Women, and especially mothers in the Philippines, often pay the toll of the country's rampant poverty. On average, they have more than five children and teenage pregnancies are very common. They work hard to keep the family together, put food on the table and clothes on their kids’ backs, and send them to school.
Navotas is a coastal town located in the northwest part of Metro Manila. The majority of its population live under or at the poverty line. This narrow strip of land borders Manila Bay and lies in the estuary of several river deltas. It is known as the "Fishing Capital of the Philippines" because the livelihoods of many of its residents depends directly or indirectly from fishing and related activities. Navotas is one of the most densely populated areas in the country and its low-lying, flat terrain makes it prone to frequent flooding, especially during high tides, heavy rains and when river and dams overflow. Navotas' public cemetery is also home to many poor people who can't afford better living conditions.
The area of Payatas measures up to 220 hectares and is located in the largest and most populated city, Quezon City, in Manila. Payatas became an open dumpsite in the 1970’s and began accepting about 3,000 tons of solid waste per day for the entire metro area of Manila in 1993. Although it was ordered to be closed in 1998, scavengers continued their activities at the site. On July 10th 2000, the residential area of Payatas experienced a massive landslide of 50 feet of solid waste. This tragic landslide bulldozed over several shanties claimed the lives of 300 adults and children working in the dumpsite. Many other people were believed to have been buried under the waste. This horrendous event quickly became a national embarrassment for the Philippines as a country steep with poverty. The 13-hectare dumpsite in Payatas resumed its operations in 2001 in order to serve Metro Manila as a major waste site. It is the largest open dumpsite in the Philippines.
Project featured on Edge of Humanity Magazine, August 2017