Pristine and violent waters surround the Philippines, an archipelago nation made up of 7,107 islands. Of which, only about 2,000 are inhabited, making them some of the worlds most remote.
Its location made it a strategic point for chinese and malay traders for thousands of years creating a hotpot-like explosion of cultural diversity. However, before ‘the explosion’, there was a large, more deeply connected to the land community of ethnolinguistic nations. The majority of these age-old cultural groups are of Austronesian languages AND some remained relatively isolated still while under the ruthless rule of the Spanish empire.
The story of the Philippines is long, bloody and incredibly complex. In very short, Filipinos spent millenniums as independent seafaring trading societies, centuries as a Spanish colony, years as a Japanese prison camp and more recently 65 years in Hollywood.
Some of this ferocity is still reflected in the current socio-political landscape of the country. Armed conflicts and controversial political campaigns still leave many innocent dead.
However, the Philippines is also an incredibly inspiring place, with perhaps the kindest, most enterprising and most inventive population we have ever met. The people’s ingenuity is driven by necessity, able to recognise the resources around them and pursuing goals relentlessly.
Aisa Mijeno and SALt are just a clear demonstration of the Filipino historical ferocity and deep kindness used to help remote communities to have access to safe, non-toxic light activated with saltwater.
This product was created as an alternative to kerosene lanterns, an option more often than not financial and geographically unavailable for remote communities. Using saltwater these lamps are able to provide powerful LED lights necessary for places without access to power. As well, as the third most disaster-prone country in the world, these lamps are able to provide a sustainable source of light when emergency situations occur resources are absolutely unobtainable.
We look forward taking our expedition to the Philippines and learning from this incredible nation of ferociously kind people.
Author: Erik Sumarkho
Editor-at-large: Charlotte Mellis