The conglomerate on the eastern bank of Manila Bay has 24 million people, making it the world’s fourth-largest city and home to about a quarter of all Filipinos. They are cramming together in less than a percent of the country’s total land area.
The Philippines and its capital experienced strong economic growth over the last years, while the capital also benefited from a growing labour force of highly educated, English-speaking young people. A quarter of the population however, lives below the poverty line.
The continued strong growth comes also at a high cost. It is grinding Manila to a halt. Roads and the metro are in a state of permanent congestion making commuting impossible, waste is piling up, the air pollution is suffocating, the shortage of affordable housing is forcing people to live in the slums and the water pollution is so bad that clean water for the region is imported from a nearby province.