ikalahans

 

The Philippines is a country with a wide spectrum of ethnic groups barely touched by global influences. The Ikalahan, an indigenous community of settlers in Kabayan, Benguet stand out with a set of beliefs and practices almost intact through the centuries. It is nestled at about 7,800 ft above sea level and is considered to be the highest situated community in the Philippines. The Ikalahan tribe takes pride as being closer to the heavens, but their existence reveals a passionate respect for the land that sustainably nourished a community almost totally independent of the country’s social mainstream. These images were taken in a period of three years and serves as an observation to the inevitable encounters with modernity. It’s a hidden jewel in its own right, but encroaching progress and increasing curiosity of outsiders pose a concern in the Ikalahan culture that may be inevitably annihilated by time and modernity.