With its culture being helped by different sectors to adapt to modern society without completely losing their ethnic identity, I thought of the power of photography in helping preserve their truths and immortalize their historical moments in its purest form and hopefully, educate the new generation, currently caught up in their own modernized world, of their cultural story that is woven to the fabric of our nation.
To do this, I immersed myself in their community to capture their everyday life with much cultural authenticity. To stay true to their simplicity that is unperturbed by fast-changing technologies, I only used natural light, from sun-up to sundown, to capture the intensities of their interactions and intricacies as an indigenous community.
Handuraw, a borrowed term from their dialect which means “reminisce”, is a rare photo, of cultural privilege, of Lucia Caballero. Currently a cultural master and wife of Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan awardee, Federico Caballero, she happens to be the most popular binukot and the last of her generation. Binukot is their cultural “princess” who spent time in isolation to master their oral traditions before she is given to marriage after a dowry. Her mastery of their oral traditions is of tremendous contribution to the continuing existence of their indigenous culture.
And as the Philippines continues to evolve, gifted by our heroes and ancestors with fought freedom, Handuraw (Reminisce) is a special visual homage that captures and celebrates the rich culture and traditions of the Panay Bukidnon. It hopes to help tell and immortalize their defining and sacred story, not just as a collective memory, but also a cultural anchor that will guide our people and our future generations to dream and see a better future of possibilities and greatness.