December 2007


A self-portrait: I'm off to the 7.5km artificial landmass that's the result of 16 years of dumping. The causeway is made up of toxic mine tailings (a mix that includes dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, and mercury). The causeway used to be 9kms long, the tide has been slowly eroding it into the ocean. Of course this has resulted in the death of the corals and most life in this bay. What's left are caught and eaten by fishers and their families, resulting in health problems (the father and son behind me included).

I spent my Xmas on the island of Marinduque. This is where a Canadian mining company had two “accidental” spills of toxic mine tailings into two different rivers, and purposefully dumped 200 metric tonnes of the stuff right into the bay at surface level.

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This is Bas Ismael, he was convicted on the 7th of being one of the kidnappers of two Americans and eighteen Filipinos at the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan in 2001.

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“Show me the proof” said the Australian Ambassador to me.

He tells me this after a big talk about how amazing Australia is with it’s generous aid packages to the Phils. Apparently it provides the most livelihood aid to this country. He tells me this after I ask him what his government is planning to do about the disaster in Rapu-Rapu.

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An onlooker watches the wackiness taking place at the baragay hall.

An onlooker watches the wackiness taking place at the baragay hall.

Barangay madness. [*a “barangay” is the smallest form of municipal demarcation]

Former Chairman Jimmy DeGuzman in Blumentritt, Manila refuses to surrender the key to the barangay hall to new Chair Len-Len for weeks after the election. (more…)