Painted faces of women in Simunul Island

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The painted faces of these two women, borak
The painted faces of these two women, borak

Borak I was walking one afternoon in the deserted streets of Simunul Island in Tawitawi when, from a distance, I heard a giggle. I turned my head into the direction of the sound and found two young women by the door of their house. They were dressed in jeans and shirt but what was interesting about these ladies were the white powdery paints on their faces.

Borak, they told me when I approached them and politely greeted and asked what they had on their faces. I was told that it’s made from guava and that it’s to protect their skin from the harsh sun. But this really isn’t that unusual as its prevalent in the Tawitawi islands and has parallels with the thanaka of the Burmese.

They giggled again when I asked permission to photograph them.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

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