A Glimpse Inside Manila's Smokey Mountain Slum

For most tourists, the ideal vacation doesn’t include visiting a landfill. Yet that’s exactly what an increasing number of visitors are doing in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

“Smokey Mountain,” a slum constructed atop a landfill in Manila, has joined the likes of poor urban districts in Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, and Mumbai as a tourist destination. Smokey Tours, a local non-profit, offers tourists guided trips through the neighborhood, giving visitors an opportunity to witness daily life in this part of the world’s most densely populated city.

Coconuts TV recently joined one of those walks. Local guides led the reporting team through the neighborhood's winding alleys and makeshift homes. “Scavengers” rummage through trash for items to recycle and sell; others burn scrap materials to produce charcoal. One resident demonstrates how she uses a flashlight as the main source of light in her small wooden hut.

While proponents of the tours argue that tourism revenues provide much-needed cash to the local communities and promotes social awareness, others criticize the voyeurism of slum tourism and consider the practice degrading.

Find out in the video above what the reporters of Coconuts TV made of the experience. Check out more videos from Coconuts TV here.