The Slum

Storm Rising: Manila’s slum dwellers under threat

Lives are lost and homes and businesses destroyed when a tropical storm hits the Philippines.

Sandwiched between a polluted harbour and a busy highway is the charcoal-making community of Ulingan, in Manila – with a population of 40,000.

Husband and wife team Judy and Babes Barines have operated a charcoal pit there for the last nine years. They invested all their savings in charcoal-making but have to make some difficult decisions when their investment is wiped out by a tropical storm that hits the south of the country.

“Bagyo” is the Filipino word for typhoon, and the Philippines gets its fair share of these deadly storms which can destroy the lives of slum dwellers.

A few kilometres east of the Barines’ charcoal pits, corn seller and mother of nine, Bebe, is starting work. But she has not managed to escape the storm either. She has to repair her makeshift home under a bridge and work out how to make a living as her supply of corn dries up.

Meanwhile, Pilipinas Got Talent superstar, Frankendal, is also feeling the effects of the the typhoon. He has not heard from his mother and grandmother since the storm, so he heads to the region to look for them. As a former slum dweller he knows just how precarious life can be.

This six-part series follows residents of Manila’s Tondo slums as they live, love, survive and aspire in some of the world’s toughest living conditions.