And if you liked this post, be sure to check out these popular posts:
1 of 24
Inmates stand on the bars of an overcrowded jail cell at the Navotas Municipal jail, where 492 prisoners await trial in a jail built for less than 100 prisoners. They remain as they lack the ability to pay their bail. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
2 of 24
Inmates sleep on the ground of an open basketball court inside the Quezon City jail in Manila. 3,800 inmates reside at the jail, which was built six decades ago to house 800 people. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
3 of 24
People sleep on the steps inside the jail. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
4 of 24
Children play basketball along railroad tracks bounded by shanty houses. JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images
5 of 24
A family sleeps at a bench which also doubles as a market stall. Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
6 of 24
Vendors and porters work in the background while homeless people sleep on the pavement in a working class district. Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
7 of 24
A Filipino woman bathes along the railroad tracks where hundreds of poverty-stricken individuals live in the slums. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
8 of 24
A young man looks out at the highway sitting along side his dog in a congested slum. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
9 of 24
A child sleeps on the steps of an underpass. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
10 of 24
Pregnant Filipino women wait to be admitted in the emergency room at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital maternity ward. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
11 of 24
Pregnant Filipino women are seen packed into a labor room. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
12 of 24
Mothers and their newborns share space on a single bed after giving birth. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
13 of 24
Women packed into a labor room. Up to 100 babies are in this ward born each day. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
14 of 24
A man collects recyclable materials among the floating garbage after tropical storm Nida. TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images
15 of 24
A man sits on a bike beside the garbage-filled river. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
16 of 24
A father and son on a makeshift styrofoam boat paddle through the river. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
17 of 24
A Filipino boy paddles on a styrofoam board on the polluted Maricaban River. Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
18 of 24
Children play in dilapidated housing. Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
19 of 24
Street children sleep on a discarded mattress near a road crossing. JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images
20 of 24
Street vendor Ronaldo Mahait, who earns an average of six dollars a day by selling mangoes, waits for his wife while his son sleep on his pedicab. NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
21 of 24
Children from a Manila shanty town walk on railroad tracks as a train approaches. JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images
22 of 24
People wait for results in polling centers after presidential voting ended on May 9, 2016 in Manila. Voters elected Rodrigo Duterte, a tough-talking mayor of Davao City. He pulled away from his rivals despite controversial speeches and little national government experience. The 71-year-old Duterte has been compared to Donald Trump. Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
23 of 24
Hundreds of construction cranes are seen across Manila's skyline. In 2013, the Philippines saw an unprecedented property boom in Southeast Asia. Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images
Life Inside Manila, The Most Crowded City On Earth
Life inside Manila, Philippines is incredibly cramped. More than 1.78 million people call the Filipino capital home, however tight a fit it is: Indeed, this city holds 110,000 people per square mile, making Manila the most densely populated major city on Earth.
This overpopulation, which leaves many residents living in poverty, is a problem that the government has compounded by restricting the use of contraceptives. In 2000, the former mayor of Manila banned the distribution of contraceptives in city-funded health centers, which lasted nearly a decade.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the result is that half of all pregnancies in the predominantly Catholic country are unintended, with 90 percent of those unintended pregnancies due to lack of access to contraceptives.
Before Manila's crowded and impoverished reality, some politicians have tried to remedy the situation. For instance, in 2012, former President Benigno Aquino III signed a reproductive health bill into law, which required government-sponsored health care centers to distribute free birth control.
However, religious groups came out in droves against the law and questioned its constitutionality. Ultimately, in 2014, the Supreme Court largely upheld the law, but placed a temporary ban on contraceptive implants as they viewed they might cause abortions.
Roughly 80 percent of Filipinos identify as Catholic, a religion with deeply entrenched legal and cultural mores. Indeed, abortion is illegal in the country -- as is divorce.
As a result, maternity wards are so crowded that expectant mothers must share single beds, and the infant mortality rate thus remains high enough to help place the Philippines in just about the top third of all countries worldwide.
Once they make it to adulthood, many Manila residents, forced to live in squalor face countless health problems. For all his recent controversies, current President Rodrigo Duterte seems to want to take on this problem -- which to him means confronting the Catholic Church head-on.
"I will reinstall the program of family planning. Three's enough," he told the Associated Press in June. "I've also been colliding with the church because [its stance is] no longer realistic."
It remains to be seen what will come of Duterte's Catholic Church collision course. In the meantime, the photos above perhaps do the best job of explaining why dramatic action is needed.
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several published book covers in her career as a graphic artist.