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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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BlogWatch receives the “Best Story” Award for the First Data Journalism PH 2015 from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism  for their story on “Aid Monitoring: Citizens’ Initial Efforts in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda” . Forbes Philippines also received the same award.

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