Hamilton visits street children in Manila
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Mar 2012   |  8:13 pm GMT  |  92 comments

Lewis Hamilton got to see first hand the hardships faced by street children in Manila this week when he headed straight from the Malaysian Grand Prix to the capital of the Philippines to record a short film for UNICEF.

The 2008 F1 world champion met some of the estimated 85,000 children who live and work on the streets in Manila, documenting his experiences in the Binondo area of the city in a film that will air during the celebrity football event Soccer Aid that raises money for children’s charity UNICEF and airs on ITV1 in the UK on May 27.

During his two-day trip Hamilton spent time with a 10-year-old boy called Reynold who looks after two younger brothers by working and begging to earn money for food, the family forced to live in an old wooden cart on the outskirts of a market. As well as talking to the children, Hamilton got to see the work UNICEF do to help and protect them such as the provision of mobile educational services, regular health clinics and helping to move them into safe community environments.

Hamilton’s film will be one of a number shown during the Soccer Aid programme highlighting UNICEF’s work and the McLaren driver hopes his film can help shed light on the struggles faced by millions of such childen around the world.

“I hope that we have managed to make a film that will show the harsh reality for children who live on the streets in Manila and around the world. The young boys and girls who I have met today are really fantastic children, but they are living without the simple things that most people take for granted, like food, clean water and a safe place to sleep at night.  It shouldn’t be like this,” he said.

“But I’ve also seen how UNICEF and their partners are helping them and changing their lives for the better. Just a little money can make a huge difference for vulnerable children living tough lives around the world.  Please, buy a ticket for Soccer Aid in May, or watch the programme and make a donation.  It could be the difference between life and death for a child.”

All profits raised from ticket sales for the match, along with donations during the programme on May 27, will go to funding UNICEF’s worldwide work.

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Hamilton is a paradox one which I believe cannot be fathomed or understood in the UK.

There is a class structure that continues to prevail and in my opinion, I for one hopes Lewis leaves the UK and plies is trade on other continents where they respect success and judge a man by the content of his character [mod]

After all had JB made this trip, his ‘integrity’ would never be questioned.


Credit goes to Lewis for his action. A good deed from a celebrity will surely open your eyes.



Every picture tells a story… I burst into tears when I saw that picture, as they could be my girls..

When are we going to learn…

Bless you Lewis, thank you…


Any one who has paid attention will know that Lewis is a thoroughly nice chap who has got where he is by way of his talent and his, and his Fathers, dedication and hard work. Sure he has made some mistakes along the way, but, haven’t we all? It’s just that none of us have had to do our growing up in public


after reading some of the negative comments regarding LH I am somewhat confused??!!?? That bloke cannot win!! Maclaren support UNICEF and as their No 1 driver represented them as such. To bring his income or other drivers is irrelevant and I pity those people who do!Good on ya Lewis I will be putting money in the UNICEF tin tommorow………….I suggest we all do!


I pity those who don’t question a celebrity’s motives and actions when it comes to charity. Hamiltons made 100 million in income and paid no taxes; I guess for some a UNICEF ad makes up for that.


Who cares about their motives? If good is done from a bad motive, then good is still done. Would you prefer that he had not done the ad? You’d probably damn him either way.

I’d imagine you lambasted Bob Geldof back in the 80s for highlighting the plight of the Ethiopians caught in famine.

And as to taxes, it’s up to them where they live and abide by the tax rules of the country they live in. As many people have said, how do you know what Hamilton or other drivers spend their money on?

Finally I prefer their something to the majority’s nothing.


I don’t agree with you motive is important. You have no grounds on which to make the statements you made about what I would do or did do in the past. Yes it is up to them where they live and how and if evading taxes is what makes them feel good that is their right.


Good to see Hamilton involved in this. He is a hero to so many people, and his name carries a lot of weight, so I really hope that this will help raise awareness and funds.


It is always great to see a celebrity bring focus to the plight of the down trodden and good for Hamilton for doing so. But I find it a little off putting that a single man, making tens of millions a year on top of free everything else (cars, meals, hotels, clothes,vacations etc. etc. etc.) won’t pay taxes that would help his fellow Brits off the streets. Does a guest appearance in tv ad make up for evading paying millions in taxes at home? How many kids would the taxes from Buttons, Coultards and Hamiltons incomes have helped at home?


