Women who flee conflict

In celebration of Women’s Month, I am sharing Monaida’s story.•Monaida rests from her houseworks and attends to his son. She is among the Maranao women of Marawi who had fled the siege. Monaida sought refuge with her son and husband in another Maranao community in Delabayan, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. Since late last year, herContinue reading “Women who flee conflict”

Nanay Merin and Rachelle

Nanay Merin prepares betel nut while her great granddaughter Rachelle tinkers with handmade soda tabs toy. The two had a brief conversation in Dumagat and then Rachelle ran off to play.•Nanay Merin was reunited to her family in Bulacan after spending years in another Dumagat community in Quezon. Her old age and sore legs hinderedContinue reading “Nanay Merin and Rachelle”

Mona’s new home

In celebration of Human Rights Day.•Mona and her family have fled Marawi during the siege last year. They’ve sought refuge as internally displaced people in a small Maranao town in Delabayan, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. This year, they have received their new home at the Hope Marawi 100 village in Delabayan. The village serves asContinue reading “Mona’s new home”


Sarte competed with his team from Matawe in the traditional games pagsibat, pagpana, paglangoy and pagbo ne domaget during the Adow ne Domaget festival last May. Sarte wore his traditional clothes, particularly a Dumagat necklace made of Kudlasan. The white beads are in fact seeds that grow at the mountains of the Dumagats.•Cultural festivals areContinue reading “Kudlasan”

Tboli Cultural Dance

Sunita is one of the cultural dancers of her community in Lemsnolon, Tboli, South Cotabato. On my stay in her community, she graciously showed me the steps to a dance that mimics ducks. Indigenous dances display the wonders of creation. Dance steps trace their origin from natural phenomenon. Movements of the hands, the feet andContinue reading “Tboli Cultural Dance”

Pagbo ne Domaget

Risa competes at the traditional Dumagat wrestling game “Pagbo ne Domaget”. The participants wrestle to outbalance their opponents. The game was part of a festival by the Dumagat tribe of Dingalan Aurora last May. The festival showcased to the Dumagat youth several of their tribe’s traditional games as part of their cultural conservation efforts.•October isContinue reading “Pagbo ne Domaget”


Dumagat elders of Dingalan Aurora gather around to discuss important issues faced by different Dumagat communities across Dingalan. The fight for self-determination, acknowledgement of ancestral lands and evacuation from conflict between NPA and military are among the pertinent issues discussed at the “Pasurotsurotan” or community storytelling.  Shot on assignment for the Dumagat of Dingalan atContinue reading “Pasurotsurotan”

Beauty on the mountains: Breaking stereotypes of Indigenous Women through Photographs

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I will be highlighting stories of women I’ve met from different communities & cultures in the Philippines. Women are more than how they look in photos. Photographs have the power to create and proliferate stereotypes of women. Meet Lea, Shirley, Angelyn, Bemalyn and Ada from the Iraya Mangyan communityContinue reading “Beauty on the mountains: Breaking stereotypes of Indigenous Women through Photographs”

Viewing the Past on Screen: The Challenge of Retrieving Indigenous Culture

The kids gathered around the nipa hut. Curiosity glows from their eyes as they intently view the screen in front of them. Each kid wanted to see the full view of the screen. After a while, a song plays from the film. Instantly, they started singing and humming to this familiar song. Six years ago,Continue reading “Viewing the Past on Screen: The Challenge of Retrieving Indigenous Culture”

Epri Wahyu Pratiwi – The Passion to Bike

Have you done something crazy? Like biking for 337 kilometers? Epri Wahyu Pratiwi biked 500 kilometers to give awareness about the environment. Along with 9 friends, Epri traveled from Surabaya to Jogjakarta in Indonesia via bike. Within the 4 days of biking, they stopped at communities to tell about climate change and the protection of the environment inContinue reading “Epri Wahyu Pratiwi – The Passion to Bike”

Culture is about People: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

Culture is about people. It’s the people that makes traditions and practices significant. It’s the people that dances, sings, draws and performs cultural practices. People’s lives revolve around relationships. Therefore, Culture is about relationships. Relationship with self, with each other, with creation and with God. Cultures (whether indigenous or urban, traditional or modern) are rootedContinue reading “Culture is about People: Lake Sebu, South Cotabato”

Maria Todi “Oyog”: Lake Sebu School of Living Tradition

Maria Todi “Oyog” is the founder of the Lake Sebu School of Living Tradition. “Preservation of culture starts with the family.” This SLT teaches the T’boli kids about their culture and traditions. They hold Saturday classes where students can learn their T’boli songs, dances, art and literature. This school is one of the first SchoolContinue reading “Maria Todi “Oyog”: Lake Sebu School of Living Tradition”

Farm to share: Nanay Arbaya – Sultan Kudarat

Nanay Arbaya is selling her harvest gabi at the Tacurong Public Market. For many years, she farms crops like alugbati, eggplants, and string beans. We are grateful for women like Nanay Arbaya who brings the harvest of their hands to markets. Because of farming she is able to feed her family and even more families.Continue reading “Farm to share: Nanay Arbaya – Sultan Kudarat”

Clean Water for Sustainable Environment: Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte

Water enables humans to grow. For the kids of Tolosa Cabadbaran, water is where they can play and grow as kids. With the clean water in their river, kids can swim with their friends. Because of waste segregation, pollution of river and lagoons has been reduced to 80%. Water becomes safe when the community worksContinue reading “Clean Water for Sustainable Environment: Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte”

Protecting the Sea: Wennie – Tubay, Agusan del Norte

Wennie is a fisherman in Tubay, Agusan del Norte. He is fixing his banka while he is waiting to catch Matambaka fishes. Wennie said he loves fishing because it provides for his family. It is through fishing that he was able to feed all of his children. Wennie also said that he refuses to useContinue reading “Protecting the Sea: Wennie – Tubay, Agusan del Norte”