The “Other Side” of Divisoria

The “Other Side” of Divisoria (Manila, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos


While Divisoria has always been known as the shoppers’ Mecca, especially, during Christmas, there is” another side” of it which I do not want to present as an image of poverty but that of perseverance, patience, and honest endeavor. This is the “other Divisoria” which many people just refuse to see as it might cause them to puke! The accompanying photos show how these honest Filipinos contentedly strive to live in sheer honesty.


The skeptics always say, “it is their fault for going to Manila and suffer deprivation”. These hypocrite skeptics have  TV, radio, and occasionally read newspapers, so they should know that the provinces from where these people who are eking out an honest living on the “other side” of Divisoria, are infested with NPAs, Abu Sayyaf, opportunistic landlords, and loan sharks. For the arrogant, the world is just for those who can afford to live decently. On the other hand, as these skeptics have not endured days of hunger, they may not understand how it is to make a difficult decision to live a hand-to-mouth life in Manila by scavenging in garbage dumps, rather than die of hunger and be in constant fear for dear life in the province.


It is true that the slums have been in existence for many decades now, but there would be no slums had the government ever since the time the nation has become independent, did not get infested with corrupt lawmakers and officials. The slums have been around since the time that deprivation and exploitation have been propagated by learned Filipinos who found their way in the halls of Congress and Senate, as well as, agencies, even at the helm of the government. Unfortunately, the seed of exploitation has grown into an uncontrollable proportion today, making corruption as wrongly and unfairly viewed to be always a part of the Filipino culture.


The striving people from the slums near Divisoria, and other districts of Manila, in this regard, may be viewed by the arrogant as akin to dogs and cats, because of their many children, oftentimes making them utter unsavory remark, such as, “they know they are poor, yet, they keep on having children”.


How I wish these skeptics can also openly, make biting remarks –

  • to the corrupt politicians and government officials, such as, “they graduated from prestigious universities and colleges, yet, they do not know what is right or wrong”


  • to the filthy rich, such as, “they have plenty of money, yet they can’t even throw a piece of bread to a beggar”


  • to the stiff-necked Catholic priests, pastors, and other religious ministers such as, “they are supposed to be representatives of the Lord, but they can’t afford to take a look at the spiritually hungry”


Finally, compared to the disgusting hypocrites, loan sharks, corrupt government officials, arrogant “religious ministers” and conscienceless rich, who are supposed to be learned and intelligent, the people who honestly make a living such as those who belong to the “other side” of Divisoria, are worthy to be called creatures of God – true human beings…slum denizens who are viewed by aforementioned with utter repugnance.


(This blog will definitely, not hurt those who do not belong to the mentioned “classes” of loathsome Filipinos.)


6 thoughts on “The “Other Side” of Divisoria

  1. Rich people will always see the opposite end of the economic spectrum, the poor. While it is indeed ideal for those who have more resources to help those with meager means, I do agree that people who have economic problems must avoid adding to their burdens by having (more) children.

    Parents must realize that children consitute at least a 20-year commitment to nurture and educate that new individual. It is utterly unfair to bring another person into the world, with the intention (or hope) of passing the responsibility of caring for that person to others, be it relatives or social service organizations. Worst yet is the intention of looking at one’s kids as extra hands, laboring in whatever trade the parents are involved in. Young, growing children need play time, guidance, educational preparation for life in an increasingly complicated world. Parents must not thrust them into the labor force at a tender age.

    Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think we should also look back to where the irresponsibilities of the parents with many children developed, which is the irresponsibility of their parents also, the educational system, the church, the government…the families in the provinces are practically left on their own….those in the urban areas, instead of being helped by the government are instead exploited….the churches are worst for they just focus their attention to the spiritual aspect of life…..I have lived with a family in Baseco Compound (Tondo) for 4 days before to really experience slum life, and l found it to be really boring without TV, or even radio so that after early dinner there is nothing else to do….the attention should not only be on the poverty which is on the surface of life of these people….sa Tagalog, dapat ugatin kung bakit sila ganoon….by the way, part of what you sent have shared with them….lugaw, taho, and there’s a family treated to Jollibee, the wife is partly blind but still selling junks – next blog sila….thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, as always. Naaalala ko na nag-sulat ako ng essay tungkol sa issue na ito noong high school ko dito. Matagal ko na ‘yon sinulat pero naalala ko dahil dito sa post na ito. ‘Yong argument ko doon ay ang pag-demolish ng mga slums ay hindi permanenteng solusyon sa pagkawala ng mga ito. Dapat ay ayusin muna ng gobyerno at ng bansa ang standard of living ng lahat ng mga citizens nito para hindi mapilitan ang mga mahihirap na tumira sa mga slums. At napaka-totoo ng mga sinabi mo tungkol sa mga hypocrites na ‘yan. Anong ibig nilang sabihin na nawalan na ng karapatang pang-tao ang mga taong ganito dahil lang na sobrang hirap nila at napilitan na tumira sa mga slum areas? Grabe, and most of them are even supposed to be the literate ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Imagine, high school ka palang pala na-notice mo na kaya ka nakagawa ng essay….kung kakalkalin kasi ang history, premature ang pagka-independent ng bansa natin, kaya hindi pa prepared ang mga unang namuno sa atin para sagupain ang mga problems – na-overwhelm sila kaya nagkaroon agad ng corruption sa ating system…at, heto na nga, ang resulta ay deeply-rooted na poverty….thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Binigyan ako ng iba-ibang topics ng teacher ko, pero ang pinili ko ay itong topic na ito dahil bilang isang Pilipino, napaka-relevant sa akin. ‘Yong teacher ko Canadian, hindi naman nila masyadong alam ang mga ganyan eh. Nakikita lang nila sa TV, nababasa sa news, pero hindi pa nila nakikita ng personal, hindi gaya natin.

        Oh. Hindi ko alam ‘yan. Ganoon pala. So masyadong mabilis ang pagka-independent ng Pilipinas? Makes sense in some ways. Kahit saan namang gobyerno, may corruption, pero ibang level talaga sa Pilipinas. Grabe.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Based sa na-research ko, gusto sanang ipa-delay ni Quezon, president noong Commonwealth, sa US ang pagbigay ng complete independence dahil napansin niyang marami pang dapat matutunan ang mga Filipino leaders especially on the intricacies of the Philippine Constitution na kinopya lang sa US Constitution, subalit, nagmadali ang grupo ni Manuel Roxas, natalo si Quezon sa botohan sa Congress kaya yon, walang magawa ang US kundi give in to the demand of the Filiipino politicians….marami nang napansing korapsyon sa administrasyon niya si Quezon kaya natuto siyang magmura at maging hands on sa pag-administer ng Pinas…. nadagdagan pa ang corruption nang maging completely Republic ang Pinas, na ang unag presidente ay si Manuel Roxas…siya yong lolo ng Roxas ngayon na tumatakbo bilang presidente na magpapatuloy raw ng tuwid na daan ni Aquino…at dahil nagpatung-patong ang korapsyon tuwing may bagong administrasyon, umabot na ito sa puntong hindi na mabuwag ngayon dahil lalo pang tumatag…


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