Humans Of Payatas

Edelyn, 49

“Discipline shouldn’t be all about what you want as a parent. It should also entail you listen to your children. It is better if we practice healthy criticism between child and parent. In the past, I used to rule the house with an iron fist; but when my children started to grow up and think things through, they started questioning me, “ma, if you’re wrong, then you should learn how to acknowledge it. Who’s gonna point out your mistakes; but us? You’d do the same thing to us, am I right?”

Cristopher, 28

“As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have great respect for women. It’s important that there’s equality among men and women. Women have many abilities and can endure hard times. You can really see in them the nature of excellence and perseverance.”

Glicerio, 57

“My kid lives in Singapore now. He invested on a business for us before he left. My wife and I raise our kids in a way that they become God-fearing. At this time, we’ve already stopped working because our kids are already the ones supporting our needs and that is something I’m grateful for.”

Rodalyn, 27

“I’m selling bola-bola, not squidball. This is healthy because it’s made of squash and it doesn’t have preservatives. It’s my uncle’s recipe. I don’t want to be like every other street food vendor here in Payatas that sells squidballs. Plus, I’m able to help others because more kids are becoming interested in eating vegetables. Now, my youngest child’s favorite is bola-bola. And my eldest child’s favorite is bittermelon.”

Michael, 17

“Her brother-in-law was my friend so he introduced her to me. And then we found out that we were in the same text clan. But we still didn’t talk to each other. We snubbed each other. Just gave each other looks. I developed feelings for her because she’s not an easy type of girl; she’s very choosy when it comes to guys. Plus she’s kind and smart.”

Rosie, 34

“I used to sell vegetables at the Commonwealth Market but I needed to stop because our spot was too expensive. In wet markets, you have to pay for your spot; for us, it was P300 per table for one day. And that doesn’t even include the electricity. I was using two tables for my spot so everyday I had to pay P600 just to sell vegetables. There was more money going out than coming in so I had to stop. But I’ve been thinking, once my arm heals, I might go back to selling at the market again. That’s what my daughters want me to do. Because there, we’re always spending time together; we sell together, carry stuff together, and count the cash together.”

Osie, 36

“I remember the Payatas dumpsite landslide back in 2000, it almost reached us. We were two houses away from being buried by the landslide. So many people came to Payatas after! There were loads of donations; every house was filled with grocery items. There were also plenty of celebrities, reporters, and politicians. But then what happened after? They forgot about us afterwards. They just took pictures. Good thing my daughter is extremely hardworking. She is always studying and every Saturday, she practices how to play the piano and the violin. She has a bright future ahead of her.”

Arman, 40

“I’m a freelance dance instructor. I teach ballroom dancing, mostly cha-cha and boogie. I moved here from Catbalogan; back there I had so many clients. That’s because parties in provinces still have ballroom dancing. But here in Payatas, it’s been difficult trying to get clients. Here in the city, people prefer Zumba. I can do Zumba too but I don’t want to give up on ballroom dancing because people might forget about it completely.”

Lito & Dong, 53 & 49

D: “I work in a publishing house but I’m on leave now.”
L: “He’s just killing time.”
D: “I’ve always loved playing chess. I even taught my children how to play it when they were just 2 years old. The thing is, a lot of people here in Payatas who don’t have jobs just loiter around; their brains remain unused. If I were to loiter around, I’d make sure to continue exercising my mind while doing so.”

Floro, 58

“Often times when people hear the word ‘Payatas’ they immediately think that it’s chaotic and full of drug addicts. What they don’t know is that it’s actually full of people who are working extremely hard to give their families a good life. Look at my family, not once did we experience any kind of disturbance here. All my kids were born and raised here but they are all well-mannered and disciplined. Nobody got into drugs. They all finished their studies. That’s because we took good care of them. It’s really all just in the parenting. Now, all our children have their own jobs and families but every Sunday, they still come here to visit and spend time as one whole family.”

Marlon, 36

“I was born in Bacolod; I was still a child when I started working as a farmer. I moved to Manila because life in the province was too difficult. I remember the first time I went to Payatas, I was just 16 years old and I was overwhelmed with joy. My eyes would widen in amazement whenever I see new things here in Payatas. Now I’m working as a housekeeper in Caloocan. I enjoy my job very much. During my days off, I clean my house as a means of relaxation. I really really like cleaning; oh wait…I guess that’s why I’m happy being a housekeeper!”

Miriam, 33

“We only have one house here in Payatas and there are three families living in it. It’s fun because we’re always together; my sisters, nephews, and nieces. Our neighbors here, they’re the ones who were relocated after the Payatas dumpsite landslide. 41 families lost their homes because of the landslide so they were brought here. Of course this place became overcrowded after that but it’s okay because they don’t bother us. They even help us in simple ways like when we need help digging or fixing our houses. It’s in this place where I really felt the meaning of, what’s that Filipino tradition again? Oh! Bayanihan.”

Jun, 37

“Every morning, I peddle taho (soy pudding) and then in the afternoon, I peddle binatog (corn dessert). I actually don´t know why people only eat taho in the morning and binatog in the afternoon. I mean, do their stomachs have a schedule or something? But I´m glad I make the kids happy because I remember back when I was still a kid, everytime I heard the bell of the taho peddler, I would run excitedly out of the house. Now, I´m the one who makes the kids feel excited.”

Joseph, 30

“My favorite thing about Payatas is that I found my true love here. It wasn’t love at first sight; I don’t believe in that anyway. We started out as friends. It was weird because I don’t usually have female friends, just girlfriends. But with her, we got along so well and when we were together, the laughter was on a whole other level. And then we started developing feelings for each other. It really does feel good to fall for your best friend. But it feels even better if she falls for you as well.”