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 Of Photographs and Black Pencils

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Age : 29
Location : Makati
Posts : 68
Join date : 2009-10-28

Of Photographs and Black Pencils Empty
PostSubject: Of Photographs and Black Pencils   Of Photographs and Black Pencils EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 11:32 am

Of Photographs and Black Pencils
Manila Bulletin - November 3, 2009, 9:23am

The sun was scorching hot when a team of volunteers from the Black Pencil Project (BPP) came ashore off Balatubat, Camiguin Norte in Babuyan Islands.

The island’s scenery on that sunny afternoon was breathtaking — a beautiful beach shoreline lying at the edge of a lush backdrop and kissing the glassy blue ocean that reflects a dancing sun above.

The island makes for a picture-perfect paradise for photography hobbyists, Mon Corpuz, Rolly Magpayo, Gary Buenavista, Vivien Galos, and AG Saño, volunteers of the BPP Project Aral Trek-Babuyan Leg. They had their cameras, ready to take great shots. But they knew that the hotography session would have to wait because something more meaningful was about to happen.

The BPP team met with local priest Fr. Joemar Sibug O.P. of Lyceum of Camiguin at Balatubat Cove, Camiguin Norte. They brought with them some 35 boxes of assorted school supplies on a chartered boat from Port San Vicente in Sta. Ana, Cagayan. Over 15,000 study kits were later distributed, benefiting 500 pupils, from Day Care up to Grade 3, of the entire Camiguin Norte island.

This is the largest outreach activity among all the Project Aral Treks that BPP Team conducted. BPP is committed to deliver basic study kits to every Filipino child in selected indigent communities across the country in partnership with the National Bookstore Foundation.


The idea behind the BPP stemmed a year ago from an ordinary photography trip made by photography hobbyists Mon Corpuz, Edwin Karganilla, and Zer Cabatuan to the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao province.

Just wanting to take time off from their respective busy lives, they brought a bagful of jumbo pencils for the kids because their trip coincided with school opening.

The result was surprisingly meaningful that it inspired them to start this “Black Pencil Project” to inspire kids to go to school.

Now over a year later, and after several successful BPP Treks in other similar remote villages, BPP is giving jumbo pencils and Project Aral study kits to 16 selected remote communities across the country.

Each pupil, from Day Care to Grade 3, received three study kits and a keepsake portrait from the BPP Project Aral program. The photographs were printed on site, courtesy of Canon’s Selphy Clinic, which allowed instant printing of photographs with the same studio-like quality.

Corpuz, a creative director and web producer, said that BPP is their way of giving back to the community.

“We love to travel and take pictures of landscapes and people. And with BPP, we are able to use our hobby to help and inspire our contemporaries,” said Corpuz as he took portraits of a mother and her child with his Canon EOS 1D MarkII camera.


Instant printing of photographs in far-flung communities is not an easy feat because almost always, there is no electricity in these locations. Fortunately, Canon Selphy compact photo printers can work with battery packs. So, photographs can be printed straight from cameras even in isolated areas.

A mother and her child broke into tears after receiving copies of their photographs printed before their eyes. It was their first time to have their photo taken. The reaction was similar for all people from remote communities who never owned a photograph before BPP visited the community.

“We are delighted to be able to directly touch lives of people living in remote areas through our products,” said Ramon Arteficio, president and CEO of Canon Marketing Philippines Inc. “Canon is committed to support the Black Pencil Project because we believe that simple acts of compassion can inspire others to do their share to help people.”

The act of giving pencils to kids and taking people’s pictures may not be grand methods to change the world. But for Corpuz, Karganilla, and Cabatuan, it’s about demonstrating simple ways and means of becoming responsible individuals and introducing change in society. The three hope that BPP will spur ideas among passionate individuals to become instruments of hope.
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