ANTES SANDA MADURA (BEFORE THEY ARE GONE)
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.
Antes Sanda Madura, a borrowed term from their dialect which means “before they are gone”, is a photo of a cultural master after a day’s work. In their rich red traditional hand-woven costumes with panubok (indigenous embroidery) and hand-sculpted jewelries made from old coins, she teaches the history, making and use of their musical instruments to the younger members of their community.
And as the Philippines continues to evolve, gifted by our heroes and ancestors with fought freedom, Antes Sanda Madura (Before They Are Gone) is a visual reminder about an important culture that might regress and die if unnoticed, not shared and passed on as a defining and sacred story, a collective memory and a cultural anchor that will guide our people and our future generations to dream and see a better future of possibilities and greatness.