Poverty, Power and Ethics: Slum Tourism in the Philippines
During the 1980s, the ‘Smokey Mountains’ in the Philippines had become a symbol for urban poverty. In the early 1990s, a tour operator started offering tours to this huge garbage dump, where thousands of people lived and worked. These tours temporarily stopped in 1993 when the dump was closed. Most inhabitants had to move to Payatas, another dump, which collapsed in 2000 in a landslide that buried hundreds of people. Today, there is “Smokey Tours,” which is a project of World Experience Philippines, Corp, a duly registered non-government organization in the Philippines founded by Juliette Kwee. According to the founder, this special tour seeks to raise awareness about social issues, inspire individuals to bring about societal change, and bridge the gap between people from different backgrounds.
Literature suggests that slum tourism has been subjected to various ethical discourses in the international scene. Using secondary data analysis and qualitative research methodology, this paper aims to explore how slum tourism developed in the Philippines and identify the issues related to poverty, power and ethics that emerged due to the promotion of these slum tours.