This is a collaborative post with Andre Ortega, a graduate student at the University of Washington. He is a cultural geographer who is doing his dissertation research on how the real estate boom in the Philippines is reconfiguring everyday life in a rapidly urbanizing Philippines. (Click on the photos to view a larger version.)For decades, farmers in Hacienda Yulo, or popularly known as Canlubang, have been struggling to regain their right to till the land. The estate that covers around 7,100 hectares of land and used to be the Canlubang Sugar Estate, is owned by the influential Yulo Family.
The history of the Canlubang property dates back to when it was part of the Calamba friar lands. During American colonization, the estate was purchased by an American multinational sugar corporation and became the Calamba Sugar Estate. After the war, the estate was acquired by businessman Vicente Madrigal and was eventually sold to Speaker Don Jose Yulo, Sr. using a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines. In the late 1970s, portions of the estate were converted into industrial zones, golf courses and housing developments and a Canlubang Urban Development Project was launched facilitating the effective conversion of the estate. In 1993, the whole estate was classified as ‘Industrial’ which effectively exempted it from redistribution through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
These photos show the places navigated by farmers who continue to struggle for their land in Hacienda Yulo. From the gates of the Department of Agrarian Reform to the coconut plantations of Sitio Buntog, farmers are living an everyday space that is risky but full of hope and bravery.
If you’d like more information on the struggle of these farmers, check out the Facebook page for Baranggay Canlubang.