Filipino Squatters’ Tales, Part 2

Thanks to Maria for the interview and pictures.

Maria’s story

My name is Maria. I was born in Leyte Province, but I’ve been living in Metro Manila since 1979. I’m married to a man who is much younger than I am. We have no children. My husband is only able to get temporary jobs, but he’s a hard worker, and he can fix anything. I’m working part-time as a housekeeper. My boss is very good to us, like family. We have a small room in her house, where we stay about half of the week.

Our own residence is built … Read More

Filipino Squatters’ Tales, Part 1

Many times in the past when I’ve heard, “I don’t see how people can live like that,” a judgmental statement, but also the truth. Without access to the details of everyday lives of people from another social group—nationality, ethnicity, social class—we don’t see how they live. We  don’t see, for example, the one-room living quarters of Chinese teachers, watch them cook with a charcoal stove on the balcony, wash clothes at the communal tap or divide the room with sheets suspended from wires in order to create a hospital-ward type of privacy.

My friend Mang Urot goes beyond merely providing Read More