“Balikbayan” is a Filipino word referring to an individual who lives outside the Philippines returning for a visit. It is a composite word comprising of the word ‘balik’ meaning ‘to return’ and ‘bayan’ meaning ‘country,’ ‘community,’ ‘village,’ or ‘my house.’
Our project uses this word literally and metaphorically.
Our work will use the questions of identity that are common for the majority of Filipinos who were born or raised outside of the Philippines to explore the rich cultural legacy that we all share. In the project we will encourage the members of our community to share their own stories of cultural exploration, and ask those who have just begun to join us in a virtual visit ‘home.’
For us ‘bayan’ means more than just ‘country,’ ‘community,’ ‘village,’ or ‘my house’—it’s also about being a complete individual with knowledge of one’s own unique and proud history and cultural legacy. Being a ‘balikbayan’ is more than a trip to the tropical land of your parents, it’s a trip inside towards knowledge of self.
This project intends to explore identity through the lens of literal balikbayans, hoping to bring Filipino-Canadians to the metaphorical home that is self-realization. We will speak with and record the views of Filipino-Canadians both in Canada and in the Philippines, and we will show our own vision of the country via a multimedia installation project.
The work will consist of two parts:
1) An online presence (a blog and on facebook). We will also use it as a travel blog focusing on identity issues, as well as to share stories of Philippine history and culture.
2) A physical installation project to debut at the Kultura Festival in the summer of 2010. This multimedia installation will feature photos, short videos, interactive video, and a short film projected on a large screen. The installation will feature all new work not previously posted online. This will include our favourite interviews with balikbayans, short videos on history and culture, and a 15-20 minute film exploring the life we left behind when our parents migrated to Canada. It will all be presented within a ‘Philippine’ setting which we will build.
* Project Balikbayan is partially funded by Ontario Arts Council.
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Felipe graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto with the goal of being a human rights lawyer but along the way became a photographer. His photography has been featured in a variety of local, national and international publications and exhibitions. His photo essay about Canadian-owned mining in the Philippines for which he won honourable mention at the 2009 National Magazine Award for Photojournalism)
Vincent Galvez is a multiple platform content creator. Now working as a writer, director & producer, he dropped out of computer sciences at UofT to follow his passion for filmmaking. This led him to the Vancouver film school foundations program where he graduated with honors. He wrapped principle photography on his first feature film in fall 2009, and is currently production mentor and web content producer for the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture.
MIGRANTE Ontario Youth is an organizing group which aims to bring together Filipino youth for the purpose of building awareness about the history and continuing struggles of the Filipino people towards engaging in collective action for social change.
They conduct educational activities and campaigns about issues faced by our community in Canada, issues of our fellow Filipino im/migrants in other parts of the world, and current issues in the Philippines.
Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture (KAPISANAN) is a multi-purpose non-profit arts and cultural center. We provide the public with original work by young Filipino artists through the integrated showcases of various disciplines such as: performance, visual and literary arts, film and video, and music. We are a focal point for youth and young entrepreneurs seeking cultural, professional and production opportunities. We do this by offering mentorship programs, educational arts-based workshops and activities, networking and cultural events