These are images of the T'bolis of Lake Sebu, one of the indigenous peoples of Southern Mindanao, Philippines that has existed in this area for centuries.The images were taken during Helubong Festival
Located at an elevation of almost 1000 meters above the remote Alah Valley region in South Mindanao, Lake Sebu is considered one of the most important bodies of water in the Philippines. It is an essential source of irrigation to the rice fields in provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, and since 1985, the area has been proclaimed as a Protected Landscape. Conservation efforts involving the local communities, such as reforestation of grasslands and bamboo plantations, have been implemented by the government.
The area is home to the T'boli's, a tribe of people indigenous to South Mindanao, who have existed in this area, and practically lived the same way, for centuries. Anthropologist claim that they are of proto-Malayan stock with language similar to Indonesian, but their actual origin has long been lost in lore. Through the years, the T'bolis have inevitably assimilated into modern society. As the younger tribal members gain education and professional success, there is a growing concern that the old ways are dying and efforts should be made to protect a way of life that has existed in for centuries.
Each year the T'bolis celebrate the 'Helubong Festival'. A feast of thanksgiving for good harvest & abundance, as well as a celebration of the arts and culture of the T'boli people, the festival is also part of an ongoing effort to protect the T'boli heritage and culture.