There are many coastal communities along the shores of the 7000 and counting Philippine islands, depending on the sea and it’s rich ressources. Most of the people who are living close to the ocean are rather poor, since fishing is a risky business with no guaranteed income everyday.
Visiting those communities often overwhelmed me. There is this really beautiful small community in Malalison island for example, whose homes got destroyed during the super typhoon Yolanda. One of the fishermen told me with teary eyes how the villagers formed a circle during the storm, praying for it to be over. When they woke up the next day everything was gone, literally half the island was washed away, including the long sandy shore they used to have.
They rebuilt the homes, gathering ressources wherever they could. Now, only three years later, they are facing another challenge that could destroy their home forever. Some investors plan to resettle the community to build a resort on the island.
It’s those stories that made me realize how little control those people have over their lives. If it’s not a natural disaster destroying their way of life it will most likely be some rich investor who has no interest in preserving this beautiful, rich culture. I added a short video at the beginning of this essay to portrait a part of that vanishing culture, the kids of Malalison singing their island anthem.
Personally it felt just right to photograph this islands, shores and people before they get washed away again. I have experienced great honesty, hospitality and kindness traveling along the sea and I have a deep respect for locals who live there. Vulnerable, hopeful and at the mercy of forces that can’t be controlled.
That’s their life, through my lens.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Hey there! My name is Sam and I was born in the german speaking part of Switzerland. I am a documentary and portrait photographer, passionated traveler and minimalist. I love indie sounds, meditation and muesli (my secret sauce to get myself going in the morning).
Very recently I got married to my better half, a beautiful filipina soul called Belle and together we like to travel whenever we can.
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