Transposing emblem by Kristin Uusitalo

The Philippines is an exquisite place, filled with natural wonders and beautiful cities. It is considered to be a one of the leading tourist destinations. When people travel, they see the positives, but what of the negatives? What lies beneath the beauty of the country? The Philippines have seven thousand one hundred and seven islands with over one hundred and forty distinct languages. When you move from one area to another, people will look, sound and act differently. However, the islands and cultures are not what divide the country. The main division is due to wealth and the power it affords.

Boracay, Philippines – Hang out – richardernestya

I did not have the best childhood. I was not part of the wealthy groups. This allowed me to see things in a different light. My mom and I rented a home all our life, allowing me to experience people from all walks of life. Growing up in an area with people of limited financial means, I shared the same lot as my neighbors. I love those people, my friends. When I asked them about their dreams, it was not about going to college. Their dreams were to leave the country and make a better life for themselves. People, who don’t know the struggle say, get a job and work for college. I do not see how that is possible when the rent itself is the same amount as your minimum wage paycheck. I have met extremely intelligent people who would put graduates to shame, but could not afford to go to college. No school loans, no welfare; it’s just passion and ambition. A burning desire for success, but when push comes to shove, that friction turns to fire.

Manila, Philippines – Shopping in the slums – Yulia Bogomolova

There are no social classes such as lower middle class and upper middle class. There are only the rich and the poor. The rich get richer and the poor stay that way. The most viable options for generating income are dominated by the wealthy and fueled by the blood, sweat and tears of the needy. When you see beautiful houses, when you stroll through the city and suburbs, you do not see the dirty and infested areas on the outskirts where crime thrives. Most people have no driver’s licenses because most people have never driven a car. A country where most will never be able to afford a plane ticket and the budget is most likely only going to cover one month. Parents see their children grow up without anything. Some parents accept their children will be like them, while others take the initiative to strive for their children’s future, whether it is legal or in some cases even illegal. It is a place where the minorities are the majority.

Boracay, Philippines – On the street – richardernestyap

I grew up in a place where drugs and guns were just a thirty minute walk away from where I lived. Drunk people in the middle of the street was normal, and alcohol the only pastime that people had. No crazy vacations, no hiking and other activities. Alcohol, drugs and work – these seem to be the usual suspects, day in and day out. I learned not to judge people based on the choices they made because I did not know about the choices they had. People who got caught with drugs were shot or thrown into a hole. The rich got their drugs delivered, and if you were caught, it was necessary to issue a public apology and you got a slap on the wrist. A poor man caught with a murderer gets a life time in jail while the rich walk free after four years and probation. As they say, there’s no justice, it’s just us.

The wealthy buy all the available land and sell it for a profit. The people who have lived there all their lives are being priced out of their homes.

Manila, Philippines – Slums – Yulia Bogomolova

The rich run everything political which makes them all obscenely richer. School kids run around town looking for trouble, and adults prowl the nights for their extracurricular criminal activities. I have been a victim of these predators. I was angry when it happened, but over time I understood that they have done that for survival. I understood that nobody ever wants to risk their life by engaging in crime, but what other choices are there? People say that money is the root of all evil. They are wrong. Lack of money is the root of all evil. Money has been used for good since the beginning of it all. Ways to make that money? That’s a different story all together.

To put things in perspective, the minimum wage ranges from USD 140 to 220 a month. Does that sound good? Okay, now make that last for 30 days. Imagine that you have a family. In some ways, the conditions are a good; other countries have it worse. Nonetheless, it pains me to see a father working hard only to grow old without anything to show for it.

Antipolo City, Philippines – The street vendor – junpinzon

In terms of employment, most people do not enjoy any benefits. The big companies make contracts extremely short to avoid providing any benefits you can gain with long-term employment. People accept this because there are no other choices. It is a survival tactic that is used to ride out short-term problems. They will never have any health care benefits, any type of pension plan or any type of workers’ compensation if hurt.

Imagine a young teenager whose dream for the future is to leave their home, to help their family. A young child, who wants to journey into the abyss to see if there is any light to be found. To risk everything they have, just to have the chance to see a different future. Everyone knows it, young or old. There are slim chances of success in our country. Statistics say that there are four million Filipinos in America alone. What does that tell you? Well, I know what it tells me.

Antipolo City, Philippines – At work – junpinzon

I love the country, despite its poverty-stricken streets; most of the people are genuine. There is a lot of crime and cruelty, but the people are why I will choose to grow old there. I am one of the people that went abroad, everything’s going well. It took me about 5 years to scrounge up a respectable amount to leave the country for work. I still have plans to go back but not anytime soon. I have a lot of regrets in my past, one of them was not going abroad younger, but the future is brighter than it has ever been for me. There a lot of good wealthy people but it is difficult to build up, and easy to destroy. The people making a difference are the rich. Their influence makes it easier for them, whether that be for good or otherwise, although money is power, and power corrupts. I believe the pieces are there, but there are few people who want to put them together. United we can put the puzzle together and strive for a better future.

