From Rags to Riches: How a Viral Photo Turned a Street Beggar Into an Online Celebrity

Four years ago, Rita Gaviola was a 13-year-old street beggar in the Filipino town of Lucban. Since then she has worked with some of the world’s hottest brands as a fashion model, starred on hit reality TV shows and gained over 100,000 Instagram followers. And it was all thanks to a random photo…

Rita Gaviola’s incredible ‘rags to riches’ story began in 2016. Back then, she was asking for alms on the streets of Lucban, to help her family make ends meet. Her father worked as a garbage collector and her mother stayed home to look after her and her five siblings. None of the children attended school at the time and the family barely managed to put food on the table, so Rita often went out to beg for change or food donations. That’s how she was spotted by Filipino photographer Topher Quinto Burgos, who happened to be attending the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, in May 2016. He was attracted by her natural beauty and posted the photos of her on the internet, changing the girl’s life completely with a single click of the ‘upload’ button.

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Father Gives Son Embarrassing Haircut to Make Sure He Doesn’t Sneak Out

A Filipino father came up with an ingenious way of keeping his young boy in the house during the recently issued lockdown due to the rapidly spreading Covid-19 pandemic.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world, and the Philippines is no exception. As in most other places, the Government has enforced a social distancing program that requires citizens to isolate themselves in their own homes and go out as little as possible. However, enforcing this type of lockdown isn’t as simple as you might think, especially when dealing with young children used to spending most if their time playing outside with their friends. But, to their credit, some parents are coming up with some creative solutions…

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11-Year-Old Athlete Wins Multiple Gold Medals Running in Makeshift Shoes Made from Bandages

Rhea Ballos, an 11-year-old student of Salvacion Elementary School in Balasan, the Philippines, has become an overnight sensation after winning three gold medals in a provincial sports event, despite not having proper running shoes.

The young athlete managed to win the 400-meter dash, the 800-meter run and the 1,500-meter run in the girls’ categories while wearing strips of bandage over her feet instead of proper running shoes. Rhea basically ran barefoot, with the thin bandage offering minimal protection against the running track, but that didn’t stop her from beating all the other girls, all of whom were wearing running shoes, and taking home the gold at the inter-school sporting event held in Iloilo, central Philippines. Photos of the girl’s makeshift shoes, complete with a hand drawn swoosh logo, and the “Nike” brand scribbled on the side quickly went viral, wining her praises from all around the world.

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Baby-Faced Kindergarten Teacher Is Often Mistaken for One of His Students

Looking at 22-year-old Ian Francis Manga’s face it’s easy to see why some people have a hard time believing he is a kindergarten teacher, and not a student himself. Luckily, he towers over the children, but his face still looks uncanny.

A teacher in San Jose Del Monte, the Philippines’ Bulacan province, Ian Francis Manga has always looked younger than his years, and that became even more apparent in middle-school, when all the other boys started growing mustaches and armpit hair, but he did not experience any of the changes of puberty. In fact, his facial features remain those of a very young boy, but because he never suffered bullying from his schoolmates, he never felt the need to see a doctor and learn if there was anything wrong with him.

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Filipino Town Bans Gossip in Bid to Stop Rumors from Spreading

Authorities in Binalonan, a small Filipino town about 200 kilometres north of Manila, have made gossiping illegal under a new local law aimed at preventing rumors from spreading within the community.

Trash talking someone in Binalonan could see offenders literally picking up trash under a new local law designed to make people take responsibility for the things they say. First-time gossipers risk a fine of 200 pesos ($3.8) and three hours of collecting garbage in the streets, while repeat offenders would have to pay up to $20 and put in eight hours of community service. The law isn’t very clear on what qualifies as gossip, but mayor Ramon Guico cited peddling rumours of residents’ relationships or financial situations as examples of punishable offences.

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Catholic Man Has Been Nailed to a Cross Every Good Friday for 33 Years

A Filipino Catholic man playing the role of Jesus Christ in a yearly Good Friday reenactment of his crucifixion has been nailed to a wooden cross for the 33rd consecutive time last week.

58-year-old Ruben Enaje, from the barangay of San Pedro Cutud, in San Fernando City, has been volunteering to get nailed to a cross on Good Friday since the 80s, but recently announced that next year will be his last impersonating Jesus Christ. He is currently looking for a successor willing to have four-inch nails driven into his hands and feet and get lifted on a large wooden cross for about five minutes, every Good Friday. He also wants that person to be humble and not brag about their special role.

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Mother Hand-Feeds 13-Year-Old Son Addicted to Video Games Because He Refuses to Stop Playing

A viral video of a Filipino mother who goes to an internet cafe and hand-feeds her 13-year old son because he refuses to end his 48-hour gaming binge to eat has once again reignited the debate on youth video game addiction.

37-year-old Lilybeth Marvel first noticed there was something wrong with her son Carlito about two years ago, when he began staying up late at an internet cafe near the family home in Nueva Ecija, the Philippines. Things got progressively worse as time went by, to the point where the 13-year-old now spends days on end with his eyes glued to a monitor playing his favorite “battle royale” video game, Rules of Survival. Last week, Mrs. Marvel was filmed delivering her son’s breakfast to the internet cafe and hand feeding him while he continued to play, because he had been there for over 48 hours.

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Man Fakes His Own Death in Bizarrely Cruel Marriage Proposal. She Still Said ‘Yes’

I can think of a few good reasons to fake your own death, some of which I actually wrote about in the past, but for some reason, romantic marriage proposal just isn’t one of them. But it worked for one young man, who staged tragic motorcycle accident with him as the victim in order to ask his girlfriend to marry him.

