Text by Mong Palatino / Global Voices Southeast Asia Editor
Photos by Lito Ocampo
Veteran photographer and activist Lito Ocampo has been making frequent visits to his hometown of Pampanga, located in the central part of Luzon Island in the Philippines, to escape the noise and dirt of the capital region Manila.
His visits allowed him to recall his childhood while enjoying the quaint beauty of his birthplace.
Through photos he shared with Global Voices, Ocampo captured not just typical scenes in a lowland farming village, but also, perhaps unintentionally, the state of Philippine agriculture.
For example, the continuing prevalent use of carabaos reflects the backward condition of the country’s agricultural sector in general. The use of roads for drying crops indicates the lack of facilities available to farmers.
Beyond highlighting idyllic countryside life, Ocampo reminds young photographers to take in the plight of rural residents, especially farmers, who are among the country’s poorest people and suffer health risks due to the backbreaking work they undertake in the fields.
With urbanization continuing to spread, many farming villages and green habitats like the hometown of Ocampo can be instantly converted into commercial land or tourism centers. Thus, Ocampo’s photos can also be used to educate the public about problems regarding land use, the status of the land reform program and the pressing need to protect the environment.
Take a virtual tour of Sta. Rita town in the province of Pampanga: