Linus Guardian Escandor II is an Independent Photojournalist and Documentary Photographer currently living in Manila, Philippines. He focuses on themes of environment, health, social and human rights issues.

Behind pomp of APEC summit, crushing poverty endures


(Jim Gomez/Associated Press) Just a few miles from the gleaming venue hosting President Barack Obama and other world leaders sits Manila’s slum of slums on a mountain of trash, a potent reminder to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation bloc that the globalization agenda it promotes has left many behind. “What’s Apec?” asked Winifredo Sumaya, a 60-year-old jobless man standing outside a squalid shack atop “Smokey Mountain” in the Philippine capital’s Tondo slum district. The shanty village lies on a massive garbage pile which once billowed smoke, hence its name, until the dump was shut down by the government in the 1990s as it tried to remove an eyesore that symbolized its failure to ease wrenching poverty. With the closure, hundreds of garbage-scavenging families left in search of a livelihood elsewhere, but others such as the Sumaya family came and went as they drifted in a life of poverty and uncertainty.