stories     personal     about      ︎


Batanes Islands, Philippines
2022 - Current

In today’s cash economy, can Batanes’ Payuhuan stay?

The cogon leaves rustled during the windy hike up to a small collective farm in Imnajbu, Batanes. The path, covered in Kadeken flowers and marshy vegetation, overlooked the serene Pacific ocean.

Around 30 farmers, from different towns, showed up for the Payuhuan, a get-together where farmers collectively prepare the land for the production of their farming cooperative. The sun was out over the field, but behind the nearby mountains, rain clouds were starting to loom in. Having mastered the wind direction and changing seasons, the farmers sensed it was going to rain.

And as expected, the rain poured along with a strong wind, disrupting the land cultivation. The farmers hid behind the large cogon grass and cut out leaves from the breadfruit tree to make sure they and their Yuvuk (farming container) were kept dry.

“This kind of wind is still normal for us, the rain will be gone in a few,”
said a farmer who was hiding under a cogon.

And true enough, moments later, the rain has stopped.

Payuhuan is an ongoing work