Private Project

The Mountain Carvers

A group of indigenous peoples in the mountains of Panay, Central Visayas, in the Philippines, are discovered by outsiders. Coincidentally, this indigenous people's group has built a significant cluster of rice terraces, the first to be documented outside the Luzon Cordilleras. An exploration of the area and the people lead to questions about authenticity, indigeneity, and identity. As the film progresses, the deeper problems of education, preservation, and integration, are also confronted.

  • Emmanuel Lerona
  • Emmanuel Lerona
  • Susan Mila Alvarez-Tosalem
    Land from God
  • Emmanuel Lerona
  • Emmanuel Lerona
  • Ruperto Quitag
    Land from God
  • Armor Jan Rapista
    Original Score
  • Maria Regina Montevirgen
    Line Producer
    Land from God
  • Project Title (Original Language):
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  • Runtime:
    48 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 20, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    7,500 USD
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Emmanuel Lerona

Emmanuel Lerona (b. 1982) is a lecturer at the University of the Philippines Visayas in Miagao, Iloilo, Philippines. Before venturing into filmmaking, he was a documentary photographer and researcher who has always been interested in indigenous peoples and their cultures. As a cinematographer, he has worked on a number of feature films and several documentaries commissioned by Philippine government agencies. The film "Lugta ke Tamama" (Land from God) was the only documentary film from the Philippines to be part of the official selection to the 2018 Busan International Film Festival. He is also currently working as cinematographer to another documentary film "Daan Patungong Tawaya" under grants from the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the Commission on Higher Education.

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Director Statement

The moment I first stepped foot in the village of Gen. Fullon in 2015, I knew I had to make this documentary film. Having done a number of projects about Panay indigenous peoples in the past, I knew that Central Panay mountain communities are a treasure trove to culture enthusiasts. So when I finally talked to Gen. Fullon tribal leader Julito Bayog, my conviction became clearer. The Iraynon Bukidnon and their story deserve a wider audience.

The struggles and stories from General Fullon are important. They are also real stories. I say this because along the way I encountered people who question the Iraynon Bukidnon’s authenticity. It is very important that their struggles, while a little different from the concerns of those in the urban centers, are understood as the realities of those in the peripheries who also constitute who we are as Filipinos. That is why I spent the last few years struggling to finish this documentary.

Pátok weaves together the stories of the Manggina Banicio, Julito & Jun Bayog, Rex Gomez, Joel Viceda, and several others who, in the different roles they play in the community, provide a panorama of the Iraynon Bukidnon society.

I made this film out of the belief that it is important to provide fresh insights into the lives of indigenous peoples especially those that do not fit the stereotype present in many peoples’ minds. I did this by revealing the complex and inspirational stories as they create a more just world. That is why I say Pátok offers a new take on authenticity, indigeneity, and identity, as well as the more complex question of integration.

Pátok was edited from more than 48 hours of original footage shot in Gen. Fullon and other parts of Antique. While the project was started without any institutional funding support, the film was eventually supported by grants from the National Commission for Culture & the Arts, the Commission on Higher Education through its Institutional Development & Innovation Grant, and by the University of the Philippines Visayas - Division of Humanities.