Critters Everywhere

Every single apartment I have stayed in Asia has had an ant problem. You just can’t keep any food out in the open or you will wake up one day and have hundreds of ants eating it. I have to keep everything without an air tight seal in my fridge.

Even if you use a cooler they will find a way in. I guess I could probably just buy a lot of big tupperware boxes to keep food in, but instead I just throw stuff like chips or cereal in the fridge. Take them out 5 minutes before you want to eat them and they are fine.

It doesn’t matter if I am staying in a cheap place or a nice place ants get in. I have tried using different products to get rid of them but nothing works. I have given up and have grown used to them. Just wash any silverware or plates right before using them, not a big deal really.


Before moving to Asia I had never seen a wild rat. Now I see them often. In Sihanoukville I had a few close encounters with them, including when one jumped in my bed within my first hour in the city.

When I would go use the kitchen at my hotel late at night there was always one that was in the same corner. And every night would be the same routine. I would turn on the light and make some noise trying to get him to run out, but he never would.

Then I would go into the kitchen and start making my food, and at some point he would run out with a quickness like he thought I was trying to kill him. Often he would smash into the fridge or a wall because he was so out of control.

One night I had to get something out of the fridge, it was on the bottom shelf so I crouched down like a catcher, right as I reached for it was when the rat decided he had to make a go for it. Right between my legs he ran and I almost had a heart attack.

You hear and see them scurrying in the bushes or running from one hole to another on the side of buildings. From time to time you see one flat as a pancake in the middle of the road.


Cockroaches are also quite common here, and they are huge. Most places I stay don’t actually have them in the rooms often, but sometimes they sneak in. Again they really aren’t that big of a deal. You already have to wash your silverware before using it anyways.

I have found the easiest way to get them out is using a dust pan. Just trap them in a corner and they will run into the pan, hold it at an angle and they cant run up it. A broom is a good way to sweep a lot of ants out at once also.

Even Gramercy Residences one of the nicest condos in Manila with 70 floors has a roach problem now. Usually they are the small roaches but occasionally you see the big size ones too.


Without a doubt mosquitoes are the most annoying of all the critters around. Mainly because they can give you diseases like Dengue Fever or Malaria. I always do my best to keep my doors and windows shut but they still sneak in from time to time.

Maids here love to leave the door open as they clean your room and this always allows a few to get in. Even if you ask them and remind them odds are they will leave your door open. Really annoying.

They have these electric mosquito killers that look like a tennis racket. They are very effective and if you are as paranoid about mosquitoes as I am you should definitely get one. Will cost you about $5.

Let me know your experience with bugs and other critters in the comments.

21 Responses

  1. drifter says:

    I use zip lock bags for anything I’ve opened. So for cereal, after opening the box and eating, I put the rest into the zip lock bags, and put those into the cereal box. I started doing this just to keep things fresh, but it helps with the critter problem as well. Same with dried fruit. And I use the resealable plastic containers for sugar and other things.

  2. profits101 says:

    Yup. I basically think of the Philippines as just teeming with life… in whatever form it takes…

    I live in an older house here and have been adamant about plugging all the holes, so I’ve defeated the ants. I had some mice and used glue boards on them and that was it. Cats wander around here so I think they take care of any others. In rainy season I have seen flooded streets filled with bobbing cockroaches… I see them pretty often, IT Park, Coffee Bean Tea and Leaf… other places.

    Mosquitoes are the worst, and I remain in a total state of war with them. I have two of those zappers in case one gets knocked over and the tubes get damaged, coz if you go to Ace or Handyman it will be “out of stock Sir.” I am winning against them, but any delivery or pickup that comes to the door I get nutty and get them to shut the door asap… filipinos only slightly understand that…

    In this house occasionally there have been termites. The house went through a period of major neglect (it’s circa 1963, cool and big with huge overhanging roofs but old), and termites had a great time. I;ve been down in the mud basement and literally crowbarred their homes away, and then well… use one of those torches to burn any of those fleeing the scene… that worked very well. The carpenter has been replacing boards below and roof things for the past six months and the tide has turned on them too.

    I will say… I came here as a fussy American, but most of these things just don’t phase me much anymore…

    Yeah, I have thought of doing a photo file of flat-as-a-pancake mice and rats on the road… there is sisal so much traffic, that in the end all that can be recognisable is the tail…

  3. RealGuy says:

    Luckily havent had to deal with many pests, but the worst are gnats and the most annoying are flies. The gnats love to breed by our drying rack and bathroom, then make colonies in the trash can. We tape flypaper over the lid and take the trash out often and that helps minimize them.

  4. Reader says:

    Never had any bug issues, I had the small lizards in Thailand though in one apartment.