Taxes are going directly back to the banks from which our government took the credit from. Check out how the money system works by watching the documentary “The Money Masters”, it’s free on YouTube.


Or going back to China which lent the banks and governments in the first place as investments only for that money to be used to crash individuals freedoms of the Chinese down trodden.

Anyway that is not a debate for JAoF1 but the way the world works now is very much determined by Game Theory – something will happen because it helps those with influence – people try and get into win-win situations. So long us the stupidly influential types such as Bernie are kept to a minimum and the world has a truly large middle class, good things, not perfect things, but good things will somehow happen.


Well-put. For U.S. readers, there was an interesting story in an issue of _The New Yorker_ about celebrity use of “philanthropy agents” to help them polish up the public reputation a bit.


It’s really nice to see him looking so happy and relaxed whilst also contributing to a good cause.

I just hope he can find a way to be like this during the GP weekend, because to me he still doesn’t look completely settled, which is a shame.

If he could find a way to get back to the mindset he had in 2007 he would be incredibly difficult to beat over the course of a season.

I’m a huge Alonso fan but I’ve still always had a soft spot for Lewis, and a happy and on-form Hamilton is good for F1.


It’s simply great that Lewis has found the time to do this, and his quote saying “It should’t be like this” says it all. The good work Unicef does can only be helped by people like Lewis helping to raise the level of exposure of the plight of children like these around the world. – They are great kids and deserve a better start in life than this, but it’s a long road because it’s about education and development of a country which takes time. It’s also important to recognise that Britain was once like that, and it requires political will, and a degree of prosperity to bring about permanent change.


That’s the most relaxed I’ve seen Lewis looking for a while. Really nice to see him out of the racing suit. Well done Lewis.


Also can’t help but be a bit cynical….

Yes he admires Senna and would like to follow the model he left us but some perspective is needed:

Senna donated his OWN money, privately, to good causes and was ready to invest even more in the Senna Foundation.

Hamilton gave up some time to make a public film- is it really the same?

I do respect him for doing it and, yes, it will bring it to the attention of the public but I won’t be blinded to think it won’t be looked at as good publicity for him.

Beckham/Hamilton etc, these guys live on another planet to even the “better off” of us and I am sure if one really wanted to do some good they would be looking to donate and set up an improved way to get funding etc. to those in need.


Hey give Lewis a chance, Senna came from a very wealthy family though. Lewis’s dad held 2 jobs to get keep his son in motor racing so I’m sure has donated money to charities but not mentioned. True charity is giving quietly.


…and then you have people like kfzmeister saying “It is said that if you want to do a good deed, then do it, yet tell nobody about it”…

So, what he has to do is donate the money secretly but make sure people know about it.

[rolls eyes]


It’s not black and white guys- I never suggest they don’t….but I never suggest they do.

Just think its not something that any one of us wouldn’t do if we had the personality and fame to do so. If we earned as much as these guys and could have as much influence I would like to think we would all do the same right?

Can’t win in many ways.


i know the discussion here has touched on the similiarities between Senna’s choice of charities in Brazil and what Lewis did in Philipines but i do not see why you appear to suggest that he is doing it because of Senna. What is the alternative? Not to do it and never get to let the rest of the world know that kids in philipines are in the same situation as the kids that Senna helped in Brazil?

Let’s not cheat ourselves, the world now is so capitalistic, moving such huge somes of money that what Lewis earns could hardly make much of a difference on a street in Grenada. We all need to play our part and in way, that is what Lewis is telling us by visiting Philipines. As the late Nobel Prize winning Kenyan environmentalist Prof Wangari Mathai used to say, “just play your part, however small it is” it will make a difference.


and how do you know he’s not done/doing that?


How do you know they don’t donate their own cash? Perhaps they do and choose not to have it published.


Genuine smile from all on the pix!


“Lewis Hamilton got to see first hand the hardships faced by street children in….”

so all the adults are doing just fine then?


why say that? nobody’s suggesting all the adults are doing just fine.

