Inspiration

This Filipina Domestic Worker Won Second Place at a National Geographic Photo Contest

Joan Pabona is one seriously talented photographer.
IMAGE JOAN PABONA
Comments

Last January 31, Filipina Joan Pabona did our country proud when she won second place in a photo contest held by National Geographic and Wheelock Properties in Hong Kong. She entered her photo, titled Sacrifice, in the National Geographic Wheelock Youth Photo Competition’s “People & Happenings in Hong Kong” category. The black-and-white photo depicts a construction worker gathering safety nets. 


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

“Sa eighth floor sa bahay ng amo ko, natanaw ko iyon habang naglilinis ako,” says Pabona, who works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong. “I chose this for my submission because it’s [a] very artistic and powerful picture. Hong Kongers are very hardworking, versatile, and resilient—and as I observe [them] every day, I can say that they are the engine of the city.”


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Sacrifice has a similarity with my daily life as a domestic worker, who works very hard and sacrifices to have a better future and [reach] greener pastures,” she adds. As first runner-up Pabona has won HKD6,500, and Sacrifice will be featured in the February issue of National Geographic magazine’s Chinese edition.


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Joan Pabona

When asked how she feels about winning, she says. “Of course [I’m] very happy kasi ako lang ang nakapasok na non-Cantonese speaking, at ako lang ang babae na nakapasok at [naging] awardee. Malaking karangalan iyon bilang isang Pilipino kasi out of 3,518 photos, lucky [ka] if makapasok ka na as [a] finalist. ’Tas marami na ring proposals at collaborations pero pinag-iisipan ko pa.

Photography has been a hobby of Pabona’s since her college days in Ilocos Sur, when she started shooting with a Fujifilm film camera. Her affinity for the art came from the enjoyment she took from observing her environment, and her admiration of black and white portraits and micro photography.

When she moved to Hong Kong, she started saving money to buy another camera. In 2015, she began self-study and attended photography and video workshops, including those of Lensational—a non-profit organization that aims to empower women through photography.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


Today, she enjoys wandering the streets of Hong Kong and capturing the city’s everyday scenes. “Photography kasi sa akin ang naging stress reliever dito tuwing day off ko. Kaya hanggang nagtatagal, nahasa nang nahasa ang kaalaman ko. ’Tsaka gusto ko ring kunan mga moments, daily life ng Hong Kong. So nainspire ako nang nainspire pag may nakukuha akong maganda,” she says.

Her employers are very supportive of her artistic pursuits. “Happy at proud na rin [sila], kasi naging makabuluhan ang pagstay ko dito because of photography,” she adds.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


Pabona has also directed a one-minute video that was included in an exhibition called Beyond Myself – Filipino Migrant’s Investments in Philippine Futures. Held at Goldsmiths’ in London, the exhibition is visiting the Vargas Museum from February 15 to 17. 

Ang pamagat ng video ay ‘The Make Up Artist.’ Iyon yung project namin noon sa workshop na naganap sa Hong Kong University, supported by Voices of Women Media,” Pabona explains.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

If her Facebook page is any indication, Joan Pabona is one seriously talented and versatile photographer who’s going to go places. 


*This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Angelica Gutierrez for Esquiremag.ph
View Other Articles From Angelica
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
The journey of the Igorots who were put on display for the world to see.
 
Share
They just arrived at the tennis tournament to watch Meghan's friend Serena Williams play in the women's final.
 
Share
It is harder now to determine who is Truly Rich, what with hordes of people coming into money or, you know, dressing like they have money.
 
Share
 
Share
 
Share
 
Share
Here's what you should know about the decade-spanning, nine-book series.
 
Share
The banker and philanthropist donated millions to create a cutting edge agricultural research center. He was rewarded with a bag of peas.
 
Share
Before the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) was built, many flocked to the Manila Grand Opera House to seek classical entertainment.
 
Share
For those who carry their whole lives with them to the office.
 
Share
It’s in the movies inspired by the Beatles' music, however, that we find the most magic.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US