    Maybe I just run good or it’s because I just stay at fancy places?

    In China you can get slideable window meshes done everywhere which is also very effective when it comes to keeping mosquitos out.

    How’s your life dante? Been missing your posts on 2p2…

    Looks like you’re still in the phils and not in indonesia from the pics.

  5. Name says:

    Roaches are the easiest to get rid of. There is a gel thing I bought from gardening supplies store and put one tiny drop at every corner of the house and they will be gone forever. Not sure if it’s safe to use indoors but i had enough when I found one on my bed

  6. Jellybean says:

    I still remember one of my first time walking the streets of San Juan at night. There was this creature on the side of the road about the size of a small cat, picking at a small pile of garbage. As I got close I said to myself “wow that’s a weird looking cat” and I as I got right up on it I realized it was a rat. Whoa!!! Those suckers get huge in the Philippines.

  7. Tedoo says:

    Bastard mosquitos gave me hell in Palawan and Boracay. Proper ruined my holiday. You are right about the ants attacking everything they see on sight. Where do they come from? No one knows! The best way is insect repellant. Wild rats in Sihanoukville? Bloody hell! There are some questionable hotels . I must have just got lucky! I’m pretty indifferent to them as long as they don’t see me as a buffet.

  8. Frank says:

    I’ve discovered to let the little black non biting ants take over the house. The will keep all other ants out. Can’t stand fire ants or those crazy long legged biting tree ants that invade like an army on the march. I don’t kill the semi feral cats, they will take care of rats and mice under and around the house. Have lived in Angeles, Bauang and Baguio. Geckos are pretty cool too they can eat a ton of ants, have seen geckos eating rice out of the garbage inside the house. Most disgusting thing I’ve seen is two huge cockroaches, each about the size of a finger, mating in my CR. I almost threw up.

  9. Skins says:

    Dante is alive? Or is this an old post? Funny the other day my aircon was making this weird buzzing sound and suddenly an enormous roach fell out onto my desk while I was working. Damn near had a heart attack. Part of life out here.

    OH another pro tip for guys who ride… Don’t leave your helmet on your bike. I had one colonized by thousands of tiny ants! Had to throw it away it was so bad.

    • GuidoSexMachine says:

      @Skins – Are you still alive buddy?! Hope all is well.
      Your SingleMansParadise site has been down for over three weeks. Maybe u just got tired of of it and pulled the plug? I guess you had been hinting at it for weeks but many of us thought u were just joking. Either way, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and maybe the plan is to reinvent yourself to make more money. I support that. Change is good but we still love your SMP site. So let us know if you ever restore it. There is a lot of great content on there. All the best!
      Your SMP forum well known member, Guido (aka GuidoSexMachine). 😁

  10. Smiler says:

    The small lizards are great. Once you have a fat one in your place realize how few insects you’ve had in the past week or so.

  11. RumandCokeMan says:

    Dante and JSpill,
    Did either of you guys do a few months of exploration in Eastern Europe or Latin America yet?

    Which SEA Asian Cities do each of you think are some of the best ones to spend extended amounts of time in overall?


    • jspill says:

      Not yet, no plans , I think SE Asia is a better fit for me and has enough to keep me busy for a long time more

      Bangkok, Manila, Angeles, Pattaya are my faves

  12. RealGuy says:

    A tip for killing flies. If you’ve got one of those fold out hampers, you can fold it up and use it as a fly swatter, works pretty well. If not, you can obama kill them. Look up obama fly on youtube to see what I mean.

    The trick is to kill them with your hand by swinging it down from your hand to elbow only. If you use your whole arm, it’s too slow and the fly will usually fly away. If you’re just using forearm muscles, it’s usually fast enough to get them. Just slowly position your arm over it until you’re within reach and do that.

  13. Jasper Laguitao says:

    Buddy . Where’s your sexcapade ? I missed you . And your journey to sexapalooza Asia .

  14. Ares says:

    You are exaggerating. I’ve stayed in a lot of places around SEA. And yeah, some had bugs problem, but others were totally free of it. I think it depends on a building management

  15. Wonder Swan says:

    Move to a civilized part of Asia bro. I’ve lived in Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei. I’ve never seen a single ant or mosquito let alone roaches, rats or lizards in or even near any of my homes.

    Stop slumming. You’re from the first world. Take advantage of your advantage.

  16. Gary says:

    I also had a big bug problem over here in Vietnam with cockroaches and ants. My solution that rid me of almost all the bugs?
    Have a live in Gecko. I am sure you’ve probably seen a few at some point if your traveling in SEA. Gecko’s favorite food is bugs so I like to leave them alone in my apartment. They don’t bother me and help me get rid of bugs for free. What more can a guy ask for?

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