North Baluarte, Iloilo

I’m slowly getting to my photos taken while in the Philippines last June. 

So many photos, finally had a chance to review my pictures in this place called North Baluarte, Iloilo. The locals call this area “Baragay” - an area or division. 

I went with a photo student and my good friend Jojo to see what some areas of Philippines can be like. We’ve seen beautiful places such as palm trees, open lands, jungles, and touristy areas such as Boracay.  

This time, I wanted to see and experience real life places of hardship, hoping to show this side, for this seems to be left forgotten in exchange for more attractive sites to lure in tourism. But this is way of life here too, and these are people living. I prefer seeing this, how people live with what they have and appreciate. 

Before going in, we needed to get clearance to go inside by the Barangay Captain. As we waited at the entrance sitting in these lawn chairs, he finally comes back out and says it’s okay for us to go in, He tells people to let the community know that we are going in to shoot and we were not there to portray negativity to the media, as done before by other photographers, from what I heard. I was very relieved and thankful. We were supposed to show our passports/ID, and I didn’t have any of that on me. After mentioning that I was from Canada, they said it was okay for us to go in, we had to sign a log book. Things went underway and we were escorted in by a few members just in case of any dangers. 

It puts things in total perspective while walking through these tight alley ways of bamboo houses. Doorways just inches away, I am able to shoot right inside in most houses capturing everyday life. People are welcoming, they say hello to me. In the worst conditions that I see, you still see smiles and small sense of family and community here. More than I have seen in other wealthier areas. 

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