The Philippines - 7.107 Islands Full of Contrasts

The Philippines are a tropical island kingdom with 7 107 islands, situated between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The great variety of landscapes in the country is impressive, which stretches from harsh mountain ranges, rough volcanic terrain, pristine virgin forests, and mysterious cave systems to romantic, paradise-like beaches and idyllic river valleys with picturesque waterfalls. Over a period of several years, Tobias Hauser and David Hettich travelled there on expeditions and were overwhelmed from the nature, the extraordinary culture, and the warm hospitality of the Filipinos. Their experiences and encounters were both surprising and exciting.

On the Stairs to Heaven

They made spectacular excursions to the crater’s edge of the gigantic volcano Pinatubo and made extended hikes into the Cordillera Central in northern Luzon, where they visited the 2000 year old UNESCO World Heritage Site Banaue rice terraces. They spoke with the creators of these “Stairs to Heaven”, the Ifugao, an ancient mountain farming folk.

Bohols Extraordinary Wildlife and Landscapes

On the island of Bohol they portrayed the work in a preservation area for Tarsiers. These small, nocturnal primates have eyes, which in relation to their bodies, are circa 150 times larger than those of humans! They also photographed Bohol’s emblem, the chocolate hills, which seem to be out of this world. They often travelled by foot or by ship. Now and then they also went by helicopter, in order to capture unique photographs of the island kingdom from a new perspective.

From Subterranean Rivers and South Sea Pearls

Extraordinary beauty describes Palawan, an island world characterized by impressive limestone cliff panoramas. The photographers reconnoitered the world’s longest, navigable subterranean river in St. Paul National Park and visited El Nido, a particular harbor town on the northwest coast of Palawan. Across the water lies the Bacuit archipelago, a group of 45 islands with imposing limestone cliffs, isolated dream beaches, picturesque bays, and hidden lagoons. On a pearl farm in the Jewel Sea they found out what all is required in order to produce a perfectly formed, gold-colored South Sea pearl.

Stories from the Mega-City

Hettich and Hauser made tours through the modern mega-city Manila, which is characterized by architectural contradictions: Modern business quarters, like Makati, with its glass skyscrapers and expensive boutiques and immediately adjacent other districts with ancient Baroque churches and fortifications steeped in history, like Intramuros.

Life under Water

As manifold as the life on the islands is, even more so is the breathtakingly beautiful underwater world. The Philippines are renowned for their exciting diving grounds, which are among the best in the world. The two photographers and filmmakers went diving, among other places, in the gigantic coral garden of the Tubbataha reef, in the middle of the Sulu Sea and explored the world-famous Apo reef. There, in addition to countless numbers exotic small fish, they were met by whale sharks, sea turtles, and giant stingrays.

Asian Soul, World Spirit, and a Fiery Heart

In addition to these wonders of nature, it’s the Filipinos themselves and their culture, which equally impressed the photographers. Asian, European, and American elements are interweaved in an impressionable way in the people themselves—Orient and Occident, bound inseparably. It’s said that Filipinos have an Asian soul, a western spirit, and their hearts beat to the fiery rhythm of Latin American dancers. Their deep commitment to ancient rites, their living religiousness, and their untamed zest for life probably is best expressed in the wild and colorful festivals, which take place throughout the year in all parts of the country. Tobias Hauser and David Hettich took part in several of them. Thus for example, they were able to portray the Easter procession in the middle of Luzon, where the Filipinos are nailed to wooden crosses.

Schedule a Lecture

A digital live-reportage, which is as interesting and thrilling as life in the Philippines itself, has arisen out of their many years of research.

Please contact our office to schedule one or more lectures. We can also provide the necessary equipment, if needed.