Smokey Tour: An Advocacy Tour of Smokey Mountain and How People Earn Their Living

Baranggay 105, Tondo , Manila-Philippines

children happily posing for a group shot

This photo speaks a thousand words. It is not my first time to go to Tondo and mingle with underprivileged people. This time , I joined a tour organized by http://www.smokeytours.com/

We met at a famous fast-food chain restaurant near LRT line 1 Tayuman station. The group are composed of 2 Singaporean, 1 Dutch , 2 European and 3 Filipino freelance writers . We were brief by the local tour guide , who also happened to be a resident of Tondo .

Ate Remy Cabello

They started to conduct a tour in 2011 and went on a full blast in 2012 . There are some local television station which featured their advocacy tours around the city and they are unlike other tours which are more for the tourist rather than advocacy.

Ate Remy Cabello with our tricycle driver

I am also a travel operator and part time tour guide, We almost share a common interest in one thing ” advocacy ” and in helping the community. From Tayuman LRT line 1 station , We rode a tricycle cab going the Baranggay 105 . I rode at the side of the driver and acted as a translator to the 2 Singaporeans who apparently is a writer and one is a photographer in a local magazine and an online site . According to our tricycle driver , He use to be a pedicab driver plying the route around Tondo, but due to recent ordinance amendments , They were forced to convert their pedicabs ( bicycle with side passenger ) into tricycle.

clean and potable water is a big problem for the community

Social Issues

Unlike other tours within the city, The organizers limit the number of participants to just below 10 per tour. There are certain issues that can serve as an eye- opener  for those willing to join the tour , Poverty is everywhere. Water is a precious commodity ( not everyone had a fixed water line )  Plus the fact that water is more expensive compared to fixed water line in residential villages. According to our guide, It is more expensive to lay-out water piles in the area.

a woman segregating garbage

The group saw some children and women separating garbage. Tin cans, electronic parts, coppers. plastic cups, foam , nails , everything that has value can be turned into cash !

bed foams

Years ago, junk shops would reject bed foams and other foam based materials like sofa , chairs and bed. Now ,  junk shops would also collect discarded bed foams to be recycled into new foams.

Pagpag meals for sale

Pagpag are leftover  foods from fast-food restaurants scavenged from garbage sites and dumps. The word in the Filipino language literally means to “shake off” , ” shake well ” , ” dusted-off ” or  ” table scraps ”  which refers to the act of shaking the dirt off of the edible portion of the leftovers. The act of eating pagpag arose from the practical challenges of hunger that resulted from extreme poverty situation.

a store selling pagpag value meal

Pagpag could be eaten on site, or processed further most commonly by frying it in hot oil depending on the condition of the food. Small cottage industries have arisen around pagpag with impoverished people making a living scavenging, collecting, processing, and selling the processed pagpag .

 a kitten sleeping

sari-sari store

We can see that almost everyone in the baranggay had some sort of income generating sources from waste segregation, earning money from pedicab or tricycle driving ,  sari-sari store , etc.. But their income is just barely enough to make both ends meets .

waste segregation facility

This  was proposed waste segregation facility during the time of former Mayor Alfredo  S. Lim.  When we went there, we saw some people burning plastics which is dangerous to the health of the residents.  Nothing had change in the proposed waste segregation facility except the land is cleared with garbage ,  native nipa huts and  barbed wires  which cordoned off the area to the public.

participants wear face mask

When we went to this area, each of us were given face mask. It is very dusty and smoke produced from the charcoal tents / pits continuously burning for 3 days is one of the health issues and environmental issues.

charcoal tents

wood piles reading for burning

Charcoal making is not easy, It take time from gathering old woods from junk shops, demolished homes, woods drifted from sea or fallen woods . It may take days or even weeks just to collect sufficient woods , then it will take 1 to 2 days to pile them at the burning pits .

children

When the group went to a charcoal pit , we saw some children playing and gathering nails . They all wanted to help their families , they had to get the nails in order to earn additional income.

sacks of charcoal

It may take 2 to 3 days continuous burning just to make charcoal, A care-taker must always be awake during the process any false move can destroy the wood, Then it take a further 2 days for cooling then then a day or so for the workers to collect the charcoal and packing them in sacks for eventual selling them to homes, restaurants, public markets  etc..

Centro Salvador Building

100% of the profits from the Smokey Mountain tour are used to support Saint Martin of Porres programs in Barangay 105, which the people in Smokey Mountain can access.

http://i1312.photobucket.com/albums/t527/ldvchan/childrenfullofhappiness_zps9bc7e34e.jpg

Saint  Martin runs the following programs below in Manila, for which the total number of beneficiaries for 2012 was 4,833 children and 1,717 adults.

participants

Note: The tour proceeds will help a lot of people in the community

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/smokeytours

info@smokeytours.com

+63 2 6221325
+63 917 5785398

 

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Tourism Malaysia : “Tara na sa Malaysia 2014” great tourst destination and holiday packages

SMX Convention Center , Pasay City , Metro Manila -Philippines

Ms. Barbie Almalbis

Tara na sa Malaysia!…and enjoy  literally means ” Come to Malaysia” a great tourism slogan  which is intended to lure more Filipinos to this beautiful country just located a few kilometers from our shores.
Malaysia is known for its multi-racial community which includes ethnic Malays, Chinese, Peranakans ( straits born Chinese or Chinese with mixed racial background ) Indians, Westerners , Indonesians and other ethic groups .

