Blog, Stuff, Travel

Have an umbrella with you all the time!

Key Takeaway: 
Have an umbrella, even a small one, at hand always, rain or shine. In rain, they keep you from getting wet; while if it's sunny and really hot, it can keep you protected from the heat.

Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua
Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

It’s an observation at my alma mater that the one thing students learn to bring all the time is a pocket umbrella. Our university is located on a relatively bare hilltop, and with the notorious meteorological dichotomy of immense heat versus torrential rains that hit the country (and given that the academic year begins during the rainy season), plus the usual university layout of many buildings in one campus, it’s no wonder. For one thing, waiting out a sudden downpour will not excuse you from being late for your next class – rather, it reflects poor preparation on your part. For another, it’s common knowledge that having yourself rained upon, then not rinsing or bathing yourself immediately afterwards, can make you sick. And using bags or books to cover your head doesn’t sound like a good idea, as it may not cover all of you, and they’ll just get destroyed (especially if it’s a fine leather bag that costs upwards of thousands of dollars).

Conversely, the inferno bearing down on you can also have haphazard effects on your health and well-being (add to that the fact that the humidity levels always make life distressingly uncomfortable). If you’re dressed up for an event or meeting or presentation, and that heat ruins your fixed-up look or makeup, or makes you sweat profusely, come affair time you’ll look disheveled and as if you’ve run a marathon in a suit or dress. Not very appealing.

One simple and practical solution to all that: bring an umbrella with you all the time.

Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua
Photo copyright 2015 Allister Roy S. Chua

A full-sized umbrella may prove more a distraction or hassle than a help – a pocket one will do. It’ll easily accommodate you under rain or shine (and, if you’re lucky with the umbrella’s relative size, another person… maybe that new girl or guy at work you find yourself turning to a lot? :>) and also fits in your bag more easily. In rain, it obviously keeps out the rain, although this won’t be said for your ankles and shoes, and backpack, especially when the rain’s direction becomes more erratic. But you know what I mean. In summer, it serves as a parasol to keep the sun from harming your skin and well-being too much. And, as the Hong Kong protesters showed against the police, umbrellas can serve as crude forms of defense, also against attackers, such as would-be pickpockets or thieves.

You also want a quality umbrella that does its job well. You don’t want one that’s crudely assembled and inadvertently designed to wound you every time you open or close it. You don’t want one that can invert (at least easily) in powerful winds. You also want one with durable fabrics that won’t rip apart in storms and thus invalidate its utility. Before buying your pocket umbrella, check the ribbing’s quality and strength, the fabric’s durability, and the easiness of opening and folding the umbrella. You might want an automatic one like Fibrella (a well-known brand here in the Philippines) does, with a button to close or open the apparatus.

Having an umbrella whenever you go out – be it to work, to leisure, to run an errand, or when you’re abroad or out of town – is part of being prepared. Even if the weather forecast doesn’t call for rain or intense sun, it doesn’t hurt to still bring it (especially abroad, when you can just keep it in your suitcase if not needed). Weather patterns might change, or you might be attacked (I’m just kidding).

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