Monday, August 21, 2006


There's nothing new with the all the stories about the hopelessness of the Philippines -- of wanting to leave for greener pastures abroad, of economic and political crises, and of the growing gap between rich and poor -- but perhaps what doesn't get enough press are all the different ways that Filipinos are coping. Here are some stories:

The young gentleman pictured above is a sculptor and itinerant salesman from Bacolod who travels once in while to other parts of Negros to sell his wares. His sculptures are made from driftwood, each one taking him a couple of days to finish. No formal training, he says, it's just a skill he picked up. His work could stand a little bit of improvement, but as it is, it can already fetch a high price given the proper marketing and avenues for sales. Can you say eBay? But the poor fellow doesn't even have a cellphone.

For the less-skilled urban denizen, here's a Filipino twist on what seemed to me like a predominantly American idiosyncracy: the walking billboard. I came across this young man in Cebu, promoting a fast food chain.

And, of course, there are the traditional means of earning a living. These are fishermen unloading their catch on the beach of Rizal Boulevard after an early morning fishing trip.


  1. I bought two of those "driftwood" sculptures (one of the Sto. Nino and the other of the Sacred Heart)last year at Villa Beach, Iloilo City. They are actually not made of driftwood, but of fiberglass. I guess they one who makes them has a master mold from where to make several copies. Quite inventive, huh?!

  2. Hi, Oli: a ha ha ha! Na-goyo ako. Good thing I didn't buy from him.