Three weeks in the Cordilleras of Luzon and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of experiencing the rich cultures that make up the Igorot people. This is a common trend I have experienced while working on the Katutubong Filipino Project and one reason I hope to extended the project longer term, perhaps for another three years. More time is needed. This is especially true when trying to tell the story of the Igorot people who live in six different provinces with over 20 tribes all speaking different languages, practicing different rituals, and have different beliefs and cultures.
Things often do not turn out the way you might expect them to. Such was the case during my recent trip back to the Sierra Madres. I returned to a part of Isabela and Cagayan provinces to visit some old Agta friends from last year. Upon returning this time I had a plan to go on a hunt with some of the men, a hunt for wild pig, deer or monkey. These are game items that the Agta still hunt for occasionally in the forest to eat or sell to locals. I was excited about this trip and thought with the contacts I had made everything would fall into place fairly easily. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Uncontrollable circumstances such as bad weather, broken transportation, and previous obligations of my contacts lead to a serious amount of time waiting.
It’s been eight years since I was last in northern Palawan during my Peace Corps days. Back then I spent a lot of time in Coron and Busuanga doing marine surveys and remember how beautiful the islands were in this part of the country. This time my travels brought me to Coron to photograph the Calamian Tagbanua people, one of a number of different indigenous groups found in Palawan. During the months I spent in Coron years ago I remember isolated fishing communities that harvested seaweed and octopus. I also remember the picturesque tropical islands, especially Coron Island which stands tall above most of the others with its karst limestone cliffs. It was these memories in part that made me want to return and explore the area with my camera.
I just returned from a two week trip to Isabela province in northern Luzon to document the Agta and Dumagat Indigenous people in the area. Oma and I traveled for three days to reach our destination; starting in Manila we traveled by bus for two days and then took a 15 hour boat ride on a small outrigger full of cargo to reach the towns of Divilacan and Maconacon. These two towns are separated from “main land” Luzon by the Sierra Madre mountains. There are no roads going here and the towns are only accessible by boat or a small plane. The remoteness of the area is what initially attracted me because I was hoping to find something more authentic, something different from other places I have been to in the Philippines.
I’m back in Mindanao and wanted to share some images from the past few days. I have been here looking to photograph some of the indigenous peoples in the northern region of the island, and it has proven to be somewhat difficult. Despite one very disappointing day we were able to find a small Mamanwa community that allowed us to photograph them.
I’m just checking in as I have been moving around for the past couple of weeks. I arrived into Seattle after another boat trip in Alaska over a week ago. It’s been fun exploring the city and spending some time with a good college friend there. I’m now in Daytona, Florida at the Harley Davidson rally for a week of Boogey Lights and the biker folks. I’m hoping to get some nice portraits of the bikers while here. I will be back in Seattle early next week and then heading up to Alaska again for some more time on the ocean.
I’m back in Dutch Harbor after being out at sea for the past month and a half. I have been observing on long-line commercial fishing vessels fishing for Pacific Cod in the Bering sea. It was a long time out and I must say it’s nice to be back on land. I wanted to share some more images from this beautiful part of the world where bald eagles and rainbows can be found on any ordinary day. I had some great shooting days before I left to sea last month. Now the weather in Dutch is getting cold and windy and its hard to stay outside for very long.
I have been working on an environmental outreach project the past few days in Bayabas, a municipality in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao. I was invited to come here and photograph their mangroves and other coastal vegetation for a local photo exhibit. This public exhibit will be used to help educate residents about the importance of their mangroves and coastal resources.
Wherever I travel I often find myself photographing local markets. I find a great amount of life and energy in markets and I think that’s the main reason I’m drawn to them. The high energy mixed with the variety of people/personalities and colors usually makes local markets a must place for me to photograph when in a new location. Aside from being good photographic locations, I love trying new foods, smelling new smells (and not all are pleasant), and enjoy watching the daily life of people all around me. It still amazes me that to many people these markets are their way of life. This is what they do day in and day out, whether it be selling vegetables or gutting fish. It still humbles me.