic" items I am skeptical, I see many many many items marked as organic, but if you ask what makes the product organic you get a blank stare.  I am not sure if there are any agencies that oversee farming/produce etc to ensure it really is organic. 

Hi all,

Thanks for the hearty welcome.

Wow! So many suggestions. I thank you, all, very much for your time.

But i am not over there. I'm sitting in still cold and rainy Montreal, Canada.
(You, lucky buggers!)

I am asking these questions because i've recently met, online, a brilliant young woman (a mother of two) in a songwriters forum.
She has a beautiful mind and her priorities in life are definitely in the right place. She never asks for money but i see a need.

We were discussing some health topics, and she sent me legit photos (with her name on each page) of her blood test results for a stubborn urinary tract infection which she's had since January.
I clearly saw, she is on her way to a serious kidney infection which could be fatal. She has severe pain in both kidneys.
She thought she only had a UTI, but i see a kidney infection blooming or perhaps even blossoming.
Statistics show that Asians are prone to kidney infections. Go figure!
I am very anti-BigPharma/medicine and treatments.
He doctor gave her drugs. One pill causes her to have abdominal cramps and another pill relieves those cramps but has it's own side effects. This is madness!
For MOST health issues, the problems stare up at us from our meal plates.
I asked her what she was eating, and she told me.
I gasped!!
She said, "What else is there to eat besides what i'm eating?"
That was it! I felt she really needed someone in-the-know to step in a bit further into her life and show her what else there is - even if i have to buy it myself.

I told her that doctors only study drugs and symptoms, and rarely about food and proper nutrition.
EVERY Pharma drug is eventually always liver-toxic.
So, yes, the doctor might help solve the UTI, but is not treating her kidney infection which could also spread to the bladder. His drugs will hurt her liver until she breaks down and will need (really unnecessary) operations which will severely alter her life unless she changes her diet, and starts natural, healthier treatments her body can and will recognize.
After she took the Pharma drugs, she still has kidney pain.
BigPharma didn't help.

The sad fact is this: A sick person is a doctor's steady client - until the client dies. "NEXT patient!"
The rest of my being in this forum is self-explanatory.

I'm pretty worried about this intelligent, single mom of two, young, pre-school boys. It would be a great shame if the worst situation grabbed hold of her health.
Another sad fact is she is young (early twenties), so this generation is the fast-food convenience-food generation.
In one of her facebook posts, she had a bowl of white rice and a caption which read, "POWER FOOD".
I shook my head.

I will have to do google searches for these shops/places, roads, and areas mentioned to see how close they are to Balanga City.
National Road, and Orion (according to the map of Balanga City) are clearly in the area, but other places mentioned are not clear. I'll have to search for these malls.

I am interested to know of locations in, or very near to, Balanga City at which to buy my list of items, and the prices for those items only.
Not Olongopo or San Fernando which seem pretty far on a map.
She just moved from living all alone in Olongopo to live with her mom (who's been caring her youngest son) in Balanga on my advice. I am happy she did that.
I don't know how costly public transportation is over there, and how long it would take to go there and back. She doesn't have a car and also doesn't have much time to run around asking for prices and specific items. I'm not there so i can't do this myself. (The internet is great, isn't it?)

My health-food-store search only showed one shop in Balanga City, at 382 Camia Street.
The phone number is 0 (939) 462-6079. I can't/won't call long-distance to ask questions to a shop clerk. I asked her to call but she's busy with work (a new job since April 1 2019).
She said she's managing a Hola Hola street food place? (shrugs shoulders) 

"So-called organic coffee" is certainly NOT certified organic. This coffee i want will not be for drinking, it will be used for inserting somewhere else into the human body.
It has to have the legitimate "certified organic" stamping on the package. I am not interested in dealing with "deceptive" shops who pass things off as organic or distilled when they're not.

I've searched for the Absolute distilled water - looks great. What is the ballpark price (in pesos) for the 6-liter bottle? I'm assuming a larger quantity means a lower price - or am i incorrect for assuming that.

I am, personally, only interested in the list i've posted because these foods are low glycemic index (GI) foods.
I didn't mention white rice (as its very high on the GI chart), or cheeses.

Nobody mentioned any prices.
I am not rich or even close to a being well-off guy. I'm struggling, myself, but my Canadian dollars can help buy her better quality food and buy her much more effective, natural treatments which is what the organic coffee and distilled water are for.
Once she is better, i can then suggest other lifestyle changes and health protocols so that she will NEVER become sick ever again.
I think i had read somewhere on this forum (if i'm not mistaken) that the city name would be necessary to mention in order to get accurate pricing as prices can vary from city to city.
I'm aware of the huge exchange rate but i was online checking out juice extractors and other small kitchen appliances sold over there, and when i converted the cost from pesos to Canadian dollars, there was not much of a difference to what i would pay in Montreal. It was only a quick search, though.

