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.
This is a very beautiful place if only everyone would know how to appreciate it.
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.
This fisherman’s son caught his own fish and is heading off to sell it.
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.
The fisherman’s son sold the fish he caught for P85. He has money to buy a cup of the icy delight.
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.
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.
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.
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?