Manila: Toughest place to be a bus driver

London bus driver Josh West heads to Manila, the capital of the Philippines and the most densely populated city on Earth. Josh will be driving a Jeepney, a colourfully decorated, adapted jeep which has no power steering, dodgy lights and an uncomfortable seat. His host is Rogelio Castro and together they brave the chaos of the streets. It’s a hair-raising and often hilarious ride, but Josh also learns about the incredible over-crowding and devastating poverty of Manila. He forms a strong bond with Rogelio and is moved by the daily struggle of an ordinary Filipino working to feed his family. It’s an emotional roller coaster and Josh returns a changed man, aware that all the separates his life from Rogelio’s is the country he happened to be born in.

In the third video, Josh is taken to Elise who literally lives in a size of a cupboard (6 foot x 6 foot). Elise tells Josh she has 13 children. She got pregnant at the age of 14 and would sometimes give birth twice a year. She does not know anything about family planning but she wants to give it a try because life is hard.

A couple living with 13 children. Total 15 people live in a home measuring 6 foot square. A family of 12 to 15 are common. The wife gave birth to her first child at the age of 14. She since have been giving birth, sometimes twice a year. ” I didn’t know anything about family planning before. And now that life is starting to be difficult…” Contraceptives are not provided free and people in this situation cannot afford them.

In the 5th video, Josh visited Tondo and witnessed how “pagpag” (meals from food that has been thrown out) was sourced from scrapped fast food dishes, chopped, washed, re-cooked and eaten there for 5 pesos per plate.

I never knew about “pagpag” until I watched this documentary.

Josh seemed visibly upset by his host living condition that when he got home he set about raising money to pay for the education of his grandchildren.

I hope that the bishops and our congressmen will get to watch this documentary.

At around 2 min 45 seconds in the 3rd part of the series:

“Elsie, you don’t look very old, you’re very young… At what age would you have had your first child?”

Answer: “14… I used to get pregnant twice a year…” (She has 13 kids!)

“In the Philippines, contraception is not provided for free…”

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About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

View all posts by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado
Noemi, Editor of Blog Watch and features editor of Philippine Online Chronicles is a 54 year old mother to three kids and is married to Atty. Luis H. Dado. She loves being a full time mother and homemaker after retiring as a Researcher/Consultant from the UP Institute for Small Scale Industries in 1987. Now that her children are all college graduates, she devotes her time to grief support, blogging, new media events and using her blogs to promote online advocacies. Her personal blog is at aboutmyrecovery.com, which garnered numerous awards such as Best Website, Blog Category during the 9th and 10th Philippine Web Awards. Her blog also won in the Blog- Personal Category of the DigitalFilipino.com Web Awards 2007 and Globelines Broadband Family Blog Award (in honor of family-oriented blogging) 2007 Philippine Blog Award. Globe also recognized her as Digital Elder in the 2009 Philippine Blog Award.
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  • http://twitter.com/jepoi_ordaniel Jepoi Ordaniel

    British people are really good at sensationalizing. My friend said that in Germany and the UK, no story coming from the Philippines will sell unless it’s about “PHILIPPINES=DANGEROUS” or “PHILIPPINES=POOR”. Come on… Manila’s TRAFFIC is not TONDO. Manila’s TRAFFIC is EDSA!

    Did they even go to EDSA?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZIITYCOTSDD2AFZTNJZFNFMZW4 Amora Amora

    “You think you die alone, but that’s not true. Nobody is alone in this world. We have to coexist and take care of each other. That’s how I feel.” (Azusa Hayano)
    That’s how I feel too…

    Some people do not care if others die or not,
    I care.
    Take care!

  • Anonymous

    dude why would you want to kill yourself? why not start over…you know forget the people who treat you the wrong way and find people who treat you the right way, the way you should be treated. If you want to end your life it shows you yourself have no respect for anyone else to put them through the kind of pain they are going to have once your gone…..live for you no one else

