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October 16, 2016


While most of us will breathe a sigh of relief at the first rainstorm signaling the transition of seasons from dry to wet, monsoon season comes with its own attendant worries. The weather bureau PAGASA has come a long way in providing timely and accurate forecasts, and with additional support of organizations like the MMDA (and an assortment of news stations), Citizen Juan is kept truly well-informed about atmospheric changes. Typhoons are a fact of life for citizens living in this country (throw in the occasional earthquake, tornado, storm surge and fire). While government and private organizations are able to provide emergency and relief services at varying levels of competence, how prepared is Citizen Juan to evacuate at a moment’s notice?

Emergency Bag EssentialsEnter EMERGENCY BAG ESSENTIALS, co-written by Jason Charles with the American Preppers Network. The APN (popularly known as “preppers) is a social network whose members are composed of volunteers dedicated to providing information on survival, preparedness, self-sufficiency and sustainability. Subtitled “Everything You Need to Bug Out”, it is formatted as a swatch book. Pages fan out in a way that is reminiscent of a Swiss knife.  Portable yet comprehensive, it ensures one’s readiness in case disaster strikes.

Here are some of my key takeaways:

1 – It’s not enough to pack a bag (and this book is detailed enough that it breaks down how  and what to pack from bottom, middle and top layers as well as the side pockets); one’s fitness level has to be taken into consideration. If currently you’re not at Manny Pacquiao’s level of fitness (who is?), it suggests taking up exercises to build up your strength. One can start with short walks and eventually go backpacking or hiking with the bag to improve one’s ability to carry it comfortably and be able to walk long distances.

2 – To ensure sufficient water supply, the book suggests packing a hydration bladder on top of water bottles, purification tablets and water filters. I had never heard of hydration bladders before and had to check them out online. Turns out that these are portable water containers that come with “bladders” (rubber or flexible plastic hoses), and are available at various price points in local e-commerce sites.

3 – For food, the suggested list includes hard candies, packets of tuna and tea, protein powder, electrolyte powder, chicken bouillon cubes and beef jerky. Since local grocery stores don’t sell tuna packets, maybe canned tuna will do (but the weight!)?

4 – Other must-haves are tarps (for shelter), cooking and eating utensils (sporks come in handy), can openers, knives, lighters and matches, sleeping gear and duct tape. It’s amazing how versatile duct tape can be.

This book covers all the bases that a new prepper will need to know. For those who want additional reading, National Geographic is publishing a comprehensive, 386-page book called “Extreme Weather Survival Guide”.

Emergency Bag Essentials is available in select bookstores.


PRHPenguin Random House is the world’s first truly global trade book publisher. It was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson. Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across almost 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.

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