back in the city

The road trip along the rural highways was a very welcome break from the noise and clutter of the city streets.   That was a couple of weekends ago, but it made me itch to go around the city streets once again and look for something interesting that didn’t require any interviews or conversations.  I had a very busy week and I just wanted some fresh air and a short walk.

bicycle with half a handle

So what’s with the bike with half a handle bar?  Sorry, I didn’t ask but he probably makes left turns only.

street hawker selling dog shaped balloons

I never thought of seeing a professional dog walker in my hometown, but there he is … and the 101 dalmatians.

little girls doing big girl jobs

My curiosity got the best of me when I saw these little girls doing the tasks for grown ups.  That’s fish for lunch, and at the back are girls washing baby bottles on the sidewalk.  I had a chance to chat with a resident and learned that these kids also rummage through garbage from the fast food restaurant around the corner, segregating leftover food and plastic bottles to sell which earns them a few pesos for their daily school allowance.  These are also the same kids who would ask for money to watch over parked cars.  It’s tough to be a kid in a family with 5 children and parents who cannot find decent jobs.

Over the years I was able to interview a number of mothers in densely populated urban areas whose families barely earn enough money for food. The most common problem they have is the lack of available jobs, and their children are forced to quit school because the kids also have to find ways to make ends meet, or simply because the parents cannot afford to buy school supplies.  The average household has around 3-5 children, while others may have as many as 7 or more kids.  The population issue is still very heatedly debated here in the Philippines, and what’s sad is the fact that the people debating on the issue are not the ones who have to live through hell each and every day.


Social issues are an intrinsic part of every day life for the average person, myself included, and I sometimes write about how I feel towards them.  I could very easily show photographs depicting poverty, but I choose not to, out of respect for the people whom we know nothing about nor what difficulties they are going through in life.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and within those thousand words are a million different stories.  I prefer to tell the real story rather than let readers decide for themselves how to translate the picture.

One of my goals when I started this blog was to do photo essays of what life is like for a tricycle driver, a farmer, a blue collar worker, and so on and so forth.  Hopefully someday I will have the time to do the serious documentary work.


19 thoughts on “back in the city

  1. This is a good post. Your pictures speak loudly on their own as usual, and it is much to our astonishment that you manage to keep excelling on that in pictures after pictures. But what makes this post outstanding is your choice on what to show. Often when artists are so absorbed in their works they tend to forget humanity involved. But you take a firm stand, stick by it, and this allows you to carefully craft your pictures to a highly effective level. Thank you for this. Look forward to more.

    • I guess I am just naturally curious about what it is like to be the other person and how life would be like if I were in their shoes. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  2. A very nice visual pleasure, something i refer to as “eye candy”. very good use of black and white photography and the use contrast.

  3. To those over ten million of us expats, these pictures speak for themselves. What they represent, after all, is the main reason we have left home. But no matter the distance, we cannot escape from it entirely because we have left so many behind; failure on our part would mean an uncertain future them.
    I very much enjoy your pictures; they are a constant reminder of home. For better or for worse it will always be home.

    • Very true. Our present economy depends too heavily on remittances from abroad, and I shudder at the thought of that sector collapsing. I do hope that the government will take a proactive stance in the population issue to improve the quality of life for the citizens.

  4. I enjoy your pictures, and you write well. I hope you find some time to do some photo essays of people in Tacloban. Many of us know very little of your city and what life is like there.

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