In the lush, bright-green thickets of the Philippine’s Agusan Marsh, nestled in the country’s far south Mindanao island, children steer canoes through meandering waterways and swim in lakes.
The marsh is a playground, as well as a source of food, shelter, and culture for the Manobo Indigenous tribe that lives there in moored floating houses that rise and fall with the rainy seasons. For hundreds of years, this wetland ecosystem has been a veritable paradise for the Manobo people who make a living there hunting and fishing. The more than 100,000 inland acres is also home to nearly 200 species of birds, as well as mammals, reptiles, and fish living in the region.
The Agusan Marsh represents everything wetlands can offer—storm protection,