Social Work

Sibol Pilipinas: Triumphs of the Photocacy Workshop

sibol pilipinas

Twelve kids. Twelve sophisticated cameras. One indigent community that is Payatas. What do you get? 

We volunteered for Sibol Pilipinas‘ Photocacy Workshop — a photography-as-an-advocacy series. As an Advocacy Mentor, I got to process themes of poverty, community development, and nation building with three smart kids. I also got to meet the three-woman team behind Sibol Pilipinas, superb photography gurus and fellow educators.

Sharing with you three “Achieeeeve!” moments during the five days of tackling photography and poverty for Sibol Pilipinas. Because, again, I learned more than I taught:

sibol pilipinas

(c) Sibol Pilipinas

Achieve Moment #1 Mentored bright young minds

Initially, we adults thought our young Fellows were so sheltered that they will be shocked when they go to Payatas. However, these Sibol Pilipinas kids wowed us with their initiative to take action right after their first visit.

Little did we know that they started talking among themselves to take on the task of organizing the Brunch Party on-site. They even raised up to PHP 16,000 donations from their schoolmates and families. They also created the entire program! We at Sibol Pilipinas were the ones amazed.

sibol pilipinas

(c) Sibol Pilipinas

Not to mention, they induced fun and triple laughter in every program in Payatas for Sibol Pilipinas. They were so energetic and willing to take on challenges even without being told.

 

Achieve Moment #2 Learned the difference between photojournalism and street photography

As a shutterbug myself, I geeked out learning from photography mentor Sir Eric Tan. It was particularly new to me to learn about street photography, which is taking photos based on aesthetic. I’ve only tried photojournalism before this Sibol Pilipinas workshop.

sibol pilipinas

(c) Ria Lioanag

One of the best lessons learned at Sibol Pilipinas Photocacy Workshop was the need to remove emotions when taking photos. I know this may be counter-intuitive to some. But Sir Eric says this particular skill helps gain unique insights before capturing a photo.

These insights easily caught on with the Fellows of Sibol Pilipinas. They produced superb photos by the time we held the Youth Dialogue Exhibit that are worthy of someone with more advanced experience. Even Sir Eric said so!

sibol pilipinas

(c) Ria Lioanag

Achieve Moment #3 Visited Payatas for the first time

Finally, I got to experience (see, hear, feel, smell) Payatas firsthand. I even got the chance to converse with the Payatas Orione Foundation (PAOFI) staff and mothers from the community, thanks to Sibol Pilipinas.

What surprised me was how efficient PAOFI was in giving scholarships to children in Payatas. They have education programs that enable students to pursue their dreams. Even families we interviewed for Sibol Pilipinas do not beg for pity. Instead, they showed us how they manage to survive despite their difficult situation.

sibol pilipinas

(c) Roderick Tan

When we hear of poverty in Manila, we often think of the now-defunct Smokey Mountain or Payatas. There may be plenty of opportunities to think of Payatas as a hopeless dumpsite. But a lot of organizations like Sibol Pilipinas are actually intervening to improve the community.

I really loved the spirit of teamwork from the Sibol Pilipinas Photocacy Workshop all the way to the Youth Dialogue. Everyone was involved in the process of talking about poverty even though we came from various social backgrounds. Our team grew from the organizers, volunteers, participants, and even their schools and families.

What I saw with Sibol Pilipinas was the kind of collaboration that pushes for social change. It also helped the youth take the front line in discovering and solving poverty.

Photos are from Sibol Pilipinas, Ria Lioanag, Roderick Tan, and KC Fabon Menez

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    silvergirlelle
    August 30, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    I admire people like you. People that are taking time to help others in all possible way they can without asking for anything in return because now adays, they’re very rare. I would really love to try volunteering one day but I dunno how to start, or where to go. God bless you more Sam! Keep helping and inspiring people in your own, unique way! 🙂

  • Reply
    yvonnembertoldo
    March 11, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    It’s really nice to know that kids these days are more involved in helping the less fortunate people. 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 13, 2015 at 9:12 AM

      It’s even better to see them on the field with you 🙂

  • Reply
    tweenselmom
    March 10, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    You are doing a great job through all these deeds. Please continue sharing love and concern in the community 🙂

  • Reply
    slickmaster
    March 8, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    Street photojournalism-slash-photocacy at its finest, I guess. I never knew there are such projects like this.

