Philippines and Slums

Do you see slums or beautiful places? It’s one thing to be a missionary and purposely go into a slum to minister to the poor and I have nothing against that. However if you came to the Philippines to enjoy your vacation you may need to not go where you know there are slums. A friend just recently mentioned to me that he could not believe the filth, the poor and all the slums here in the Philippines. He said he appreciated America after seeing what he has seen here. I believe the Philippines as an experience is what you make of it, what you allow into your mind and what you screen out. What I mean is, sometimes you just need to look through the fog to see scenery just up ahead block out those undesirable sights from your memory, or just don’t see them,  and then you can see the beauty just beyond. I try to stay in the nicer areas away from the slums and the poor and also away from the crime and drugs. I stay on the main roads where all the parks and beautiful buildings are. I stay in areas there are known to be scenic. Comparing Philippine Slums to the so called nicer cleaner America is wrong also. How may slums are there in the US? Most of us nevr see them because we have been trained over time to avoid such places but they are their and just as filthy, trashy as the ones here. I was not able to sell my nice 4 bedroom house in Texas because there was a slum only blocks away and I mean a hue filthy full of poor rotten buildings demolished cars type of slum. No one wanted to live that close to this kind of area, every city has one or two or three. We middle class and upper class Americans tend to stay in the nicer cleaner neighborhoods avoiding the undesirable. We just don’t venture down that road because it ends up in a slum and you don’t want to get robbed or have your car carjacked, you’ve been there, how many times have you had to make a U-turn right in the middle of a road because it just didn’t look safe, I have. Most Americans in their clean neighborhoods do the exact same thing I do here they stay away from that slum, that filthy and the drugs so while you are here in the Philippines I suggest you practice the same thing here, and you will see the Philippines in a new light as the beautiful place it really is. There are plenty of nice areas to see here, areas where you don’t see slums.

Photos taken in nice “no slum here” areas. If you see a slum look the other way… Kids from the slums often come into towns to try to persuade you to give them a Peso or two, I always carry a few pesos with me so I can give them one if a hundred come I just walk away. IT happens… While Bogo has some slums, Medellin is almost completely free of slums. Move there and live happily ever after. I’m sure there are other areas just as nice and free of slums also, find them. This area is near the Toaist Temple in the hills behind Cebu City. This is a middle class and upper class neighborhood, you can walk the streets here pretty much free from crime, police are very frequent here. notice very little traffic, no jeepneys or tricycles allowed in this area.


The row of houses in the other photos are the same houses on the right here.

Yes that’s the Riverfront Hotel and Casino taken from the Toaist Temple.



  1. Perceptions…

    As a person who lived 20 years, in the poorest places/neighborhoods in the Philippines, let me just say that you are for sure no safer, as far as criminality goes, in a gated community than a mountain barranguy, as a foreigner. In those 20 years living in squatter camps, Muslim ghettos, remote farming communities, not a single time was I ever a victim of a crime against my person. Yes, people stole my things that were poorly stored. Yes, even after I got better storage my own relatives stole my things. But I was never mugged or threatened as part of a robbery. Not my wife or any woman I knew personally was sexually assaulted. I lived as my neighbors did, outside in full view of every passerby. I locked my door when I left but not when I was home.

    For sure a coat of paint and a 2000 sq foot residence, is not an indication of lack of lawlessness.

    Slums in the USA are filled with those who occupancy the bottom 5% of society. Those who live in unplanned communities (slums and squatter villages) in the Philippines represent 90% of city dwelling Filipinos. The reasons for simply being in a unplanned community are as diverse and the population itself. True, a very small % are those who have been in jail, who make their way in life disrespecting the rights of others. But for sure 99% of those who remain are of the highest Filipino moral fiber. They are those who work hard when they find employment, who send their children to schools, who operate profitable small local businesses, and who take pride in their relationships with those around them.

    Of course I felt offended by this guy dropping in from outer space suggesting “he could not believe the filth, the poor and all the slums here in the Philippines”. No idea where this guy looked but wherever I lived, EVERY HOUSE and YARD, was swept daily.

    This reminds me of a story where a guy was standing next to an English princess when a sudden gust of wind lifted her skirt… Feeling he should say something he remarked to her “bit airy today, eh? Where upon she replied “what did you expect, feathers?” Did this guy actually fly to the Philippines without expecting poverty? Did he not think that the cost of living in he Philippines may be low because of a vast oversupply in the labor market?

    Ah yes…”nice”…. Neighborhoods indeed. Filled with those from the unplanned communities, working, as a gardener, as maids or yayas, cooks, drivers and every other occupation known on earth. Criminals of course rob those who do not know them, and who have money. Seems a gated community is a good target. Criminals can jump on a bus an simply go, as easy as you can.

    Of the terrible rip-offs that have happened to me of a nature I would consider criminal, all happened in city government offices, police stations, courts or lawyers offices, airports, big shops, banks, and highway checkpoints. You know, by people who live in gated communities…

    Joe Pinoy

    1. My wife and I just returned from there, to see our new grandson and our son and daughter in law and the volunteer teaching work they are doing there.

      Joe, we could not agree with you more!!! great reply!!!

      99.9% of those helping the poor will not have a bad experience reaching out to the poor!! even most critminals will appreciate your work there!!!

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