Survival Prepping and Disaster Preparedness in a Poor Country by Someone Poor Too!

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Doods Dayto in the Philippines

Our country is really prone to typhoon and often when calamities hit, we’ll have no electricity for days, street are flooded (some areas get flooded even in non-typhoon rains), food become scare because it all comes from the provinces, food prices go UP, if you can have them, Government service almost at a standstill, water from taps become discolored and transport is hard. Reading and learning from posts from sites like this helped me a lot, but am still wanting many things, my small salary is not enough to meet the “big-ticket” items that may forever be a desire for us (me and my family) but was able to assemble what a call a rudimentary survival scenario for us, and am sharing with you here some or most of it…HTH though.


We are a rice and viand culture so our food supply is dictated by what we can consume on a not-so-boring cycle at least, we consume one sack a month so we stack extra two (par 3).  We give out to the neighbor or some helpers in the community if fresh stocks come in (and there are signs the leftover of a “running” sack may “outlife” soon) , just for good PR and neighbor support. I am investing in vacuum packed rice now available but still pricy and reputed to last for years!

We stack canned goods of what my kids eat, sardines, spam, meatloaf, corned beef, lots of pasta and canned sauces and various other ingredients for cooking (must have for me-Spanish olives stuffed with anchovies!, also canned butter, meat spreads, peanut butter, jams and the like ). We also have plenty of instant noodles, crackers and other quick preparation meals, bouillon cubes, instant soups, instant food flavorings, tomato sauces, etc., good for three months use, with labels following FIFO rule, these we don’t put in the cupboards but in plastic “catering boxes” that can be hauled in our small BOV in an instant, but then we are really bent on bugging in, unless a huge fire is near us (plane crash again!) and we have to go!

Frozen meats and processed food are plenty in the freezers. We have a small canteen and 50 person cap catering business so recycling them is not a problem. We have good inventory of food, even those on-site canteen that I can tap as extra food once the situation calls for it

Sugars, flour and condiments are plenty (again because of the small canteen and catering business), seasoning are a lot coz of our catering,  (at least we won’t have boring meals that even the box of rehydrated TVP will taste good as pasta topping). We have stock of candies, chocolates, cookies for kids, canned fruits, honey,  and gelatin mixes for  morale boosting sweets just in case.


A phenomena here is the mushrooming of purified water selling booth and we have been living in bottled water (5 gal) ever since. Drinking from the tap needs getting used to, (European Tummies beware!) and I have a small filtration system using replaceable ceramic filter just in case.

I stock ten (as a par stock) 5-gallon filtered water jugs, good for ten days at 1 gallon per person since there are five of us (me, three kids and their nanny of 15 years now) We have a water tank for reserved water with 300 liters and a shared deep well pump were we can get clean water for bathing, washing  and house cleaning (only my close neighbor whom I share it knows it, all others DO NOT know we have a well inside our fence) I’m quite confident my water needs are covered even if we bug in on a relatively long period of time. (at least I don’t worry about the flush!)

Worse comes to worst, I have ID most water sources within five kilometer near us, including a creek in our village, a river about a kilometer from us, as I’ve learned in a survival web site.


We use LPG now and as of this writing, the prices went ballistic again! Lucky I grew up in many ways of cooking here. I have a back-up kerosene stove, the most common poor-man stove here and I know how to use it well, plus kerosene is cheap and readily available (I have three 2L canned kerosene on standby). I have a bug-out LPG canister stove (those Japanese butane stove with high BTU flames) that I have a reserved 24 pieces of LPG canister (75.00 pesos apiece, which I saved one canister per payday!) in our storage in a plastic box. I have a half-drum griller and a fabricated robatayaki griller stove I can use for cooking. Lately, I’ve been sourcing firewood and have a sizable stock (may last more than a month for us), not to mention the many extra lumber we have lying around here. I have  firewood stoves (two, also for bug out) and  I am experimenting with solar cooker, one of a high-school project I made before.

