It is raining heavily in the Iglit-Baco National Park and we are hunkered in a thatched hut in the forest.
Inside we sit with three ancient Fufu-amas, elders of the Taw Buid, a tribe from Mindoro.
They are clad in loincloths while smoking a mysterious herb in wooden bak to pipes. It is supposedly tobacco, but smells like something else.
I was last here in 2012 to photograph the tamaraw, a critically-endangered buffalo WWF is working to conserve. I have returned to learn more about the Taw Buid, an indigenous tribe helping to protect the tamaraw.
They wish to visit our village tomor ...
The Tamaraw Conservation Program.
Isa pang komunidad ang inakyat ng grupo ng KSP, ito naman ang komunidad ng mga maiilap na tamaraw na sa Mindoro lang matatagpuan.
Mt Iglit-Baco National Park on Mindoro Island remains the last refuge for the critically endangered endemic and quite unknown Mindoro dwarf buffalo, also called tamaraw. The rough mountains within the Park are also the ancestral land of indigenous communities. These communities have preserved their traditional way of life based on natural resources and subsistence farming.
The aim of this project is to develop a field-based program structured around three complementary objectives:
1. To improve our knowledge on the natural, social and cultural assets of the park: by strengthening researc ...
A Mangyan scout in a white loincloth raises one index finger in front of his lip and uses the other to point at a slight movement in the tall grass.
A herd of 300-kg., meter-high tamaraw, the largest surviving land mammal in the Philippine wilds, is ambling across the broad mountain meadows beneath Mount Iglit before the dew had evaporated from the grass. But a subtle wind shift, movement or the click of a camera shutter atop a rocky promontory where scientists are making an annual headcount and the animals were thundering off at a gallop, vanishing into the treeline in five seconds flat.
As my two legs take me closer to the edge of the possible, I look back fondly on my brief outing with the Mangyan, who in my book are the most magnificent exponents of the vanishing art of long-distance walking -- them and the doughty Igorot.
I had the experience of a lifetime walking with the descendants of Mindoro island's earliest known inhabitants two years ago during the annual headcount of the critically endangered dwarf buffalo known as the tamaraw. These pictures were all taken by my colleague Romy Gacad -- he was rummaging through his files today as he packed for a new overseas ass ...