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The Agta & Dumagat of Isabela

I just returned from a two week trip to Isabela province in northern Luzon to document the Agta and Dumagat Indigenous people in the area. Oma and I traveled for three days to reach our destination; starting in Manila we traveled by bus for two days and then took a 15 hour boat ride on a small outrigger full of cargo to reach the towns of Divilacan and Maconacon. These two towns are separated from “main land” Luzon by the Sierra Madre mountains. There are no roads going here and the towns are only accessible by boat or a small plane. The remoteness of the area is what initially attracted me because I was hoping to find something more authentic, something different from other places I have been to in the Philippines.

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Olango Island Starfish Trade

I was doing some research recently and decided to see what the small island of Olango had to offer because of its proximity to Cebu. I knew the island had a bird sanctuary that is a popular birding destination, but I wanted to see what else the island might have to explore. While searching through some photos I noticed one image of a women standing next to a giant pile of starfish. The image was striking to me because I had never seen so many dead starfish before. I started to dig a little deeper and was able to find that one barangay in Olango island is known to export seastars, shells, urchins and sand dollars. I decided to go and have a look because I couldn’t believe that starfish in this amount could be harvested and sold. For what? I was thinking.

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On the Road in Mindanao

I’m back in Mindanao and wanted to share some images from the past few days. I have been here looking to photograph some of the indigenous peoples in the northern region of the island, and it has proven to be somewhat difficult. Despite one very disappointing day we were able to find a small Mamanwa community that allowed us to photograph them. I won’t go into detail here about the difficulties, but it basically involves the tribes wanting a significant amount of money to let us document them. I have had very gracious hosts the past few days in Bayabas, Surigao del Sur.

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The Vegetable Farmers of Mantalongon

I have heard numerous times now of a mountain town here in Cebu where the weather is cooler and vegetable farmers carry large baskets of produce on their heads. I have always had a small interest in going to see what this was all about, but a part of me never thought it would be too interesting – vegetables are really not that exciting.

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Donsol’s Shrimp Fishermen

The town of Donsol in Sorsogon is agreeably more known for the whale sharks that abound in the area. However, it is hard not to notice as well these men scattered out in the water during sundown with their big, wide nets. They are ‘shrimp farmers’ – fishermen collecting shrimp by dragging the net at the bottom of the ocean and sorting through the algae by lifting the huge thing up to their waist.

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The Whale Sharks of Donsol

I’ve spent the last two days enjoying a unique experience that is becoming more and more popular with both foreigners and locals here in the Philippines. Donsol is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with the largest of fish, the Whale Shark or Butanding in Tagalog. Coming to Donsol is something I have wanted to do for a long time, but because of the short Whale Shark season I have never made it until this year (however, we found out the season here is actually from December to June, not only March and April like we thought).

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Flying the Goose to Akutan

I had a unique experience the other day, when making my way from Dutch Harbor to the small village of Akutan in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. I was a passenger on the land/water plane called the Grumman Goose. There are not too many of these made anymore (since WWII), and they are especially useful here where the plane must land without a runway. The flight was only about 20 minutes once airborne, but it was a beautiful trip. The pilot let me sit in the co-pilots seat up front (which was a first for me) and that gave me the best view to try and take some pictures.

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Winter in Alaska is here, fishing continues…

Winter is officially here and what a great way to start the season…with a lunar eclipse on a clear, cold night. The snow and cold weather has been a nice change for me and I’m looking forward to getting out and enjoying it during the next few days. I have been getting on and off fishing boats for the past six weeks and I finally have a few days off to enjoy the snow and outdoors.

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More from Dutch Harbor, Alaska

I’m back in Dutch Harbor after being out at sea for the past month and a half. I have been observing on long-line commercial fishing vessels fishing for Pacific Cod in the Bering sea. It was a long time out and I must say it’s nice to be back on land. I wanted to share some more images from this beautiful part of the world where bald eagles and rainbows can be found on any ordinary day.

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Dutch Harbor and the Aleutian Islands, Alaska

I arrived into Dutch Harbor, Alaska yesterday after spending the last month in Anchorage. I am doing a short term job working as a fisheries observer aboard commercial fishing vessels here, and will be off on a long-liner fishing for Pacific Cod in the next day or two. Many of you may be familiar with Dutch Harbor from the TV show the “Deadliest Catch.”

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