Electricity / Light

My biggest concern as we don’t have a generator and we are a warm country (need for electric fan) I have invested in a rechargeable LED light (3), LED flashlight (low battery consumption and long life bulbs). A plastic box of candles, including citronella candles to fight-off mosquitoes (also anti-mosquito coils-plenty!), matches and lighters (needed to start wood burning stove too). These boxes are marked for emergency bug-out.  I have kerosene powered hurricane lamps (on sale cheap, made in China but works! ) for external lighting in typhoons, rechargeable battery operated small electric fan (so kids can sleep) and UPS (for the computer)

I am saving to invest in a small generator so the kids can at least sleep better with electric fans and the ref can work during brown outs to save some of the food in it. Another thing am looking at are solar battery chargers, for Am/FM radio and cell phones. Buts that may have to wait awhile as the pay needs rescheduling…ha ha


We have community patrols and I live in a modest neighborhood where we have guards in the village gate. I have a Glock 26, six magazines, two G19 mags, one 30 round mag, all full, with a good amount of extra 9mm ammo. I am stocking more ammo this year but I am renewing my gun permit so the money will have to go for that first. I have a huge machete, two arnis de mano sets (traditional fighting sticks where I have training), a spear, a homemade sling shot, two tactical knives and one traditional knife.

All these are always clean and maintained. My next goal is to acquire a Glock 19 and a 22LR rifle or a locally made shotgun which is inexpensive here and our gun licensing law allows civvies to have two pistol (9mm and 22 cal only) and one long rifle that is non-automatic.

A permit to carry can be had (expensive though) for the pistols. . My daughter carries pepper spray and am waiting one more year so I can teach the boys how to shoot…(they allow 13 year-old kids in private gun range here). I am keen on how we can survive in a massive goon-zombies-mob attack but then our neighborhood is a good support system, and lucky to live in a dead-end street where we agreed to block the open end and fight off intruders, most my neighbor have guns (mostly Glockies btw, so we can share ammo in an “situation”) including rifles and shotguns!

 Growing food

There is an opportunity for us here because there are still open spaces around our house and in the neighborhood. We once planted vegetables in front of our house, in a lot outside our fence street side (nowadays I have various decent amount of herbs) and even corn! We eat crawling or vine veggies, and I have a huge tree vegetable (Moringa) , sweet potatoes, a mango tree at the back, seasonal jack fruit in front, and an always-fruit-bearing papaya tree under the water tank.

I am getting native chicken from our province and will grow them in a makeshift coop at the back. Few of my neighbors are growing veggies and fruits in theirs too and we agree to share these in dire needs. During one of the informal survival talks, one neighbor even joked he may even share his dogs! Yes, sorry to touch on this sensitive issue but even if my family (and most neighbors) don’t and will never do, eat dog meat, our country has a culture in some parts in remote provinces that eat dog meat, meaning in a dire survival situation, some will do, thus our neighbor’s joke! Making food from our rice stocks can be had, I have hand cranked grinders and traditional mortar and pestle type (huge) rice, seeds or corn pounders.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of   A total prize value of over $600.

Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Essentials Kit courtesy of LPC Survival and an EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves.. A value of over $300.

Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution”  and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company.  A total prize value of $107.

Contest ends on June 5 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Deb Ohio says:

    What does FIFO stand for?

    • First in, first out. Usually referring to food storage rotation

    • charlie (NC) says:

      FIFO is term often used in businesses with inventories and it also finds it’s way into accounting because of inventory cost and taxes. The alternate term is LIFO for Last in First Out. Seems to me like some use term FILO for first in last out which can mean the same as LIFO but not necessarily.

  2. No offense, but the Philippines would be one country I wouldn’t want to be stuck in during a SHTF scenario. I could see chaos move in super fast and an ‘every man for himself’ situation happen quick. Those security officers at the bank with the semi auto weapons to protect the money could easily be turned on me for my ‘supplies’.

    The Philippines reminded me of South Africa. Most houses are little fortresses. My house when I lived in the Philippines was in a gated (walled and fenced) neighborhood. Not very secure in a SHTF situation however. When I watched Filipino guys scuttle up coconut trees with little effort I’m pretty sure they getting over a brick wall.

    I’m currently living in South Korea and this is ‘definately’ a country I wouldn’t want to be in. I have nightmares of trying to get to a US base in my area and seeing the last helo fly away (think the last days of Vietnam). There is 50 million people in an area the size of Indiana.

