There are approximately 30,000 Filipino guest workers living within the State of Israel. The majority are female and work as caregivers for the elderly or sick. In Tel Aviv they live in shanty town conditions around the central bus station also known as the ‘Tachana Mercazit’. On Saturdays, buses in the Tachana do not work, and this giant modernist building is occupied by guest workers, who spend their time shopping, partying and socializing in bars, clubs and shops within the compound.
Beauty contests are very popular among Filipinos both at home and abroad. ‘Binibining Pilipinas’ is the most important beauty pageant in the Philippines, established in 1964. The Filipino community in Tel Aviv created their own beauty pageant in a nightclub inside the Tachana Merkazit and named it ‘Binibining Pilipinas Israel’.
* Binibining: Miss, young woman in Filipino.