The Filipino Laborer

The Filipino Laborer. A Photo Essay by Lian Buan for

Every May 1, the country celebrates Filipino laborers, recognizing their struggles and hardwork. Filipinos, especially the poor laborers, are NOT lazy. Through photos, we shall attempt to tell you their stories.

May they inspire you, millennials, to keep a lookout for them in your travels or daily lives. Know that outside of the increasingly toxic cover of Internet debates about what it means to be a true hardworker, there are real people putting in the labor.

May they inspire you not to just appreciate what you have, but to use your talents and share some of what you have to help your fellow Filipinos.

We believe that to be a Filipino is to be of help to our kapwa.

A man carries up and down the mountain two baskets full of bottled water to sell to the tourists at Banaue Rice Terraces.
An old farmer takes her lunch under the sun at a small parcel of land at the Banaue Rice Terraces.
A habal-habal driver waits for hostel guests as the sun starts to set in Samal Island, Davao Oriental.
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An old woman covers her nose and mouth away from the smoke belched by buses whose passengers are her customers.
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Construction workers roadside of Davao dismiss the heat to continue working.
A weaver shows off the T’Nalak craftmanship in the hopes that someone will buy a piece or two.
A boatman ferries passengers to the underground river in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
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A tricycle driver in Siquijor helps out a vendor by showing the tourists to the souvenirs table.
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A fisherman in Pamilacan Island, Bohol covers his head from the splash of big waves at the sea, as if the splash and not the danger that’s the problem.
A coconut farmer begins his day at work in Agusan del Sur.
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A porter at Limasawa Island in Leyte makes sure the goods are secure atop the seacraft.
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A missionary teacher makes his way back to home the mainland as school takes a break in Limasawa island in Leyte.
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A cotton candy vendor waits for churchgoers in Tacloban, Leyte.
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A newspaper vendor early at work at a bus station in Cebu City.
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A candle vendor taking cover in the giant walls of an old church in Oslob, Cebu.
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A coconut vendor entertains her guests at the foot of Mayon in Cagsawa, Albay.
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A vendor makes the most out of Palm Sunday in Tabaco, Albay.
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A groovy souvenirs vendor camp out at the Anawaning Cove in Zambales to get to as many tourists as he can.
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An old woman makes her longganisa pitch to market goers in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
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An ab-rocked body for this man who makes as many as four trips to the mountain a day for his deliveries.
A horse herder atop Mount Daguldol in San Juan, Batangas
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Charcoal makers, including a teenage polio victim, harvest lilies under the sun in Taguig.
Fishermen of Alabat Island, Quezon count their catch which saw dramatic decrease in recent years due to the warming of the ocean.
An old man refuses to go out of work and plays violin at events in the humble island of Alabat in Quezon.
A Mangyan tribesman in Puerto Galeta builds his house made out of materials provided by the local government after it evicted them from a land to be converted into a landfill.
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A father harvests banana from the other side of the mountain to have something to sell for the day at Mount Panitinan in Rizal.
An ice cream vendor cycles from two towns away in Cebu because Oslob is where tourists are.
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A woman sells flowers on Valentines Day in Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City.

[Entry 219, The SubSelfie Blog]

About the Author:

Lian Nami Buan.
Lian Nami Buan is the Associate Editor of She is a multimedia reporter too for Rappler, covering the Justice Beat. For, Lian leads the #SubStory and #TanawMindanao segments.

She was a news producer for GMA News for six years before she moved to England to take up her Masters in Digital Journalism at the Goldsmiths University of London.

 Her areas of journalistic interests include human rights, particularly indigenous people, women and migration. Whenever she has money, she travels to collect feelings for writing material. Journalism 2010, UST. Read more of her articles here.

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