Portable Water Purification Systems

Portable Water Purification

So you’re planning your trip to the Philippines and you think you’ve got everything that you need. Flights booked? Check. Condo rented? Check. But now what? If this is your first time traveling to the Philippines, there might be some other essential pieces of travel planning that you’re missing out on. For instance, have you downloaded the Grab app so you’ll have access to the safest and most efficient car service in the Philippines? Have you packed a International AC Power Plug Adapter/Converter so that you can still use your electronics abroad? Did you call your local bank branch to see if they have Philippine Pesos on hand?

Great questions like these, and more, are the reason why we created our new series of blog posts dedicated to all things traveling to the Philippines. We know that preparing to go abroad to a foreign country can be a bit intimidating at times, and so that’s why we’re here to help. And today, in this post, we will be discussing one of the most important yet most overlooked aspects of traveling to the Philippines: clean drinking water.

Drinking Water in the Philippines

As you may or may not know, the situation with drinking water in the Philippines for tourists is much like that of Mexico. While the locals have no problem drinking tap water, non-natives are simply not accustomed to it. Due to region specific microbes that lurk in the natural drinking waters of the Philippines, tourists should be prepared with other options for getting access to clean water and ice. And while purchasing gallons or bottles of purified water is certainly an option, there are some others you may want to consider, for multiple different reasons.

First of all, as we already know, purchasing bottled water is not the most environmentally friendly option. Especially considering that recycling is not always an accessible option in the Philippines. Second, you can’t always be sure of where the bottled water purchased in the Philippines is coming from. Unfortunately, it might be just as unsafe as drinking straight from the tap.

And so, what should you do? How else can you get access to safe drinking water while you’re away in the Philippines? To learn more about portable water filtration systems and water purifications systems, keep reading below! We’ll be discussing the important differences between water filtration and water purification; which water cleansing method is safer; different systems that will fit your needs, and our own staff pick. Let’s get started!

Is there a difference?

Water Filtration versus Water Purification

When it comes to cleaning (or filtering) your own water,  two commonly used methods are: filtration and purification. Water filters, such as your in-home Brita filter system, do a great job at catching bacterias and other large particles before they make it into your drinking glass or bottle. By physically pushing water through using a strainer with the tiniest of holes, believe it or not, harmful bacteria and pathogens are being caught in the filter, (which is why it’s so important to change your filter regularly). But overall, sounds like a pretty efficient system, right? Well, while it may be a great filtration system in your own home in your native country, it might not be best abroad. This is because in foreign countries, there is quite possibly another threat in natural water that’s too small to be caught by a traditional water filtration system: viruses.

Obviously, and especially in 2020, the spread of viruses is a huge concern, and for good reason. With there being so many unknown viruses lurking in remote areas worldwide, who knows if the virus you may catch from infected drinking water even has a cure? And besides, the last thing you want is to buy a portable water filtration system and think you are fully protected against foreign pathogens in the water…only to find that a foreign virus slid through the filter’s cracks. To avoid this, we highly recommend a water purification system, and here’s why.

Portable Water Purification Systems

Why Water Purification is the Way to Go

Unlike water filters, most water purifiers are able to clean 99.9% of the parasites and bacteria you don’t want in your drinking water, including viruses. Water purifiers are able to do this because they work on a microscopic level. Even though water filters use the smallest of strainers to remove unwanted particles, they just cannot cleanse on a molecular level like water purification systems can.

And while there is value in running your intended drinking water through both systems (water filtration to remove cloudiness and water purification to cleanse from diseases) the bottom line is water purification systems won’t let harmful viruses slip into your drinking water like water filtration systems can.

And so, now that you know why water purification systems are the safest and healthiest choice for your trip to the Philippines, let’s go into more detail about which water purifier is the best for you and your needs.

Types of Water Purification Systems

As we mentioned above, luckily you are not limited to one option when it comes to getting access to safe drinking water in the Philippines. From water pump purifiers to chemical purification tablets, each purification system has its own pros and cons that we’re going to break down for you right now.

Also, while reading through these product options, consider what your trip to the Philippines will look like. Will you be traveling alone and doing a lot of solo backpacking adventures in nature? Or is the plan for you and a small group of family and friends to enjoy one another’s company in a gorgeous waterfront condo? Will you be doing a lot of cooking (which remember requires clean, purified water)? Or do you plan to go out and explore the local eateries (don’t forget to ask about the ice)? Answering these questions and more like them will guide you towards picking the right water purification system for your trip’s needs.

