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Special Project

Special Project

Rising From the Ashes: Rekindling The Philippines Forest

Entered in Documentary Short


Our Better World, the storytelling platform of the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), showcases people doing good in Asia to inspire others to take action.

The lush Bukidnon forests of the Philippines, teeming with wildlife, set the backdrop for this particular conservation-focused story. These forests are home to indigenous tribes whose deep spiritual connection to the land compels them to serve as caretakers of the space that provides them with food and sustains their traditional practices. But their way of life is increasingly threatened by deforestation, with more than 700 ha of natural forest lost in 2023. Non-profit organisation Hineleban Foundation works with the tribes to plant trees and restore the ecosystem, replanting more than three million trees over a decade. It also empowers indigenous inhabitants by providing them with sustainable livelihood options.

Our film, ‘A Sacred Coexistence,’ spotlights the Hineleban Foundation's work with the seven indigenous tribes of Bukidnon, to restore parts of their forest in the northern Mindanao region of the Philippines. This is part of a larger annual environmental series, titled 'Our Better Earth', that was initiated to bring attention to environmental stories around the region, with the focus for 2023 on rebuilding Mother Earth.

Our mission is to use stories to support the conservation and protection of the environment by:


The film is aimed at drawing attention to an organisation in the Philippines that is driving positive change for the environment.

We cast indigenous tribe members who are part of the organisation, to show how working with local communities can foster deeper relationships with nature, enabling them to rebuild ecosystems more effectively. In the same way, this knowledge gets disseminated throughout the community, raising a generation of environmentally conscious individuals who are connected to their surroundings.

We targeted social media users who like inspiring conservation stories and those with an interest in nature across the Philippines, as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and Singapore.

The 'Our Better Earth' series also highlighted two other environmental stories in Malaysia and Singapore. We have found such content series to be more impactful when it comes to sharing messages and achieving our goals.

We also engaged conservationists to write blogs related to Hineleban's cause, while promoting it across our social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.


The film garnered 2.6 million online views across all social media platforms and on our site. A total of 364 actions were taken, including shares, comments, donations, enquiries, downloads and volunteer signups. This bears testament to the power of engaging storytelling to make a tangible impact on conservation efforts and local communities.

To measure the effectiveness of our story, we also sought feedback from our story partner, the Hineleban Foundation, which shared the following:

The OBW story has provided the foundation with greater exposure to funding and collaborative opportunities. The story definitely aided our organisation by transposing the work that we do into a visual medium, thereby helping to get our message across.


Video for Rising From the Ashes: Rekindling The Philippines Forest

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Our Better World (Singapore International Foundation)


Entry Credits