The annual Black Nazarene procession is a tradition that dates back to 1787. Devotees celebrate the “solemn transfer” of a life-sized image of a dark-skinned Jesus Christ carrying the cross, known as the Black Nazarene. According to legend, the image arrived in the Philippines in the 16th century through a burning galleon resulting in a charred look, and was later moved from its original shrine in Intramuros to the Minor Basilica in Quiapo Church. Millions of people have participated in the annual Traslación procession to commemorate the occasion. Unfortunately, the event has been canceled due to the ongoing pandemic.

Jilson Tiu is an independent professional photographer and photojournalist based in the Philippines. His work focuses on social and environmental issues. Photography is both food for the soul and bread-and-butter for Tiu, who considers himself a journeyman in the trade. He shoots for editorial and commercial work, and contributes photos and stories to digital and print media locally and abroad. He has worked with Greenpeace, EU, UNDP, Oxfam, National Geographic, Financial Times, the Guardian, among others. You’ll find Jilson’s varying perspectives in life on Instagram, from street scenes to the rural idyll. Wherever he roams, Jilson seeks to define the word “density” in a photograph.

In Makati, Philippines, a local basketball stadium has been transformed into a vaccination site to combat the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has had a devastating impact on the world, resulting in the loss of over 6 million lives as of 2023 and disrupting nearly every aspect of society.

"Photography is about expressing individuality through perspective. It is a way of preserving life — a way of rendering stories with light."

Jilson Tiu

A construction worker traverses an unfinished railway as severe traffic congestion clogs the nearby highway. Traffic jams in Metro Manila have been a long-standing issue, with a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency finding that it results in 3.5 billion php worth of “lost opportunities” every day. The problem is primarily caused by a lack of accessible public transportation and inadequate infrastructure. The situation is projected to worsen, with the cost of lost opportunities expected to triple by 2030.
Despite the recent eruption of Taal volcano, fisherfolk have returned to the island to continue fishing, despite the presence of ash covering the surrounding area. The eruption has caused significant damage to the agricultural industry in the Philippines, with losses estimated at over 3 billion php (USD 59.98 million) by the Department of Agriculture. This includes crops such as coffee, cacao, pineapple, rice, and coconut. The fishing industry has been particularly impacted, experiencing losses of 1.6 billion php (USD 31.36 million) for tilapia and milkfish culture in the Taal lake area.
Tropical Storm Vamco, also known as Ulysses, has resulted in 67 deaths, 13 missing individuals, and numerous injuries in the Philippines. The storm brought strong winds and heavy rainfall, causing widespread flooding and landslides, and resulting in the evacuation of over 350,000 people. This disaster occurred while the country is already struggling with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the challenges of dealing with multiple crises simultaneously. This is an example of the impact of climate change that we are currently facing.
Workers gather PET plastics for recycling at a facility in Manila, Philippines. Despite global efforts to decrease plastic use, we currently produce 400 million tons annually. Plastic will continue to be a presence in human society in the foreseeable future.
Mother and child wait for their father to bring water while they stand in the flood. This pathway, located under the MacArthur bridge, is typically used as an underpass to cross from one lane to another. For years, this pathway has been clogged with plastic trash and stagnant water. The area is prone to flooding, even without rain. Not only does the water block the path, it also harbors dangerous viruses like dengue. The family pictured here is homeless and has just received a food donation, which is held by the mother, while the nearby condominiums can be seen reflected in the floodwater.