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The Truth that Liars Know: the Highways to Poverty Exist in the Philippines

Ask the true "probinsyano" (local term for people living in the provinces) about Manila and you’ll be surprised of what they would tell you:

“Gustong-gusto ko talagang makarating diyan kaso wala akong pamasahe”
(I really want to go there but I have no money for the transportation.)

“Nakikita ko sa TV, madaming pasyalan at lugar na pwedeng mapaglibangan diyan. Sana makarating ako diyan”
(I can see on TV and there are lots of parks and places to relax and enjoy there. I want to reach that place.)

“Gustong-gusto kong marating at makapag-trabaho sa Maynila”
(I really want to go and work at Manila.)

These words are just some of the very common answers that will come out from their mouth. Many want to go to Manila despite of the uncertain fate waiting for them there. The sad truth is that it is still going to be a very sacrificial and long time endeavor once that they step on this capital city of the Philippines. Majority of the people going to Manila are not becoming successful. Most of them are becoming informal settlers, jobless citizens, and addition to the country’s poverty line.

On the Photo: A View of Metro Manila, the Philippines 

What the Statistics Say?
The Philippines population is approximately 92 million as of today. According to the National Statistics Coordination Board or NSCB, the Philippines has a 32.9% poverty rate in 2010. According to United Nations, the country is ranked number 58 out of the 153 countries around the world that are within the poverty line (rank 1 being the poorest). In Metro Manila alone, there are about 3 million out of the 8 million populations that belongs to the poverty line. Most of them are informal settlers who are living on the river banks, near dump sites, and under the bridges according to the Social Weather Station, a private research institution operating in the Philippines.

On the Photo: Map of the Philippines Seen in Rizal Park, Manila

Filipinos Impression of Manila
If there could be any major differences between the poor people in Manila and the poor people in the provinces, one of them is the environment where they are living into. Poor people in the city are on the streets looking for sources of foods and usually money, while poor people in the provinces most especially on the remote rural places are tilling the soil so that they can plant their sources of foods and income. Poor people on cities have their jobs but their income is not enough to support their family of five or more.

Almost impossible to hear but there are people in the country who haven’t touch yet a button on the TV or radio even up to these days. Despite that many are working on factories and local establishments on the nearby towns and cities, agriculture is still the primary source of income of people living in the provinces. Though the average people can watch the current news and events at their home, many still do not even know the real face of Manila. What they know is that this place is a paradise! You can verify this to the true probinsyanos.

On the Photo: A Typical Urban Life in Manila

On the Photo: People Washing their Clothes in A Province South of Manila

On the Photo: The Normal Street Life in Manila, Philippines

The Longest Highway System in the Philippines
There is a very long highway system that is in existence in the land of Luzon, Philippines.

Travelling from Batangas, a province in Southern Luzon, going to the city of Manila is only about two hours travel today unlike before which takes almost half a day. From Batangas City International Port, motorists will traverse the 42 km. CALABARZON Express Way also known as the Southern Tagalong Arterial Road or popularly known to many as the Star Tollway. The express way will be linked to the 96.8 km. South Luzon Expressway or SLEX stretching from Sto. Tomas, Batangas going to Calamba, Laguna and ending at the Skyway System at Osmena Highway in Paco, Manila.

The SLEX will be connected to the 24 km. Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue or EDSA at Magallanes Interchange in Pasay City. EDSA will then be fused at North Luzon Expressway or NLEX at Bonifacio Cloverleaf Interchange in Quezon City. The 84 km. NLEX will meet the recently constructed 94 km. Subic Clark-Tarlac Expressway or SCTEX at Mabalacat, Pampanga. The SCTEX is extending from Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales going to Tarlac City at the farther north.

Overall, this highway series is about 340.8 km in total length and this is the main gateway of the probinsyanos form north Luzon and southern Philippines in going to their dream city, Manila.

