The Islands

The films were shot in the Province of Bohol, in central Philippines. On the northeastern side of the province lies Danajon Bank, one of only six double barrier reefs in the world.

Danajon Bank spans across multiple coastal municipalities, one of which is the Municipality of Tubigon. It was one of the ten municipalities most severely affected by the Mw. 7.2  earthquake that struck central Bohol in October 15, 2013. The earthquake, which was generated by a reverse fault, induced land subsidence in four out of the six small islands located offshore Tubigon, causing them to start experiencing partial/complete inundation during normal high tides.

The films looks at the experiences of four island communities, Batasan, Ubay, Pangapasan and Bilangbilangan. The islands are located within the inner reef of Danajon Bank, and lie close to mainland Tubigon (about 5-9kms, accessible by means of an hour-long ride on small motorised boats). Previously, these islands were rarely flooded (essentially only during the passage of strong typhoons).

These inner reef islands are low-lying, with maximum elevations only slightly higher than +2.0m above water. They have very small land areas, sparse vegetation cover, narrow beaches and no fresh water wells, mainly relying on rainwater harvesting. In terms of infrastructure each island has an elementary school, a chapel, a community hall and a single paved footpath. Many goods are imported from the mainland.

Each island forms one local community (also known as “barangay”, in the Philippines) under the Municipality of Tubigon, and is governed by their respective Barangay Councils. The communities only have about 60 to 250 households each, with most residents being close relatives.

As part of Danajon bank, the islands are teeming with marine resources. Thus, although the settlements are very poor, many of the residents are able to find sustenance in fishing and other fishing-related activities (such as shellfish gleaning and fish vending).