I don’t want to go into detail about all the names given to the personal hygiene room in a private residence. This Wikipedia article, as well as this Wikipedia article, goes into great detail about what is essentially the toilet room. The word “toilet” now describes the fixture itself, which also has many names. The tank is usually called a cistern.
The only house I ever owned in the United States had a master bathroom and two full bathrooms. One was in the upstairs hallway and one in the downstairs hallway. The house I own in the Philippines is the same, except that there is no hallway downstairs.
Toilet seats don’t last. That is, unless they’re rarely used. The modern version is made almost entirely of plastic. The one inside my parents’ house was made of wood and steel. It lasted until my father remodeled the bathroom, after I was already grown. We only had one “bathroom” in the house, and that was the appropriate name for it because it also contained a bath.
I’ve had to replace toilet seats in my current house multiple times. They always break where they’re fastened to the toilet. Replacements are inexpensive, but they rarely fit properly. Although the contractor who built my house obtained the toilets from a place in Manila, they were obviously made in China. There is nothing standard about any of them.
If you want to find out why most public toilet seats are “U” shaped, check out this article.
The fittings for the tanks are just as inexpensive and easily broken as the seats. I’ve had to replace the fittings in all the tanks at least once in the last 10 years. They’re the lever types and the levers don’t work right either. The tanks are curved in the front. I’ve broken more than one lever while trying to bend the arms.
The contractor didn’t leave much room to work with. I have to lay on my side to see the bolts that fasten the water supplies to the tanks. Not only that, but I don’t have the right tools (open or closed wrenches). I’ve had to use pliers to make up for my lack of foresight.
The Toilet Room
Maybe I’m too abrupt or indiscreet. I prefer to call things as they are. If I need to go to the toilet, that’s what I’ll say. If it doesn’t contain a bath, it isn’t a bathroom. Okay, so perhaps I’ve been around too long and in too many places, including a 20-year stint in the military.
There are so many names for that room, depending on where I am, that it doesn’t make sense to try to figure out what the people around me call it. In the Philippines, they use “comfort room” or “C.R” if they’re speaking English. It may be my opinion alone, but there’s nothing comfortable about that room.
The toilet rooms in many Filipino homes are set up wrong. A toilet doesn’t belong in the same space as the bath or shower, but many are set up exactly that way. And the floors are almost always wet. If I visit a home like that, and I’m wearing regular trousers, I have to take them off before using the toilet or the legs will end up wet as well.
Depending on where I’m located, the primary item used for washing or wiping the private parts is either water or toilet paper. I have water sprayers attached to the water supplies for the toilet tanks in my house, and those are what I use. Many of my relatives use what’s called a “tabo”, which translates to “dipper” or “scoop” in English. They use the same thing for bathing, since they don’t have showers (just faucets sticking out of the wall).
I carry toilet paper in my handbag when I leave home. There are many places in the Philippines where the toilet facilities aren’t up to par. I’ve been to many without any way to wash or wipe, and I really don’t understand how a business can stay in business with facilities like that.
Image by Matthew Paul Argall, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons