Philippines fortune tellers

At the heart of Manila lies, Quiapo, the old downtown. Home of the Quiapo church. And the place where some of the most unusual trades can be found. Fortune telling is one of them.

I met Vivian Alcares sitting before a table filled with decks of cards, patiently waiting for customers under an unforgiving midday sun. Telling fortunes to strangers for decades, she says it’s been her way to make help people.

“I’ve helped many people by interpreting the signs revealed by my cards,” she tells me.

And it’s not just about telling fortunes, she says. A day sitting at Plaza Miranda, rain or shine, business must go on — for it is by the number of customers that determines how much she would earn every single day. Her profit is what she spends for her family to survive.

But not all days are prosperous for the 63-year-old, she says. When there are no customers, there’s nothing to buy food, an irony among fortune tellers — for they themselves don’t know what tomorrow has in store for them.

(This piece is an assignment for my Multimedia Journalism class at the Asian Center for Journalism.)

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