Latest Stories
Inquirer Southern Luzon

Snapshots of southern Luzon’s spirituality


STUDENTS and passersby look at the photographs in the open-air exhibit of Quadro at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna. MARICAR P. CINCO

Tired of fast-paced city life, a group of seasoned photographers now have sprawling mountains, a vast lake, a university and bucolic towns for subjects that tell much about the unique “spirituality” of southern Luzon.

Los Baños-based photographers have formed Quadro, a photo collective that captures and documents scenes from the province. The group’s original members are photojournalist Alex Baluyut, 56; travel photographer Al Benavente, 39; conceptual photographer Chris Quintana, 33; and street photographer Clifford Nuñez, 29. (Benavente and Quintana are both working at the International Rice Research Institute.)

Visual journalist Rocel Ann Junio, 24, later joined the pack.

“It is a community-based, small town art movement that captures the very rich and profound religiosity, cultural activities and heritage (of Southern Tagalog),” Baluyut said.

‘Decentralizing’ photography

With a collection of 25 photos of diverse subjects, Quadro opened its first open-air exhibit on Dec. 7, mounting waterproofed images at the Carabao Park near the entrance of the University of the Philippines Los Baños. The exhibit runs until Dec. 22.

“There are no quick and fast rules (in the group). We expand our work and express ourselves to make (the photos) more compelling and interesting to people,” said Baluyut, who just moved in from Manila in February.

Quintana’s works, for instance, included photographs of a community along the Laguna lake, while Junio’s captured moments from bars outside the university. Baluyut presented a “documentary” of his family finding its new home in the rustic town.

Quadro aims at tapping the rich pool of talents, especially of the younger and passionate photographers, in the provinces.

“It could be very tiring to keep on seeing the works of photographers from Manila. There are also a lot of good photographers in the provinces. We just need to find them and give them the chance to exhibit their works,” Baluyut said.

Baluyut, who is also a founding faculty member of the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism’s Diploma in Photojournalism at Ateneo de Manila University, called this “decentralizing” the Manila-centered art photography in the Philippines.

“It’s looking at the Philippines from the eyes (of photographers in the provinces),” he said.

The availability of digital cameras and Internet access play roles in setting the direction for photography in the Philippines.

“You can quickly upload photos on the Internet. In fact, you can be your own (photo) bureau, but the challenge is how to package it for people to visit your site and buy your works,” he said.

Quadro plans to hold exhibits in other parts of Southern Tagalog and give workshops to young and aspiring photographers.

The “backbone” of the current trend of Philippine art and documentary photography, Baluyut believed, are the province-based photographers. “Only that their roles are downplayed and they are given less importance,” he added.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: News , Photography , Regions

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  2. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  3. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  4. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  5. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. At 77, Erap has Easter treat for Manila cops but keeps City Hall folk in agony
  8. Solons seek ample protection for bank depositors
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • ‘I’ll make it,’ says young ferry passenger to family
  • Bad weather halts rescue after deadliest Everest disaster
  • Gigi Reyes has no other option but to turn state witness — Santiago
  • US weighing military exercises in Eastern Europe
  • Rains loom in Surigao as LPA nears
  • Sports

  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • Marketplace