A local tourist in El Nido is calling on the authorities to pay attention to the food safety practices of some vendors in the area after seven people, including herself and her child, fell ill from eating “biniling halo-halo” from a store in Nacpan beach.
The incident happened on Sunday, April 16, when the group decided to go for a walk following a business engagement and bought servings of halo-halo to cool off from the heat of the day.
According to Joy, they had a little dip in the water before experiencing vomiting and diarrhea 40 minutes after eating. They immediately went to the hospital where they were diagnosed with amoebiasis and spent seven hours in the hospital before being discharged.
“Naligo muna kami, ayun tapos suka at t*e na kami ng anak ko, ganun din ang mga kasama ko,” she told Palawan News. “Ngayon medyo masakit pa ang tiyan ng anak ko. Parecover pa. Grabe halos mamatay kmi sa pagsusuka at t*e.”
“Alas nueve na kami nakalabas ng ospital. Halos pitong oras kami doon. Hindi na din namin binalikan ang tindahan kasi di na kayang lumakad,” Joy said.
She said they were permitted to return to Puerto Princesa but were told to seek medical attention if their health did not improve.
Joy recommends visitors to use caution when purchasing food in the area, such as ensuring that the surroundings, commodities, and utensils used by sellers are clean to prevent getting diarrhea.
El Nido, a popular tourist destination in the Philippines, was subject to a 6-month rehabilitation period in 2018, following the closure of Boracay due to environmental and health issues. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) enforced the rehabilitation period with the aim of reducing pollution levels in the bay.
Despite these efforts, a report obtained by Palawan News in July 2022 revealed that high levels of fecal coliform were still present in observation points around the bay, indicating that water quality had not improved.