Slum life in Manila
The last couple of days in the Philippines was spent in the capital city of Manila. As a city it’s not unlike most other capitals around the world, lots of high-rise buildings, crazy traffic and huge shopping malls. On the final day I decided to go and visit the slum areas I’d seen whilst driving through the place the previous afternoon. Here are a selection of photos taken of some of the squatters areas located close to the rivers.
Photographically, I found it quite difficult to adopt my usual practice of omitting anything from the frame which I didn’t feel needed to be there. Whenever I lifted my camera and looked through the viewfinder the whole scene was totally cluttered and I rarely knew what to focus on. Eventually I came to the conclusion that this was exactly how this place felt to me, so I allowed myself to accept the messiness of the shots. I’ve also desaturated many of the images which helps recreate the grittiness of the place.
Interestingly, I asked Mbong our driver in Manila what the suicide rate was in the Philippines, as I struggled to comprehend how people could cope with so much poverty. He seemed astonished that I’d asked such a question and replied that there were two main reasons that the suicide rate in the Philippines is so low. One is that most Filipinos believe that tomorrow may just be their lucky day and that their hardships could easily disappear. The other reason is that they’d have to ask “who will look after my family if I’m gone?”. I found this quite remarkable and sobering.