Sunday, June 26, 2016


On Saturday we took a day trip to see a parish in the poorest areas just outside of Manila. It is a place called Payatas. The town is on the edge of the city garbage dump. Many of the people make their livings as scavengers. They risk their health and lives by sorting through the trash in the dump for things that they can sell or reuse. Much of the trash is from hospitals or is food waste that is rotten. Everywhere in the area you can smell trash. There is no sewage system.

The reason we went there is that it is a parish ministry of the Fathers of St. Vincent. Father King took us to see it and explained why the church has become involved there. The area was designated by the city of Manila as a place for poor people to live and has become a shanty town. It is also right next to the city dump which has grown and overtaken some of the land that people were living on. In fact in the year 2000 there was a tragedy and 800 people were killed when the trash exploded and created a huge 'trashslide'. Because trash is biodegrading it creates methane gas. If the gas gets trapped underneath, when there is a hard rain it can explode almost like a volcano.

For the second time that day we were serenaded!  This time by this group of children from the church. They are a fantastic choir and sang a song about the Philippines which they are going to sing at the inauguration of the newly elected vice president later this week! The church is involved in order to support the poor and advocate for them so that something like this never happens again. They have a priest who lives there full time. The church runs several programs in different locations that feed children who are under-nourished. 

These curtains are made of plastic straws which were scavenged from the trash. The vases of flowers are also made of straws and then planted in plastic soda bottles from the trash.

This picture shows someone building a new brick wall. All over the area you see people building very rough lean-tos out of simple materials. 

This is a chapel which is one of the places that meals are distributed. 

This is a memorial that lists the names of the people that were killed in the 'trashslide' who were identified. There were many killed, but not listed because they were not identified.


  1. Those "straw" flowers are amazing.

  2. Looks like a cultural extravaganza! Enjoy.. Tom