Recently I had the opportunity to re-visit my former neighbourhood Sengkang, after around 4 years of not being there, so I photographed it. My eyes were feasting with the changes that are presently taking place. Somehow I missed the vacant lots across the road from my former block, it gives the feeling of openness. Few blocks I have seen for the first time, and hundreds of new blocks rising up from what used to be greens where you fly the kites.
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This is Ulingan, or the charcoal factory located in Tondo, Manila, Philippines. Beside this is the world-famous smokey mountain. A small area where several hundreds families live together in small shanties, and the bigger area occupied by charcoal-making mounds. Charcoal is basically every family's whole world. They earn from it, live with it, breathe in its smoke, and play with its dust. Yes, there are children, lots of them are very young. Smoke from making the charcoal never stops, 24/7/365. There are even spots where you can't see what's coming 5 meters away from you because of its thickness. Being aware of the danger, some says they have adjusted to the kind of air they have and become immune to it, but there is also the fact that they treasure every cent they earn from this business, that food is the main priority for every release of that hard-earned money, and medicine comes if not next, the last.
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