How do elites perceive poverty and the poor? In this article, we present the results of interviews with eighty members of the Filipino elite, undertaken as part of a larger six-country study of elite perceptions of poverty and the poor. Poverty, we argue, is a highly subjective phenomenon. People's perceptions of poverty, of who is and who is not poor, of how poverty affects them and others, and of how poverty can be effectively tackled, vary enormously between different types of people (defined in terms of class, status, occupation, nationality, ethnicity, gender or a myriad of other social identities). Wherever people cohere as groups, classes or other social constructs, perceptions of poverty are aggregated and refined and then embedded in social dynamics. The study of elite perceptions of poverty and the poor, we conclude, can both add to our understanding of the social dynamics of poverty and inequality and inform pro-poor public policy.