Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 4, 2012.

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A visual journey documenting the last remaining indigenous peoples' of the Philippine archipelago.

UPDATE!! Today we hit our goal with 25 hours to spare. However, we can still use all the support you are willing to give. Anyone can still become a backer until the time runs out. Anything extra now raised will be used for our important outreach and awareness work! Thank you all again for believing in us and in the project.

Summary

The Philippine archipelago is home to a diverse number of ethnic groups. These different ethnic groups have populated the islands since the first people arrived over 30,000 years ago. Many of the larger indigenous ethnic groups, such as the Tagalogs, Visayas and Moros adopted the ways of the Western and Islamic world through years of trade and colonization. There were, however, other indigenous ethnic groups that were never heavily influenced by the outside world and managed to keep their traditions, customs and in some cases their writing systems intact. Today, there are 110 recognized indigenous groups remaining in the Philippines making up ten percent of the total population.

Despite having held onto their way of life for many generations, the last few decades have brought about a myriad of changes, both socially and economically for these indigenous groups. This rapidly changing environment has lead to the gradual loss of centuries old customs and culture. Witnessing these changes first hand and knowing that very little visual documentation has been done with these groups an idea was born to create this project, the Katutubong Filipino Project. Katutubo is the Tagalog word for “native” or “indigenous,” combined with Filipino to collectively mean the “Indigenous Filipino Project.” 

The goal of this project is to bring about awareness by collecting stories and images of these disappearing cultural heritages before their way of life is lost forever.

The Backstory

As a working documentary photographer based in the Philippines I have had numerous encounters with different indigenous groups throughout the country over the past few years. However, last July during a trip to a remote part of the Sierra Madre mountains in northern Luzon I witnessed an authentic way of life that I have rarely seen throughout my travels here. I visited an Agta and Dumagat community who still practice many of their traditional ways of fishing and hunting. This community is separated from "main land" Luzon by one of the largest remaining tracks of primary forest left in the country.

There are currently plans to build a road across the Sierra Madre mountains connecting these remaining isolated coastal towns. The pressure the road will bring into the area will no doubt in my mind change the way these indigenous communities live. During my time there I realized something needed to be done to document what indigenous cultures remain throughout the archipelago.  I believe it's our responsibility to tell the stories of groups like the Agta and Dumagats before we no longer can.


"Loss of ancestral land means the loss of ancestral culture."

Where your contributions will go

Your contributions will be used for travel costs to visit and spend between two weeks and one month in each of the nine main regional indigenous subgroup areas throughout 2012. These areas include the Ati, Badjao, Igorot, Ilongots, Lumad, Mangyan, Tumandok, Negritos of Luzon and the Palawan tribes. Travel costs will include, local transportation, domestic flights, guides, accommodation while on site, permits, national park fees, and any donations that may be necessary to bring for each tribe.

What's next?

This Kickstarter campaign is for phase one of the project - to gather images and stories. Any contributions raised over our $10,800 goal will be used for the second phase of the project - awareness and outreach. This will be done in a variety of ways including a traveling exhibit, a book publication and online media.  

Links

Katutubong Filipino Project Website

Jacob Maentz's Photography

Project Mission: To bring about awareness of the Philippine archipelago’s indigenous peoples’ by visually documenting their slowly disappearing cultural heritages.

Thank you in advance for all your support!

FAQ

  • Ew.. No. Firstly, this project is going to be extremely demanding and required a lot of work and planning. The areas we will be traveling to are very remote locations and our access to electricity, bed mattresses, cell signal and other conveniences will be very limited. As was the case when I visited the Agta and Dumagats in Isabela, I slept on hardwood floors, ate a meager diet and found myself photographing more than 12 hours a day, early mornings to late evenings. Not really most peoples idea of a vacation. Secondly, I have already traveled extensively around the Philippines since I first arrived here as a Peace Corps volunteer back in 2003. I have visited most provinces in the country and there are many other world destinations I would like to travel to in my lifetime. If I wanted to raise funds for my personal travels / vacation I would have picked a location other than the Philippines and focused on a less demanding documentary. This project will be an amazing experience but very hard work.

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  • Kickstarter is an 'all or nothing' platform, which means that the funding is only released if I reach or exceed my goal. If the goal is not reached by February 4th, all thats been pledged will be canceled.

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  • No. My wife, Nahoma, will be traveling with me as my interpreter, organizer and photography assistant. We work really well together as a team.

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  • Yes. If the project is funded I plan on spending between 6 to 8 months during 2012 in the field capturing images and stories. Being based in the Philippines makes travel arrangements and scheduling easier and allows me to spend a greater amount of time with the indigenous peoples.

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  • Yes! Anyone, anywhere (with a major credit card) can pledge to this project.

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156
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$11,056
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    Everything above plus join me during this documentary and see the amazing indigenous peoples yourself (travel expenses and airfare not included), as well as my eternal gratitude.

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Funding period

- (60 days)