Camera shot by princess.jpg




HAPPYLAND Project (2016 - 17)

art as shelter. film as connection.  

PHILIPPINES: Metro Manila’s slum communities are home to millions of poverty-stricken people. The slum residents experiencing some of the most brutal circumstances are the garbage-picking and charcoal-making communities, whose homes and livelihoods are Manila’s garbage dumps.     

In 2016, cheeseagle brought together an international project team with familiar and new faces, and reunited with the communities in Baseco and Happyland (read about the past Phoenix project here).

We created and installed thirty five large art tarpaulins or 'art tarps' which featured Kaff-eine's portraits of local residents. The art tarps were either used to create or improve shelter, or sold and traded for food and other necessities. The installation process was professionally photographed and captured on film.

We are proud to feature Kaff-eine's portraits, the photographs and vignettes of daily life in the Happyland exhibition and the stories, individuals and communities behind the project in the Happyland documentary (upcoming exhibitions and screenings listed below).  

Want to take action? We encourage you to donate to Bahay Tuluyan, which works with children in Manila, Philippines, including in Happyland. You can donate through its affiliated Australian organisation here.




the baseco and happyland communities

Both communities are located in the port and neighbouring areas of Metro Manila and are home to over 80,000 residents. The communities' housing is piecemeal: homes are constructed from scavenged materials and located in areas vulnerable to flooding, typhoons, storm surges and fires. Residents have limited access to running water, sanitation and electricity.


Baseco is the largest slum in Metro Manila and many residents construct their homes near or on the seawall, a wall designed to protect the city from storm surges. 



Barangay 105, otherwise known as Happyland (from the local word 'hapilan' for dumpsite), has developed around one of Manila's dumpsites, and the majority of residents make their living from the garbage that is delivered daily. Many residences are constructed on shifting, compacted garbage and set among former warehouses.


Want to learn more about the communities and the areas they live in?

Howie Severino for iWitness GMA, Black Manila, 3 May 2014. (Tagalog only). Watch  here.

Paul Roy for Al Jazeera, The Slum (series), September 2014. (Please note: some of the videos contain distressing content and are for mature audiences). Watch here.




Most residents in Baseco and Happyland live in housing inadequate to meet their basic needs. The housing materials are often unsuitable for weather, climate and family size. Common scavenged housing materials include old plywood, corrugated iron, bamboo poles, polystyrene and tarpaulins. Residents build houses on the garbage, reclaimed land, the storm wall and frameworks of the former warehouses.

In the previous Phoenix project and documentary, residents were asked to express what made them happy, proud, or what they would like to tell anyone living outside their communities. Hopes for improved housing featured in many of their artworks and interviews.

Baseco housing

Happyland housing


our project

our project

our aims

We aim to build artistic relationships across Australia and the Philippines; celebrate communities and introduce their local characters, personalities and heroes; foster surprising connections between those previously unconnected, and invest much-needed resources in Manila’s most impoverished communities. 

what we did

10 portraits of local characters, printed on 35 large tarpaulins.
2 communities in Manila.
1 documentary.

Local characters + portraits: Kaff-eine painted portraits of 10 local personalities from Baseco and Happyland. These artworks were printed onto industrial–scale tarpaulins, a practical form of mobile, weatherproof housing used by these communities. 

Art tarps installation: These printed art tarpaulins or 'art tarps' were installed in partnership with the communities in eye-catching positions as a public, open air exhibition and much-needed shelter.

Captured on film: The process was professionally photographed and filmed. 

Resources for the communities: The art tarps were gifted to the communities to use however they wished. 

select media

DW and Joel Carnegie, Meet the Australian lawyer turned street artist working in Manila's slums (2016). Read here.

DW Worldlink and Joel Carnegie, Welcome to Happyland (2016). Listen here.

SBS Filipino and Maridel Martinez, Happyland (2017). Listen here.

UPPERCASE, Lawyers, guns and money (2017). Read here.

project updates

Follow us on facebook and instagram (#happylandproject), or subscribe to cheeseagle news. 


Documentary and exhibition

Documentary and exhibition

winner of the 2017 HRAFff feature film audience award



A story of two notorious slums in the Philippines and an Australian-Filipino team of street artists and filmmakers who use public, practical art to invite people to look towards each other rather than away.

Raw, confronting, surprising, uplifting, charming and visually striking, Happyland invites the audience to meet the communities which have such fearsome reputations. Hear their stories, and follow how new friends from very different backgrounds work together to bring an ambitious project to life in the wastelands of Manila.

Producers: cheeseagle (Kaff-eine and Emily Cheesman) and Marti Salva / Co-directors, co-producers and videographers: Geloy Concepcion and Geric Cruz. 

Watch this space for future showings.

Happyland documentary poster


The Happyland exhibition featured Kaff-eine's 10 paintings, photographs of the installation of art tarps and vignettes of daily life in Baseco and Happyland.  The exhibition ran 5-21 May at No Vacancy Project Space, the Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne.

Watch this space for future exhibitions.


Take action

Take action

Get involved

The Happyland team aim to keep conversations, collaboration and creativity growing.  Get in touch with cheeseagle about upcoming events, documentary screening opportunities and ways to get involved.