"Fair Trade" coffee will not do, nor will "so called organic".
Besides, the only "organic" item i am looking for is the coffee.
If it has to be imported, so be it. I'll send her the money to buy what she really needs to eat.
Okay, i have to search for those places mentioned.

Oh, one more question, please.
Robinsons was mentioned.
I did a quick google search and saw a few places with "Robinsons".
One place is simply called, "Robinson" on Anonas Street.
There is a place called, "Robinsons Place Bataan" on Dr. F. Anacleto Ave.
Another place called, "Robinsons Department Store Bataan" which looks like it's on Bonifacio Street.
Another place is,"Robinsons Supermarket" which looks like it's on Paterno Street.

Which Robinsons is it, please?

Thank you, all.

Hey all,

Life is funny, isn't it?
Two months ago, i never even thought of The Philippines, and now, i spend most of my days learning about where to shop in the Luzon area for black and or red rice, quinoa, pumpernickel bread, distilled water and organic coffee.

Please, remember that i am NOT in The Philippines nor have i ever been there - i am a blond-haired, blue-eyed Irish/Italian born and raised in Montreal, Canada.
My older (sixty-year-old) brother is living in Montreal with his Filipina wife who is twenty-five years his junior.
They have a twelve-year-old (autistic) child. My brother and i had a serious falling out about twelve years ago and as a consequence, i, very sadly, don't even know my own nephew, sister-in-law, and my own brother anymore. 
His wife is all i ever briefly knew about The Philippines - until recently, that is.

I am not looking for Western items, really. Most of the foods i am looking for are not from North America. They're more from Asia and South America.
I'm actually not so keen about the North American/European diet. I, personally, prefer Asian style food. I was even a Thai chef's apprentice for over two and a half years. So, Asian foods are the best, i think.
If and when i buy meat, i slice it and tenderize it for stir-fried dishes or soups.
I don't eat "steaks or "pork chops" nor do i cook roasts as "normal" white people do. I've been called an "egg" by Asian people.
I, rarely, shop in North American-styled supermarkets. I shop mostly in Montreal's Chinatown area.

In North America, a "mall" is a large complex with many different types of businesses inside the mall. Each store in the mall is a small space rented out to each business owner. There are ice cream parlors, clothing shops, electronic stores, shoe stores, kitchen supply stores, linen shops, dollar stores, beauty salons, fitness centers, women's makeup stores, barber shops, etc, and of course, there's always a food court with varied international types of cuisine.

What exactly is a "mall" in the Philippines, please? People are telling me to shop at Vista Mall or the  Robinsons Mall as if the whole "mall" is a (health)food store.

- Robinsons Mall.
   That's a mall, right? Or is that the name of a specific store in the mall?
   It's a little confusing. Is there like a food section and a clothing section and an electronics
   section all inside this Robinsons Mall place?

- Vista Mall Bataan is located on Highway 301 just across from the Capt Pio Del Mundo Street
   intersection, correct?
  That's the one? Is that a supermarket-type of place?

- The Metro in the Ayaya Mall is in the SBMA as is the Puregold Duty-Free store.   
  We have a supermarket chain, in Montreal, called, Metro. I wonder if it's the same franchise
  and the same type of store?   
  Ahh! Okay, i just saw their store logo and it differs from the Montreal Metro stores.
  The Filipino Metro seems to function more like the Migros, in Switzerland.

- Royal Supermarket at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Area.
   It says "Duty-Free", when i searched google for, "Subic Bay Metropolitan Area".
   What does"Duty-Free" mean, in this case, exactly? I know what Duty-Free means in a
   commercial airport while traveling abroad. Does one need to be in the military or something
   to access this area? Is there a membership needed to shop there?
   My friend's brother is either in the Filipino Coast Guard or in the seafaring military. I've
   forgotten what she told me. Does that help her with getting access to the SBMA?

Thanks, again, eh.


I won't comment on the medical needs of your friend, just to say, things sometimes,  in my experience here, aren't what they seem.

Now going on with things I do know.

I did think from your original post that you were already here, so just gave general hints of areas of interest.

Balanga, although the Capital City of the Bataan, is a very small place in terms of population and amenities, but is probably the world's centre of trikes.  :)

The Robinsons I referred to, is Robinsons Supermarket in the Robinsons Victoria Mall, Brg. Poblacion. It's in the town centre at the bottom end of Capitol Drive, near St Joseph's Cathedral. There was a very nasty fire on the premises last year, which took 2 days to bring under control, so I would say everyone, yes, everyone, in Balanga knows of it. Wife says it re-opened quickly and is operating normally.

The closest and easily accessible shopping area to her, for the items you require, may be the Vista Mall, just a short (5/10 minutes?) trike/jeepney ride from Balanga town centre. Another place for her to consider would be the PureGold Store on Capitol Drive. Both these places are open 7 days a week and she should know that if she's resident there.

