Dr. Arlyn Jawad Jumao-As checks patients in her clinic in Lamitan City, Basilan. Photo by Martin San Diego

This is the longer version of the story published on Rappler.

BASILAN, Philippines — Two Huey helicopters circled over Mohammad Ajul for hours on October 4, 2019. The town was where the first ISIS flags in the Philippines were recovered.

At 10:58 a.m., both were ordered to commence the mission. Each wielding two machine guns capable of 500 rounds a minute, the choppers maneuvered lower. Its sound grew louder.

In the target school below, residents looked up, ran and shouted, arms raised.

A doctor stood still, and watched it all.

She is Arlyn Jawad Jumao-As. She remembered her dreams of…


This is the December 2018 original version of my story published on Rappler.com in two parts.

MARAWI, Philippines — “That is the ideal death,” 24-year-old aspiring filmmaker Sakeena* said. For her, to be a freedom fighter — a Mujahideen — is the greatest honor for a Muslim.

In her college freshman year, Sakeena eyed a three-month training with an armed group to prepare for an upcoming Jihad — an Arabic word often associated with war against non-Muslims, but can also pertain to efforts for the betterment of society. …

Martin San Diego

Martin is a documentary and editorial photographer based in Quezon City, Philippines

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store