Kristin Uusitalo


Snapshot 1: Manila, Philippines – Drops – Eugenio Pastoral (Unsplash)

Snapshot 2: Boracay, Philippines – Hang out – richardernestyap (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 3: Manila, Philippines – Shopping in the slums – Yulia Bogomolova (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Boracay, Philippines – On the street – richardernestyap (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Manila, Philippines – Slums – Yulia Bogomolova (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 6: Antipolo City, Philippines – The street vendor – junpinzon (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 7: Antipolo City, Philippines – At work – junpinzon (Shutterstock)

Cinemblem voiceover: Esmonde Cole




Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

Ahmed, Amina. Growing up with Abuse: A Life of Extremes – Lebanon. April 2019.

Alencar, Joana. Lack of Social Trust – Brazil. January 2019.

Antonyan, Hayk. Polarization Does Not Equal Extreme – Armenia. September 2019.

Awdejuk, Pawel. Pole-arization – Poland. June 2019.

Awuah, Kwasi Amankwah. The Family: Bringing Us Together, Tearing Us Apart – Ghana. November 2019.

Baccino, Alejandra. Polarization within Ourselves – South America. January 2019.

Bondarenko, Evgeny. What You Sow Does Not Come To Life Unless It Dies – Ukraine. May 2019.

Butt, Kashif. Shrinking Space for Dialog – Pakistan. October 2019.

Cannarella, Daniela. A Past-Present Dicotomia – Italy. June 2019.

Casas, Marilin Guerrero Casas. Balance – Cuba. May 2019.

Cordido, Veronica. Hanging by Extremes – Venezuela. January 2019.

Dastan, S.A. Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – Turkey. August 2019.

Deiana, Sarah. The Unbearable Weight of Being a Woman – Italy. September 2019.

Escandell, Andrea da Silva. The Illogic of Extremes – Uruguay. May 2019.

Escobar, Christian. Between the Sky and the Earth: Looking for Love – Columbia. October 2019.

Gomez, Javier. The Canyon Inside Us – Argentina. July 2019.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Extremism Is Now the New Hype? – Spain. February 2019.

Husseini, Maha. Bilingual Par Excellence – Canada. August 2019.

Israyelyan, Mania. Polarized Within Ourselves – Armenia. June 2019.

Julber, Lillian. Difficult to Understand – Uruguay. July 2019.

Kanunova, Nigina. Role of Polarization in the Life of an Individual and Society – Tajikistan. July 2019.

López, Virginia Sanmartín. Why Live on an Edge? – Spain. August 2019.

Milivojevic, Stevan. Polarizing LGBTIQ Life – Croatia. November 2019.

Montano, Osvaldo. Progress in the Face of Polarization – Bolivia. February 2019.

Mwangi, Kenn. Religious Extremity and Exploitation – Kenya. October 2019.

Pavicevic, Nikolina. The Law of Silence – Montenegro. September 2019.

Protić, Aleksandar. Linguistic Balkanization as a Means of Polarization – The Balkans. June 2019.

Ranaldo, Mary. Social Polarization – Italy. April 2019.

Ray, Sanjay Kumar. At the Crossroads – India. August 2019.

Romano, Mavi. Censorship and Cultural Survival in a World without Gods – Spain. January 2019.

Çakir, Peren. Needing a Sustainable Future in the Midst of Political Polarization – Argentina and Turkey. September 2019.

Sariñana, Alejandra Gonzalez. Student Movements – Mexico. March 2019.

Sekulić, Jelena. The Polarizacija of Serbian Culture – Serbia. June 2019.

Sem, Sebastião. Brandos Costumes – Portugal. July 2019.

Sepi, Andreea. A World of Victims and Perpetrators? – Germany and Romania. February 2019.

Sevunts, Nane. The Era To Close – Armenia. March 2019.

Stotts, Talia. A Polarization of Family Values – America. November 2019.

Tammpuu, Mari. Thoughts of Two Generations – Polar Opposites? – Estonia. November 2019.

[De Los] Santos, Aura. Social Polarization – Dominican Republic. November 2019.

Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity – The Balkans. April 2019.

Sitorus, Rina. Polarization in Politics: All a Cebong or Kampret – Indonesia. March 2019.

Spirito, Julieta. A Thought about Polarized Insecurity – Argentina. April 2019.

Valenzuela, Monica. Adults and Children – Peru. April 2019.

Vuka. Extreme Immunity to Functional Tax and Judicial System – Serbia. March 2019

Wallis, Toni. Walls and Resettlement – South Africa and Angola. February 2019.

Williams, Jazz Carl. Unfinished Episodes – Spain. May 2019.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. Feminism – Russia. August 2019.


CW 50 – Italy – Martha Corzo
CW 51 – Hungary – Zoltan Monar
CW 52 – Syria/UAE/Egypt – Ahmed Ibrahim
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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