Necessity impels ingenuity. This aphorism bodes well to poor Filipinos. They are marginalized, and they are always grip with necessities. Of course, it is imperative for them to be ingenious converting situations for sustenance. Otherwise, they’ll die with their eyes open.
Squatters who had built their shanties near the railroad track, or on waterways, or on embankments, or under the bridge are common sights; but those who built their shanties on top of tombs living among the dead – that’s ingenious, but weird. How some squatter could have invented that? There are families who own mausoleums in the cemetery. These mausoleums, if the owners wish them to be taken cared of; they hired squatters, as tenders. These care takers could save more if they stay close to their job. And they can put up their shanties on top of those tombs. That became a lure for other squatter to trickle in. Soon enough, a community of people living in the cemetery sprung up.
Another ingenious way of Filipinos to earn a quick buck is the putting up of neighborhood casino exploiting Filipino funeral wake procedure. Some enterprising individual would rent or buy unclaimed cadaver from hospitals and use it for posing as their dead relative due for a wake. It is during the wake that the neighborhood casino would operate. The neighborhood casino can be seen as legit, as gambling during wakes is a traditional common practice. And these wakes stretch to the max.
The disastrous flood brought by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, pushes some Filipinos to make an improvised water transports, and use them as like taxi or tricycle. Those squatters living near the railroad tracks, they devised push car that runs on those tracks.
Takatak boys, those ambulant vendors selling cigarettes by the sticks, weaving in and out of the traffic; jeepney barkers, people calling out passengers to fill up the jeepney’s seat, and all sort of vendors, eking out a living in the street – these are ingenious people whose ingenuity focused on and revolved around to just “live by the day” concept.
Their ingenuity seems wasted, as it only serve instinct of lower animal. Their ingenuity doesn’t create culture of exalted humanity. Their ingenuity doesn’t feed the soul – for lack of time; as they are consumed by worries whether they will earn enough for the day. Would their shanties be inundated again by flood, or would they be demolished? Or would there be tug war again tomorrow against the government people implementing traffic and zoning regulations?
Million of Filipinos are on these bind whose ingenuity couldn’t take a leap beyond subsistence. Yet, million more babies coming from them added every year to their tribe. Who’s to blame? The squatters themselves? The Catholic Church hierarchy? The government? The politicians? The Bureaucrats/ technocrats? Each of them plays a part!