Since the pandemic forced him into remote learning, 10-year-old Jhay Ar Calma has often had to climb on to the corrugated iron roof of his home in a poor neighbourhood of Manila to get an internet signal.
Up on the roof, he sits on a broken plastic basin and hopes there'll be a signal strong enough for his government-issued device.
Left: Andal tries to find a spot in the forrest where there is an internet connection to take part in an online class using his smartphone in Mabalanoy. Right: Andal takes part in an online class through a smartphone at a forest hut where there is internet connection.
Mark Joseph Andal, 18, who lives in San Juan, Batangas province, has taken a part-time job in construction to purchase a smartphone for virtual classes and has also built a forest shelter to capture an internet signal.
When the signal fades, Andal picks up his plastic chair to move to another spot, and if it rains, he holds the phone in one hand and an umbrella in the other.
Andal says he has no choice. "We're not rich, and finishing school is my only way to repay my parents for raising me."
Andal admits he was both relieved and scared when he heard schools might reopen. The trying circumstances have made him more determined to succeed.
"I want to be more active in class, I want to persevere more, to improve myself despite the situation I'm in," he said.
"I know we haven't given her enough guidance with school," said Castro's grandmother Angeline Delos Santos, "but if we don't take care of our business, we would have nothing to feed the kids."
"I just hope that she finishes school, gets a good job, and ultimately finds a life outside this cemetery," said Santos.
PHOTO EDITING Marika Kochiashvili; TEXT EDITING ED DAVIES AND KARISHMA SINGH; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE