Kids at the Punduhan ng mga Dumagat

These are the kids at the Punduhan ng mga Dumagat in the mountains of Norzagaray, Bulacan. Their families are forest rangers of the Sierra Mountain Range. They are also watershed protectors of Angat and Ipo Dams. Lesil, Nicole and the rest of these kids have accompanied me while I was filming a documentary about their community. We would joke around. I would prepare them snacks and even made dalandan juice a couple of times for them.

Their families have also sacrificed a great deal to help protect our forests, mountains and water. Their fathers have to face the risk of being gunned by illegal loggers every time they do monitoring. Forest rangers work for forest and water protection for these kids.

Indigenous peoples are the best protectors and conservationists. Their traditional practices are the best tools we have in combating environment degradation. Their spirituality is deeply rooted with their relationship with our Creator, with the Earth and with all the people surrounding them.

Shot on assignment while filming a documentary about indigenous environment protection practices in the Philippines. October is National Indigenous People’s Month. This is Kathleen Lei Limayo, a documentary filmmaker, photographer and visual anthropologist based in the Philippines. This month, I will be sharing some of the stories of indigenous peoples I have journeyed with.