Day 5 – (pt. 1) Makati Tour

Today Michael wanted us to experience the opposite end of the poverty spectrum as we visit the financial district of Makati.

01 bridge
We visited a mall complex called “Greenbelt”
001 water
It’s a place where many tourists go to do some high-end shopping
02 arc
As we drove through the financial district the first thing we noticed was how clean it was. Not a drop of garbage.
04 white trees
This drastically contrasted that of the streets of Tondo
05 tug
We wondered why two drastic ends of the spectrum existed merely an hour away from each other. It made some of us sick. It made some of us mad. It made all of us think.
06 steps
We all felt extremely grateful for where we came from. By virtue of being born in Canada we all have truly won the lottery of life.
03 Caribou
Like the Canadian beaver, the caribou is the national animal of the Philippines.
07 rock group
Michael took us to a spot to all find and pick up a rock that spoke to us and explained the concept of a “gratitude rock.”
08 gratitude rock
Michael explained that he carries a gratitude rock with him every day in his pocket. Every time he touches it, he thinks of one thing he is grateful for. It’s a physical reminder to help have an “attitude of gratitude.”
09 church
Before leaving, we all took time to pray, reflect, and give thanks in this chapel located in the centre of the Greenbelt shopping complex
17 crosses
Our next stop was the largest American memorial cemetery outside of continental USA.
11 map
Because the Philippines was controlled by the USA for many year in the 1900s, it’s land and capital (Manila) was targeted many times by countries at war with the United States.

10 Panoramic

13 peeking
Amongst these walls are the names of all the soldiers (both American and Filipino) who fought in the war but never returned and their bodies were never found. 
12 names
We went around to try to see if any soldiers had the same last name as us
14 girls
It was a beautiful and peaceful place so we took the opportunity to debrief and discuss what we experienced yesterday at the orphanage and slums of Tondo and how it contrasted the lifestyle of those who worked and lived in Makati.
15 adventure
This is one of Michael’s gratitude rocks. Michael explained that he tries to never complain because in comparison to the struggles he has in Toronto vs. that of the people in Tondo, there is really nothing to complain about.
16 reflection 1
We all take some alone time to reflect and write about our experience in our journals.
16 reflection 2
We all compose a gratitude list of everything we should be grateful for
16 reflection 3
It was a perfect place to reflect, enjoy some silence, and find some answers from within.
18 tree cross
Michael asked to all walk with our barefeet in order to feel connected to the earth
19 pray
Before leaving, we took time to say a group prayer and give thanks for all that we have and for all that we are learning.

Next stop is the AVANAI community. It is the build site where Michael’s group in 2012 helped build homes.

Please feel to read our comments below as well as those from previous post. You may leave a comment as well.

Thanks for following our travels.

13 thoughts on “Day 5 – (pt. 1) Makati Tour

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  1. Today we went to the “business” are of Manila and it remember me a lot of home which I enjoyed because I miss home. We also went into a very high end mall like Yorkdale it’s was crazy. Also today we didn’t really have a lunch lunch because Mike wanted us to feel hungry because a lot of people in the slums don’t get to eat 3 meals a day. Very powerful meaning. After that we went the Memorial cemetery there we had a debrief of what we was yesterday compared to today. It was great to hear what everyone had to say. It was hard to hear certain things has well and realizing that we share the same feelings and emotions. We shouldn’t be looking down on their lifestyle because they didn’t get to choose it. It’s the way that they live and they are happy with it. Yes it’s unfair but there isn’t much we can do to change that. However just a simple smile, playing games, hugs can make their day.

  2. Yep, so this is the richer side of the Philippines… The side I would have never imagined to exist. It’s almost crazy how Makati & Tondo can be so different. I think of both ends of the city, & all I can say is wow. Makati reminds me of Toronto, where everyone is so busy, invested in their own personal tasks of the day, & are often unable to take time out of their day to focus on other concerns that aren’t necessarily connected to their own. This is not to say that their selfish, rather than their priorities are focused on following a schedule. In Tondo, individuals are so focused on family. They find happiness in so little, & are able to express it endlessly, especially to newcomers, as their lives revolve around this particular aspect of their life. I don’t find anger in the different lifestyles, as instead I’ve discovered a new understanding.

  3. The difference between the rich and the poor in the Philippines is crazy to see. It shows the corruption of the government there. In comparison to Toronto you have wealthy areas and maybe small communities of homeless but there are the wealthy and entire towns and blocks on blocks of people living in poverty. It makes me sad and angry that people can do this to their own countrymen. Keep up the good work guys, your showing the people who the government usually ignores that someone cares about them too.

  4. it amazes me how each side lives and how everything is so beautiful in Makati. i hope people in Makati can find the excitement in the little things as well, and they are not so focused in there daily lives. but you guys are so amazing for helping these people. and i can tell you guys have such big hearts and want to make a difference in the world. and i have the up most respect for you guys. keep it up.

