Hidden in a neighborhood where one wouldn’t normally go is a lovely place with a great view of Cancabato Bay.  Following the embankment and then crossing a footbridge, I found myself walking along the dirt path of Barangay 83-A.  At the edge of this small community is a mangrove that opens towards the bay.

a bucket of water

This is a very beautiful place if only everyone would know how to appreciate it.

shallow waters

One can live off the land and the sea.  The bucket is for the fish that is caught in the shallow waters.  They will be having fresh fish for lunch.

fish of the day

This fisherman’s son caught his own fish and is heading off to sell it.

walk for water

While it is very tempting to sit and dream away, life is not easy.  Water has to be carried from the communal faucet to homes.


Ice for halo-halo.  It was such a hot day, and there were at least 3 halo-halo stalls that were set up in the area.

halo-halo stall

The fisherman’s son sold the fish he caught for P85.  He has money to buy a cup of the icy delight.

the water line

While the kids were lining up to buy their early morning dessert, Tony (right) is busy tending the water cans being filled with water.  He earns between P1.00 – P1.50 per container, either by delivering it to the owner or making sure that it gets filled up while the owner finishes other chores.


Tony is an orphan.  His father was killed by his uncle, and his mother died of sickness.  He has two elder siblings who barely make enough living to feed him and his younger sister.  The neighbors sometimes take turns in cooking extra rice for him just so he can pass the day.  This is how he survives.

full tank

Social workers have already come to take him away but the older siblings didn’t want the family to be separated from each other.  At 7 years of age, he should be in school but given the situation, he cannot afford to.  He has to work to be able to feed himself.

heavy lifting

I find it amazing that Tony can afford to laugh and smile, and he doesn’t seem to be the kind of person who whines and complains.

As soon as he got paid, he immediately ran off to the halo-halo stand to order a cup.  Each cup costs P5, but he did not have enough money.

free snack

What is 5 pesos?  It is spare change to some.  What is 5 pesos to me?  Today, it meant something more than just spare change.  With the small amount of money I spent to give happiness to Tony and the other kids in the neighborhood, I whispered a silent prayer hoping that this act will be paid forward to the next person in need, no matter how insignificant it may be.  We all can benefit from a little kindness, and it doesn’t take much to give.

I have at one time stopped taking photos depicting the hardships endured by children because I can very easily imagine what it is like to be in their situation.  The thought alone is depressing.  It is very easy to take photos depicting poverty – one does not have to look far.  To hear their stories, however, is an entirely different matter.  There are millions of children whose lives are very similar to Tony’s.  The question now is: are we willing to take a step to improve their lives?


24 thoughts on “inequalities

  1. Poverty is so much around us that it has stopped affecting us anymore. In India, you see kids sleeping on cement heaps but we choose to ignore them just pass by. Of course photography cannot change everything that is wrong in the society but I think photographers, thorough their work, can sure open up a few minds and make people take notice.

    • a common denominator, in my opinion, is the rapid population growth among the low income earners. Those who have less tend to have more children than they can afford, in the hopes that one day one of these children will be lucky to afford a better life and bring the whole family out of poverty. We can tell their stories so that others may know and hopefully do something about the situation.

  2. Pingback: 1,2,3! | A walk with my camera

  3. Thank you for sharing the story Orly! Your pictures gives us art appreciation, but you give us so much more by telling their stories.Someone out there will be move and do something extra ordinary to change the world. Our group will join your revolution to make the world a better place.

  4. The Hope Foundation (under direction of Larry and Bobbie Womack) has been conducting a feeding program in this area for many, many years serving hot meals of rice, meat, and vegetables 3 days/week along with teaching the children a story from the Bible. We also help send some 45 of these children to school each June thanks to the help from our friends in the US who raise funds for us to do this for them. We are blessed to be of some assistance to these children.

    • Thanks for this wonderful information, Bobbie. I was able to get in touch with Streetlight Foundation earlier today, and they will send someone to assess the situation. I hope there will be a positive development, and I will keep the Hope Foundation in mind.

  5. Can our Save Cancabato Bay members do something for Tony? Your photos touched me so…I grew up with 10 siblings fetching water, catching fish for viand, collecting ferns for veggies from the farm…practically doing things Tony is doing now. We are just lucky we had parents who worked so hard to send us to school…But remembering the hardships through your photos… I am wondering if I could do my share to help Tony.

    • I am thinking of crowd funding. There are over 200,000 residents in this city, and if each person can spare P5, it will be something that can go towards providing food, shelter and education for Tony and many others. For sure with the coming elections a P5 donation is very affordable to every registered voter.

  6. How can I help? Lito’s story struck me so hard. I cannot imagine what he goes through everyday just to merely survive.

    • thank you for the offer, Aiza. I will try to get in touch with a day care center and see what can be done to help him and his sister.

      (The boy’s name is Tony. Sorry I have mistakenly typed in the wrong name, which has already been corrected.)

  7. The answer should definitely be yes Orlando. It only takes everyone to do just a little to even out the balance of social justice. It will rarely be people of power and influence, the people that really could make a change, who do make a change. Mostly its up to ordinary people like us; and what a blessing that is 🙂

    • You are right, Peter. The people who help are the ones who can understand or may have been in similar situations in the past. It is true that those who have less to give are the ones who give the most.

      I do pray that what we are documenting (your feature on the kids in India and this) would reach kindhearted individuals who are in a position to change the lives of these kids who are just starting out in life; that they may grow up to be responsible persons who will pay the good deed forward later in life.

  8. A heartwarming set. Not only an excellent one, the story is so touching. You have su ch a kind heart Mr.Uy. God bless you!

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