We often capture strangers in photos we take in public. Open your photo library, and stop at the first picture that features a person you don’t know. Now tell the story of that person.
I took this photo three years ago, when my wife and I decided to go on an out-of-town trip to Quezon, a province south of Metro Manila, in the Philippines.
The beach we went to is not very developed yet. It doesn’t have a decent bathroom – which was mainly the cause of my wife’s dissatisfaction during our entire stay. Also, you can spot some stray dogs in the island – oftetimes waiting for visitor leftovers for them to feast on. There were not a lot of establishments, only a few sari-sari stores to cater to tourists’ basic needs. Nonetheless, the beach is a sight to behold. Sand is white – though not as white as Boracay’s, it is considerably prettier than the ones in the local beaches you see in Batangas. The coconut trees make a good backdrop and the blue-green, virgin ocean in front of it is just something you don’t see everyday when you lived 80-90 % of your life in a highly urbanized city like Manila.
Now on the far right side of the photo, you’ll see a boy – perhaps eleven, maybe twelve? I don’t know him personally, but judging on the way he looks, he probably is a local of the island. Someone who lived all his life in this quite simple set up. Presumably someone who has to cross seas to go to school, has to keep himself dry in the process to not be a laughingstock in class. Someone who maybe has a fisherman for a father, or someone whose family relies on the tourism of the island to earn a few bucks. Someone who might be unfortunate financially, but enjoys every time he spends with his only treasure – his family.
This is only one of the many stories of Filipinos who live in remote, rudimentary, economically-forsaken, remote areas in the country. I mean some of us are lucky to be living comfortably in our rented homes in the city, enjoying the fruits of our labor as part of the national workforce but not all of us can be that lucky. Sometimes you can’t help but think of the inequality of the lives lived by all of us. I mean this doesn’t just occur here. I’m pretty sure other countries, other nationalities have their own versions of this. Sometimes, you just can’t help but think how you can be of help. Sometimes, you just can’t help but think of yourself and your capabilities as a solution. But sometimes, it just is not enough.