"Sa Ilog ng mga Iraya"
It was midday one Friday in September 2015 when I saw a middle-aged woman and her little daughter in the river of Pagbahan in Sitio Barogante, Brgy. Alacaak, Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro. They are just two of many Iraya Mangyan who fish for food using less efficient means. It was clear in their faces that the difficult search for food weighs more than minding the scorching heat and the numbness of their feet after hours of work, drenched in muddy water.
The river is an integral part of their daily lives because it links their community to the main town of Sta.Cruz. In travelling trades and basic goods, the Iraya Mangyan uses a timbulan (salbabida/rubber-made life buoy) from their community to go to town. Iraya Mangyan is one of the minority groups of Mangyan who live in the mountain ranges of Mindoro Province. Due to inaccessibility to their Sitio (a small unit of community), most of them have not attained formal education.
This photo was taken while we were on our way to Sitio Barogante for a documentary shoot about teacher-to-the-barrios advocates who fearlessly cross the rapid waves of Pagbahan river to educate the Mangyan.
Princess S. Suyat is a graduate of Bachelor in Broadcast Communication at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. She is currently a Researcher and Documentary-Journalist for GMA News and Public Affairs. Her research work for the story ALS, aired in Front Row, a documentary TV show in GMA News and Public Affairs, has won a Gold World Medal in the New York Festivals and a Gold Camera Award and 2015 One World Award in the US International Video Festival.
Who Gets the Lion’s Share? (Subic 2014)
This king of the jungle used to ably hunt for its food. But being in a zoo has rendered this lion dependent on caretakers for its every meal. Let’s get real. Who benefits more from the zoo? Will you bite the hand that feeds you?
Mary Jocelyn L. Tarnate or Jen is currently doing documentary photography and films on issues about social spaces and the vernacular. Her recent works are an exploration and observation of the connection between people and the particular spaces they occupy. Her work has been presented at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) at Kyoto University in Japan, together with the group, Weekend Project. She has worked on projects for the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET), Lifetime Asia Channel, and various nongovernment organizations, among others. Jen is also a director and television producer, handling programs for History Channel Asia, FYI Network, and Lifestyle Network.
"Grasyang Mailap" (Elusive Grace)
Manong (a Filipino term for an older man, not necessarily a relative) peers inside the garbage bin, his eyes closely surveying the contents for food or anything that may be useful. This he has been doing for at least ten years inside the campus of the University of the Philippines Diliman. After taking the photo, I stopped and wondered how many garbage bins he has to scavenge every day just so he and his family can survive. Manong was not able to get anything from that garbage bin. As I watched him leave, probably to search for another garbage bin nearby, all I could do was to whisper a fervent wish that it will not take him long before he finds his bread for the day, and that one day he will live a life free from the scarcity of basic necessities.
Dulce Amor B. Verdolaga is a University Research Associate at the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Community Nutrition from UP. The photo was taken on campus, between the buildings of the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, in April 2012.
"Siesta on the Riles"
Padyak riles is a railroad scooter designed by ingenious Filipinos who live along the railways almost everywhere in the Philippines. This is an alternative mode of public transportation if trains are not available, and are at the same time a source of livelihood for locals. Unlike electric or diesel trains, the padyak is powered by the arms and legs of the padyak driver. The driver has to give the scooter a hard push followed by a padyak (stamping of the foot) so that it will be able to glide along the tracks. The driver in this photo must have started his day early so he took advantage of the shaded area along the tracks to park his padyak, take his siesta, and recharge for his next trip. The photo was taken at about 11:00 a.m. during our Laguna loop road trip in April 2013. This is near the International Rice Research Institute at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in Laguna province.
Narita E.C. de las Alas is an administrative officer at the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development, University of the Philippines Diliman. She graduated with a BA in Philippine Studies from the same institution.
“Mano Po”, photo by Jenifer Lie
A young girl in a coastal village in Taytay, Palawan runs into an elder and performs the mano, a gesture of respect. She slightly bows and presses the elder’s extended right hand on her forehead. The image of an electric power meter in the foreground melds with other images in my mind of rituals by rural folks who are precariously holding on to dear life. Similar to hand-kissing, mano is a common custom in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. As an Indonesian student in the Philippines, witnessing common expressions like this in a foreign land provides me with a sense of belonging and a re-imagination of places I could call home. This photo was taken in May 2013.
Jenifer Lie is a masteral student in Media Studies (Broadcast Communication) at the University of the Philippines Diliman. A Chinese- Indonesian based in Manila, she is interested in postcolonialism, humanitarian causes, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues. She freelances as a TV producer, photographer and writer for media in Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines.
"Pakiramdam": Notes about the photo by Mary Jocelyn L. Tarnate
The tides intertwine with the daily existence of the people of Batasan Island in Tubigon, Bohol. Growing up, they have been taught the value of understanding sunrise, sunsets, the sea and the moon.
In this photo, taken in May 2012, the children, Ayeng, Kim-Kim and Fritz, accompanied by veteran fisher, Arnel, watch the waves closely to check if it is safe to dive into the waters off the reef of Kanjaru in Batasan.
Although the sea gives them life, they are also aware of other things the sea might bring.
Mary Jocelyn L. Ternate, or Jen, is a graduate of B.A. Broadcast Communication in the University of the Philippines Diliman. She is doing freelance photography, videography and production management, mainly on issues about social spaces and representation. She has contributed works in different venues such as Amnesty International, the Czech Embassy, and Lifestyle Network. She has participated in video installations such as Yason Banal’s A Reading of Brightness, Dark Clouds, Surrounding in the Cultural Center of the Philippines and in Kiri Dalena’s Save Messages in the Ateneo Art Gallery, among others.
Front cover photo: While waiting to be called abroad, a young Muslim recruit in Salam Compound, Quezon City plays with her paper cutout doll.
Back cover photo: Waiting in Salam. A young Muslim woman sitting on top one of the unfinished houses in Salam Compound, Quezon City.
Contents of this journal may not be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission except for fair use,i.e., for personal, educational and research purposes, in accordance with copyright law. Reprinting and republication in any other journal or compilation is likewise prohibited except as provided in the Publication Agreement when the author reprints his/her article for inclusion in any publication where he/she is the author or editor, subject to giving proper credit to the original publication of the article in the journal.
Jose Rizal's sketch of Talisay, Dapitan; Back view of the Oblation (M.P.E. Palis); Pictures of Mariano Ponce and Jose Rizal cropped from their photograph with Marcelo H. del Pilar; Photo of school children in a public elementary school in Metro Manila (G. Lanuza/C. Degocionan).
On the Cover: A bedecked house for the Agawan Festival, Sariaya, Quezon, photo by Ma. Corazon P. Rodriguez; "TAYONG NAGMAMAHAL SA ATING WIKANG SINUSO" (salin mula sa Kapampangan) [We who love the language of our early suckling." (trans. from Kapampangan)]; "Man In The Rain" photo by savit keawtavee, FreeDigitalPhotos.net; cartoon by Jay L. Batongbacal.