This is part of a series of pictures of my stay in Miarayon, Bukidnon, Mindanao with the Tala-andig people: Miarayon and the Tala-andig
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As you may know from reading my intro I'm currently doing some volunteer work with a Philippine NGO called the Cartwheel Foundation. The org works to provide educational opportunities in depressed indigenous areas.
In Miarayon we operate a pre-school, run adult education classes, and provide college scholarships.
On my second day in the area I saw the pre-school graduation ceremony for the young graduates of the Sta. Teresita and Sitio Abel schools. As Lolits Bautistil, a teacher, explains “before the pre-school, the children went straight to elementary and they didn’t know how to write—they didn’t even know how to hold pencils!
As with many indigenous groups, they often have less access to education which keeps them marginalized. “Before, when there were only a few with an education people from neighboring towns would taunt us. They would call us ‘ignorant,’” says Luell “Totong” Danio, a college scholar studying in Malaybalay.
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As an aside let me tell you how hard it was for me to get my head around the concept of their being "indigenous." By this I mean they look like me, and have a similar accent (when I'm not speaking English), isn't everyone in the Philippines more or less "indigenous?"
I don't mean that they don't have a unique history, language, and culture, but it just seemed to me that this was as much part of the problem, by labeling them "indigenous" isn't this just a way of making them "different" and thus making it easier to provide different standards from the community at large?
It just seems to me like another example of Filipinos pretending to be Spanish or American.
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An interesting thing I read out of "Guns, Germs, and Steel" (that Pulitzer Prize winning book by J. Diamond) was that if by "indigenous" we mean the first people somewhere, then the common face of modern Filipinos (like this one looking at you in the pic, and my own) is actually the face of a conquering people.
The original inhabitants of these islands were what are called today the "Negritos." They are similar looking to Australian aboriginals and they used to inhabit this entire archepelago (actually their range went all the way across Indonesia and Malasia as well). About 3000 years ago my people came down from Taiwan and wiped out the majority of their population either from mass slaughter and/or disease.
Critiques | Translate
Galeota (10352) 2005-05-01 0:44
The shallow DOF works perfectly Alex. I like the white colour against that (almost) golden background coming from the yellowish wooden roof. YOu caught a beautiful surprised expression in his eyes. Well done.
gringofil (0) 2005-05-01 1:19
This is nice, Alex. The DOF makes the shot because in the background there is another kid wearing the same clothes as well as the funny graduation hat. Your exposure of the whites is right on the mark as well. Nothing really to nit pick here...quite an interesting shot. Well done.
summersun (4978) 2005-05-01 4:52
very nice portrait. I like the surprise on his face, with his eyes wide open, and his nose running. nice composition and good dof.
mlopes (494) 2005-05-01 7:52
Very nice Alex, great POV and DOF, really nice focus in the main subject here.
The sharpness is great as always. and the colours soft but very well balanced
Cormac (26565) 2005-05-01 12:03
Nice Picture. I like th compostion, with the subject off centre and the shallow DOF to blur the background. Ultimately, every portrait stands or falls on the facial expression of the subject, and this expression is very interesting - innocent, anxious, full of hope. Well done!
AnimeshRay (9089) 2005-05-01 13:02
Hurray on two points: First--excellent portrait, with terrific use of selective focus, soft lighting and good framing. Second, very interesting notes. I remember about a decade ago a newspaper story about a neolithic tribe in Mindanao. Are they the remnant of the original inhabitants related to the Australian aborigines?
maciekda (19895) 2005-05-01 14:39
beautiful portrait Alex, somehow innocent and warm - the light makes it, it is really special and soft. nice compo and interesting background. and of course the expression of the boy is great. nice work
karina (1109) 2005-05-02 4:59
This is precious, as a photo and as an occassion. Hopefully the first step of a very sucessful life. I like the wide eyed look of this boy in the foreground, and the inclusion of the two girls in the background, Good use of DOF here to make this boy our primary focus.
dsidwell (9783) 2005-05-02 9:22
Amazing light, Alex, and amazing expression on that boy's face! THe depth of field is so well used here, and I'm very glad you included that girl in the back--and the other things. These provide context that makes the photo richer. Nice work!
devimeuxbe (58557) 2005-05-02 9:29
Hi Alex !
Great great great !!!
Very nice picture really. I like so much this portrait and the face of this child. He is so pround with this hat !
In my favorites
Thank and congratulations
apache (1426) 2005-05-02 11:27
A beautiful portrait of the kid. A look of apprehension mixed with pride on this most important day for him (at least for now).
flip89 (3412) 2005-05-02 15:35
Alex, the visual echoing of your main subject at the back makes this a very attractive photograph. And I quite subscribe to your notion that labeling native peoples as indigenous is an example of Filipinos pretending to be Spanish or American. It's colonial mentality.
markgong (2840) 2005-05-03 2:40
Wonderful portrait Alex. The runny nose does it for me! Nothing bad to pick on here. Good work.
cmn210 (50) 2005-06-11 20:09
What a great portrait and description. The depth of field is great, but it's the lighting that really makes this shot.
I've been enjoying your photos of the Philippines. I'll be moving to Manila in August, and browsing through your photos makes me even more excited about the move.
kajspice (4542) 2006-08-30 14:51
This is one of those pictures I would have spent hours trying to compose, just to make that hat sit perfectly inside the frame. I think this was an impulse picture for you (sorry - I did not read your notes)... And to me, the hat looks just right. I really like that shadow which is falling very softly over his face - it gives a very subtle highlight to that trickle from his nose :)
i was trying to find the words to describe how I also like that bright light coming from behind his head - Gal summed it up nicely...
tomauer (316) 2009-04-02 6:56
Great Shot, very well composed and beautiful DOF. Well done! regarding the note, possibly they are referring to them through their Tribal ethnicity, as only about 8-10% of Filipino's are truly tribal nowadays, by that i mean, not westernized, living in tribal society. The stock Filipino is Austronesian, which spreads as far as Madagascar to Hawaii. Pacific Islanders, Indonesians and Malaysians are Austronesian, as is our language, Austronesian. We have our differences based on separation and isolation from other tribes, thus we have so many different tribal groups/elasticities, with unique cultures and traditions, even languages and writing styles. But Austronesians are not the Indigenous to the Philippines like you mentioend, the Aeta are the first in the islands, and once lived all over the islands. Ignorantly termed "negrito" by the spanish, the Aeta has been pushed out of main stream society much like many other indigenous groups, like the Australian Aboriginals. These types of things don't discriminate, and it was recorded by Jose Rizal, the royals of Native Hawaii, Malaysia etc of a uniting Land of Austronesia, reffering that we are all brothers, i mean, We did come off the same boat. The Aeta, to me, are Filipino as are we, the Austronesians.
The term indigenous could simply also mean that these certain people are the "Natives" of this particular land/area. Not necessarily the indigenous filipino. Its confusing because we have many weird ways of saying things noh! you understand hehe
- Copyright: alex felipe (RandomCameraGuy) (3071)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-03-19
- Categories: Ceremony
- Camera: Canon 20D, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 MKII
- Exposure: f/2.5, 1/1000 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Miarayon and the Tala-andig [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2005-04-30 23:24
- Favorites: 2 [view]