    Photos may express a thousand words, and seeing these themed ones are hopefully enough to ignite change in the society and its unexplained-characteristic eyes.

  • Reply
    Doctor Eamer
    March 6, 2015 at 4:05 PM

    Astigggggg!!! pa-join next time!hehe 🙂

  • Reply
    Jojo Vito
    March 5, 2015 at 2:25 AM

    good job, i recalled when I studied photography…one should ask permission should you publish people with faces..but in photo journalism, it is allowed 🙂

  • Reply
    florfullo0714
    March 4, 2015 at 6:53 PM

    I Love photography too! How I wish I could learn street photography to capture the dramas and emotions of different people in our community. These kind of advocacy should be really pushed through 🙂

  • Reply
    Justin Vawter
    March 4, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    Congratulations!! I wish I could be part of these kind of advocacy and workshops someday. I love photography. It’s just so cool.

    Cheers~!

    – Justin Vawter

  • Reply
    kikaysikat
    March 4, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    Sana I was able to join here. I’m struggling with taking good photos

  • Reply
    seftiburcio
    March 4, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    You guys are awesome! Just continue all the good things that you are doing and everyone will be inspired to give back to the community too!

  • Reply
    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
    March 4, 2015 at 7:50 AM

    It’s nice to combine a workshop and an advocacy. Kudos to everyone that makes up this collaboration.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 4, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      Indeed. By giving both ways we can encourage more people to participate 🙂

  • Reply
    Melandria Romero
    March 3, 2015 at 7:58 PM

    i always commend those who do photojournalism, because they can give the meaning without even saying a word.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 4, 2015 at 8:17 AM

      I agree. It’s my method of photographing too

  • Reply
    Irish
    March 3, 2015 at 2:41 AM

    Have you been to Payatas? – no, I only heard about this place from my Mom. It’s really sad to see their situation (based from the photos above) but I’m glad there’s a foundation that helps them now.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 3, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      I agree. PAOFI is definitely doing a great job educating the youths in Payatas. You can check out their site to know how you can sponsor a child’s education

  • Reply
    len
    March 3, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    this is a great workshop, very meaningful, it’s nice to be a volunteer in that workshop

  • Reply
    theresa
    March 2, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    It’s nice to see that through volunteering, you also practiced photography. Beautiful workshop.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 3, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      True. One of the best things about this workshop is that I learned from the masters

  • Reply
    franckxethee
    March 2, 2015 at 7:06 PM

    Nice to note the difference of street photography and photojournalism. I guess there are those photos that is just beautiful even if it doesn’t tell a story.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 3, 2015 at 9:33 AM

      Yes, we must learn to tell one art from another 🙂

  • Reply
    Arsie Organo
    March 2, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    It’s loading on my end though. I think that’s because of the image size the author used. Anyways, nice advocacy!

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 3, 2015 at 9:34 AM

      I had to do a few tweaks, nice to know it works now! 🙂

  • Reply
    3xhcch
    January 24, 2015 at 5:58 AM

    Too bad the photos are not loading properly. Street photography can be great, but is it not dangerous? Some people do not like their picture taken, especially in the slum areas. What are the expert’s tips about that? – Fred

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 3, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      You have to ask permission I guess. But since street photography is spontaneous, you don’t exactly have to get portraits. Just wait for the timing. 🙂

  • Reply
    franckxethee
    January 23, 2015 at 4:36 PM

    I don’t know if it’s just me but the photos can not be found. Anyway, it’s great that you are volunteering for activities like this and get to inspire people.

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