Tom in adelaide

Of all the articles to make a cynical comment on……


Excuse me for believing each life to be of equal value regardless of weather the person is 8 days, 8 weeks, 8 months, or 8 decades.


Can’t help but criticize this sort of Publicity stunt. It is said that if you want to do a good deep, then do it, yet tell nobody about it.

All these sort of PR events are self serving one way or the other. Let’s get lewis out of his funk, let’s show a different (artificial) side of him, etc.,…



I see what you’re saying, but LH’s presence in itself will raise awareness, and therefore raise funds. He has the eyes of the world upon him, and so bringing that attention to something that really needs attention is a very good way of helping out. Sure, his image will probably benefit too, but I like to think that that’s not his primary concern.


If your good deed is to bring attention to the suffering of children, you’d have to be monstrously dimwitted to tell nobody about it, wouldn’t you?


It’s not exactly a publicity stunt if nobody knew he was coming here in Manila. And that’s exactly what happened: nobody knew. If not for this article by James, I bet you, kfzmeister, wouldn’t have known either. So cut the guy some slack.

Oh and BTW, Phil is right. “Publicity is EXACTLY what these children’s plight needs.”


kfzmeister your wrong. Publicity is EXACTLY what these childrens plight needs. If he’d gone round boasting about giving money to the charity then that would be poor form, but taking the time to use his fame to make people more aware of this situation is not self serving PR. Good on you Lewis.


Hi James- thanks for yet another high quality and informative report on the background to F1. Great work by Lewis, UNICEF and their support teams. It’s not eay for a guy to drop out of fairyland into the sh*t-heap that is normal life to so many. Please can some F1 pesonality do the same for the kids here in Bangkok, or nearby in Rangoon, Pnom Phen, Vientiene. If Tony Fernandes would like some brownie points he could do worse to spread the wealth and happiness of F1 to many cities on his home patch. Stay away from governments and ‘churches’ – they are usually a big part of the problem 😉


I’m from Manila and not one LOCAL news outlet reported on this! Shame on them!

Anyway 🙂 I’m glad Lewis came here and gave these kids something to be happy about, hardships notwithstanding.


Is there comprehensive tv coverage of F1 in the Philippines whether it be live of highlights???


Free to air TV : nothing.

Cable : ESPN/StarSports shows live Quali and Race and a good pre & post summary package.

As per R3D’s comment, F1 (or car racing in general) is not terribly popular here. I told my staff that I was going to pop down to Melbourne for the Grand Prix and I got some pretty blank looks !


Hi Craig,

Are there job openings in your team? I promise to look starry-eyed whenever you mention “drive-through penalty”. 🙂


Don’t know about now, probably. But I know there used to be at least up to 2008. They took the ITV commentary back in the days when I was doing it.


Only ESPN-Star broadcasts F1 qualifying and the race. It’s just riddled with commercials/advertisements and are frequently done on the most critical moments. It sucks.

I was kind of praying to any motoring deity out there to get the BBC or even SpeedTV broadcast F1 here but alas, with the entry of SKY, that would not happen anymore.


We get F1 live via Star Sports. But not much interest. It’s mostly basketball and boxing over here.


You’re kidding?


Ditto. I hail from the suburbs on the outskirts of Manila and a big F1 fan in my own right. Such a shame we only have Star Sports to broadcast F1 here because it sucks.

And may it rain a deluge of shame on the media institutions here for not spending even just a single ticker line on TV or even a short article on the big publications about this.

I do hope the motoring magazines get an article out next month and publish a special feature on Lewis’ visit. Better yet, I hope Lewis can come back after the Chinese GP and do a gig with some driving and hand pressing!


Nup, R3D aint kidding.

I knew nothing about it either.


He’s not. I myself only found out thru your site James. Guess the local media didn’t think too many people would be interested to know that a world champion was in town!


No, I’m not kidding James :). However, if it was done in secret, I’d understand why the press release was done today. Yahoo News Philippines only picked this report an hour ago as I type this.

