We are a group of three writers that set up The Masaya Project to assist children in need in the Philippines. The Hidden Philippines serves as a window to this world.
We don’t work through large charities but focus instead on small community based projects that struggle to access funding for the work they do within their communities. Find out more about the Philippines below.
Poverty exists in God’s garden. The Philippines is a veritable Eden, a country comprising nearly 7000 lush tropical islands with stunning beaches and diverse landscapes and should be the gem in Asia’s belt. For a variety of reasons, fortune has not however smiled kindly on her.
With a growing population of over a hundred million people (official figures) the Philippines missed out on its rightful place at the banquet table of the Asian tigers. As Singapore, Thailand and its other neighbours grew and prospered, the Philippines was left behind.
A recent change on government, political stability and a relentless war on drugs have all contributed to a turn around and hope looms large on the horizon. Manila has benefited most and the opulence visible in some areas borders on the obscene.
That wealth is however monopilised by an elite sector of the population and the majority of Filipinos still live from hand to mouth. It is in some ways typical of many poor Asian countries with Cebu a perfect example of wealth co-existing alongside abject poverty. Move further down south and the wealth all but evaporates.
The Filipino people comprise a genetiç mix of Filipino, Spanish, American and Chinese blood lines lending them a more Hispanic look than the typical Asian. They are a family based culture with very strong social ties and structures. Mostly Catholic thanks to a huge conversion drive by missionaries during the Spanish occupation, they place family above all else.
You will need to travel a great distance to meet a friendlier race of people. They are loving, caring and filled with the joys of life, despite their meager existances. What little they have is freely shared and they will often care for the aged and homeless within the confines of their own communities. A huge happy and sometimes dysfunctional family unit that works, despite the challenges they face.
In some areas, particularly those prone to tropical storm damage, the communities are unable to cope unaided with the large number of homeless and orphaned or abandoned children. Community based projects are started by enterprising members of the community or returning expats wanting to assist their fellow Filipinos.
Their work is often thankless, the hours long, conditions arduous and sometimes life threatening and yet these individuals persist in doing good and improving the lives of others.
The Hidden Philippines was created to draw attention to these unsung heroes and where possible to aid them in raising foreign assistance and donations to further their projects.
We hope some of the stories you read will move you in the same way they touched us. At the end of each article we feature a link for donations to the particular group or project. Should you be moved to make a contribution, no matter how small, please only make payments to these nominated accounts and do drop us a message to let us know. We will add you to a mailing list and send you updates on the projects progress.
We have also recently launched a short story challenge to allow fellow writers a chance to contribute with their talents, win a pitance and assist the projects in their own unique way. Find out more by clicking here.
With love and gratitude from
The Masaya Project