by Phantazein Studio
March 2014. Manila, Philippines
I don’t know what I was expecting the first time I visited Manila. I saw children who lived out on the street everywhere I went. The lucky ones lived in makeshift houses comprised of random scrap materials, sleeping their entire families. I imagined the tough road ahead of them and how soon they’d learn that not everyone lived as they did. Some of them must have had some idea, once they ventured into town and saw “real” houses and shopping centers. I couldn’t help but to feel a twinge of injustice for them thinking about this moment.
Some of them would ask me for money, usually jokingly, but most were just fascinated and wanted to play. They would run up to me in packs, so trusting as children often are, calling out “ate!” which means big sister in Tagalog. They’d curiously eye my cameras and jump into a pose so that I’d take a photo. I’d have these encounters several times a day everyday during my journey in the Philippines. I was continually touched by the children’s attitude- so open and warm, reflecting that of the adults around them.