Stories from the Philippines

posted in: Asia, Stories, Travels, Volunteering | 8

I’ve been sponsoring a young girl, now an adult, for the past 10 years or so. She lives in the Philippines, on one of the central islands with mostly rural areas. We write and send pictures to each other. She’s beautiful.

When in 2014 Compassion, the organization I support this girl with, told me they were organizing a trip to Asia, there where she lives, I haven’t thought about it twice. I bought my plane tickets, renewed my passport and left with a dozen other volunteers.

We visited few projects that work with children, mothers and teenagers, we met families living in difficult situations and ex-sponsored children, now university students and adults. We also went shopping, had fun, rode jeepneys or taxi-sidecars and saw a little bit of the life in the Philippines.

These pictures and stories are a collection of my experience of that time.

Snapshots of life and stories to tell of a travel to the of the Philippines in 2015

Pinterest image for "Stories from the Philippines": a child in school uniform walks in the countryside road back home.


1- Eden’s tree

Stories from the Philippines: a trees full of leaves and some flowers, in a a suburban street of Manila, set between barracks and half constructed houses. It saved the lives of a family during a f load.

When the typhoon arrived on Manila, rain covered everything in the area with 2 meters of water. Albert was quick to climb this tree with his family and they waited up there for 24 hours. He thanks God because the tree stand with strong roots in the muddy ground. His house is on the opposite side of the street. It’s about 2 meters high.


2 – Different worlds

View of downtown from a suburbans area of Manila: from high skyscapers to rough low houses and random electricity cables. In the Philippines's capital, life can be very different, depending on where you live.

Manila down-town from the terrace of a suburban school.


3 – The balloons man

Elementary school children are entertained with colourful balloons by a bunch of volunteers.

“We could make hats with balloons, to keep them all entertained!” said the man just before disappearing under the children’s enthusiasm…


4 – Green thumb

Stories from the Philippines: A family pose for the picture in front of their house that they are still finishing to decorate. Living in the countryside, they tend to their garden with tons of vases and plants.

“We have two children. The little one is attending the project down the road. When he’s sick, or if an emergency would rise, we know we can take him to the hospital without worries. But with our older daughter is different, because we can’t afford to pay doctors or medicines. But things are going to get better. At the project I was given seeds and I’m learning to cultivate vegetables and herbs. I can save up some money from the grocery shopping. I’ve planted all these plants myself”


5 – Rush hours

A street of Manila in the never ending traffic: taxis, sidecan and jeepneys constantly passing by

Rush hours in Manila: pretty much from 8 am to 10 pm.


6 – The art of hospitality

A fluffy origami puppy made with the towel welcomes the guests in the hotel room.

Hospitality is very important in Asia. Today’s “welcome back home” is been given by this fluffy origami puppy.


7 – Temporary construction

Stories from the Philippines: view on the rusty metallic sheets roof tops. Crowded suburbs of Manila.

Windows have no glass because it’s warm and there’s really nothing to steal in the house. But roofs are important because it rains a lot. The biggest problems are typhoons because they made the metal sheets flying away. Then water comes in and if there’s no money to repair the damage you have to move in with the neighbours or some family members somewhere else.


8 – Oriental beauty

Close up of a beautiful Filipino child with uniform in elementary school during class.

She doesn’t know yet, but she’s Miss Philippines 2027.


9 – #TripAdvisor

Sign outside a restaurant in Manila: Firearms are not allowed in this establishment".

Just in case you’re wondering, no, you can’t bring your gun at the restaurant. Not sure about your dog, though.


10 – Neighbourhood assembly

Stories from the Philippines: narrow passage between houses and barracks filled up with the entire neighbourhood posing for a picture.On the side, water drainage for rain water and the door of a common toilet on the left.

Bena lives in two rooms with her family. The house is property of her mother in law, who lives next door. The metal sheets roof and the narrow path that leads to the entrance don’t let much air in, also because the entire neighbourhood is peaking through the little window. It’s common sense that if there are guests, we’re all invited. ALL of us. Neighbours group picture.


11 – Young talent

Young girl with a vail performing a typical Filipino dance called Kapa Malong Malong

So much beautiful concentration in this  Kapa Malong Malong performance!!


12 – When the TV is not in front of the sofa

A group of men is sitting on the footpath while looking into a shop, where there's probably a tv on, showing the latest basket match.

My guess is that tonight there’s basketball on TV.

13 – Quiz

Shopping mall in Manila, with hundreds of colourful stands packed next to each other looking the all same.
Where is Waldo?

If you enjoyed reading these stories, you can also read Stories from Tanzania!

All the images in this page are owned by the author and therefore protected by copyright.
Some can be bought on
Shutterstock and Dreamstime.



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