Postcards From Home: 11 Stories of Filipinos Abroad

Like most Filipinos, I grew up surrounded by friends and family.

And I'm not just talking about an errant relative visiting every now and then. I mean I literally grew up with dozens of cousins running rampant all over our bungalow. 

In the summer, we would be out all day in the sun, playing intense games of siatong or batterfeet or bahaw-bahaw. 

There were trees to climb, knees that inevitably got skinned and bikes that didn't get returned to their owners until late in the afternoon.

Christmases and birthdays were spent in sleepovers where nobody actually slept until the wee hours of morning. Instead, we kept vigil watching Harry Potter marathons and eating suspicious amounts of seafood.

Most of my friends are people I've known since childhood, too. We went to fiestas together, pranked people together and had coffee dates whenever appropriate.

It was always like this...until it wasn't.

I found myself one holiday season without any friends to spend it with. 

Suddenly, there were no rowdy cousins. 

No guests in the guest room.

No errant relatives, even.

What happened?

Like most Filipinos, many of my friends and family opted to work abroad or even move there for good.

It's a fact of life for us Pinoys. People simply...go. And to be perfectly honest, it's something that I really struggled to come to terms with growing up.

Leaving is tough, and getting left behind is tough, too. There's no easy way to go about it.

So from sleepovers and childhood games and cafe dates, I've learned to love Skype calls and emails and social media posts to make up for the time and distance. 

Now, all of this is well and good, but still, I felt there was something missing.

I wanted to know more.

I wanted to know how these people were doing beyond the Instagram post and the happy-faced emoji. I wanted to know what New York felt like in the summer, or if living in London was as glamorous as it is painted to be. I wanted to know their struggles, their joys and if they plan to live there for good.

I wanted to know the real story of these friends and family who are near and dear to my heart.

And so, I did what I could:

I sent out a request to these people who've found a home away from home. I asked them to tell me their stories.

I also asked a "postcard" for good measure--- a photograph or two from wherever they are now---because let's face it, I'm a sucker for photographs.

The response has been overwhelming, to say the least.

Here we've got 10 postcards from people from all over the world: from New York to London to Dubai to The Netherlands to Las Vegas to Ireland--- and many other places.

In these postcards, you'll find stories of how these island boys and girls found a home away from home. Some of them are happy stories, other bittersweet tales, but all of them are triumphs in their own little ways.

Okay, I won't keep you.

Just click on any of the postcards below. Enjoy!


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