The island of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines is a place of contrast between traditional, rural life and the modern world. In the province of Bukidnon, where the lives of many are still heavily influenced by the annual rice harvest, the small village of Kalabugao lies nestled amongst the mountain ranges. As harvest time approaches, farmers entrust their rice to drivers and brokers who will transport it over 70 kilometres to markets – a journey which can take anywhere from six hours in dry season to several days during wetter weather. Along this route, muddy ditches and landslides continually put both cargo and drivers’ lives at risk; a potentially fatal delay for any crop not delivered in time.
The Santiago de Compostela Valley is home to another anomaly: curious vehicles known as ‘Saddams’ – named after the former Iraqi dictator – scour the hills for abandoned gold mines in search of forgotten riches. The slaves who mined these locations years before face unimaginable danger and peril to extract bags of stone that could yield precious metals or jewels.
This fascinating glimpse into life on Mindanao’s most inaccessible lands is explored further in an upcoming documentary entitled ‘Rice Conveyor & Saddams’. By watching this film, viewers will be able to discover what life is like for those living and working amidst its natural beauty – from traditional farming practices to a new wave of gold prospectors looking for whatever riches may remain hidden beneath its surface. A captivating story that blends culture, history and adventure awaits anyone brave enough to explore it.