Children Of Manila & The Cemetery People

The Making Of


Children of Manila is a production of the non-profit organisation, The Children’s Relief Fund (CRF), and was filmed thanks to the invaluable help and groundwork of the members of the CRF and its local partner, The Papa John Centre (PJC). All filming was undertaken on a volunteer basis in order to raise awareness about the plight of street children, abandoned and neglected children, and families living in poverty stricken conditions throughout Manila.

During the two weeks of production in April 2007, the crew availed themselves of the local knowledge of CRF and PJC members. The filming took place in the Papa John Centres, where the crew stayed for several days, as well as areas in Metro Manila where the organisations conduct community outreach. Some of the programmes in these areas include free classes for children; birth certificate registration, nutritional programmes, and effective parenting training.

Raising Funds

In order to support the CRF and the PJC, as well as finance a portion of the film’s expenses, the crew also organised a fundraising concert in Dublin, Ireland. The concert was a great success thanks to the generosity and support of Sonic Eye Media, the bands (The Overkills, OMG, Kill City Defectors, and Nearly Dead Jim), Temple Bar Music Centre, Filmbase, and, of course, our friends and family.

Two Films?

One of the most memorable neighborhoods in Manila that the crew visited was Navotas Cemetery. Guided by the local pastor, Pastor Jon, we were able to gain access to a shocking world where families lived within the tombs of this large, above-ground cemetery. True to the most popular sport in the Philippines, there was even a basketball court in the middle of the graves.

Pastor Jon proved to be an able guide, who’s smiling and open demeanor provided an interesting contrast to the bleak surroundings. Upon returning home the director and editor, Alessandro, felt that the footage spoke for itself, and created The Cemetery People, as a brief, but memorable, introduction into this unsettling world.

A Family Day Out

One of the highlights of filming the “Children of Manila” was spending time with the children and staff of the Papa John Centres. During this time, it was truly inspiring to see how intelligent and vibrant the children were, how well they looked after each other, and how much the Papa John Centre felt like a family.

During the production, the crew had the pleasure of accompanying the PJC on its annual “Family Day Out,” where we travelled to an outdoor pool for a full day of swimming, singing, and BBQ. Needless to say it’s a day that the kids look forward to all year, and it was an honor to be able to share it with the staff and children of the PJC.


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