15 Amazing Stories Told Through Humans of Metro Manila

Meet Emil Tapnio, producer and curator of this local iteration.
ILLUSTRATOR Jasrelle Serrano

"With #HumansOfMetroManila posts, I intended for people to look beyond their personal bubble and make them understand that everyone has their own triumphs, challenges, and struggles."

Humans of New York has touched many hearts by letting us in on simple, unexpectedly profound encounters with everyday people on the streets of New York (and, later, all over the world). There have been many attempted tributes, but in the Philippines, development worker Emil Tapnio’s #HumansOfMetroManila Instagram passion project stands out.

Tapnio posts portraits of Filipinos from every walk of life, from CEOs and celebrities to workingmen and artists, coupled with a quote from impromptu interviews he conducts. The project has yielded poignant stories from people like Wilson, a lonely construction worker from Ortigas:

He’s also featured Silicon Valley-based millionaire entrepreneur Dado Banatao, founder of the PhilDev Foundation, who spoke about his wife: 


The project began as a way for Tapnio to urge people to look outward and notice the world around them. “Most people on social media post selfies as self-expression. With #HumansOfMetroManila posts, I intended for people to look beyond their personal bubble and make them understand that everyone has their own triumphs, challenges, and struggles,” Tapnio says.

“Over time, my posts became more random—I guess that’s the beauty of it. I don’t really plan what to post. Sometimes, I [feature] famous people, sometimes random strangers I meet on the street. I don’t focus on what they do for work, but I talk to them about their current state of mind.”

With over 200 posts in the series, Tapnio says that he’s been thinking of collecting the stories in a book. There have even been offers from agencies to sponsor an exhibit. In the meantime, he’s donated some of the images for use by NGOs for use in their campaigns. For now, however, the photos are all found under Tapnio’s personal Instagram account @emiltapnio, and may be viewed using the hashtags #HumansOfMetroManila #Taumbayan #TaoSaKanto.



About The Author
Kristine Fonacier
Editor-in-Chief of Esquire Philippines
View Other Articles From Kristine
Latest Feed
Study says getting a new PC is cheaper than constantly repairing old ones.
The Franco-Swiss watchmaker is part of a star-studded gang of 25 collaborators.
How to play along while staying cool this season.
"Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today."
He was the mind behind Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, and many more.
Premium Scotch whisky Macallan launches a new edition destined to appreciate in value.
To begin Esquire's series of interviews with candidates seeking posts in 2019, we speak to Samira Gutoc, a hijab-wearing Muslim who is running for the Senate in the hopes of bringing the 20-year absence of a Muslim legislator from the Upper Chamber to an end.
Melissa Reese, who is also half Filipino, now has kids dressing up like her for Halloween
Load More Articles
Connect With Us