|The entrance gate to San Vincente|
Just outside the gate separating San Vincente from UP Village, tricycle drivers sneak in catnaps between ferrying customers along Maginhawa Street to Philcoa. The drivers are mostly young men and very friendly. Some blare music from old radios, probably scrounged from recycled parts. The stench of dirty diesel 2-stroke engines wafts through the air.
|Rooster on the bridge|
The "residential area" is located adjacent to University Avenue. Houses are constructed out of corrugated tin, old pieces of plywood, tarpaulins, and other makeshift building material. There's electricity; some houses have lights, televisions, or even an imitation Play Station. It's cramped. Clothes lines stretch between roofs and trees, connecting neighbours in the daily airing of (previously) dirty laundry.
|Laundry hanging out to dry|
Everywhere there are children. Running. Skipping. Playing marbles. Laughing. Yelling. Shooting baskets. Carrying school books. Carrying younger children. Fetching this or that for an adult. Drinking soda from a plastic bag. Calling out to the "Americanos". Sneaking looks at the baby "doll".
|Children walking to school|
San Vincente is a part of our daily lives. We hear the sounds of roosters at dawn (and every other time of day). I buy fresh buko on my way back from morning runs at UP. We stop and chat with the vendors on our way to and from the university. We bring our laundry to the laundry shop.* Someday (I hope), F or I will join the boys in a game of basketball. I chat with other young moms about their babies.
* * * *
The cost of these pictures is 1,000 PhP - not because San Vincente residents demanded money in exchange for being photographed. In fact, many people excitedly asked him to take their picture. No, the fee was an unfortunate accident for F, and a lucky find for the person who found the crisp, bank-machine-ironed bill. From now on, cameras and loose bills will not share the same pocket.
* Well, everything but A's diapers, but more about our daily routine in another post.