In Tandubas, Tawi-Tawi, photographer Jacob Maentz shoots the geometrical patterns and colors of a Tepo, a mat made from pandan leaves, as well as the Sama-Bajau who diligently weaves it. Photography is a powerful medium. People are drawn to visual things. A good image can tell meaningful and in-depth stories and evoke a response.
One week prior to my departure to Tawi-Tawi I received an email from the US Embassy in Manila. “U.S. citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago, due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there.” This region of the Philippines never gets good press and honestly has a very negative reputation among most people here in the country. From my own experience, if you mention to a Filipino that you are going to Mindanao many will look at you with genuine concern. Mention Sulu and most won’t really even comprehend it, like the place doesn’t exist in real. READ FULL STORY AND SEE PHOTOS
Last month I teamed up with The EXTRA MILE Productions who documented my trip to Tawi-Tawi, the southern most province in the Philippines. This is a place I had always wanted to visit, but because of certain security issues it took some planning to make a trip happen. More than three years on since we started this project on Kickstarter we are still going strong with plans to continue this important work. Thank you to everyone for your continued support and to the amazing team who put this production together. This is just a reel, so stay tuned for the actual episodes to come.
The Tau’t Bato (Tao’t Bato, Taaw’t Bato) are really just a subgroup of the larger Pala’wan indigenous group. They speak the native Pala’wan language and practice many of the same beliefs of the Pala’wan. The only difference being this particular community, those living in the area of Singnapan valley, take shelter in the large nearby caves during the rainy season. Because of the heavy rains and flooding within the valley during the wet months taking shelter within the caves is their best protection. During the dry season each family has its own land and house within the valley. The name Tau’t Bato was given to these people by President Marcos back in the 70′s because of their cave existence.
READ FULL STORY AND SEE PHOTOS