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Drink & Drugs for the Traveler in the Phillipines

One of the chief attractions for the traveler in the Philippines is the vast variety of ways to get high in a beautiful environment. There is simply nothing better than smoking a pipe of liquefied hash and staring at a 40-meter waterfall set in the middle of the jungle for hours on end. You may never want to leave.

Marijuana can be found throughout the country, as can opium, though less readily. The mountains of northern Luzon are a major growing region and the locals in Ifugao (Banaue) refine this into hashish. Some locals take this one step further, and cook the hash down to an amazingly strong oil.

Prices are low, so don’t pay more than $1 a gram, even for the sticky oil. It can be hard to find a way to smoke it, though. The best bet is to either mix it with tobacco and smoke it from a regular pipe or smoke it pure from a one-hitter. These can be bought in tourist shops.

There’s plenty of hash around in the cities but expect to pay twice as much. Look for vagabond Australians or ask at your hotel but just be very careful that you don’t get set up.

On the smaller islands it can be difficult to find any hash for sale so many travelers bring their own. If you’re white, you aren’t likely to be searched by the police or military on any boats.

There are quite a few herbs and native drugs that are used in the more remote parts of the country. Betel nut is chewed by the natives in northern Luzon, which might be one reason why no one seems to have any teeth.

But as usual, alcohol is the favourite local drug in the Philippines. Rum and whiskey are cheap, along with the mysterious “Red Horse Lager: Extra Strong.” There is no official word on how strong this beer is but most estimate it to be between 7-10 percent. Really, be careful if you start drinking this, it’s amazing how fast you can get in trouble…

San Miguel Pale Pilsen is the national beer, and is decent. A small bottle at a cheap local restaurant costs about $.30. Cerveza Negra is highly recommended, though a little more expensive and harder to find. Coconut wine can be found with a little creativity. Many of the people on the remoter islands brew their own hooch so try it out wherever you go.

M.J. Lloyd

James Tramplefoot has been, and will continue to be on the road indefinitely, for years and probably decades.