‘The Forgotten Ten’: Images of a slowly fading culture

A photographer travels around remote locations in the Philippines, documenting the disappearing culture of ethnic communities

THE FORGOTTEN TEN. Jacob Mentz travels to remote destinations in the Philippines to document the country's remaining indigenous groups. Photo from the event's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – According to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, around 110 indigenous groups reside in the Philippines, with roughly 10% of the country’s population slipping from the general public’s consciousness. 

With this, American freelance photographer Jacob Maentz has created The Forgotten Ten, a photo exhibit showcasing a more hidden side to the Philippines – all captured through the lens of a foreign voyager. 

Maentz first traveled from America to the Philippines in 2003 as a member of the US Peace Corps. After returning a few years later to pursue a professional career in photography, he became especially interested in the Philippines’ ethnic culture.

Through his pictures, he takes visitors on a journey through the lives of his subjects, as they strive to keep their centuries-old culture intact.

A year and a half in the making, the project had Maentz hopping from province to province, capturing images of ethnic communities such as the Badjao, Agta, Mangyan, Tagbanua, Manobos, Kalinga, Applai, and Pala’wan.

The visual documentation is part of a bigger campaign, the Katutubong Filipino Project, which aims to help preserve parts of the country’s cultural heritage. 

It’s not too late to view the photos up close; the last day of the exhibit is on January 23 at the Yuchengco Museum in Makati. 

Watch a video for The Katutubong Filipino Project here:

Here are some images from Maentz’s travels around the Philippines:

CULTURAL PRESERVATION. Maentz was first inspired by his experience with the Agta in Isabela province. Photo by Jacob Maentz

INTACT. Some ethnic groups have preserved their unique writing form. Photo by Jacob Maentz

LIFE. Snapshots of everyday lives of indigenous peoples. Photo by Jaboc Maentz

PARADISE. The country's best kept secrets in remote destinations. Photo by Jacob Maentz

– Rappler.com

Jacob Maentz’s ‘Katutubong Pilipino Project’ photos may be viewed here. For more information on the exhibit, visit the Forgotten Ten Facebook page.

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