Tag Archive: New People’s Army


The National Geographic Magazine published this article on post-EDSA 1 Philippines on July 1986. Written by Arthur Zich and photos by renowned photojournalist Steve McCurry, the article rides on the “People Power” euphoria and dismisses the continuing revolutionary struggles by the New People’s Army and the Moro National Liberation Front as “threats” to the supposed “new democratic order” under Corazon Aquino.

We all know how that ended up.

The magazine apparently used only one photo on the NPA (page 92) that McCurry took. Some  photos can be viewed in his website.

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Screen grab of McCurry's website, with a photo, apparently, of New People's Army members before a flag of the Communist Party.

Screen grab of McCurry's website, with a photo, apparently, of New People's Army members before a flag of the Communist Party.

Renowned photographer Steve McCurry, who worked for the premiere photographer agency Magnum, covered the Philippines for seven months in 1986, just before and after the February uprising that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In his website, McCurry briefly described his time in the country. Many of the photos later came out in the July 1986 issue of the National Geographic magazine.

McCurry wrote in his website:

I spent seven months in the Philippines and was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

I was one of the first to enter the Malacanang Palace after Marcos fled.  I called my illustrations editor, Elie Rogers, from Imelda Marcos’s bedroom and saw first hand her sumptuous wardrobe.  Looters were grabbing things.  Some were so loaded down they could hardly walk.

On the desk, I saw a communique from the White House warning Marcos against using force.  The palace was strewn with fast-food chicken and noodle containers from a final meal.  In the chapel, I saw the palace staff praying.

His photos and writeup can be viewed here.

I have yet to get hold of a copy of the NatGeo issue where McCurry’s photos came out.

(Update 11 April 2012: I did manage to get hold of a copy of the Natgeo issue. The magazine printed one photo of NPAs that McCurry took.)

Filipino photojournalist Gil Nartea makes a nostalgia trip to the New People’s Army of the 1980s, with his photo exhibit (at the Fred’s Revolucion bar in Cubao, Quezon City, PH) and article in the popular online site Rappler.com.

For a photojournalist, it was a time to make sure that the revolution will be photographed, to paraphrase that popular poem.

I would go up the densely forested areas of the mountains several times, armed with 2 Olympus film cameras, roaming the red areas of the NPA, the small isolated barrios uphill, where basic social services are non-existent and government military troops, doctors and school teachers are rarely seen.

Interestingly, Gil Nartea now works as a close-in photographer for Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Read the entire writeup here.

Here is the accompanying photo slideshow to the writeup: