Photo Essay: Indigenous Transitions, by Hannah Reyes

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The Philippines is home to a large number of indigenous groups. Through the years, succeeding waves of migration and colonisation have pushed them into the interior highlands of the islands where physical isolation helped them retain their customs and traditions.

However, improving access to roads, mainstream education, and media is changing their culture as the younger generations slowly assimilate into mainstream culture. This transition is not well documented. This project follows the transition of three indigenous communities in Luzon–the Aytas of Pampanga, the Butbuts of Kalinga, and the Ivatans of Batanes. I focused on the transitions to modernity–how old traditions are surviving, what remains under broader social pressure, and what new forms are emerging through the fusion of cultures. What happens to people when both preservation and progress are necessary?

This story is not one of abandonment, but of change. It is a story of passage.

More on the project on National Geographic:

Photographs by Hannah Maria Carmina Reyes | Website:

Hannah Reyes is an IPA Alumni and 2013 Workshop Grant Recipient. More features from other IPA Alumni filed under IPA Alumni Journeys.


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