Still Alive, through a photographic path reporting a social degradation, retraces the everyday hard life of Payatas and Tondo inhabitants, two districts belonging to the metropolitan area of Manila, Philippines.
The districts are made of slams (shantytowns) and a giant landfill, which gives work to the approximately 80,000 people living there, and has been a symbol of poverty for decades. Both are among the poorest, degraded and dirtiest areas on the planet, with very high death and crime rates. In Manila, 50% of the 12 million inhabitants live in slums.
A bewildering and desperate urban poverty. One night, in a bar, I met a boy who had grown up in Payatas and still had some friends and family there. I explained him that I was aware of the situation his people were living and that I wished I could see all of that with my own eyes, take pictures, so that I could then talk about it, make its reality known also in my country.
Marcos, this is his name, agreed to guide and escort me through the dirty and smelly streets of the slums, through tunnels of garbage and mud. In during the days I spent with him, not infrequently I had to give money to some inhabitants, even if little, to walk along “their” streets, or to be escorted by a friend of Marcos in even less safe areas to make sure we would avoid problems while I was taking pictures. What appeared before in front of my eyes was a desperate situation and the inhabitants, who are for the State just “ghosts”, live literally submerged by garbage, looking for a normal existence among it. Diseases are rampant, crime is very high, the air is often unbreathable and deaths occur daily. They are marginalized, labeled as criminals, and attacked by a government from which they ask nothing but recognition.
Children grow up, play, eat and live in an extremely harmful and dangerous area, and even with a few schools built, the situation has not changed for years now. Especially with the election of Duterte, they are increasingly in danger, left alone in the grip of human madness. Forgotten. Invisible, but Still Alive.
About Fabrizio Guida
Fabrizio Guida, born in Bari, Italy, 1987, is a freelance photographer and writer. Graduated from the Faculty of Communication Sciences, in 2014 he moved to Milan to attend the Master of Marketing, Communication and Film Criticism. During the Milanese years he worked for Sky Italia and The Complainers.These are the years when he approached photography professionally, photographic experimentation and his great passion for analogue photography. In 2017 he moves to New Zealand for a year. Here he produced a travel reportage on the road and a second reportage about work in the orchards.Between 2018 and 2019 he travels to some Pacific islands and explores Southeast Asia for 3 months.
In the Philippines he made two reports, the first on his experience of volunteering in a village in the jungle and the second about the terrible living conditions that the inhabitants of Manila’s slums are forced to endure every day, all their life.. He then moved to Australia where he lived for the whole year 2019 and then returned to Italy.