Water Pump Purifiers – Our top pick for a group of travelers

Survivor Filter PRO

Through a series of filters and hoses, water pump purifiers ensure that everything, from bacteria to viruses, are removed from your drinking water. They might look a little old fashioned, but trust us, water pump purifiers get the job done, and then some, if you’re willing to put a little bit of elbow grease into it. Because water pump purifiers filter AND purify- this system gives you the best of both worlds. Say goodbye to murky water AND virus causing bacteria, all with the press of your hand. A great option for foreign travelers, hikers, and campers!


Pump purifiers are are an amazing option for mass purification of visibly dirty water. Unlike some of the other water purifying options listed below, water pump purifiers also work to clean murky or discolored water. This is great if you believe you might be doing some outdoor exploration in the Philippines and will need to clean water in nature outside the comfort of your condo. Also, since it doesn’t require anything but manpower to function, you won’t have to worry about charging your device up before use. Simply assemble and you’re good to go!


While perhaps the most effective of all the water purification options listed here, it is not necessarily the most efficient. First of all, time is not necessarily on your side with this water purification system. Because you are the one doing the work to clean the water, using a water purification pump certainly isn’t effortless. You will have to acquaint yourself with the product manual at least once to familiarize yourself with the assembly of the product. And, more than that, because it has so many pieces, pump purifiers aren’t the most space efficient in terms of traveling. While yes, they often come with a carrying case, there are by far much sleeker options if you don’t want to be weighed down by your water purifying system.

Our Recommended Product: With a lifespan of 100,00 liters, the Survivor Filter Pro is a great long lasting option for water purification. You can check out this 4.5 star, “Amazon’s Choice” product by clicking here: Survivor Filter PRO – Virus and Heavy Metal Tested 0.01 Micron Water Filter for Camping, Hiking, and Emergency. 3 Stages – 2 Cleanable 100,000L Membranes and a Carbon Filter for Family Preparedness

UV Light Water Purifier – Great option for 1-3 travelers to share


Using UV light, this type of water purifier is able to neutralize pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and the like in order to make your drinking water safe. The UV light causes no harm to you and is known for its germicidal properties, including being used to sanitize medical tools and personal protective equipment in hospitals.


UV light water purifiers are a great option for the traveler who doesn’t want to get weighed down by any heavy gadgets or devices. Because it’s so small and light weight, it’s ideal not just for keeping water sterile in your condo but it can also easily slide into your pocket and travel with you to restaurants and on backpacking adventures. And you can’t beat how fast it works- with just the press of a button and 90 seconds of wait time, you’ll have a whole liter of clean, safe drinking water!


Since it is reliant on a UV light and therefore battery power, you’ll need to be diligent to keep your UV light water purifier charged so it’s ready when you need it. Not only that, but because it uses UV light alone to kill off bacteria and viruses, you won’t see a visible change in the water, meaning that if the water was cloudy or discolored before using the UV light, it still will be after. And so, while this method is rather efficient at killing off the microscopic parasites that can cause sickness, there’s no guaranteeing that your water will taste or look better after applying this process.

Our Recommended Product: With a 4 Star rating and “Amazon’s Choice” badge, the SteriPEN is a great, light weight option for purifying water on a microscopic level for the duration of your trip to the Philippines and beyond (the SteriPEN claims that one charge lasts 50 water treatments, and its overall lifespan is 15,000 liters)! SteriPEN ULT-MP-EF SterPen Ultra UV Water Purifier

Water Purifier Bottle – Best option for active, solo travelers

LARQ Bottle

When it comes to water purification bottles, there’s no limit to the options offered on the market. But, the important thing to keep in mind is, exactly HOW is the water being cleaned. While brands like Brita and LifeStraw* sell single serve bottles with filtered straws, guess what? Investing in a bottle like this can run you into some of the same problems we discussed before: bacterias and pathogens are filtered out, but viruses stay in. (*A couple of LifeStraw’s products do remove viruses, but be sure to thoroughly research the product you intend to purchase before buying!) To avoid this, really make sure that the water purifier bottle you hope to get is more than just a filtered straw. Make sure it uses one of these other purification methods mentioned above so you get the highest quality drinking water i.e. UV light or purification pump.


Clean water in sixty seconds! It truly doesn’t get better than that. Water purifier bottles are a great option for the solo traveler on the go who needs individual access to clean drinking water, fast. Additionally, many of these types of bottles are self-cleaning. With an automatic sanitization cycle every two hours, you can be sure no unwanted molds or bacteria’s will grow in your water purifier bottle, ever.


Depending on the type of water purification bottle you invest in, you’ll have to take note of its limitations. Does it require replacement filters? Extra cartridges? Batteries? Wall charging? Whatever it is, make sure you have it on hand so you can use your water purification bottle for the entire duration of your trip to the Philippines. Additionally, water purifying bottles can only clean as much as they can hold, which is usually just a single serving of water (approximately 16 ounces). Not ideal if you were hoping for access to lots of clean water at one time for cooking, serving drinks to fellow travelers, etc. In short, a water purifier bottle is probably not the best option if you intend to travel to the Philippines with a group. Odds are no one beyond yourself, your spouse, or your immediate family would be comfortable drinking water from your own personal water bottle, even if it is self-cleaning.

