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    back in manila

    John Tubles Nov 12 '10 2

    Its 5 am here in the Philippines… Yes I am back in my home land filled with excitement and I guess nervousness… That is also the reason why I haven’t blogged in a while because I was trying to just barely catch up with everything in school before I left… It may sound crazy to take time off from school for a week during you’re senior year in architecture school especially when finals is just around the corner and you’re taking 20 units… but this is an opportunity that I can’t pass..
    Like what I said before, I am in the Philippines for the 2 reasons … First is to assist my “Senpai” (Japanese for Student Mentor) and my Professor in their research in social housing here in the Philippines. This is a continuation of what we did last August but this time our focus is more on the social side instead of the technical side of social housing. Secondly I am going to do some research for my own senior project which I am a little bit nervous to see. My site is the Navotas Cemetery which is located North-West of Manila. This cemetery is supposedly very depressed, dilapidated and squatters have settled here. And I have contacted some people that did some documentary about this site and they said that this location has a different kind of poverty. They warned me both for my safety and my psyche: safety for obvious reasons that it is not the safest place for an outsider to visit and then psyche because you will see , and I’m sorry my lack of better words, some crazy sh*t regarding people’s living condition. And since I am really interested in the juxtaposition of “living and dead” environments, it should be very informative and a definite eye-opener… I just hope I don’t get overwhelmed with what I see that would make me turn the other way and run…
    But that’s not until tomorrow… Today agenda is interview sampling within the social housing project we are researching… working while jetlagged is not good… but oh well.
    Here are some photos I took a while our plane was descending into Manila… and yes the flight attendant saw me and gave me an attitude hahaha…

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    …I think these photos show the Manila’s gritty, chaotic and hodge-podge nature which I believe a part of this city’s entity both for good and bad...

     

     
    • 2 Comments

    • harveyspecter
      Nov 13, 10 6:54 am

      so how is it back there in the motherland?
      i love Manila along with its play of chaotic beauty and richness of contrast. each street corner has a totally different story to tell.

      Mark_M
      Nov 14, 10 12:20 pm

      I made the same trip two years ago...I suggest you ask a local student to come with you for translation purposes. I spoke the language but the people in the shanties, from what I've heard, speak a slang version of tagalog. Even the locals are afraid to venture into the cemetery. It's not that its dangerous, it's due to the nature of the culture, you are not supposed to socialize with people in poverty. Brutal but true. If the "Day of the Dead" hasnt passed, all the squatter tenants in the cemetery have to vacate for a week and find other means of shelter. Some live there becasue families are paying them to upkeep the mosoleums. There are various social limks that keep families in the cemeteries.

      If you can get there, the settlements by the Pasig River will provide you with great information of how the people ended up in those living conditions. You will be surprised how many of them have college educations and can't afford to live in other parts of Manila.

      I suggest you also meander to the periphery of Quezon City. They are shifting most of the squatters to developments outside of the city rent free in exchange for keeping the development clean...*and politcal votes* However, the people in these new develpoments work or found work in metro manila. Now they have to travel to find work, which for most families is not affordable.

      Good Luck....BTW....you can't feel sorry for them..They won't let you. I was told that this is how it is in "this" country. Change moves at a snails pace.



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