Here in the Philippines everyone is crazy for basketball, boxing and soccer more than motor racing. Even the local Top Gear publication didn’t know he arrived until today :/


I think the lack of press is likely intentional it would have turned into a photo shoot of Hamilton rather then being about the kids.


Good-on-ya Lewis !

Good work JA & team for posting this. We do take for granted what we have and it feels good to be humbled by this story, and take time each day to count our blessings.


We like to show all sides of the sport in a rounded offering.


That’s the reason I log on everyday. Unbiased and honest reporting. The way it should be. Total respect.

Michael Cunningham

well done.

tom in adelaide

I too was in Manila last week for work. It’s a strange place, the city is full of malls (from what I was told Makati City has the world’s second largest mall and Ortigas (a few kilometres away) has the world’s fourth largest mall. They all just seemed really big to me.

Within the CBD I hardly saw any signs of what you would call ‘extreme poverty’. Then one night on my way back to the hotel, close to midnight, a girl who I can only guess was 3 or 4 years old came running through heavy traffic and stood in front of me. She was holding some wilted little flowers in one hand and had her other held out in front of her. It was a heartbreaking moment.

Good on Lewis for giving his time to help.


Hi Tom,

Makati City’s CBD is a manicured big business area. There are few like it in the Philippines and your observation about the lack of signs of poverty there because they have to keep that kind of “false image”.

I’m born, bred and probably will die here in the Philippines. Poverty here is not even close to a secret. Corruption and social injustice prevades from the private sector to the government. There are people here who are doing something about it but it’s not enough and without getting the government straightened out from its roots to the top, I’m afraid the situation will stay like this for a long time.

Anyway, it’s good to see Lewis, a sportsman from a “high profile/high finance” type of sport to come to Manila to do charity. It’s even better that he did so not because of sponsorship ties/duties.

I hope to see him do well this season and in future seasons. Lewis focusing his extra time more on endeavours like this rather than spending it in celebrity lifestyle gigs should give him inner peace he needs to help him concentrate more on what he does best. Driving and winning!

Craig in Manila

Big thanks to UNICEF and LH for their efforts in this regard.

Hopefully, the Government is embarrassed by the contents of this film as it is truly a terrible situation here in Manila in regard to the poor and the homeless.


Hi Craig,

Just a question, and i feel silly asking this, where are the parents / relatives? maybe you can share with us a little bit more.



The family may well be on the street with them or has disintegrated and the kids are fending for themselves.

Unfortunately, the Philippines has basically no “safety nets” like government healthcare, unemployment benefits or housing for the poor so, if you have no job, you have nothing and when I say nothing I mean nothing.

It’s a beautiful, vibrant country with beautiful, caring people and I never want to leave and I’d fully recommend that, if in the area, people should visit but when the plane is coming in to land, look out the window at the shanty towns that you are flying over and please remember that it doesn’t hurt to leave some loose change in a kids hand. They will give you the biggest, bestest, heartfeltest smile that you’ve ever seen.


Thanks for the insight Craig. It makes you look out on the window and realize how privileged most of us are.


Very nice to see people helping the children, and when an F1 driver lends a hand is great as well. Now we have Alonso and Hamilton as UNICEF ambassadors, hope some other F1 drivers follow, Bernie can lend a hand too.


Bernie could probably save 10,000 with a single cheque.


Ecclestone could write a cheque eliminate leprosy and still be a billionaire.

Tornillo Amarillo

Well done Lewis & UNICEF & JAonF1.

Very nice pics!


Great photos, thanks for that.


Glad to see Lewis doing his bit.

More exposure means more funds raised.

Keep it going Lewis.

James, I still can’t believe how many articles you’re posting in such short time. You’ve got a great team and good control and planning of your time. Thanks.


+1 James! Awesome Job!


Cool, thanks


+1 on that – I was just listening to your latest podcast, and thinking to myself “where do you find time to do all this stuff!?”. We appreciate it.


Either the money is good or James is more fanatic about F1 than most who post here. Most likely its both.


James,I admire the way your team present their articles,way better than some renowned columnist and very informative.Keep it up.


This is such a positive way for someone to spend their time. Just thinking about children living under such conditions breaks my heart. Makes you think twice about complaining over trivial mishaps.

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