Our Recommended Product: Similar to the SteriPEN above, the LARQ Bottle linked below uses UV light to purify water and cleanse the drinking bottle itself. In fact, the LARQ bottle even promises to keep drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12 hours. A great option for someone who hopes to be active during their trip to the Philippines, this “Amazon’s Choice” product comes in six different colors and has 4.4 Stars. LARQ Bottle

Chemical Purification – An inexpensive, backup water purification system for all travelers to have on hand

Potable Aqua Tablets

In a chemical process, this type of purification requires nothing but the appropriate tablets and wait time. A method used by many military and emergency organizations alike, the active ingredient of tetraglycine hydroperiodide allows for large amounts of water to be purified with minimal effort.


Because these are simply tablets that need time to dissolve, you have more versatility in what you can use the water for. As opposed to a water bottle, which can only clean a limited amount of water, chemical purification can clean up to two quarts at once. This means you now have access to a larger supply of clean water to do with what you want, including cleaning food, brewing coffee, mixing drinks, and making ice.


With purification tablets, the limitation comes with the amount you have on hand; once you run out of tablets, you run out of access to clean drinking water. So if you hope to depend on this method for your next trip to the Philippines, you might have to do some calculations beforehand to figure out exactly how much clean water you intend on needing each day and how many tablets per day that measures out to be (the product we listed below requires two tablets per quart of water). Additionally, chemical purification does not always cleanse out all parasites, namely skipping out on cryptosporidium cysts, which are known to cause diarrhea and respiratory problems. Obviously, not a recipe for a great vacation. Finally, these tablets take some time to work (35 minutes) and may have a bit of an unpleasant chemical taste. Because of this, we rank chemical purification tablets as our last option for purifying water; a decent, inexpensive plan B if you will.

Our Recommended Product: With 50 tabs per bottle, these Potable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification tablets have the capacity to purify up to 25 quarts of water. Amazon customers gave these purification tabs 4.6 Stars, landing it as an official “Amazon’s Choice” product: Potable Aqua Tablets

Staff Pick

So perhaps you’re wondering, if we were traveling to the Philippines and needed to rely on a method of water purification for the duration of our trip, which would we pick? This is a great question, and while all of the purification systems listed above have their respective pros and cons, we would have to go with number 1, the water pump purifier, for a few reasons.

First of all, in terms of the best tasting water, water pumps don’t leave behind any residual flavors that might taint the taste of your drinking water like UV light and chemical tablets can. Obviously this isn’t a necessity, but it sure is preferable, especially if you’re hoping to enjoy some margaritas or coffee in your gorgeous Filipino condo.

Our second reason for picking the water pump over the other methods mentioned is practicality. While yes, it takes a bit of assembling and manpower to clean your water, if you ask us, that’s preferable to having a water purification system that can’t be used should you lose access to electricity. In our opinion, clean water shouldn’t have conditions. You should always have access to it, no matter what. Whether it’s in the middle of a blackout or in the middle of the jungle, a water pump purification system will always work. And remember, when it comes to clean drinking water, there’s no such thing as being over prepared. If it gives you peace of mind, invest in two or more water purification systems, this way you have a backup should one fail.

Finally, we chose the water pump since it’s extremely effective and relatively quick. Once it’s been assembled, it only takes a few minutes of your time (10 minutes to pump clean a gallon of water, claims one Amazon customer) to get the water crystal clear, tasting pure, and ready for drinking. And although that’s not as fast as the UV light method, it definitely beats waiting 35 minutes for half that amount to be cleaned via chemical=tasting tablets.

In Conclusion…

Overall, you can’t really go wrong, no matter what water purification system you pick. They all get the job done, in their own way, and it’s really up to you to decide which one makes sense for the type of trip you plan to have in the Philippines…and beyond.

We sincerely hope that you found this blog post helpful. With contaminated water related diseases causing more than 3.5 million deaths worldwide each and every year, this is certainly a topic we felt obligated to educate our visitors on. By investing in a water purification system, like the ones listed above, you are ensuring more than just a fun vacation…you’re guaranteeing the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones. And nothing is more important than that.

So, with that being said, if you’ve tried any of the water purification products above before, let us know in the comments below. Which water purification system was your favorite? Which one do you want to try on your next trip to the Philippines? Are there any amazing water purification options or brands we forgot to mention? We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Download Your Free Guide To Easy Condo Rental

Enter Your Name and Email Below For Instant Access

Fill in the form Below:

Latest Articles

Legal Information

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site.