On the Photo: Boundary of Star Toll Way and North Luzon Express Way

On the Photo: Toll Rates Posted in a Toll Gate at SLEX

On the Photo: North EDSA Highway System

On the Photo: A View from Manila Railway Transit Station in EDSA

On the Photo: A View from the Vehicle of Subic Clark-Tarlac Express Way

On the Photo: Toll Plaza Exiting NLEX and Entering SCTEX

On the Photo: NLEX-SCTEX Interchange

On the Photo: Automated Ticket Both at SCTEX

On the Photo: Entering Angeles City, Pampanga at NLEX

"Manila Will Lift Me from Poverty" - A Notion that Lives Up to these Very Days
For fresh graduate students, there could be a very strong reason on why going to Manila is their highly preferred option. There are several business centers actually in the National Capital Region to where the city of Manila lies. Job opportunities are many at Makati Business District in Makati City, Ortigas Center in Pasig City and at Northgate Business District in Muntinlupa, Alabang. For the common people, working on vehicle terminals, construction sites, establishments requiring security guards, and city markets are the reasons on why they want to go here.

The high-rise buildings on these areas, which for many Filipinos are really something amazing and unbelievable, are symbolizing the country’s growing economy. The cars, the buses, the billboards, the city lights, the international airport, and the huge number of people are truly attracting many people from the provinces. For them, the money that will build their earned degree, new hopes and big ambitions is here.

On the Photos: High-rise Buildings at Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Did You Know That...
There are about 3 million unemployed citizens out of the 39.2% labor force in the Philippines today. There are about 11 million Overseas Filipino Workers or OFW in more than 100 countries all over the world as of today. They are leaving the country for a much greener pasture that is very rare to be found in the Philippines. The budget of the Philippine government in 2010 is 1.54 trillion pesos but it seems to be that it is not enough. Today there are 92 million Filipinos who are waiting for a miracle of change in the country.

Manila's True Identity - The Reality
Manila is actually not a promise land and the probinsyanos should have changed or forget long time ago their false beliefs about this city. Living in this city is a disaster for many, literally.

There is flood during rainy seasons and very hot climate during summer. Informal settlers are everywhere. Beggars, mostly kids, are on the streets day and night. Prostitutes, shoplifters, kidnappers, carnappers, drivers violating the traffic rules, police authority using force for a bribe, pedestrians crossing on the “NO Crossing” and “Bawal Tumawid, May Namatay na Dito” (Do not cross. Death happened here.) signs, informal settler on the river banks, community in a dump site, congressmen always absent on sessions, city jails overcrowded with detainees, custom and government officials earning money from illegal shipments and multi-million projects, pirated CDs on sale, celebrities telling lies on commercials just to earn money, politicians showing guns on public places, accidents on the streets, killing incidents everyday; they are all here in the city of Manila.

Very detrimental to read but it is the absolute truth about Manila.

On the Photo: Traffic Jam on one of the Busiest Streets in Manila

Those who will say that they are not seeing these things are liars.

The highways were built to attract people to go to Manila and would later on these people would meet the darkest sides of their life. The highways, too beautiful to look and pass into, are requiring toll fees in order for everyone to enter this city of sin and false hopes. There are many lies behind the construction of these highways, logically. Not all citizens know that, but many who are thinking and observing the everyday realities can surely feel these lies.

Sorry, but Manila is not a city of hope!

On the Photo: The Road from Batangas Province to Manila Philippines

Analogously, these highways are the symbol of the economic progress because they link one city or town to another. However, the fact is that this progress only benefits the very few elites, people who can fully afford. In reality, not all probinsyanos can travel at these highways because of their most horrible financial conditions. Not all can pay money to travel, pay toll fees and witness the beauty of these streets. And believe it or not, many of those who have managed to pass by at these streets all came back to their home provinces with regrets. They happened to know the truth about Manila and they also discovered that many of these supposedly truths are all lies.

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About this Post
The purposes of this article are two things: one is to reveal the very alarming situation of Manila today hoping that changes can be done; and second is to emphasize to the Filipino people that Manila is not a promise land that they should always aim to reach for. Manila today is overcrowded, dirty, highly corrupted and unfair to its visitors. We have this 340.8 km street system that will lead us to this city but most of us are hungry. Can’t you see the logic on that? There is something wrong with our country and it needs to be changed today.

Note: I would like to make it clear to all readers that I am not referring to the city of Manila alone, but to the entire Metro Manila or the so-called National Capital Region (NCR).

Do you agree with this post? Give us your comments about this article. I would like to help you more in understanding the Philippine's true way of life. Send me an email at or simply visit my website at, a free educational website for all. Together let's make a project of change for our country. You can be the one who will bring the big change - today.

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