Cotabato Portraits

About a month ago, I spent a few days in Lake Sebu, Cotabato. Because of the rain, my companions and I spent most of our time indoors, talking and listening to people. It was a fascinating experience. I am currently researching on and writing about the rich culture of the T’boli tribe and it’s going to take a while because I want to do it justice, and I am enjoying the work so much, but I hope to share the article soon.DSC_0561blackandwhite

I leave you with these photos for now. With this set, I wanted to focus on the people – what they look like, what they believe in, what they are passionate about. In Lake Sebu, I met individuals who create beautiful things for a living. They talked about what inspires them (and it can be anything at all) – a bird in flight, a woodpecker finding food, the crashing waves, a goddess who appears in dreams. “In fact, I can compose a song about you right now,” one of them had told us.

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I am gradually learning, as I travel from one place to another, that the beauty of the Philippines isn’t just about the beaches and falls and mountains, but about the culture and traditions of its people, as well. While I love and enjoy the former, I am more inclined now into putting my efforts in uplifting the latter, for the simple reason that I find it interesting and beautiful. It is sadly also the side often overlooked or taken for granted by people. Worse still, as tourism in our country grows, culture is becoming increasingly more commercial, which you could claim is beneficial on the one hand (for those earning from it), but also detrimental (this is where questions of authenticity and heritage come in). But we won’t go into that (at least not right now) because I’m in no position to do so. I’m not an expert in the field and I still have so much to learn.

But in sharing these photos and experiences, I hope that I can be instrumental in preserving these stories – they are wonderful, amazing stories – and getting others to fall in love with them as well.

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