Love your own: A photo essay

Photos by Kristine de la Fuente

 

Last month, I had the privilege of documenting Door to Asia: Bataan for the Design Center of the Philippines.

A quick background: Door to Asia is a designer-in-residence program with Bellas Artes Projects in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. It started in Tohoku, Japan as a way to connect designers with local companies in disaster affected areas. They brought it to Bagac, Bataan with graphic designers from Japan, Indonesia, and Philippines to see how design can contribute to their homegrown small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the community.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, but seeing it with my own eyes for the first time was a totally different experience.

Our first stop was Escuela de Bellas Artes (formerly known as Casa Quiapo) — used as the first campus of the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts before it was transferred to Padre Faura. Now it houses curated art exhibitions which we explored before having a boodle fight for dinner.

We spent the second day visiting three local SMEs. First was Amanda’s Marine Products which specializes in preserved and packaged marine products (including my all-time favorite bagoong!) and next was Bagakeño Cashew Nuts, a company that produces Cashew-based goods. Lastly, Bagac Tourism, the town’s own tourism initiative.

We also went around Bagac’s tourist spots, starting with a boat ride and passed by the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and Sugong Cave for cliff diving.

Started my last day with the team with a trip to the Pawikan Sanctuary in Morong, Bataan where we released 20 baby turtles to the sea.

Stopped by Bataan Tech Park and visited the museum dedicated to the refugees of the Indochina War. The actual boat the Vietnamese used to sail to the Philippines is even well-preserved here, along with books and technologies they used back in the day.

Within the Tech Park, we also saw temples that the Khmer, Vietnamese, and Laotians built including a mini Bayon, Angkor Wat, and a Buddhist Temple with an amazing view.

Our last destination was the Dambana ng Kagitingan. Perfect timing, ‘cause we reached the top as the sun was setting — the best way to end the trip and say goodbye to Bataan.

It’s amazing how  all these cultures and communities thrived in one province. It just goes to show that even the smallest of places do have hidden gems.

Tags:
#photography #travel

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