different ethnic groups in Malaysia showcasing their  regional costumes

Tourist destination areas are from  the bustling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur with its iconic high-rise Petronas Twin Towers, the broad spectrum of fascinating attractions like the Batu Caves of Selangor, the striking architectural wonders of Putrajaya like the Putra Mosque, and the magnificent natural attractions of Pahang like the verdant 130 million year old Taman Negara rainforest, UNESCO  Natural Heritage  like Mount Kinabalu and Gunung Mulu National Park  , Heritage Cities like Melaka ( Malacca) and George Town among others.

probosis monkey

The wonders never cease as I am sure you’ll be extremely thrilled of the paradise-like beaches with aquamarine waters and powdery white sands of Terengganu, the dramatic mix of mountains and undisturbed jungles like Mount Gunung Stong and Kuala Koh National Park at Kelantan, the preserved Minangkabau culture of Negeri Sembilan, the old world charm of Porta De Santiago and Stadthuys at Melaka, and the over 100 varieties of tropical fruits and plant species at Desaru Fruit Farm of Johor.

primates of Malaysia stamps issued on December 16, 2003

I am also an avid stamp collector and one of my collection are topical stamp issues from Malaysia

Program:

L-R Ms. Trecey Tojuka ( Deputy Director -Tourism Malaysia – Manila), Mr. Har Man Ahmad ( Trade Counselor , MATRADE , Manila ), His Excellency Dato Mohd Zamri Mohd Kaasim( Malaysian ambassador to the Philippines ) Mr. Mohd Akbal Setia ( acting director Tourism Malaysia- Manila) and Ms. Flora Loh ( Malaysia airlines)

There was a short and warm “welcome ” led by  His Excellency Dato Mohd Zamri Mohd Kaasim ( ambassador of Malaysia  to the Philippines ). Well known celebrity Ms. Barbie Almalis performed together with her band, much to the delight of the crowd that were present during the expo.

His Excellency Dato Mohd Zamri Mohd Kaasim

“There are numerous reasons tourists will find Malaysia an irresistible must-visit holiday destination. Whether it’s rich and colorful multi-cultural heritage, exciting shopping malls, theme parks, fabulous food, great mountains and rivers, lush green parks and gardens, idyllic tropical islands, palm-fringed beaches or million-year-old rainforests – you can find all these attractions here in Malaysia.”

promotional items like rulers, notebooks, postcards, ballpens

There were a lot of FREEBIES given to the visitors of the booth . One of the most interesting items are the postcards which showed different beautiful Malaysian tourist destination spots.

L-R Miss Joyce Pring ( program host) , Ms. Flora Loh ( Malaysia airline area manager for the Philippines) and Mr. Albert Legaspi (Managing Director of Village People)

L-R Mr. Mohd Akbal Setia and  Mr. Adrian Benipayo

Website: http://www.thefeedph.com/

As part of the massive tourism campaign , 3 round trip tickets were raffled-off to the participants of the expo. I was very lucky to be called the last winner ! The ambassador told me that he was my lucky charm. !

cultural presentation

Kuala Lumpur skyline at night ( photo : courtesy of Tourism Malaysia )

Malacca- Heritage City ( Photo: Courtesy of Tourism Malaysia)

Purtajaya Mosque ( Photo: Courtesy of Tourism Malaysia)

Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, PAL Express, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia Zest flies direct from Manila – Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu. For flight schedules, please refer to the links below: www.malaysiaairlines.com, www.philippineairlines.com, www.palexpress.com, www.cebupacificair.com and www.airasiazest.com.

Website Links:

Visit Malaysia 2014: http://www.vmy2014.com/

Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, PAL Express, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia Zest flies direct from Manila – Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu.

For flight schedules, please refer to the links below:

– See more at: http://www.rochellerivera.com/2014/02/tara-na-sa-malaysia.html#sthash.zc2a4kOb.dpuf

Tourism Malaysia: http://www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/taranasamalaysia

POS Malaysia: http://www.pos.com.my/pos/homepage.aspx

Ocean View Restaurant and Cottage

Ocean View Restaurant – Barangay Lagyo , Gumaca – Quezon province , Philippines

Ocean View Restaurant  and Viewing area

It was last year 2012 , when Mr. Allan Martinez – a postal heritage walking tour participant and a friend,  schedule us for a tour in his hometown.  He told us that we are going to stay at a beach front inn .

I always wanted to go back to Quezon province, The people there are very warm and hospitable – and I wanted to document the town festival , culture, natural products , foods , flora , fauna.   Meeting new friends and acquaintances. Without battling an eyelash – I told him to organize a trip!

viewing area which separates the living quarters to the restaurant

The group arrived around past 1:00pm and we quickly unpack our baggage .  Due to the humidity , heat and long travel – almost everyone took a quick respite and ate the lunch buffet .

lunch buffet meal

Our lunch buffet meal consists of two cups rice servings per plate, beef steak ( Tagalog style) , Kare-kare ( Ocean View style)

grilled pork chop

grilled pork chop – with home made sauce which consists of calamansi , chili pepper, vinegar , soy sauce with ice cold soft-drinks ! The group just paid Php 410.00 – Lunch

a cozy bedroom