Early diagnosis and treatment for malaria has a significant impact on the severity of the disease and contributes to the interruption of its transmission. Fourteen high-risk families and nine locality-matched families, with no recent history of malaria, participated in an ethnographic study which aimed to document malaria episodes and to examine treatment paths for fevers locally termed malarya and perceived to be malaria. The study, conducted in Morong, Bataan, a low malaria endemic area in the Philippines, used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods over a period of 12 months. Six treatment categories were identified; self-treatment with Western medicines and clinic consultations had almost equal frequencies. Twenty-six treatment paths were recognised which consisted of the six categories singly or in combination. More than 80% of the undiagnosed malarya illnesses were treated with antimalarials of inappropriate dosages. More adult men than women self-treated, but there was no significant difference by gender in terms of clinic consultation for illness. The majority of clinic consultations were made for young children. The implications for control are discussed.