    I can’t wait to get back to the PNW and start catching up with most wolfpack members. I don’t know how many pages of this website I have printed off and stuck in a folder. Like my basketball coach used to say, “proper preparation prevents piss poor performance”.Cheers.

    • Brett-

      Make it a point to make friends with military members near your location. Let them know about your situation and your plan to dede
      to the military base when SHTF. Find an NCO (E-6 or E-7) that thinks the way you do. After you find the right person who will be rotating back stateside about the same time you are share your thoughts – be up front and candid. This could be your ticket out if SHTF.

      • 1982MSgt-Your age is showing. We abandened that place in the late 80’S. We have no NCO’s there.

        • Yes, you are right. Keep in touch with the U.S. Embassy staff.
          Good luck friend. You are gonna need it if SHTF.

        • Lorenzo Poe says:

          Well, I read it as NCO in SKorea.
          But we do have lots of SOF in the PIs.
          My son just spent 1 year down in Jolo. And every village roasted a dog for his team. Made him feel ‘presidential’ you might say.

          • village idiot says:

            “And every village roasted a dog for his team. Made him feel “presidential”

            LMAO, Lorenzo.

        • charlie (NC) says:


          I think 1982MSgt is talking about S. Korea and I don’t think we’ve abandoned it yet have we?

  3. FIFO = First In First Out

  4. Doods Dayto:
    Thanks for the perspective. Sometimes we get rapped up in our own little world and forget what things are like elsewhere.

  5. SurvivorDan says:

    Terrific job preparing Doods! Mrs. SurvivorDan recently went to the Philippines for a friend’s wedding. Two weeks there opened her eyes to how easy we have it here. Though her friends there are ‘poor’ they are rich in spirit. She realized that they are the most can-do people she has ever met. They make do. They plan ahead. They get ‘er done! And as I have long known, their generosity is incredible. I wish you all the best.
    I think this is a very instructive article in many ways, especially the perspective on overcoming adversity and persevering under difficult circumstancest, and I vote for you!

  6. SurvivorDan says:

    I have an American friend who retired near Manila and he always says there is no way to adequately prepare for a Collapse there. I am e-mailing him your inspiring article. Thanks.

  7. Encourager says:

    Thank you, Doods Dayto, for the well written post.

  8. I think the US is headed for some very rough economic times. We are so used to just flipping a switch and we have all our mechanical conveniences. Your way of living is actually much more adaptable to circumstances. The article was a good reminder that whatever your challenges are, especially financial, you can prep by thinking through your situation. I would like someone with this mindset to be my neighbor when times get harder.

  9. Doods

    Excellent article. People often forget the resources that they currently have available to them when living in North America or another first world location.

    I still say that you and others like you have a head start because your lifestyle is closer to a true SHTF situation than us “fat” North Americans. I think we have a lot to learn from you.

    • Mike,

      I agree. So many Americans lack basic skills. Since many folks in third-world countries live closer to a SHTF situation, they have skills that many Americans lack. The adjustment would not be as drastic.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      “I still say that you and others like you have a head start because your lifestyle is closer to a true SHTF situation than us “fat” North Americans. I think we have a lot to learn from you.”
      Hit the nail on the head Mike.

  10. Doods,

    Cool name. I feel like you should have an exclamation point on your name: Doods! LOL

    This is an inspiriting article. I like how you have broken down your preps into essential areas: water, food storage, cooking, security. I have tried to grow a mango tree but it just gets too cold in the winter. Do you grow tomatoes? What about summer squash? What about egg plant? It would seem that you could garden year round. I am curious to see what you grow in your garden.

    Thanks for the post.

  11. You should get rid of the Glocks and get Smith & Wessons. Get .40 cal for better stopping power. The only reason to keep a 9mm IMHO is for better availability of ammo. But I’d def get something in .40 cal. The S&W SIGMA series would be good. Get extra mags.

    • JC,

      The author stated that in his country citizens can only have 9 mm and .22.

    • Are you suggesting that he ignore the local laws? 9 mm and 22 are what they are allowed. He has the Glock and he should keep it. Kind of like the birf in the hand?

