There’ll Be Change When There’s Change

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No Change? Yesterday I asked Sid to print ten copies of a flyer at the local ‘Xerox’ copy/print shop. He took a ₱1000 note with him. The total cost of the 10 copies was ₱150 and the shop couldn’t provide change. Last week I walked up to the local ‘sari sari’ (variety) store and wanted to purchase two cans of Coke Zero. I…

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Fire Leaves Two Families Homeless

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It was just after 2PM when people started to notice the smoke over the rooftops. There were no sirens audible yet, but clearly a house was on fire — and around here, that means there’s a good chance the neighbours will lose their place too. In true citizen-journalist style, I grabbed my camera and headed down the street wearing only ‘slippers’ and shorts. I only…

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Is Poverty a State of Mind?

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Are Australians living in poverty just as much as Filipinos? Is it not about how much money you have? During my visit to Davao City last week, I had the opportunity for several great chats with my good friend Glen Biggs, from Global Impact. One of our evening discussions involved late night coffee at an excellent, relatively new, coffee establishment just down the…

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3 different lives in Philippines — Part 3 — the unnamed poor

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When I started writing this mini-series of posts profiling different Filipinos I had a few different specific people in mind for the Part 3 feature. But in just 2 weeks I’ve encountered so many people in such a variety of circumstances, that I couldn’t decide upon just one person for this 3rd profile. In fact, I’d also encountered so many people who’s story…

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3 different lives in Philippines — Part 2 — Joy

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By the time I arrive at Dencio’s in the Trinoma mall, Joy has already started drinking cocktails. She’s seated squarely in the centre of the long bench seat behind a table large enough to seat six, and the waiters are attentively at hand any time she requires another drink. Joy has recently graduated from Law and is staying with family in Manila during…

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3 different lives in Philippines — Part 1 — Fred

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Fred owns a two storey house in Bulacan, about 40km north of Manila. Meandering through the quiet local streets to his home, the bustling traffic of EDSA and Cubao are forgotten, and the pace of life slows down alot. Fred’s pace of life mirrors his surroundings. Getting up in the morning, he shuffles around his home, gets his live-in girlfriend to make him…

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20 hours until I depart for Philippines… and typhoon on it’s way

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With only a few more hours in my office, and my bags almost packed for departure tomorrow to Philippines, I’m really looking forward to arriving in Manila on Thursday. During my trip I’ll be visiting some of my friends at various not-for-profit organisations, interviewing (through informal conversations) low-income slum dwellers, photographing some of the <$1/day Filipinos, and meeting with potential marketing partners in…

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Political killings in Philippines a tragic symptom of the nation’s problems

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In 2006 I was visiting the Philippines during the pre-election campaigning period, and was dumb-founded to read of scores of politically-motivated killings. Political candidates and their aides, advisors, assistants were being picked off in ones and twos all around the nation. I quickly learned that, sadly, this was par for the political course in the Philippines. Coming from Australia, where a political candidate…

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Why experiences are key for non-profit organisations

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For many years, fundraising (and, for that matter, commercial marketing) has operated on the basis that a simple transaction occurs when money changes hands, and the recipient of the money delivers a product or service in return. That ‘service’ may be the delivery of humanitarian services in poverty-stricken countries, as readily as it may be a material product. But the transaction wasn’t seen…

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Heart land.

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There’s times when I just want to leave the self-centred, politically correct, emotionally sterile and heartless Western ‘civilisation’ of Australia where inward-looking churches, bureaucratic Government agencies, and morally bankrupt society appear to be doing their utmost to quell any sense of love, emotion, commitment, or community. My personal preferred destination would be Philippines, though I’m sure almost any impoverished country would do. It’s…

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