Hi there, my name is Toni, and I'm photojournalist from the Philippines. It's always been my passion to travel and tell stories through my photos. I love taking photos of people I meet on the road and sharing a little bit of their individual stories to an audience. I have was based in Cambodia for a couple of years before giving up the dream of travel and photography and moving back to my hometown in the Philippines to support my then-husband's dream of starting his own business.
The recent years did not come easy for me, being in a manipulative and abusive marriage that led me to stop believing in myself and my capabilities to make it as a photographer. It ultimately led me to suffer from depression. Living in the Philippines where mental health isn't given much importance or isn't understood at all, it was hard to get support even from loved ones. I pushed myself and remained--or at least tried very hard to remain positive.
This year, I decided I would take my life back and start traveling and pursue my dreams of being a photojournalist in August with what little savings I had--this is where I find myself the happiest and has always fueled that fire in me. But unfortunately, just like everything else, living your dreams doesn't come easy. Last month I underwent an operation, which left me with mounting hospital bills. I had to reach into my more than just travel fund, but also had to sell my camera equipment and laptop to be able to pay for them.
And so I'm reaching out to everyone who believes in chasing after your dreams and paving your way in life no matter your circumstance or the hardships that come your way. I will be needing funding to replace my equipment and jumpstart my journey around the world. I hope to encourage other people to realize their dreams whatever that may be, to remain kind and optimistic, and to fully live life to the fullest.
*Photos herein are from previous works I've had in the Philippines that showcase resilience and optimism despite hardships*