Olongopo is about a 35/40 minute bus ride from Balanga (Either Genesis or Victory I've been told), while San Fernando is around an hour. The Balanga - SF route is served by Genesis and Bataan Transit (both a/c buses), as well as provincial "mini-buses" running that way. So it's no great hardship to travel to either place. It should be around PhP 80 each way on an a/c bus, PhP 55 on "mini-bus". As your friend has lived in Olongopo and travelled to Balanga, she should already be au fait with these bus lines. As well as the Olongopo/SBMA Malls.

I use the bus quite frequently, as I only drive in an emergency these days. Eye sight probelms  :( :(  and find them a convenient and stress free way to travel. The a/c buses have cavernous, under-floor storage areas, so larger items or boxes are not a problem. I've even seen a 4 metre, folding, step ladder coming out at one stop!!!!

The Genesis , Bataan Transit, Victory, First North Luzon and Saulog bus lines, which are operating in our area, are very clean and the drivers don't seem to be too crazy. LOL!

As jjcab pointed out, if a local product has "Organic" on it, it may not be to the standards we as westerners, expect.
Two examples.
Fish farmed Tilapia is sold in our market (Dinalupihan) as 'organic'. But they are, the wife says, fed the cheapest fish-feed pellets the farmer can find.
'Organic raised' chicken? It only means they may, or may not, be kept outside during the day and ground feed whatever they can find, with a few supplements thrown in.  (What we would call 'free-range' in the UK.) Organic? Maybe yes, maybe no. Who can say what the wind might blow in?

Imported UK/US/EU/Aus certified organic products are available, but they will not be available everywhere and you will pay an arm and a leg.

As I said we, mainly I, use Absolute Distilled for drinking, which is PhP 79 or 80.00 depending on the shop, per 6 litre container.
The Municipality piped-in water is clean (my American chemist friend tested it last year and it came up pure enough for him to drink during their stay with us. LOL!). We use the kitchen tap water, via a particulate filter, for cooking, washing up, boiling for tea, coffee, etc. etc. We also use tap water for bathroom activities; teeth cleaning and washing. No problems there.

We also have a water dispenser in the kitchen, which costs PhP 25.00 for a 20 litre "purified" refill. Delivered to the house from a local (Govt. certified) water station for that price. My wife (and daughter) prefer that water to drink and my wife uses it to make ice for selling in her store.
I don't drink any cold/chilled drinks or anything with ice in it, so I stick to the room temperature distilled.

SaveMore supermarkets stock imported red, brown and jasmine rice. SM Mall supermarkets have many more varieties. We use a local rice named "Blueberry". It's very similar to Basmati rice and the wife mixes it 50/50 with brown rice. Organic? Don't know, but it tastes good.

There is a SaveMore in Dinalupihan, where I go quite regularly, so next time I'll have a look at the varieties and prices. We'll probably be in San Fernando over Easter when our daughter is home from university, so visits to Robinsons and SM Malls are on the cards.

The bottom line really, as you don't think she has time, is for you to try to arrange a visit here and look at the options available. Very difficult for me to give relevant nutritional advice, as I just eat, to a certain extent, what I'm given  ;) ;) ;)

Hola Hola?  Last time I checked, that could be Mexican style street food. Maybe she means Halo Halo?

Health foods? Robinsons in SF has a Chinese herbal store where I sometimes get herbal medicines/remedies. They may be places for your friend to source some organic foodstuff or grains. Just an afterthought,




I think our posts overlapped.

A "Mall" in the Philippines, can be anything from a full size, Western style, shopping centre to a small building with a supermarket with a couple of franchised outlets.

SM and Robinsons in San Fernando are full sized shopping centres with multi screen cinemas. Each has lots of shops, restos, hardware store, computer/tech zones selling all the latest gadgets, etc. etc.

Vista Mall Balanga, is a medium sized mall with a large international grocery store and probably 60 or 70 other outlets. Some restos as well.

No info on Robinsons, Balanga as I haven't been there for many a year.

Harbor Point Mall in the SBMA is a medium sized mall with a large PureGold supermarket and maybe 100 shops, cinema, full size dining restaurants, a pub or two (TGIF, Paddys) and the usual fast food outlets, Jollibee, Chow King, MacDohs, KFC, Yellow Cab Pizza, Korean restos. etc.
We eat at "Buddha's Bowl" when there. Nice if you like "hot" food.

Anyone can enter the SBMA. Tricycles and PUV's are banned. Traffic rules are American style and are seriously enforced. Cyclists must wear protective headgear as must m/c riders.

SBMA and "Duty Free". No, not retail duty free. It's business duty free if you invest in the duty free area, which is only part of the SBMA. Items purchased by individuals in retail outlets, still attract taxes.  So that's really clear as ....... mud?  :D :D :D :D :D



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