world without end

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Bayan ng Bigo

Officialy, the community is called Bagong Pag-Asa, the New Hope. A resettlement area dominated by three low-cost apartment buildings that rise above the shanty-town that covers almost every square inch of ground. This is where the dregs of the city come together: murderers, thieves, whores, runaways. Here they make lives for themselves, falling in love and raising families while they eke out a living by whatever means possible. Everything here is for sale or for rent or for the taking; nothing is beyond the commerce of man. Even children know this, and their eyes tell you so. Hard, flinty, measuring - always measuring, trying to figure out what your relationship could be: would he be your victim? or you, his? For children raised in Bagong Pag-Asa, every possible kind of relationship could be boiled down to those two choices.

The cops don't come here, anymore, not since they lost three mobile patrol cars, fifteen handguns, and four of the city's Finest, in a riot that started out with a child's ball being popped run over by a passing police car. The riot lasted two days. After that, no one called this place Bagong Pag-asa anymore. For everyone here, and for everyone beyond the barbed wire fence the cops built around this community after the riots, this is the desperate county; ang bayan ng bigo.

- An introduction to Bayan ng Bigo. I've been tossing this idea around in my head for a long time now, dreaming up the people of this place. I think now, I am ready to tell their stories.

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