115 Tondo Manila - Living in Poverty
Project info

Tondo is one of the sixteen areas of Manila, Philippines. Manila, home to about 12 million of the country’s population, is also known as Metro Manila, thriving business centre and a city of dreams to many of the internal migrants hoping for a better life. Tondo has existed prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, referred to as "Tundun" on the Laguna Copperplate Inscription. One of the most densely populated areas of land in the world, Tondo is located in the northwest portion of the city and is primarily residential-industrial in nature. Tondo is known for being one of the poorest and most underdeveloped areas of the country. Many of the city's slums are found in this area. It is the birthplace of former president Joseph Estrada, and it is also the location of the notorious but now closed landfill, The Infamous Smokey Mountain.

But there’s another side to Manila, as described by fiction writer Dan Brown in his novel Inferno...”Manila is the Gates of Hell”. Almost 4 million people live in the slums, mostly concentrated around Tondo. As the cost of city living exponentiates, the Manila Dream remains just that, a dream to most of them. Slums sprout just about everywhere, and as one slum gets demolished, another two sprout up.

This series of photographs are concentrated mainly on 115 Tondo, one of the many slums in Tondo. It has recently, in the middle of this year, been demolished. My project is a continuum of the other side of Asia, and while most of Asia’s economy grows, the majority of the people suffers as wealth are not distributed evenly across the population, leading to a vast distance between the haves and haves not, a bipolar separation among the rich and poor that do not seem to narrow. The visual illustration depicts the human aspects of the slum dwellers and the surrounding environment that moulds their characters and cultures. Deep inside, they are people just like you and I.