“Where is Tañon Strait?” I asked a friend when he told me about the project. I’m sure I share the same sentiments with other Filipinos who have no common knowledge of Tañon Strait which happens to be the largest marine protected area in the Philippines bounded by two islands Negros and Cebu. I was invited to be one of the photographers for the Oceana Photo Safari on Tañon Strait together with underwater photographers Gutsy Tuason and Danny Ocampo, travel photographer Oggie Ramos, chief news photographer of Cebu News Daily Tonee Despojo and chief photographer of the Freeman, Ferdinand Edralin. For six straight days the group captured the beauty and bounty of Tañon Strait above and underwater. And this recent World Oceans Day, June 8, 2015, Oceana Philippines hosted a photographic exhibit showcasing images captured during the photo safari.
I have been following Jacob Maentz‘s work at his website/blog at www.jacobimages.com for a few years now. It always amazes me how it could take a foreigner to truly appreciate the significance of our indigenous people’s culture and he does this with keen observing eyes and moving images captured in sincere perspective and beautiful light. Jacob is not the usual tourist who would go to a place only for a few days and take pictures. His Peace Corps background in the country has helped him learn to blend in and become part of a community. Jacob would usually stay for weeks with a community of indigenous people, live with them and more often befriend them. What results are stunning captures of these people’s lives from a vision of an insider. In his first solo exhibit Forgotten Ten , Jacob shares his work spanning a year and a half of documenting the indigenous people of the country (from the Mangyan, Agta, Tagbanua, Kalinga and more) which makes up about 10-20% of the country’s population, hence the title of the exhibit.