Black Matter, by Dianne Rosario

IPA IPA Mentorship Program, PROJECTS Leave a Comment

Illegal black sand mining activities in the upland provinces of the Philippines is not completely new for many Filipinos. The issue has been reported in the news. Black sand is mined for magnetite, which is used in the production of steel products.

Under the law, mining of any form along shorelines are illegal as they greatly impact the livelihood of fisherfolks and erode the natural sand barrier that is critical for the protection of coastal communities. Both onshore and offshore black sand mining have continued to persist despite strong opposition from locals in Ballesteros, Cagayan, and in the nearby townships of Abulug and Linao.

Giving an up-close look within and around the areas of the mining activities, this photo project takes a perspective that is different from how we see the issue in the mainstream media. In these photographs, two opposite worlds existing in the same place are presented like two faces of a coin, where ultimately, only one side wins.

The worlds presented in Black Matter raise questions about how we interact with the changes and challenges of our time and how we respond to the forces that impact the things that matter to us – our hometown, our livelihood, our traditions, and the very nature that sustains all of these.

Black Matter came about when I was trying to start a photo project on my family roots in Ballesteros, Cagayan, which I had not been to for more than a decade. Through the IPA Mentorship Program, I was able to see beyond my own personal world and to visualize from a wider perspective the place where we’re from and at a level that others can relate to.

Photographs & Text: Dianne Rosario | Website:

BLACK MATTER, by Dianne Rosario was made during the IPA Mentorship Program. Click to view: More Mentorship Projects.

The IPA Mentorship Program is a photography mentorship initiative by Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA) for those who wish to further their personal photographic vision and goals. More info:



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