The Philippines Hub was established by members of various indigenous communities, known collectively as the Igorot peoples, within the Cordillera region during 2009. It is led by young activists who are realising the potential of Participatory Video as a tool for strengthening the resilience of the indigenous communities and reaffirming their culture.
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In May 2009, Gareth Benest (Projects Director) from InsightShare undertook a Participatory Video project with representatives of various Indigenous communities (Ibaloi, Ifugao, Kalinga and Kankana-ey) from the Cordillera region, in the Philippines, supported by young people from the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN).

The participants first learnt simple filmmaking skills during a workshop in the village of Ucab (Benguet), then set about recording the impacts of large-scale mining and deforestation on the local environment. The film they created, titled ‘Es Esel Ja Eparas (Voices of Experience) documents community perspectives on climate change, the impact of shifting weather patterns on their livelihoods and traditional lifestyles whilst clearly communicating their sense of solidarity as indigenous peoples and asserting their right to the land and resources. This initial project formed part of the Conversations with the Earth (CWE) project.

Keidy and Haydee were selected as hub representatives and they traveled together to the troubled southern island of Mindanao where they undertook their first PV project as community facilitators, working with youth representatives of diverse indigenous communities from across the Philippines and western Malaysia, with mentoring and support from Gareth.

Since May, three further projects have been completed by the Philippines Hub on a wide range of issues including culture, development of indigenous identity, youth perspectives, and indigenous traditional knowledge. In November, the team began work on a new project working with community groups to develop document local deforestation and other environmental challenges. The team now receives many requests to facilitate PV workshops and therefore aim to train more community facilitators to meet the demand, trained by Keidy and Haydee themselves.

“We conducted a training with indigenous youth in Bagio City over three days at the Cordillera Peoples Alliance building with youth from various indigenous groups from the Cordillera on how they will adapt and attempt to mitigate the impacts of climate change. After the initial training they spent four days shooting and we will be sending copies of their completed film for the CWE exhibit and website.”
Keidy Transfiguracion, Philippines Hub Facilitator

“Prior to the PV workshop, climate change was just a blurred concept for most of us, but now we are able to act! PV was also for us a good tool to mobilize people. It had a significant impact on building our capacity network especially our youth network since it deals with another form of information, which implies images and action, and this is really appreciated by youth. It is usually difficult to make young people work and it did happen with PV!”
Jennifer Awingan, Coordinator, Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN)


Action plan 2010

In October 2009, the Keidy and Haydee joined representatives from the other Peoples Video Hubs at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. During the three weeks spent in Denmark the representatives peer reviewed one another’s progress and developed and agreed specific action plans for 2010. Here are some of the Philippines Hubs key objectives for 2010 as identified by Keidy and Haydee:

Documenting heritage: use video to record the traditional practices and rituals for the youth to learn and revive.

Changing perceptions: use PV to educate non-indigenous people to break down negative stereotypes.

Environmental monitoring: continuing to document links between mining, environmental degradation and climate change. Use videos produced to sensitise communities to climate change to encourage adaptation.

Community consultation: working with communities in Mindanao and elsewhere to document land rights issues, breaking the silence on militarization and land grabbing, filming human rights abuses.

Training of trainers: undertake further training with InsightShare to enable Hub to continue reaching out to communities across the Pacific region

During the course of 2010 we have witnessed the development of two PV hubs in the Philippines: a local Igorot community hub in the Cordillera that uses PV to document traditional cultural practices, rituals etc; and also a regional hub that is based at APIYN and serves to train indigenous facilitators across South East Asia!

During the last months the Regional Hub based at APIYN (Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network) has facilitated a PV project in a community in Sarawak (Malaysia) and at the moment they are they preparing for a Training of Facilitators for Indigenous youth activitists from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Phillippines that will take place in November.

At the Igorot Community Hub the PV team has been working on a video about the education situation in the Cordillera region. They have also been interviewing elders to create a 'Rights of Mother Earth' video, similar to the one that was made in Peru. 


Part of Conversations with the Earth

Through the Conversations with the Earth (CWE) partnership, InsightShare works with Indigenous communities to identify, train, and equip local videographers to enable them to record the impacts of, and responses to, climate change at the local level. Creating and sharing these video stories enables Indigenous peoples to contemplate and present their own perspectives on the effects of climate change to inform the global discourse. This has also created an opportunity to share local adaptation strategies and build donor support for community-based adaptation. Indigenous videographers are training people from other communities, helping to create a regional and a global network of Indigenous communities working on these issues. Communities participating in CWE are creating their own media and linking up through the emerging media hub network.

A CWE media hub is currently a space where video and audio equipment is stored and editing can take place, and is usually based in an Indigenous community or village. It becomes a focal point for communications, empowerment and cultural resilience. If possible, it is connected to the web and has electricity or renewable power source available for charging batteries and laptops etc. Local facilitators, who are paid a small stipend, provide support, resources, and equipment and reach out to include new local groups through developing participatory video projects. In some cases an InsightShare trainer is based here and organizes regional and international trainings and mentoring local indigenous trainers. A hub is envisioned as a catalyst for action in local communities but has a global reach as well. In 2010 the hubs will have the opportunity to broaden their media and communications skills further training by CWE partners and allies.

Latest content from the hub

Es-Esel Ja Eparas (Voices of Experience)

Participatory Video created by members of various indigenous communities in Itogon, Philippines, tracking the impacts of large-scale mining and now climate change on their environment and culture.