Manila’s Street People

On Palm Sunday, my daughter Ilona and I joined the Philippine Outdoor Photographers on a Photowalk through the lower end of Binondo and Intramuros. I am obviously not a photographer; I find the art fascinating and enjoy learning more about it for the sake of expanding my knowledge, but it’s a fundamentally different sort of talent that I’m not sure I have.

And that’s okay, because even if my photographer friends would have a hard time grasping it (after all, not everyone is a writer, either), watching them is tremendously valuable. Photographers, it seems to me, have a skill in looking at the world in fine detail, and if you pay attention to them, you see things you never knew were there.

Like these people. We spend most of our time trying not to see them, and if not for my companions’ broad sense of what constitutes “beauty” and their skills in capturing it, it’s very likely no one ever would.

Palm-frond vendors outside Sta. Cruz Church -- Seth Capitulo
Palm-frond vendors outside Sta. Cruz Church — Seth Capitulo
A different religion for Palm Sunday -- Miki Chelou
A different religion for Palm Sunday — Miki Chelou
The runaway -- Mike Samonte
The runaway — Mike Samonte
Regatta de Basura -- Rod Erick Ladores
Regatta de Basura — Rod Erick Ladores
Aling Juana, vendor -- Bernie Vicente
Aling Juana, vendor — Bernie Vicente
On the corner -- Rommel L. Rutor
On the corner — Rommel L. Rutor
whayne penero
Flower girl — Whayne Peñero
Alley cat -- Kiel Umali Ferreras
Alley cat — Kiel Umali Ferreras
Hot work -- Josefiel Rivera
Hot work — Josefiel Rivera
Peaceful -- NJT Photography (Noel Tonido)
Peaceful — NJT Photography (Noel Tonido)
Lola -- Edd Poliquet
Lola — Edd Poliquet
Street child -- Herdy Kristine Marzan
Street child — Herdy Kristine Marzan
Do-it-yourself water park -- Joart D. Juanitez
Do-it-yourself water park — Joart D. Juanitez
White heat -- Whayne Peñero
White heat — Whayne Peñero
Pogi -- Mark Barlongay
Pogi — Mark Barlongay
The soup eaters -- Ben Kritz (Hey, that's me. Not bad for an amateur.)
The soup eaters — Ben Kritz (Hey, that’s me. Not bad for an amateur.)

All photos © 2014, by their respective owners. All rights reserved.

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9 thoughts on “Manila’s Street People

  1. Nice thoughts sir Ben Kritz and THANK YOU for featuring my IMAGE (On the Corner) on your blog …

    I myself is a writer and apparently trying to discover how to reach more people to let them understand the truths in our lives, perhaps utilizing all of their senses.

    Thus, I indulge into Photography as well, to physically connect to one’s visual faculties.

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  2. Sir Ben Kritz, thank you for posting my image, on your blog. About that image, (The palm branches woman vendor), I may say, that I’m just at the right place & at the right time coz my family & I, were already late for that palm sunday mass. When my mother bought a palm branch from that woman vendor, I just took that shot with my Samsung S3 smartphone, & hurriedly left for church. Thanks again Mr. Kritz, & more power to your blog.

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  3. Oh I do see, I do not try at all NOT to. Only the dense will not feel anything, something, for Manila and its street people. I do what I can, though, in small ways, to capture the beauty in my heart and keep it there.

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  4. Sorry, it is really difficult for me to find beauty in these images.These evoke strong feelings of anger in me. I see corruption.

    Stop the poverty porn please! Stop glamorizing indolence. One of the biggest faults of Filipino Christianism is its failure to emphasize one of the more needed heavenly virtues in our country – that of diligence. Instead, it overly emphasizes charity to a point that the church seems to be abusing that virtue.

    We should be enraged. Indolence is a choice, a way of life. And these people are choosing to abuse our social systems. Indolence is a sign of a corrupt soul. We should also be enraged at the supposed “elected leaders” that choose to take advantage of the corrupt poor.

    I think that as a photographer, we have to own up to some responsibility of using the media properly, responsibly. If anger was one of your points, let it be known. If you are saying there is beauty in indolence and corruption, I think we are using the media in the wrong way.

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  5. Thank you for the photos. Seeing these pictures, reminds me to be grateful for everything, stop complaining and do more to help out. And for those corrupt politicians, you are robbing from these people!

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  6. Walked from binondo to quiapo the other day, saw kids sleeping on the streets, made me ask myself . Where are the parents? how about DSWD? Or our government? Wish i can just carry those kids and bring it home but for some reasons I cant.

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