It’s still Monday, Dec. 29th. We had an amazing time with the children in the orphanage. All the children lived in the surrounding area called Tondo. We boarded the bus to visit this area.
First stop would be the local market
Looking outside the window we got a sense of the living conditions in this region called Tondo
Our tour guide from Smokey Tours gives us information about this local market
Along the way we stop at certain points to hear some information
Much different from any market in Toronto
At the market you can buy pretty much anything from clothes to household items…
To staple foods
These are eggs dyed purple to indicate that they are salted
This is a traditional Filipino desert called “ensaymada”
We are shocked how much stuff is jammed packed in so little space
Some store fronts are closed due to the holidays
As we make our way to the bus we meet a lot of the kids we played with at the orphanage
Every so often kids would recognize us from the orphanage and give us high fives
We see some of the things they do in their day to day life (bingo using macaroni as markers)
This kid is playing video games
There are many food vendors along the walk
We pass by a family hand washing their clothes
Unlike Toronto, everything is washed and dried without machines
These are roosters used for cock fighting
We even saw horses
The people we met along the way were extremely friendly. They even asked to take photos with us.
Mike stopping for a photo request
The kids asked us to play some basketball. Mitch drains 2 three pointers as the crowd goes wild!
Beside the basketball court there is a river
The amount of garbage in the river is insane
We walked towards this bridge
To our surprise, we learned that 60 families lived under the bridge. You can see some of their houses to the left.
This is what their homes look like from the top of the bridge
We’re invited to take these stairs down to meet some of the families living under the bridge
This is the first house at the bottom of the steps. We are greeted with these beautiful smiles.
15 children from these 60 families are sponsored by ANCOP
These sponsored kids are part of the St. Martin de Porres orphanage
The people here were so friendly and welcoming. Some of them were playing cards and taught us how to play
These refrigerators are used as boats to pick recyclable garbage from the river. Recycling is their main source of income in this region of Tondo.
Even though one must crawl into this little passage way, houses still exists there.
16 families live under this passage way under the bridge
There are bedrooms to the left and the right of this crawl space
Our next destination is the Smokey Mountain relocation area.
Last year’s group visited a garbage dump called Smokey mountain. This dump site is now closed and all the people living their have been relocated to different places. We will be visiting one of them.
We follow our guide into this community. Her family also lives in Tondo and she used to work at St. Martin de Porres.
Smokey Mountain was a place that had so much accumulated garbage, it was as high as a mountain.
Because of the accumulated methane gas due all the garbage, random fires would spark up giving it the name, “Smokey Mountain”.
Even though these people are no longer in at that dump site, there is still a tremendous amount of garbage in this place where they have been relocated
Makeshift houses are made of any materials that can be found
Words can’t describe the emotions we all felt as we looked upon their living condition
Compare this with the streets we live on in Toronto
As mentioned earlier, the main source of income here is recyclying
These are bagged and collected recyclable items that can be sold for income. Average daily earnings from recycling is 100-125 pesos. That’s around $3 dollars a day.
This old abandoned building is now “temporary” housing. However, it’s been 9 years since people have been relocated here so it’s does not seem very “temporary.”
All homes typically sell something to earn additional income
What was shocking is many of the people, children included walked barefoot through these streets
It was overwhelming to try to absorb everything that we were seeing
This isn’t something we were watching on TV or pictures on the internet. This was real life.
A life totally different from that of our own.
Look closely at this picture and imagine living here
The children followed us around everywhere.
One source of income was recycling rubber from tires
This a small chapel. The predominate religion in this region is Roman Catholicism.
This is a rechargeable lamp that families can rent for 5 pesos a day. It last up to 8 hours. Many of the families do not have electricity and those that do still rent this lamp since it is cheaper means of light when it gets dark.
This is a school that another NGO (non-government organization) built for this community
Another NGO created this basketball court for the communities recreation
Despite the many hardships, the people of this community had a very positive and happy outlook.
Their happiness and contentment with what they have is a huge lesson we learned today. We realized more than ever how lucky we are to be living in Canada.
We say bye to the kids that followed us all the way to the bus as we board to make our way to Baclaran Market. After the market, we have dinner at Aristocrat Restaurant.
With great gratitude we say Grace Before Meals
Many of the conversations during dinner centered around the fact that we should never complain about what we “don’t” have ever again!
After dinner we walk to this beautiful fountain next to the restaurant to take some photos.
We had an amazing day and experienced a whole gamut of emotions from
playing with the kids at St. Martin de Porres, to happiness leaving them behind knowing that we would probably never seem them again, to sadness when we surprisingly reconnected in the Tondo community, to joy see the living conditions in the surround areas, to depression as we become awareness of poverty outside of our normal lives, and motivation to help and give back. desire
When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much even more will be required.- Luke 12:48 Now that we know what poverty exists beyond what we normally see, we can never ignore those less fortunate then ourselves.
Thank you for following our travels. Please write a comment below and share with us how you felt when you looked at these photos.