Swiss Photographer Sam Arn highlights the way of life in the Philippines through a Photo Exhibit in Switzerland

Zollikofen, Switzerland — On September 11, 2015, Swiss Photographer Sam Arn inaugurated his photo exhibit entitled “Philippines.”. Through the help of his family, friends and colleagues, Sam successfully installed 12 photographs showcasing the way of life in the Philippines. Transportation, friendship, children, shapes and forms are the main theme(s) of the exhibit.

I wanted to let people know how I felt when I travelled the Philippines.

Feelings. If there is one person I know who is truly, madly, deeply in love with the Philippines, it would be Sam. The middle child of the family, Sam grew up in Pieterlen, Switzerland and did not have any idea that one day, he will be a travel photographer. His journey in Southeast Asia started in 2014 covering the countries of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. He travelled in these countries for a maximum of 2 months. To complete the ultimate Southeast Asia backpacking adventure, Sam decided to go to the Philippines and stayed for 7 months!

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“Philippines” Photo Exhibit Opening Day in Zollikofen, Switzerland. | Photo by Sam Kocher

Sam also confessed that he discovered his ‘talent’ while he was in the Philippines. During his trip in Bohol, his filmmaking device broke and wasn’t able to find the camera parts he needed to film. He then tried taking photos and said that he is really happy experimenting with his camera while he’s at it. He took loads of photos to learn more about lighting and compositions. The most important part of the journey was feeling genuine happiness about discovering something about himself. For him, it was a blessing in disguise — if his filming device did not fail him, he will never get the chance to find out he has the natural skills with shutters.


Sam have successfully introduced the Philippines to Switzerland. | Photos by Sam Kocher

I think I stayed there for so long because I really loved Dumaguete. My plan was to move to China and teach English but it didn’t feel right at the time. I wanted to stay for as long as I can. And then I fell in love with a Filipina and moved to her hometown in Iloilo. 

Of course, how can you fall in love with the Philippines and not notice the Filipina women? Sam met Belle in a lovely day in Iloilo and were inseparable since. They travelled to remote islands in the country — places that I myself never heard of before. Through their travels, Belle became his muse and he took outstanding photographs of her without losing sight of the Philippines’ undeniable beauty.

Find someone that inspires you, find someone who will share your dreams.

A photo posted by Sam Arn (@samwithacam_) on

Sam was not a tourist in the Philippines. His trip was not about fulfilling a bucket list. It was about being deeply involved in a culture that isn’t his; it’s about knowing how the other side of the world eat, cook and speak; it’s about making friends, building relationships and having a place you can call home. The Philippines truly changed his way of life and his experiences were so powerful and fundamental.

“Philippines” will be running until October 23, 2015 at Informa: Rütti 5, 3053 Zollikofen, Switzerland. His photographs are also for sale. Should you be interested, visit Sam’s Facebook page for more information.

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha is an ambassador of Girl Rising, a global movement for girls' education and empowerment. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on Instagram: @psimonmyway


  • September 14, 2015

    That is very cool how Sam followed his heart and chose to stay in the Philippines and found his true love! I think if we listen to and follow out hearts, it always leads us to the right places. Thanks for introducing us to Sam’s photos. They are amazing.


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