Project Overview

PALAWAN SEAS: stories of human connection to the ocean


The oceans nourish and connect life on our planet. Human life would not be possible without the seas regulating the earth's temperature, driving the weather and delivering the oxygen we breathe.

Palawan Seas is an ongoing photographic project exploring humankind’s changing relationship with the ocean. For the past 12 years I have been photographing life in Palawan, a region of 1,700 coral-fringed islands in the western Philippines.

Palawan has a powerful sense of place; it is a focal point for incredible marine biodiversity and is home to ancient, nature-centred cultures. Thousands of years ago, seafaring people settled on the islands of Palawan and passed an intricate understanding of the marine environment through generations to the present day.

Coral reefs are central to life in Palawan and play a vital role in the global ocean. They harbor a quarter of all marine creatures and are our world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. As humans we depend on coral reefs for food, medicines and coastal protection. But these abundant environments are extremely vulnerable to pollution, over-fishing and ultimately, global climate change. Warming seas and ocean acidification threaten coral reefs with extinction within our lifetime.

We know that our marine environment is changing the world over. What can we learn from the people and cultures that form part of these ecosystems? Palawan Seas is a collection of images and stories about ancient relationships with the ocean, the changes brought by modern environmental destruction, and a growing resolve to revive marine ecosystems for future generations.


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