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 decade has 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 aim 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 Katutubong Filipino Project will focus on the nine main regional indigenous subgroups including the Ati, Badjao, Igorot, Ilongots, Lumad, Mangyan, Tumandok, Negritos of Luzon and the Palawan tribes. Read More