“No pictures,” our guide says as our boat enters a narrow river. I lower my camera and she adds, “Not until the ritual.” The tribe’s elder, Kuya Boyet, conducts the ritual just as darkness engulfs the marshlands. Two candles, bottles of beer and Royal, and a plate containing an assortment of candies lie at his … More Ritwal


Four days ago, I was in Buscalan, Kalinga, a village nestled in the Cordillera Mountains that is famous for its tattooed men and women. I was particularly drawn to the elderly, not just because of the permanent marks on their skin, but also because of their peaceful countenance. They seemed contented and happy in old age, every … More Serenity

Why 100 words?

It’s because of moments like this. The photo sets the story up nicely; you need but a few words to tell a little more about the scene. At the start, it was because of time constraints. When I came back from Culion and Cotabato, I found myself steeped in work and that left me little time to write … More Why 100 words?

Defying Darkness

I do not like the dark. It is always with sadness that I watch the fading afternoon light, the last rays clinging onto surfaces. In Culion, you have no choice but to face the darkness – after the din of primetime shows and evening news, everything goes quiet. Thankfully, this is when we discovered that … More Defying Darkness

The Crowning Glory

“We actually didn’t want to bring you here first.” One of the boatmen has just jumped into the sparkling waters, a thick, blue cord in hand. Why not? I ask. “Because every other coral reef will seem ugly afterwards,” Guido shrugs. He points to the swimming boatman and explains we can’t drop anchor because the corals are shallow so he needs … More The Crowning Glory