Focus: Badjao – an exquisite meaningful photo exhibit PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 25 October 2014 00:00


Badjaos as iconic photo shoot models? Yes, possible. Thanks to the advocacy campaign of Anak Mindanao (AMIN) in coordination with an NGO, Pinay Kilos (PINK), against racial and ethnic discrimination, the stunning and striking features of the marginalized Badjaos of Zamboanga are shown in an on-going photo exhibit. Indeed, photos not only say a thousand words, beautiful captured pictures can draw more admiration and respect from viewers as depicted in this visual event.

And this is what our law makers and guests saw at the North Wing Lobby of the House of Representatives during the successful premiere launching of the photo caravan exhibit entitled, Focus: Badjao, last September 9 to 12, 2014. It is now going around key areas in our country to showcase the beauty of Zamboanga’s Badjao people, at the same time, help raise funds to help rebuild their communities.  The photos are for sale.

Select local photographers were chosen by AMIN to photo shoot Badjaos affected by the unfortunate Zamboanga siege. And one of them is Sefi Curada, a staff of Western Mindanao State University Public Affairs Office (WMSU PAO). “It’s amazing how this project has given me the opportunity to gain new perspective on many things and experience things I would not have imagined doing,” Curada said in an interview.

The Badjao models wore clothes by Philippines Prince of Beads Amir Sali of Jolo,Sulu, a highly-acclaimed international fashion designer based in Manila. Amir’s clients include royal families of Middle East countries, Manila rich and famous, top politicians, and showbiz personalities who can afford to pay him. It takes months to get an appointment and have a dress designed by Amir.

Their hair and make-up were done by Danny Katalbas of Privat Salon, a high-end beauty parlor that caters clients by appointments in Global City, Fort Bonifacio.  Danny, who is a Zamboangueño, is one of the admired Philippines L’Oreal Ambassadors. Celebrities like famous Lea Salonga, flamboyant Tessa Prieto, top model Bianca Valero, society gal Bea Zobel, actors Enrique Gil and Franco Laurel are among his loyal clients.   Amir and Danny were assisted by Honey Baban, another Zamboangueño, making a name as a fashion stylist in Manila.

The exhibit’s opening day coincided with the first day of the 2013 Zamboanga siege that gravely displaced thousands of Badjao families living in affected coastal areas. In support of the Equal Protection Act (HB 659), the photo exhibits shows that Badjaos as Filipinos also deserves equal opportunities in terms of access to educational assistance, formal education or alternative learning systems, as well as, health interventions and livelihood assistance.

Kudos to AMIN Congresswoman Sitti Djalia Hataman, an alumna of WMSU, for spearheading this laudable photo project. She aims to change the negative impressions of other people about Badjaos. (photo credits to Ayunan Gunting and WMSU-PAO Office)

Romans 14:10 “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”

By: Dante Corteza

Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 11:14