Lensmen focus on saving Hinulugang Taktak
Professional and amateur photographers in Rizal province are taking up a cause: To expose and draw urgent attention to the sorry state of Hinulugang Taktak falls in Antipolo City.
They have approached the subject from two angles, so to speak, by highlighting the site’s degradation and what remains of its natural beauty.
Members of Pitik Mulat, a loose network of around 50 photographers, recently held their first “photo walk” in the 3.2-hectare recreation area to launch a campaign to save the waterfalls.
“We are only photographers and we can’t change the place with one click of our camera. But our photos may awaken the public and pressure the concerned government agencies to act,” said Danny Victoriano, an Antipolo resident and one of the founders of the group.
The group’s photos of Hinulugang Taktak are now on display at the SM shopping mall in Masinag, Antipolo. The exhibit runs till May 18.
Victoriano said the group planned to do more exhibits in other malls, churches, schools, and other public places to draw more support to the cause.
Hinulugang Taktak, which is listed as a protected area by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), gives photographers two contrasting angles to work from, according to Victoriano.
Its “negative side” shows images centering on the polluted lagoon at the foot of the waterfalls, which is now almost entirely strewn with garbage and covered in thick laundry suds coming from the households upstream.
The more pleasant side shows the lush vegetation that has been preserved around the falls. “This has been a common observation. But we can’t overlook the scenery around the waterfalls,” he said.
This enduring greenery is the reason why “there are still a few people spending their weekend there despite the dirty waterfalls,” he said.
Taktak got its name from the Taktak River which snakes through five of Antipolo’s 17 barangays, and also from a 16th century legend about a church bell thrown (hinulog) down its cascading waters.
Declared a national shrine in 1990 by the National Historical Institute, the recreation area is now comanaged by the city government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Over the past few years, however, the falls slowly lost the pristine condition that had inspired the bouncy folk song “Tayo Na Sa Antipolo,” which invites vacationers to go for a swim and have a picnic at the falls.
Victoriano said Pitik Mulat’s one-year campaign will showcase the importance of saving Hinulugang Taktak from pollution.
“Sometimes, words are not enough. The people have to be convinced and educated through images,” he said.
Pitik Mulat includes members of other groups like the Camera Club of Antipolo, the Photographers Guild of Antipolo, and the Samahan ng mga Litratista sa Rizal.
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