The man, identified by the media as one Jeffrey Delrio, put a lot of thought into his bizarre marriage proposal, even getting local police officers involved to make his apparent demise even more believable. In a clip that went viral last week, Delrio can be seen lying face down on a street in South Cotobato, Philippines, with police redirecting traffic around the scene of the apparently fatal motorcycle accident, as his girlfriend arrives on a moped. She immediately starts screaming in pain after seeing her beloved laying lifeless on the pavement next to his motorcycle, and police rush to restrain her. Little does she know that this is about to become one of the happiest experiences of her life.

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Teacher Turns Classroom into Pink Hello Kitty Paradise at Her Own Expense

Samelyn Lafuente, a young primary school teacher from Masbate City, in the Philippines, spent the last three years turning a bland classroom into a little girl’s real-life fantasy, decked in pink and full of Hello Kitty-themed decorations.

Walking into Samelyn Lafuente’s classroom, you would be tempted to think that it’s an obsessed Hello Kitty fan’s shrine to the popular Japanese character. The floor is covered with a Hello Kitty-themed carpet, the walls are all pink, as are the school desks, and there are Hello Kitty decorations everywhere, hanging from the ceiling, plastered on the walls and even in the windows. It would be fair to assume that parents of little girls in Ms. Lafuente’s class must be struggling to pull them away from this real-life fantasy in pink every day, which is just what the teacher planned all along – to create a place where her students would be happy and enjoy their time at school.

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Recycled Landfill Meat Gives ‘Junk Food’ a Whole New Meaning

Life in the slums of Manila can be incredibly difficult, and putting food on the table every day is a big challenge. That’s what makes “pagpag” so popular. This Tarong term usually refers to the dust one shakes out of clothing or carpets, but in the slums it means meat picked out of the landfill, cleaned and recooked into cheap meals.

Pagpag has long been a staple of Filipino slum cuisine, but in recent years it has also become a lucrative business both for landfill scavengers and small restaurant owners who buy the discarded meat at cheap prices and recycle it into various dishes. Scavengers who were previously only interested in recyclable metal and plastic now focus on leftover and expired food coming in from fast-food chains and supermarkets, scouring for it alongside feral cats and rats, packaging it in plastic bags and selling it for a small profit.

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Gas Station Toilet Makes You Feel Like a King While You’re Using It

Let’s be honest, finding clean and decent-smelling gas station toilets is hard enough, but one that makes you feel like royalty? Normally, I would say such a place doesn’t exist, but I recently saw these photos of a unique toilet in Quezon, the Philippines.

To be honest, I kind of already knew that gas station toilets in the Philippines can be quite different than what most of us are used, after writing about this Shell Gas Station toilet in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, which featured wood furniture, a bookshelf and even a phone next to the toilet bowl. But I didn’t know the island nation actually had a public toilet fit for a king until seeing some photos of a Petron gas station toilet in Quezon.

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Amateur Artist Turns Old Flip-Flops into Amazing Action Figures

Elmer Padilla, a young construction worker from Manila, Philippines, recently shot to internet fame after photos of his hand-made action figures went viral on multiple social networks.

While being able to make your own action figures is an impressive talent in itself, what really caught people’s attention was the medium used by the Filipino amateur artist – old flip-flops. Photos posted on a Facebook group dedicated to Filipino art show Elmer Padilla cutting colorful flip-flops on a sidewalk using knives and scissors, and assembling them into intricate toys like Transformers, Predator and Marvel superheroes. As you can see in the photos below, his creations are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

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Intricately “Tattooed” Fish Caught in the Philippines Sparks Wacky Online Debate

Photos of a large fish caught in the southern Philippines that appears to have its skin covered with artistic tattoo-like markings has sparked quite a debate on social media, with people offering the most outrageous explanations for the intricate design.

The fish was caught by fishermen in the province of Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental, who immediately noticed that much of its skin was marked by artistic designs, including what looks like a crest made up of a crown sitting on top of a shield, some letters and intertwining plant leaves. The strange design also attracted the attention of passers-by as well, some of whom were quick to snap some photos of the fish and upload them to social media. They were soon picked up by large news networks and eventually went viral.

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Amazing Mother Carries Her 30-Year-Old Disabled Daughter on Her Back Whenever They Go Out

69-year-old Julieta Lorenzo, a frail old lady in the Philippines, has recently melted the hearts of thousands around the archipelago after photos of her carrying her 30-year-old disabled daughter to the bank to collect her pension went viral online.

The heartwarming photos were snapped by Facebook user Gilbred Cargason Alsagon Jr, who was at a branch of the Development Bank in the city of Roxas when Julieta and her daughter walked in. The sight of a small 69-year-old woman hunched over with a full grown woman on her back made a big impression on everyone present, Alsagon reported, but even though many offered to help them, the woman politely declined, saying that her daughter, Mary Jane, didn’t trust anyone else to carry her.

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Aspiring Model Gets $10 Nose and Chin Job, Ends Up Regretting It

A Filipino teen who once paid just 500 pesos ($10.74) for cosmetic procedures on his nose and chin has been regretting his decision ever since, as the intervention left him disfigured.

Ever since he was 16 years old, Ellowe Alviso had been using his good looks as a source of income, by landing various modelling jobs. About three years ago, he decided to increase his chances of being selected for modelling gigs by enhancing his facial features. However, he also wanted to save some money, so instead of going to a certified plastic surgery clinic, he got in touch with Kasheca Magallanes, a transgender nurse who was allegedly well-versed in cosmetic procedures. She agreed to work on his face for just 500 Philippine Pesos, which was apparently too good an offer to pass up. Unfortunately, Ellowe would live to regret his decision. Read More »