What can you see here? Sometimes the signs of economic contrast and inequality in Metro Manila are all too apparent. In the background, Rockwell is one of many new developments that have flourished around the metropolis, signalling the Philippines’ entry into the global economy as an emerging market and the rising middle class that comes with them. Walk the streets of the neighbourhood and you may run into young students, professionals and expatriates.
Yet that is barely one kilometre from what you see in front. Barely one kilometre, yet so far removed from the progress of some Filipinos, children play in he narrow laneways of Guadalupe as their parents vend anything from flowers to ornaments – clearly influenced by their proximity to a Catholic religious shrine and funeral home, where people either pay respect to their God or to their deceased loved ones whom hey hope are now with Him. You could stick around in an internationalised touristy area with the new upper-middle class – or dare to walk five minutes further, perhaps save a lot of money on your lunch by eating the street food and find out what life is like on the other side.