120° E, Philippines

Longitudinal Installation by Xavier Cortada

“The disaster covered almost every corner of this province - rampaging floods, falling trees, damaged houses. It happened very rapidly and many people did not expect this because they haven’t experienced mudflows in those areas before.”

— Fernando Gonzalez, governor of Albay province

Fernando Gonzalez is a representative of the third district of Albay to the Philippine congress. He is keen on preserving historical heritage sites for future generations, but also for the improvement of the economic state of those who live in the vicinity of these sites. However, heavy mudflow devastates these sites, homes, and businesses in the Philippines when rain washes down and landslides bury all in its path. In 2006, a Guinsaugon landslide killed over 12,000 people after an earthquake triggered an avalanche of mud that came down the mountain slope towards a village. Also in 2006, a typhoon drenched the region with rains creating a mudslide of volcanic ash from Mayon Volcano. Since most of the mudflow is caused by rain and the movement of volcanic ash or rock sediment, if climate change doesn’t get better, neither will this issue as it increases in frequency. 

The Philippines is still highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change including sea-level rise, increased frequency of extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and extreme rainfall. Natural disasters that are exacerbated by climate change like these landslides only make resiliency harder for the island nation because of its dependence on natural resources and its vast coastlines where all major cities and the majority of the population reside. Also, the poorest of the nation who live in temporary shelters are the most at risk as they don’t have the ability or resources to move somewhere new. If no changes are made to how humans around the globe interact with the Earth, temperatures will continue rising, weather extremes will cause more devastating natural disasters, and a future of a safe and sustainable Philippines is unlikely.