The first six photos on the flickr slideshow about the Buid are really charming. In the foreground of the first picture, a man is squatting on the floor of a hut chopping vegetables. Across from him, a young woman holds a small child on her lap, while other people are shown in the background. The next photo shows a man posing alertly in a tree, a forested ravine below him.
The third photo shows a Buid woman kneeling at the doorway of a tiny thatched hut, with a girl on the ground below and a pig wandering into the space beneath the floor. The fourth depicts a pregnant girl next to a very small child showing off her belly. The fifth shows a young family in a field, and in the sixth a girl holds a bird with a tether.
The Buid slide show on flickr includes 112 photos by Christian Erni of the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), which added 15 more photos to its Buid group on April 17. Almost all of the photos concentrate on the Buid people themselves—backgrounds of forests and fields are often incidental to the stories they suggest about the people and their lives in the mountains of southern Mindoro Island, Philippines.
For instance, a fine picture depicts a group of people staring off into the distance toward the mountains. Unfortunately, none of the pictures have explanatory comments, but the photo is reminiscent of the stories told by Thomas Gibson about how the Buid are able to avoid tensions.
When trying to arrange a group activity such as a cooperative agricultural task, Gibson (1988) writes, the people get together but they avoid dyadic interactions that could provoke conflicts. All may squat and face a distant point such as a mountain peak. One person will address the group—not another individual—and propose doing something together. When they perceive conflicts, they may talk them out, but not face to face. If people don’t want to be involved, they respond with silence. Since each speaker is always an individual and the listeners are a group, they avoid interpersonal clashes of wills, confrontations, and competition. However, it is impossible to tell if the six Buid in this picture are considering work proposals or if they are just enjoying the view.
Christian Erni, who is the Coordinator of Asia and Oceania Programmes for IWGIA, has published several books relating to the indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia, including one on the Buid (or Buhid as the name of the group is often spelled). The IWGIA is a Copenhagen-based NGO whose mission, according to its website, is “ to endorse and promote indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, their cultural integrity and their right to development on their own conditions.”
The mission statement continues, “IWGIA works within a wide range of areas: documentation and publication, human rights, lobbying and advocacy, research and projects.” Perhaps it should add, it publishes fine photos on flickr that show the faces (or in a few cases the backs) of peaceful people.