Payatas Dumpsite

February 26, 2005

Payatas photo #1

Payatas Dumpsite (now officially & benignly re-named "Quezon City Controlled Disposal Facility") came to the attention of the world in July 2000, when, following typhoon-spurred rains, a mountain of garbage collapsed on hundreds of scavenger shanties. In the wake of the accident, 219 bodies were recovered, and no one knows how many more remain entombed in garbage. Most of the victims were children, at home on a day declared a holiday because of the typhoon.
I had my long-awaited chance to visit during a two-day layover in Manila. I rode jeeps out to Quezon City, and then started asking around for "Payatas." Everybody seemed to know the place.

Payatas photo #2

I tried to just walk right in through the main gate, but there was a guard who stopped me: "Sorry sir, entry not allowed."
And unfortunately he wasn't bribe-able.

Payatas photo #3

So I had to walk the perimeter road which follows along the outside of the dumpsite, looking for a way inside beyond the view of “da guards.”

Payatas photo #4
Payatas photo #5
Payatas photo #6
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Payatas photo #9
Payatas photo #10
Payatas photo #11
Payatas photo #12

Anybody for a swim?

Payatas photo #13

It's a great place to raise children.... NOT!

Payatas photo #14
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Payatas photo #17

One thing you can say for Filipinos:
no matter the living conditions, they love to smile.