Mein Neues Leben in Deutschland

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Life on the Tracks

When I got home last night, I started channel surfing. I ran across an Deutsch special program about...The Philippines! I wanted to call my local friends and tell them to watch it. But while watching it I wasn't sure I wanted anybody to see it.

It was a documentary on the life of people living in makeshift houses beside the train tracks. The people at "Home Along Da Riles" had it easy.

I felt sad as I was reminded of how bad things were back home. I was tempted to say (In case somebody here say the episode) that the Philippines was not all like that. That we also lived in modern cities, we had cars, large houses, malls, tall buildings, etc...But then I realized, all these luxuries and comforts were in fact that which was NOT normal. Only a small percentage of the people lives in these modern cities with flat screen tv's and elegant restaurant dinners and had wild American-style parties.

It depressed me that what I saw on TV might actually be the "real" Philippines. The poverty, malnutrition, cramped living spaces and overpopulation. A stark differnce from what I'm have experienced, even further from the life I'm living now.

Today I found out about a movie called Riles (Life on the Tracks), (screencaps shown above) directed by Ditsi Carolino. This movie seems to have had a wordwide audience since it was produced on 2002. It was shown in the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York and has won best docu-film in Cinemanila International Film Festival both in 2003.

A summary of this movie and a comentary can be found here (, or here (Inquirer Editorial)


  • hey, i saw this commentary too here in France (it was on TV5). After it aired a lot of my friends called me, asking if (life) was really as hard as it showed in the documentary. I said that yes, it is, especially for these people. Very sad, but true.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:50 AM  

  • Nakabasa ako ng isang write-up tungkol diyan sa Inquirer. Ang tagal ko nang naghahanap ng video n'yan. Tapos, ikaw pa, while in another country, ang makakanood?! Nasaan ang hustisya!? :)

    - Andoy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:32 AM  

  • Andoy! Hahaha! Welcome!

    It seems that the feature was shown in Europe. Kala saw it in France and my friend Mike in L├╝beck, Germany also saw it last year or so. Hehehe. Nice of you to drop by andoy!

    By Blogger Ernest, at 1:22 PM  

  • like you, i feel like i've spent my first 17 years too sheltered and oblivious to the "real reality" of the standard of living in the philippines. ang dami kong gustong baguhin para makatulong pero parang ang hirap. i miss it but sometimes i wonder how much of it i've really known...
    oh well. -jo anne

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 AM  

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