KATUTUBONG FILIPINO PROJECT: Preserving Culture, Continuing Tradition through Photographs

With over 7,100 islands, the Philippines is abundant with various ethno-linguistic groups. With a diverse indigenous community, the Indigenous Peoples (IP) offer a snapshot of this country’s rich culture and colorful history.

The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), otherwise known as RA No. 8371, defines indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples as:

A group of people or homogeneous societies . . . who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory, and who have, under claims of ownership since time immemorial, occupied, possessed and utilized such territories, sharing common bonds of language, customs, traditions and other distinctive cultural traits, or who have, through resistance to political, social and cultural inroads of colonization, non-indigenous religions and cultures, become historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos . . . likewise include peoples who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, at the time of conquest or colonization, or at the time of inroads of nonindigenous religions and cultures, or the establishment of present state boundaries, who retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions, but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains. (IPRA, Chapter II, Section 3h).

Historically rich as they are, the Indigenous Peoples remain to be one of the poorest and most disadvantaged sectors. In addition, the introduction of new cultural systems threatens the age-old customs and traditions of these communities.

Realizing the need for people to be educated regarding the plight of the IPs in the country, documentary photographer Jacob Maentz and his wife, Nahoma, started the Katutubong Filipino Project. Through compelling and visually stunning photo documentaries, Maentz showcases the way of life in indigenous communities in an effort to immortalize a slowly changing and disappearing culture amid the social, political, and economic challenges they are facing in this modernized society.

What started out as a simple documentary about the Agta people living along the eastern coast of Luzon, the Katutubong Filipino Project was launched through a Kickstarter campaign and now covers various areas, including: Cordilleras (Igorots), Mindoro (Mangyan), Palawan tribes, Lumad groups (Mindanao), Badjao (Mindanao), and Aetas of Luzon.

WOMEN OF TAWI-TAWI DO EXPERT WEAVING OF COLORFUL MATS SOURCE: KATUTUBOPROJECT.ORG

WOMEN OF TAWI-TAWI DO EXPERT WEAVING OF COLORFUL MATS
SOURCE: KATUTUBOPROJECT.ORG

Recognizing the importance of preserving the country’s rich traditions, Katutubong Filipino Project aims to create a cultural awareness—because the preservation and continuous flourishing of the indigenous people’s culture and traditions are invaluable wealth of the country.

In the hustle and bustle of the modern world, we have a heritage we can proudly call our own.

As a constantly evolving project, you can help in this advocacy by visiting their page and making a donation.

Learn more about the project by visiting the website, www.katutuboproject.org.
E-mail: info@katutuboproject.org

Resources:
http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/28025/indigenous-peoples-philippines.pdf
http://www.gov.ph/1997/10/29/republic-act-no-8371/