November 19, 2012
As I-Witness celebrates its 13th anniversary, veteran documentarist Kara David travels to Southern Philippines, a region feared by many because of its turbulent past. Here she discovers that behind Mindanao’s misconceived tales, are stories of a great people, their unique culture and a paradise only few know of.
In Kiniktal Island, Tawi-Tawi, Kara David meets three Badjao kids who share a common dream, that is, to complete their education. Sherelyn is in Grade four, for the second time. She’s stuck on the same grade level because the town’s public school offers education from grades one to four only. For her to pursue studies further, she needs to leave Kiniktal and travel three hours by small boat to the next island.
Pido feels that the only way to complete education is to migrate to Manila. The island’s abundant resources could not stop him from wanting to leave.
But for Aslan, he would rather remain in Tawi-Tawi if only there are enough opportunities. He already knows what it’s like to be away from home, after three years of working as a house boy in Malaysia.
Nature has provided this paradise with generous resources. But sadly, people in Kiniktal remain wanting of things which nature cannot provide—such as basic services like education.