Text by Kimmy Baraoidan
Photos by Chris Quintana and Kimmy Baraoidan
A Tibetan landscape in the tropics. A post-apocalyptic desert wasteland. A dead tree’s leafless branches reaching out to the sky, as if in a last desperate attempt to stay alive. The last thing that these would conjure up is a dam. But this is the reality for Angat Dam in Bulacan and Magat Dam in Isabela.
In the solo photo exhibit Damned: The Growing Thirst for Water, photojournalist Maria Virginia “Gigie” Cruz-Sy shows how the continuous depletion of water and the increasing demand for this precious natural resource has affected the environment that these dams are in and the people whose livelihoods depended on it.
During the recent exhibit opening at Kanto Artist-Run Space in Makati City, Cruz shared the impetus for releasing these images to the public. She said that in 2010 when she had an opportunity to document the fish kill at Magat Dam and to participate in the monitoring of water levels in Angat Dam, she saw the devastating effects of El Niño on these dams. She said she feared for her children, that they would grow up in a world where water, one of the most important natural resource, is scarce.