SURGE: Stories of Resilience Rapu-Rapu, Albay

A 3-hour ferry ride connects the group of Rapu- Rapu islands to the rest of Albay. Being one of the eastern most islands in the Philippines, it’s important for the people of Rapu-rapu to be prepared for when storms hit. The SURGE Consortium headed by Christian Aid conducted Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Preparation trainings in the group of islands.

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When we arrived, it had been 7 months since the last storm disrupted their power connection. Isolated villages such as theirs face difficulty getting repair services due to their location, and the difficulty of reaching their place.

In the last years, Rapu-rapu has seen a decline in their fish catch as a result of a toxic spill due mining activity in the island. Today, the fishers have to go very far out into the sea just to find fish, most of the time, they come home empty handed. Today, it is estimated that to take 10 to 20 years until the destroyed corals and mountains are rehabilitated.

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A project I worked on as a cinematographer and photographer under Ninjadog Studios  for the SURGE Consortium funded by the European Commission on Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). The films were to put a spotlight on how different communities in the Philippines have built systems to better equip them for natural calamities, to prevent these from turning into disasters.

Published by Venice De Castro

Venice De Castro is documentarist whose curiosity is observing how personal and societal transformations manifest in everyday life.