  12. Hey Doods,

    thank you so much for submitting your article. It gives me a lot to think about and also helps me revisit my upbringing in a rural poor southern part of the USA where we had no plumbing and had to walk a good piece to get water, and that was up until the late 1960’s. Great job!

  13. Kamusta Ka Pare:

    Good article & from what you have laid out, that is about all you can do to prepare for the inevitable SHTF.

    When Mt. Pinatubo blew my wife was there & had nothing but horror stories of how ill-prepared everyone was (I call this the Sari Sari store mentality…do not need it until it runs out). Lucky for her, she had the foresight to stock up a little, which tied her over until some of my fellow Recon Marines could get her & the rest of our wives evacuated to base, etc. Later on talked to one Navy guy living in a predominantly Filipino neighborhood who described what was basically a mob trying to tear his gate down IOT get at his perceived food stash. Obviously, being Filipino, you know the importance of keeping anything & everything a SECRET from everyone else. I had to drill this into relatives & maids, yardboys, etc. when I lived there to keep their mouth shut about what went on inside the compound…Mayabang talaga!

    Have you thought of roof gardens? Out of sight, out of mind. Same with Pugo, Bantams, etc., which require little space. Check out the Manila Times agriculture magazine (I think that is what it is called). Also, backyard Talapia growing tanks (circular), along with aquatic filtration systems for your gulay.

    My biggest concern there WAS the government, from barangay tanods to the mayor’s office extorting money, to the usless PNP. This was the main reason we left the Philippines…

    Try reading anything & everything on how your countrymen survived during the Japanese occupation (this was what got me interested in the PI originally…well, & the girls…Ha!) Some of the ingenious inventions that they came up with out of neccessity were simply amazing.

    Good luck in the coming days…going to get interesting over there…


  14. Doods.
    Thank you for an excellent article that helps put things in a perspective that many Americans do not have. No matter what the future brings us, Good luck to you and yours.

  15. village idiot says:

    Good article, and one that got me thinking about the perspective of other people around the world. I pray that you will prosper, and it looks to me like you are way ahead of others just by being aware of what could happen. Good luck.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Excellent article – here is my two cents

    Supplies – create caches that are buried so when (not if) someone take some or all of the primaries (you can sontinue) – remember some of everything (from cooking oil to TP to bullets to rice)

    Weapons and tactics – you have small arms (9mm and .22) so any fighting “close in” you are able to funtion but long range you have a problem – Making sure that there is a ten foot burm to stop direct fire and the sloped walls to catch and contain indirect fire….vehicles may be a problem …but there is always IED’s …….

    Extra bugout location (possibly a boat) ….don’t know how far or close to water you are……watch out for pirates…..

    just sayin….

  17. thank you village idiot! I am continously prepping, sometimes we pull out stocks from our supplies for daily use and am saving some of my salary for food preps. Thanks for the good wishes, It also motivates me me to go on! Best Regards…

  18. Hello!

    I was wondering if there were any links to apartment survival… My situation is unique as in I have heard that Bug out Bags are worst case scenario… I live in an apartment on ground level. My mom lives in GA so thats no good too far away. My dad lives fairly close only 10 miles away except that he is in a neighborhood that.. isnt bad, but i can see things going bad there, also he lives literally right off the highway (you can see if from the back door) So I dont really see that as an option. My boyfriends parents will be about 15/20 miles away but they live in a suburban area, which I feel will not be safe in seeing as they are not prepared, and their neighbors are a couple of feet away… What I am getting at is since I live on ground floor in RALEIGH of all places, in a College community too! I was wondering if there were tips to staying in an apartment… I feel as an apartment is not safe, and sooner or later I will have to bug out… But I have no where to go. .. There is no safe place for me.. Any tips, or suggestions would help, because I will have no choice WSHTF but to wait until everything calms down then grabbing my bob, and …sadly refugeeing it. Thanks guys!

    -Young prepper.

    • Rob in Ontario says:

      I would suggest finding out where some of your fellow student freinds live and maybe they have better living situation, and /or they may like the extra person around .

  19. SurvivorDan says:

    Start with this article by M.D. Creekmore kRiss.

    I’m sure the Wolfpack will have a lot more to say to try and get you started in the right direction.