  • ccoker0501

    I’ve been to therapy. I think about it all the time. Everyday. And not just killing myself. Other people. Not just killing. I mean torturing and killing. Yeah, it’s fucking sick. I know it. I get pissed off and I think about hurting them for the next few hours. Then it turns on me. Alot of shit happened in my life. Alot of mental and emotional abuse, sexual molestation, growing up with no friends, etc. I’m 18. College student. I don’t want to die. I do love life. Alot of people look up to me. I’m a teacher in an after-school music program. I’m an uncle for my beautiful niece that I love to death. My mom means the world to me. It doesn’t change the fact that I get in moods where I think of shooting myself in the face and ending all of it. Finances, lack of a relationship, sleeping disorders, heavy drug and alcohol use, etc is just making all of it worse. I don’t really believe in god, so please none of that. I do want help though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pow.lonngren Pow Lönngren

      poor baby… ur life jst start! And mine is totally over… I dnt ave noting less anymore… all who i loved are past a away… Only wat i ave left is son who cant care of me less…. Dis means getting older nd knw everting…. Here is not noting left anymore wat fee even allmost right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pow.lonngren Pow Lönngren

    And who fuckin cares wen am gone… NO ONE!

  • Anonymous

    YOur numbers do not work for Dial a Friend. I know you mean well and I hope you can have a ready number..we need to talk to people who care…and the phone is sometimes..our only way in.. I never thought I would contemplate suicide..but now I have been thinking and wanting to ..I like the others ..the discouragement is just too much.

  • Anonymous

    yes filipinos are prejudicial..they just think they are caring but actually most who have a family support and do not know how it is to feel alone ..are really doing it worse..and they do not really care..just self righteious

  • Anonymous

    thanks for pointing it out. The numbers are now updated.

  • rosell bantay

    i need a family who will take care of me and make me feel that i’m welcome. my family is the worst

  • Vicente Pelechano Servando

    – Withdrawing from friends and family.—–check

    – Depression, broadly speaking; not necessarily a diagnosable mental illness
    such as clinical depression, but indicated by signs such as:
    - Loss of interest in usual activities.—–check

    - Showing signs of sadness, hopelessness, irritability.—-check

    - Changes in appetite, weight, behavior, level of activity or
    sleep patterns.—–check, check, check

    - Loss of energy.—— check

    - Making negative comments about self.—-check but granted in my case doesn’t say much…I was prone to it before all this shit started to happen

    - Recurring suicidal thoughts or fantasies.—–so very check

    - Sudden change from extreme depression to being `at peace’ (may
    indicate that they have decided to attempt suicide).—— not yet. Plan for when I get…the tools I need first.

    – Talking, Writing or Hinting about suicide.——Hope I hadn’t to anyone that could care yet…

    – Previous attempts.—-this will be my debut actually

    – Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.——check

    – Purposefully putting personal affairs in order:

    - Giving away possessions.—–check, kinda didn’t know this might be the reason actually…

    - Sudden intense interest in personal wills or life insurance.——check

    - `Clearing the air’ over personal incidents from the past.—-check, done this ages ago

    9/15…not bad I guess, I decided totake the step five years ago and I’ve been researching on the best way to do it…I did choose my weapon already and I am close to completition but I plan to be more graceful. I’ve hidden my thought and feelings the best I could to any of my relatives and I plan to keep it this way…

    I just wonder how much time will pass between the attempt (if it goes well) and the first person finds my corpse…I am pretty sure will be the landlord or any of my housemates after three days, I also wonder how they are going to tell my family keeping in mind none of my parents speak actual english…anyway I guess it is better this way.

  • iamlosingit

    I’m at the lowest point of my life. Jobless, broke, loveless, friendless and I’m 30 years old. all my friends are now successful, they’ve abandoned me, and I can’t find a job. I just want things to be over. I’ve just cut myself and i’m weighing if i should end it. But I’m too much of a coward. I want to call someone, but I am frightened to even talk now, because whenever I try to share people just judge me. nobody understands, and i’m so sick and tired of the crap about things getting better. I am sure it does for some, but it’s just been too much failure and regret in my life. I am tired.

  • iamlosingit

    this is very true

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RU727PWLCSX6OFZQC3CEMDATHE Elaine

    Hi. I badly need help. Or someone to talk to. A psychiatrist, perhaps. Do you know how much a psych consult costs? Thank you for your help.

  • Space

    I’m tired of living now. I’ve tried slashing myself and overdosing on paracetamol. nothing is working. My family is broke. Really broke. My mom hurts me daily. My dad left us. My brother hurts me as well and pat on me one time. I’m doing so well in school but my mom taunts me that she’ll pull me out if i don’t get my boyfriend to marry me cause she wants reassurance from him. Im at the lowest point of my life. I don’t want to live anymore. I’m not looking for anyone to help me out i need someone to help me die. nothing i do works. i only have one thing left to do and that’s to jump off a building. or an overpass. i will do it. i dont see why i have to live now.

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