  5. In these photos it seems like they are in a whole different country, the comparison between the rich and poor sides of the country is horrendous. To believe that people are suffering and struggling to survive while so many are living comfortably all in the same country, it’s eye opening. Since we are so fortunate to be in a country like Canada, we should be doing all that we can so we may help those that are in need. Hope everyone on the trip is having a wonderful and eye opening time. 🙂

  6. I think the group as a collective can agree that today, offered us the opportunity to address some questions we have in regards to life. The location, enabled us to be at ease and to ignore life’s distractions. This being said, the memorial garden symbolized life’s tenderness, and thought me how to appreciate what I have. Our debrief also provided us community because, at this point we realized that we weren’t the only people who value the same things that we do. As a result, i felt that the group became closer, and as the debrief concluded, I altered the way that I approach life.

  7. Half an hour out if the slums, we went to the richer side of the Philippines. Btw, Starbucks prices are international. I would not pay $7 for a drink in Canada and $7 for a drink in the Philippines seems insane considering people are making $5 a day by sifting through garbage. I just felt disgusted walking through Makati. But it is difficult to blame these people for their lifestyle when I am living the same one in Canada. I now understand what Mr. Consul meant by the two extremes, and it makes me so frustrated.

  8. This was the rich side of the philippines, it’s really nice but it still made me feel pretty bad considering how a 10 minute drive could change from being full of garbage everywhere to being so clean like this. The church was really pretty! It was kind of awkward at one point because it was all quiet and i dropped my unusually large gratitude rock on the floor by accident which made a very loud sound… my bad. I’m really glad we visited the American memorial cemetery, we finally got some time to share our reflections about the trip so far, and it was really great to listen to everyone speak, i really enjoyed today.

  9. It’s just so crazy how you can drive five minutes away from Tondo and feel like you’re in a whole different country. The drastic differences between Makati and Tondo really surprised me. There’s one side of the Philippines which feels so similar to the privileged Western World and then there’s the other, which is the exact opposite. I actually felt guilty walking into the Starbucks in the mall, when not far away people cannot find food to feed their families. This day kind of reminded me of the problem of homelessness in Canada (obviously not as drastic, but still a prevailing issue). We live a fortunate life but, just like Manila, I can walk outside and see many problems that occur in a country as privileged as Canada. Also, the debrief was really important for all of us. Being able to express our opinions and views on these events was crucial since it was a lot to take in.

  10. Greenbelt showed us another side of the Philippines. I wondered – the people shopping in these high end malls – do they know the extreme social injustice happening only a car ride away? It made a lot of us mad, or rather – frustrated. We were frustrated at the unfairness and the luck we had to have been born in a place where we didn’t have to scavenge to live. We were frustrated that we couldn’t fix everything wrong with the world on our trip. With these thoughts, we went to the Memorial site. It was so peaceful and beautifully serene. During the reflection, I really thought about a number of things. I really believed that I came on this service trip to help people but now I know I was so wrong. Being in such a hopeless yet happy place was truly eye opening. Now I think of all the small things and appreciate them more – how I have problems, but not ones that mean life or death. I’ve grown up in such a different norm, such a different reality that I’ve forgotten how important and impacting it is to simply smile once in a while. When I walked through the slums, no one once asked for anything: not money nor food. All they wanted was a “hello,” a smile and a wave.

    I came on this trip thinking I’d leave helping people, but I think they’re helping me more than I ever imagined.

  11. Seeing the wealth and prosperity of this sprawling mall complex so close to the absolute poverty of the slums was hard to digest. Here we were ordering drinks that costed more than most families in the Philippines make in a day. All the people wandering around in this quiet, serene mall seemed oblivious to the fact that just minutes away people are rooting through garbage to earn a living. This is also kind of hypocritical on my part because I live a lifestyle similar to the people in the mall. The magnitude of poverty here hit me and made me feel helpless to do anything. Going to the war memorial was needed to calm down, reflect and talk with each other.

  12. I can’t even express how I felt seeing the richer side of the Philippines knowing how much poverty is happening just a 5 minute ride away. But I can’t help but think how different is this from us not long ago. There is poverty happening in our own city, maybe not to the same extent but nonetheless still poverty. People in our own city are starving, struggling everyday to find a place to sleep or something to eat and how many of us ignore that? We used to be these people in the mall, but now that we’re more educated about the issues going on then maybe we can help educate others. I’ll admit going to the war memorial was emotional because we finally got a chance to sit down and reflect, that’s when everything really hit me. How “lavish” my life is compared to others because of the sacrifices my parents made. I could have been living a life in the slums but because my parents chose to work hard and come to Canada I’m blessed with so many different opportunities and sometimes I take everything for granted.

  13. ​So much to learn, thank you for sharing.

    Peace, Joy and Hope,
    Steve De Quintal
    Teacher, St. Mary’s CSS, 66 Dufferin Park Ave. Toronto, Ontario M6H-1J6. 416-393-5528 ext. 84293
    “that they may have life and have it the full.”
    “Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.” – Vesta M Kelly
    ***You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***

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