Donate to communities in Manila

Bahay Tuluyan works with children in Manila, Philippines, including in Happyland. You can donate through its affiliated Australian organisation here. 

Photograph by Marti Salva.

Camera shot by princess.jpg

our team

our team

an international team

The Happyland  team reunites the unlikely creative collective from the Phoenix project: Kaff-eine with Filipino street artist and photographer, Geloy Concepcion,  Filipino photographer Geric Cruz,  Filipino visual FX artist, Marti Salva, and the remarkable communities of Baseco and Happyland in Manila, Philippines. Read about the Phoenix project here.

The Happyland project brings onboard Emily in the role of creative director and producer, Melinda Barry as production assistant, Abigail Acance as production researcher, and Princess Roque and Mariz Peñaredonda as youth crew. 

Geloy Concepcion was born and raised in Pandacan, Manila. He started as a street artist before becoming a photographer. His works have been shown in the Philippines, Taiwan, Cambodia, Japan, Singapore, India and Australia. He attempts to tell the stories of the underdogs, the unrecognised and the unheard.  

Explore Geloy's street art and photography here.

Geric Cruz is an award-winning photographer and videographer based in Manila. He was awarded for extraordinary Contributions at the 1st China-ASEAN Int'l Photography Season in China in 2014. His works have been exhibited in the Philippines, USA, Korea, Singapore, China, Japan, Denmark and Australia.  

Explore Geric's photography here.

Marti Salva is a visual FX artist based in Manila. He was awarded the 2011 grand prize in the Q Short Film Festival, Philippines, for his short film 'Anne'. He currently works as a freelance visual FX artist for commercials and films, including the 2015 Cinema Ones original entry, 'Dayang Asu', which won the best cinematography award.

Melinda Barry is a Melbourne-based production assistant, who regularly supports Kaff-eine during her solo projects; she also worked with Kaff-eine and Emily on the Heartcore project. 

Abigail Acance is a production researcher and current graduate law student based in Melbourne. She has extensive experience working in marketing for some of the world's largest consumer goods and entertainment brands, but has changed careers to focus on promoting human rights and instigating social change.   

Princess Lyka Roque was born in Manila and is a youth crew production assistant supporting translation, community introductions, photography and sound. She lives at Bahay Tuluyan and is 12 years old. Princess previously collaborated with Kaff-eine for the Phoenix project, with her portrait, art and words featuring across several artworks; she also starred in the Phoenix documentary, talking about Tondo and her hopes for her community. She is studying through the Alternative Learning System, and wants to be a flight attendant.

Mariz Peñaredonda was born in Manila and is a youth crew production assistant with a keen eye for detail and assisting with translation, photography and event organisation. She lives at Bahay Tuluyan and is 12 years old. She is studying through the Alternative Learning System, and her dream is to help the poor.

Read more about cheeseagle (kaff-eine and emily) here.

Photographs by Cheeseagle, Princess Roque, Rowena Naylor, Artu Nepomuceno and Juddy Roller Studios.


our partners and supporters

our partners and supporters

The Happyland project is growing with the help of many generous and fabulous friends.  


Major supporters

This project raised funds through Pozible and the Australian Cultural Fund, and received matched funding from Creative Partnerships Australia through their MATCH program.


Adnate / Buff Diss / E.L.K / Ghostpatrol / HaHa / Lister / Lucy Lucy / Makatron / Merda / Miso / Penny Byrne / Rone Swoon / Vexta / Will Coles

58 Cambridge / Claire G / Di A / Kate, Wayne and Anthony / Prodigal Hairdressing / Shaun Miller Lawyers


 the awesome crowdfunders and art tarp donors

Alan C / Alberta F / Alex C / Alex M / Alison C / Alison Y / Amanda P / Anya & Joel / Atalanti D / Belinda R / Ben B Bronwen H / Broocee O / Bruce T / Buzz Operations / Cassy L / Charlie W / Chrissie & Simon / Cina H / Claude B  Dallas M / Damian W / Daniel B / Daniel / Drewsie M / Elina S / Elisa G / Fenina A / Fitzroy F / Gina L            Global Special Effects / Global Home Inc / Grace, Jack & Ted / Heather V / Horace W / Jacelyn H / Jacqueline  Jacqueline E / James O / Jessica L / Jodie TA / Jo T / John & Wendy C / Juddy Roller /  Julie B / Just Another Agency Justin H /  Kati M / Kat F / Kay G / Keith O / Kim / Lena S / Leonard V / Lily O / Luke M / Madeleine A             Maree & Kym / Marnie A / Mary G / Martina S / Maura M / Meaghan / Medibank / Melinda B / Melinda VN  Meredith H / Meribah R /Mike L / MKD / Patricia and Gordon E / Penny B / Roger H / Rosie A / Ron B / Roxane D Sam L / Sandra P /Simon B / Simon M / Simone S / Stephanie S / Sue B / Tran S / Victoria A / Wayne F /  Yvette C  Zena D / the Many Anonymous Donors

We'd love your support to complete the Happyland project! There are many ways individuals, groups or organisations can get involved: contact us for opportunities.