  20. SurvivorDan says:

    kRiss: The pigeons and rats on MD’s urban menu may not be appealing but they are a likely abundant last ditch meat source. The totality of the article is worth going back over despite the entrees mentioned at the end. 😉

  21. Thank you so much survivor dan !

    • SurvivorDan says:

      No problem. Please keep seeking info on this topic.
      I have a 23yr old daughter who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan. I made her a small Get-home bag to make the 9 miles to Brooklyn. It includes dust masks, 1st aid kit, water and energy bars, a knife, a crowbar (structural damage and exigent circumstance weapon), work gloves,compact solar blanket, maps, lighters and matches, flashlights and batteries, cash, etc. In Brooklyn she has supplies and pre-cut plywood to shore up her windows and plastic sheeting and duct tape. And more weapons. Her live in boyfriend is on board with the program (so I let him live). Lol. Plan. Be careful. Never give up kiddo.

  22. Look into solarizing water in 2 liter soda bottles to kill germs. Info is on the internet. Don`t let the mall nijas who have never had amoebas or the horrible medications that are use to treat them give you any BS about you might get cancer from the plastic.

    In general, I think the best place to survive would be in a country with a long history of democracy, prosperity, and few “ethnic“ problems that might jump up and bite you. Since I am an American living in Nicaragua, I obviously screwed up somewhere along the line. Kingman Az would be a better idea!

    Good luck and get yourself 1 or more shotguns.

  23. S`more comments.
    We have a wood fired oven. Normally it is only used once a week for beens, pizza and the local cookies, but it is there in an emergency. When we get a roof over an area for firewood, I will start stockpiling. Any other way of storing wood ends up with rot, mold, snakes, scorpions, etc. Did i mention the termites?
    Standardizing batteries– I have gone for aa and c size Tennergy brand from amazon with smart rechargers. A 3 c cell maglight is in my truck and another one is next to my bed, as well as a c cell emergency light in the hallway for the freaquest power outages. I`m going to donate a few d cells to the local police and by somemore c cells. With led bulbs and rechargeable batteries, candles are almost a thing of the past.
    Canned goods–I don`t eat much from cans, but I keep tuna, mexican chiles, and a few other things handy. This is a bean culture, and we try to have a 5 gallon bucket full at the house.
    Nice that you commented on a neighborhood approach to self defense. In a real shotout, 1 person or a small family with light duty stuff like 9 mm won`t last through one bad day. The whole neighborhood, even if half of them only have machetes, is a much better fighting force. Gun collectors can dream on about how safe they are, but most would be better off with good neighbors and a plan.
    We have only about 6 neighbor families, all decent people, but I suspect I am the only one armed. We are in good cell phone contact with the 2 closest ones, plus the one lets her German shepard run loose. He has bit 3 people who didn`t need to be bit, but if you can him by name he will not bother you. When we get more neighbors to share the cost, we are going to hire a nightwatchman to patrol the streets.
    We have a seasonal flooding hazard, so my project for this month is to raise the level of our yard a little with fill dirt, and buy 100 concrete blocks in case we have to raise the furniture. (In concrete houses flooding doesn`t do the damage that it does in wood/carpet/fiberglass insulation houses, but it does destroy furniture. I also have to raise the level of my gun safe that is bolted to the floor).
    Growing food on a small property is wishful thinking, so stockpiling is better.
    We also have rain suits and rubber boots for the whole family. Every little bit counts. There is a church institution just up the hill where I can park my vehicle when necessary and we could seek shelter there in a pinch. They have 24/7 armed guards with shotguns.
    All future construction on the property will be 18 inches higher than the current house, which was only 4 inches above flood water last year.
    During the rainy season our (3) 25 lb. tanks of butane for cooking are all maintained full. My family does not believe in survival or planning, so I have to sneak in things just before the rains. They understand rains.

  24. You were concerned about fans to cool the heat. You could use solar fans, needs mounting, although somewhat pricey at $150 us. N. Tool Co. ships to your area

    • Donne et al…..may be a late thank you but thanks nevertheless, was swamped with work ( need the dough much to prep!) never got to read the “bottom” articles! Thank you, thank you pack!

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