COMMUNITY

What is a COMMUNITY? In this new VISUAL STORIES album, we explore the meaning of this word to NATS, PAULITA and GLADYS – 3 people who have made a difference within their own communities.

PHOTOS: “Wall Climber” + “Children’s Charades”

#ROOT
NATS SISMA VILLALUNA was born and raised in Bacolod City.
#ROUTE
In September 2004, NATS left the Philippines to study a Masters in International Sectorial Economics in the city of Santiago de Compostela. Having lived in a city known to pilgrims all over the world, Nats has, of course, done his share of the Camino de Sanitago (St. James’ Way). In fact, he has done it 3 times! 100 kms in 2005, another 100 kms in 2008, and the full French Way (780 kms) in 2013. And being no stranger to long ROUTES, Nats has also travelled extensively and moved to different cities – first to Madrid, and later to Barcelona where he now lives.                             
#COMMUNITY

NATS took this photo of the children’s choir called KUDYAPI during one of their breaks. The choir was formed to help Spanish-born Filipino kids learn and appreciate Filipino values and culture through music. He co-organizes and directs the performances of the choir. Asked why he decided to take part in this community, Nats says it is his absolute “stress releiver,” a source of joy and positivity, which gives him the feeling that he is contributing to something productive. He also says the choir makes him feel he belongs to a big and happy family full of children! Follow Nats on Instagram: https://instagram.com/mymediterraneanlife/

PHOTOS: “Centro Filipino Home for Returning Migrants” + “The Returning Migrants” + “Ground Breaking”

#ROOT
PAULITA MARINA ASTILLERO is originally from Camotes Islands, in Cebu province.
#ROUTE
PAULITA was still a Benedictine Sister when she left the Philippines for Rome in 1988. She was then sent to live and work in Madrid in 1989, and later in Barcelona in 1992. It was on this ROUTE where she discovered her true vocation – to accompany the Filipino migrants. She has since become the President of the Centro Filipino in Barcelona, a community center whose programs include giving assistance Filipinos living in the city. PAULITA is now back in the Philippines, and she is still active, helping set up the Centro Filipino for Returning Migrants.                                                             
#COMMUNITY
Established in October 2014, the Centro Filipino for Returning Migrants is an organization that aims to accompany the Filipino migrants in their return to their country of origin, facilitate the process of adaptation and reintegration with their families and their environment, and share their knowledge towards development. The center currently has 50 members and is located in Dasmariñas, Cavite. Its members have come from all over the world – Spain, Saudi Arabia, the UK, the USA, as well as Germany. Its first program is the BAGIMPCO – Balik-Ginhawa Multi-purpose Cooperative. When asked about how the returned migrants have been doing so far, she said the most difficult for many is the adaptation to the weather and the way of life. Family as well as the conveniences of life abroad (such as transportation) are really missed. And then there is this need to deal with the idea many locals have – that Overseas workers have lots of money. Despite these, and through the Center, returning migrants are able to get the support they need from those who share the experience of having been abroad and trying to start a new life back “home.”
* Featured in this photo are 2 former Barcelona residents – Gladys and Mina – who have returned to the Philippines and are helping out at the Center.

PHOTOS: “Gladys and the Sea” + “BCN Drum and Lyre Group”

#ROOT
GLADYS BOGAOIT GARCIA is originally from the municipality of Lagangilang, in the province of Abra.
#ROUTE
In 2006, GLADYS left the Philippines to work in Jordan. What started out as a 2-year attempt to earn more than her salary back in Manila, became a 4-year adventure on the way to a new life in Spain. She has been living in Barcelona since 2010, and has been active in various groups – from music to sports – within the Filipino community there.
#COMMUNITY
This picture was taken from the 2014 Barcelona ‘Santacruzan’ – a Filipino Festival held in the month of May. GLADYS (center) organized a Drum and Lyre group from among the Filipino youth that would accompany the parade. She is also an active member of the Filipino church choir “Pintig,” singing as well as playing the guitar. But community organization is nothing new for Gladys. She has always been active even back in her hometown where she served in the local government’s youth council. She’s also told us that very soon, after almost 10 years abroad, she will finally be able to go back and be with her true, beloved community – her family.

 

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