Connected Forms 2019
In this series ‘Gara: Connected Forms’ I look at how ideas of place and identity are manifest in one provincial town in the Philippines.
Carigara is a traditional community of around 60,000 people. Deeply Catholic, focused on fishing and agriculture, it is nevertheless a vibrant place, always ready to celebrate life.
Lying at the northern end of the island of Leyte, it faces a wide, sheltered bay and is ringed by mountains that protect it from the worst of the weather the Pacific, some fifty miles to the East, can throw at it. In 2013 it was in the direct path of the strongest typhoon ever to hit land (known locally as Typhoon Yolanda).
Legend has it that it was founded by the arrival of Datu Gara and his tribe. Though never subject to any further immigration since this legendary foundation, over the centuries it has barter traded with the Chinese and Arabs, been a Spanish colony for 500 years, an American protectorate for 50, and been occupied by the Japanese in WW2. All these experiences have left their mark, but the continuity and resilience of local identity remains.
These works celebrate that unbroken linkage between its environment and its past.