Part of the satisfaction in using Instagram is finding meaning in an image, one that is purely personal. The words that go with each of these photos somehow reflect what I or my peers have experienced. And being in another country, it is but natural that I speak about the “migrant experience.”
These pictures are my favourites because they reflect questions that I have asked myself through the years. They are also images that speak. There are a lot more of these images, of course. But having to narrow it down to 4 that reflect what ROUTE PROJECTS is about, I choose these. It is about OFWs, about titles, about the next generation, and about what’s to become of them. This is just the small picture, literally and figuratively. But I hope that in time, a bigger picture could be painted. One that could answer questions and give meaning to the Filipino migrant experience.
“Categorically Speaking” – A trip back to Manila in 2014. My flight passed through Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I and Overseas Filipino Workers from Europe and the Middle East were waiting for our luggage. I turned around and saw this sign. I thought – Is this like arriving at a strange destination and finding a stranger holding up a piece of cardboard with your name on it? I wondered if it made anyone there feel relieved.
“Looking Back” – Also in 2014. A trip to my Alma Mater, the University of the Philippines. Decided to check out Manila’s public transport system, which had changed so much since my college days. The people on them had not changed much, I noticed. Neither had the poor little kids selling hair accessories at the “Beach House” by the Main Library.
“Future’s Come” – This was taken from one of my walks around Raval in Barcelona. Spanish kids, or 2nd generation Filipino migrants, were scattered all around the Museum of Modern Art every afternoon. I always felt invisible around them – not sure if it’s because I looked like them or because they were simply kids having a great time.
“Integration” – Another one of my walks in Raval. This was at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, one of my favourite spots in the city. This was also where a lot of Spanish-Filipino youth came to play, to practice a dance routine, or to simply hang out. This image of a mother and her little baby, of Filipino kids at the back, of shadows and lines aligning, is a gift from my Barcelona universe. No other image of mine has ever come out so perfectly.
See more of ROUTE PROJECTS’ photos on INSTAGRAM