Whenever I visit my subordinate units/commands while I was a Division Commander of the Philippine Army, the first thing that I need to see as I enter their Headquarters or camp was their Toilet! Why? It is because the toilet serves as the reflection on the efficiency of the unit and its commander and my measurement on the administrative condition of the unit. Whether the camp is located in the forest or in the mountains or in the periphery of a city or a municipality or a barangay, the toilet should be clean, it has an available water (in pail or water containers), a dipper, a soap, and a small towel (if there is no toilet paper/tissue). If I can see that the toilet of the camp is clean and have those basic necessities, I just listen to the Commander’s Briefing without any questions/comments and rather spend more time talking to the Officers and Men and try to know their concerns and be able to interact with them.
Fast forward! Now that I am a retiree and have a chance to visit other countries, the “toilet factor” is still alive and relevant in my observations about the place or country I am visiting. As soon I get out of the plane in a country that I am visiting, the first thing that I do is to run/brisk walk and look for the toilet!
In all the countries that I visited, US and almost all the ASEAN countries, their toilets are clean, well-maintained, with “automatic flush” systems in their urinals, toilet bowls, and washing areas. There is an abundance of liquid soap, toilet paper, hand dryer, and sometimes hand lotion/perfume and sanitizer gels! You could not see any attendant or maintenance personnel standing inside the toilet to assist you with your needs! (This is what I normally observe in our airports!)
Once I see the toilet in the airport as I get out of the plane, I can already conclude the efficiency and the overall condition of the country I am visiting.
Do I need to mention here my observations in our “international” airports’ toilets? I don’t think so. You could be a well-travelled person than I am and you would know what I mean and feel the frustration as you compare the last toilet you have visited before boarding the plane to the Philippines.
And one thing more, do we have to spend millions of pesos to come up with campaign ads for tourists to visit the country instead of spending thousands of pesos for liquid soap and toilet papers in our international airports?
I rest my case.