October 4, 2008

My Manila

There is a reason why I titled my blog "My Manila" and never changed it even after it was accepted into the City Daily Photo community. Metro Manila is composed of 17 cities and municipalities, after all, and I move in only a tiny part of it. And I mean that in both the geographical sense and, much as I hate to admit it, also in an economic sense. The World Bank estimates that 40% of Filipinos live in poverty. And if the World Fact Book's July 2008 population estimate is correct, that's a whopping 38.4 million people! In Metro Manila, the hard fact of poverty can be seen in large squatter communities, homeless people sleeping under bridges and in parking lots at night, and men, women and children selling flowers, candies, cigarettes and rag rugs on the streets. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), these are things I have had no opportunity to take pictures of—for various reasons which will take too long to explain—though I know I have hinted at it several times already. Here, finally, is more than a hint: a man rooting through garbage bags to get boxes, cans and bottles that he can sell to a recycling center. I wonder if he even makes 40 pesos a day doing this…

man rooting through garbage bags

25 comments:

Laurie said...

I am so grateful for how fortunate I am. SO much of the world lives in abject poverty, where even getting fresh water is a luxury. I always feel so hopeless in the face of the statistics. I wish I could do more.

This is a very powerful image today, Hilda.

Steven (Cavite DP) said...

Wow Hilda! That's an eye opener! thanks for making me feel lucky and be thankful for my state of life right now. i have learned that sometimes, you have to look on the state of others before you demand for more of the things you wish to have.

Thank you so much for your wish of luck! I really need that Thank you very much^^

Steven^^

Sharon said...

This surely makes one feel fortunate for what they have. Thanks for sharing such a powerful image.

JM said...

This a very impressive post, Hilda! I think it is very important that we see not only the beauty of things but also the very sad ones. I've came across a lot of situations like that through my travelling but it is never to much reminding us they are still there!!! Good work!

HZDP said...

Hilda, I love your post today, we start photography and we notice a lot more, but sometimes we just wanna turn a blind eye to this kind of discoveries, which we hate to admit existing in the place we live.
But this is how everywhere is, poverty is a ubiquitous phenomenon, so is the gap between rich and poor.
I once took a photo of a naked man sleeping outdoor, but I deleted the photo later, I don't have the courage to post that kind of image.
And I'm thinking to turn HZDP to kinda weekly updated one,so I'll visit your blog on a weekly basis.

melanie said...

Bonjour Hilda. C'est bien d'avoir pris cette photo, mais moi je ne peux pas faire cela. Car pour moi la misère des gens n'est pas un spectacle. C'est une cause de colère, de grande colère. Je ne comprends pas comment il peut y avoir des gens hyper-riches dans le monde et comment on peut laisser des êtres humains plus malheureux que des animaux. Si seulement ces êtres humains se révoltaient ! C'est ce que j'appelle de mes voeux, même si, sans doute, j'en souffrirai. L'ordre mondial est injuste. La dictature du fric pourrit tout. Et nous nous prétendons civilisés !

Harry Makertia said...

You're a great photo journalist, Hilda. This is a common problem in big cities like Manila, Jakarta or Bandung. Great choice for today's post. Bravo!

Louis la Vache said...

This is everywhere, it seems...
That people would do these things just to survive is a powerful statement about the will to live our creator gave us.

Marcel said...

It is sad to see anyone living in poverty, and we as a world need to do what we can to help all people who live this way.

Here in Southeast Alaska we have a large population of Filipino’s who come here to work. In my last job I had 5 very hard working and very dedicated Filipino’s working for me. I know that all of them sent money home to relatives in the Philippines. My wife has also worked with many people from the Philippines and they too send many back to relatives in the Philippines. I can tell you I have great respect for those who work so hard, many working 2 or more full time jobs and then send money home to the Philippines to the less fortunate.

Hope said...

This post is very powerful in words and the photo. How very fortunate most of us are...and how grateful I am for what I have. You were very brave to write these words and post this photo.

hadeveyra said...

Now.. CDP is officially not about beautiful sceneries only. This is a social awareness photo.. so thanks for posting this.

Joy said...

Always breaks my heart when I see images like this one. This is why I work in the Third Sector. Soon I hope to be relocated back in Manila to continue what I started there for disadvantaged people.

Thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comments. Sorry for not visiting for a while. Imagine not having the Internet in the 21st century. But it's sorted - for now. Happy weekend!

joy
A Pinay In England
Your Love Coach
I, Woman

Webradio said...

Hello Hida !
I think like "Mélanie"...
Sorry...

Wayne said...

I've seen enough documentaries to know this is a fact of life for many, many people in Manila and hundreds of cities around the world.

When I began my blog I planned to take similar shots in Vancouver. There is no shortage of subjects. But I found I didn't really have the nerve or I felt a little exploitive. I may try again.

None of us needs to be reminded that if we own a digital camera and have access to the internet, no matter where we live or how much better off we may wish we were, we are the well off of the world.

Boise Diva said...

Tough stuff, but it's good to see it documented.

Tash said...

Hilda, this is just a heart-breaking reality all over the world. I am so grateful (like Laurie) to be able to live well. It's good that many Philipinos here in LA area do well through their hard work as doctors, engineers and nurses.

Tash said...

PS - the billboard Jazzy posted with lion & man jumping with "oni salju signale" means "they send signals"

Zsolt said...

I like your wise post. And I am sure that this kind of poverty (homeless, street children, people without retirment, single mothers without community support) will be disappearing one day.

Mary Jo said...

I see it often here but I dont have the heart to take photos. Great catch!

Jackie said...

This is heartbreaking, Hilda. We have so much, yet so many people have so little. Thanks for sharing this reminder with us.

marley said...

Thanks for showing us this side of your area. It isn't prtty but I think all towns and cities have things like this, perhaps not on the scale of Manila though.

said...

Hilda, is 40 pesos a minimum wage hourly?


Shoshana

Halcyon said...

It's heartbreaking to see people so desperate for the basic necessities of life. I am sure you would also find similar scenes here in Mississippi. It's one of (if not the most) poorest states in the nation. Hopefully things will improve all over the world.

www.niamhphotography.com said...

that's a really powerful piece of photojournalism, hilda. very moving. niamh.

Kala said...

that is quite a statistic - 40% is huge! I cannot believe there is so much money in this world held by such a small small number of people while the rest of the world lives in substandard conditions.