I came to Panay Island with no idea of its history. It was an impulsive move to follow a documentary subject. But I never expected that I would stay longer to discover more about the island. In the course of my discovery, I learned that much of Panay history has a connection to the sea or water in general. The mobility of people in the past was made possible through rivers and other bodies of water that connect to the sea. The island has a long maritime history that perhaps may have contributed to the proliferation of present-day seafarers. In the Maragtas legend, the ten Bornean Datus sailed the seas to escape a cruel ruler. This legend rooted in folkloric tradition speaks of the fabled arrival of the ten Bornean Datus in the 13th century at the mouth of Sirwagan River located in what is now the town of San Joaquin . The sea is connected to major shifts in Philippine history as well, such as the opening of the of the Philippines to World Trade that was made possible by the opening of the Port of Iloilo in 1855. A boat-building industry was once alive in Oton, where the galleon trade started, a tradition that has since died down with no clear vestiges of the industry in the present. A traditional method of salt-making in Miagao is still alive with a few families carrying on despite the threat of extinction by more modern day production processes.
This project should not be taken as a historical documentation but rather as an exploration of the places where history as connected to the sea took place and how these spaces are now as I experienced them whether they still contain monuments or vestiges of their historical importance. This project should be treated as like personal travel narratives of someone who is discovering the island as a newcomer.
The Sea is History is an interactive documentary that allows an immersive experience of these spaces through 360 degrees videos and a series of meditative documentary short videos. As viewer, you are encouraged to play with the 360 degrees video to explore the spaces that are being visited in this journey. You can also watch the meditative short videos to catch a glimpse of these locations and treat them as lyrical vignettes or odes to the spaces that occupy memories that the sea is a part of in one way or another.
(Instructions: You can view the 360 degrees video that appear as headers by swiping right or left and tilting up and down.)