The first day in Manila we visited a backstreet in Manila. In the first place we had plans going to the Smokey Mountains where people live in a rubbish dump, but people said that our safety could not be guaranteed. In a market we heard a baby crying. The grandparents of the baby took care of her because the real parents were not able to. The grandparents were not capable of it either and therefor they asked us if we would like to buy the baby. We were very upset about this offer. Improvements in daily life in Manila are evident. Billions of dollars are being invested; there’s cranes on the skyline, international visits are increasing, and Filipinos, at least in Manila, are happy. Most see a bright future; the Philippines is poised for economic prosperity, albeit from a very low base. The majority are happy with the efforts of President Duterte, and see the western media’s portrayal of drug traffickers shot in the streets as ‘fake news’; or in a conciliatory tone exaggerated for a western news audience. However, scratch a little below the surface and many of the problems that have plagued Manila for the past two decades remain unresolved.The biggest problem facing Filipinos remains poverty and homelessness in Manila’s vast slums. You only have to drive a few kilometres outside the thriving Manila metropolis to suburban Tondo to be struck by the sheer hopelessness facing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos.