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Growing up in one of Philippines poorest City – Cebu

Is Cebu really one of Philippines poorest City? Having grown up in the Philippines and seeing poverty at it's worse, I can honestly say that the province of Cebu definately ranks on the top. With it being one of the most populous in province in the country and especially the loss of jobs during COVID, it holds one of the highest number of people living below the official poverty line. But there are also other provinces that suffer. Let's explore the facts below.

We all know that the Philippines is known for having its rich in biodiversity as its main tourist attraction like the beaches, heritage towns and monuments, mountains, rainforests, islands and diving spots are the number one country’s most popular tourist destinations. The Philippines is also known in historical and cultural heritage, including its festivals and indigenous traditions.

According to the study of the World Bank and UNICEF almost 385 million children living in extreme poverty in the World. Although there is still poverty arises from different parts of the Philippines namely from Manila, Davao, and other large and medium-sized cities.

Slums are generically describes as a dense urban settlement, usually characterised as being overcrowded and holding compact homes and unofficially recognised by the local government. This is the majority of where unhealthy poverty is situated. In Philippines we call the people who live in such slums "squatters". These people are normally subjected to relocation or forced demolition.

Metro Manila also has a condensed population of slum dwellers. A 2014 article states that Manila has an estimated 4 million people living in slums, out of a total population of 21.3 million. Wow! That is indeed intense!

While a large number of slum residents would be considered poor according to the international poverty line of $1.25/day, not all who live in slums fall into this category. A measurement in 2010 states that around 50% of slum residents earn wages of $2-$4 USD a day, landing above the federal poverty line. One reason for this is that while some residents are employed in formal wage labor outside of the slums, there is no alternative housing options for them within a reasonable distance of their employment, thus forcing them to live in the highly-impacted urban slums.

A 2013 article observes poverty in other provinces in the Philippines. There are 16 provinces that have 40% of their population living below the poverty threshold. The government has given efforts to improve lives of the Filipinos not only in the city but also in the country side. in 2012 there were 15 provinces and 1 city that have over 40% of their population living below the poverty threshold of which most of them are located in Mindanao and even more in Luzon. The 15 poorest stated in the article is:

  • Lanao del Sur - 68.9%

  • Apayao - 59.8%

  • Eastern Samar - 59.4%

  • Maguindanao - 57.8%

  • Zamboanga del Norte - 50.3%

  • Davao Oriental - 48%

  • Ifugao - 47.5%

  • Sarangani - 46.5%

  • Negros Oriental - 45.3%

  • Masbate - 44.2%

  • North Cotabato - 43.9%

  • Northern Samar - 43.7%

  • Bukidnon - 43.3%

  • Lanao del Norte - 42.5%

  • Sultan Kudarat - 41.6%

Also, interesting the know, the least poor provinces in the first semester were:

  • 2nd district of NCR (Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, Quezon City, San Juan) - 3.1%

  • 4th (Las Pinas, Makati, Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Pasay City, Pateros, Taguig) and 1st (City of Manila) districts of NCR - 3.8%

  • Cavite - 4.1%

  • Benguet - 4.3%

  • 3rd district of NCR (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) - 4.9%

  • Laguna - 6.3%

  • Pampanga - 6.4%

  • Bulacan - 6.7%

  • Bataan - 7.3%

  • Rizal - 7.6%

  • Ilocos Norte - 11%

We cannot help everyone but we can start somewhere. Since I was born in Cebu and do some charity projects in the north of cebu, let's explore Cebu further.

Despite its progressive tourism Poverty in Cebu still rises. According to the NSCB poverty statistics they didn’t allow Cebu’s claim of prosperity because it does not show the improvement of its people’s living conditions because there are still few families and a number of foreign investors funnel billions of pesos into its banks, the rich are getting richer and the magnitude of household poverty is getting worse and making Cebu as the top in the whole Philippines in poverty frequency. More and more number of households are consistently rising and worsening situation. Cebu was supposedly the land of opportunity for people to make a better living, but what’s happening was the reverse side because 40 percent of the population is fighting for poverty. And Cebu suffers from a reduced land area for agricultural development even the land of Cebu is really large but it has no more room for agriculture.

In order to help cut the poverty problem in the Philippines, we need a helping hand to support this endeavour. We need to educate ourselves to figure out how we can spend our time and energy helping the impoverished gain the skills and the power they need to help themselves. Volunteer or join different groups that you can work with for children, elderly, mentally ill, and the homeless, women. If each one of us will help an individual it will make a big change for the better like give them some money, even a few dollars can help (but make sure they are really going to buy food). But if you are not sure or at ease giving money to street children or family but you want to help; there are now many charity organisations in the Philippines and around the world that are helping countries with high poverty rates like the Philippines.

Style Tourista aims to do charity work with children and women in Borbon, Cebu and focuses on education. Style Tourista helps children who are living below the poverty line by supporting them to go to school and to be good at school, providing activities to expand the mind, encouraging a happy lifestyle. Shop our Products here to see our livelihood program on helping mothers and their children.

Style Tourista herself has designed a special collection edition to help children in need, meaning for every bracelet bought, CHF/USD 10.00 goes directly to the children's charity in Cebu, Philippines. Each bracelet color supports a specific cause: Black for Education, Violet for Creativity, Brown for Tree Planting, Blue for Water, Orange for Fresh Fruits and Yellow for Clothing and Slippers.

Our vision is to contribute to basic education as it is a human right and the foundation of every striving community. It is my vision that all the children in the Philippines have the chance to be educated. Not only to be educated academically but also to develop personally and to learn how to share and sustain happiness. The goal is to give back hope to children who have fewer opportunities to develop as independent, intelligent and healthy individuals.  It is in Style Tourista’s duty and passion to help children and families in communities in need.

If you plan to donate directly to Style Tourista, 100% of your donation goes to our Foundation Projects in the Philippines.

With ♥,

Style Tourista

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