Kwento | Serye
Story | Series of Filipino Diaspora in the U.S.
The Filipino diaspora in the United States was comprised of more than 4.3 million individuals who were either born in the Philippines or reported Filipino ancestry or race. Filipino immigrants also represented 28 percent of all immigrants working as registered nurses in 2018 according to tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 ACS.

While a big percentage of the Filipino workforce were registered to be in health services there is also a growing number of highly skilled Filipinos migrating in the U.S. who are likely to be employed in management, business, science, and arts occupations. As of 2014-18, the U.S. cities with the largest number of Filipinos were the greater Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York metropolitan areas. These three metro areas accounted for about 31 percent of Filipinos in the United States. (Migration Policy Institute)

This photo project “Kwento | Serye” ( Story Series) captures the life of Filipinos who have migrated in the U.S. in the last decade (2010 - present). These stories focus on specific persons, examining their experiences and the challenges that they face. Migrated in 2014 and settled in San Jose California, the photographer follows a community of Filipinos who shared the same circumstances and experiences living in the Bay Area California.
Nimfa Milla moved to the US in 2018 working as a Senior Internal Controls and Compliance analysts for a solar power company.  Her decision to settle here means she has more financial freedom and opportunity to help her parents back in the Philippines.
Staying in one of the U.S. most expensive places to live, Nimfa manages to save from the high cost of rent in San Jose California by co sharing - living with fellow Filipinos.
Aside from communication barrier and working in a diverse workforce, Nimfa sees her greatest challenge is keeping time managed from working 10-12 hours a day.
Originally from a small town of Inabanga, Bohol, she constantly push herself to accomplished things while battling corporate politics in the workplace.
Filipino immigrants are much more likely to be proficient in English than the overall foreign-born population based  
A room with a view. Consumed with work, Nimfa always cherished to go out with friends on weekends and travel different places as much as possible. This window is her outside world look specially during the pandemic when everything is in lock down and working from home.
The rosary reminds Nimfa of her home. She plans someday to go back to the Philippines and spend her retirement fund with good food and tropical weather.
Things that normally is an after thought in the Philippines are of significant importance here in the U.S. Access to Filipino food and the changing climate/weather are a shock in the system in the first year of moving.
Sharing supplies and food goes along way.  Budgeting finances for food is almost the same as for transportation or more. In contrast in the Philippines were one can hail a Tricycle or a Jeep to go get groceries, Filipinos that don’t have a car or know how to drive have a much harder time commuting or moving around the city.
To past time and relax, Nimfa paints different landscapes she learned from watching Youtube. She believes that living in the US is a dream come true. With more opportunity and freedom comes also hard work and persistence to live a comfortable life.
This is the 2nd house that Nimfa moved in since she started living in San Jose California.  Promoted to Corporate Accounting Manager, She soon will be moving to another apartment hoping for a bigger space and more privacy.
Zara Tadifa
Zara Tadifa started working in the U.S. in 2013 and decide to move permanently by 2016 given the opportunity to earn more. A risk manager by profession, Zara was able to go through the challenges of starting over. From learning how to drive and working on her credit score, she now owns a house in Brentwood California. Before that she had to move from apartment to apartment 4 times in the last 5 years.
A single mom, Zara constantly take care his only son Joaquin while juggling work and house chores. Living in the U.S. is hard but you reap the rewards through hard work. She said, if given the chance, she’ll do it over again not only for her but for the whole family.
Joaquin enjoys his new home. A three bedroom single family detached house, the Tadifa’s has now a bigger place to live and an open area to entertain guests.
Fulfilling a dream of house ownership, Zara eyes for her son to finish school or graduate in a premier university. The hope and dream of finishing school and owning a house are transferred from Filipino generations even the ones living in the U.S.
MPI tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2018 ACS accounts  almost half of Filipino immigrants (49 percent) reported having at least a bachelor’s degree in 2018, compared to 33 percent of the U.S. born and 32 percent of all immigrant adults.
A fun moment, through the Facebook app, Zara and Joaquin  connects with families in the Philippines. She said that being far from the family made her independent but the bond also feels closer. Hoping someday to find the one Zara plans to take graduates studies, write a book and travel the world.
A big part of living in the U.S. is also owning a car or at least know how to  drive one. One has to go thru a lot obstacles, from driving exams and long lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to navigating the super highways and dealing with car dealerships. Zara now enjoys traveling around California and plan to visit the different states.
Julie Ann Natividad decided to move to the U.S. for career and personal growth. A big part of that move is that someday she can bring her family and live here in the states. 
Most Filipinos who obtain green cards do so through family reunification channels. On the other hand Julie is waiting the processing of her resident visa sponsored by the company.
Working in accounting as a Lead in Internal Controls and Compliance, Julie is hook on the computer screen most of the time. A way to combat the feeling of sadness, Julie displays photos of her and her boyfriend who is currently base in the Philippines. Julie tries to cope with leaving her families, love ones and  friends by working long hours and creating her workspace as a personal space.
Julie wish to pursue her passion in arts that may eventually lead to business/source of income in the future. This painting, a gift from a friend, reminds her to embrace all things and changes that happened  but not to forget the values and memories of home.
One can see snippets of Philippine life in Julie’s vanity desk. From Filipino branded snacks and religious artifacts, listening to OPM music from the amazon echo speaker and singing along videoke style are some of the things most Filipino do to reconnect them back home. 
Religion still plays a central role in the lives of most Filipino Americans with most gatherings around churches.

Julie’s dreams are to have her own family and someday own a house here in U.S. Still renting she thinks that moving here is a blessing.
A view of Julie’s neighborhood. She will soon be moving with Nimfa to a bigger two bed-room apartment and brighter space.
May Ann Soquiat
May Ann Soquiat was offered a U.S.  base position from her company. Headquartered in San Jose California, the capital of Silicon Valley, the move will open for greener pasture and in the hindsight an opportunity for her parents to migrate. She also wish that her nephews and nieces can come study here. 
On a personal level, May Ann acknowledges that migrating abroad gave here a chance to live her own life and be independent from her parents.
An accounting manager, May Ann did not plan to migrate in the U.S. She is grateful that it did happen. Reaping the fruits of her hard work, She has successfully transitioned to another company providing her more flexibility for work and life balance.
Living alone May Ann promised herself to live as much as the same way back in the Philippines. Nothing fancy but enough that she get to rent a one bedroom apartment complete with big kitchen, private patio and a living space.
The main provider for the family, May Ann checks the situation back home thru text messaging. She worries about not being there in case of health emergencies and sends money for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. 
In 2019, Filipinos living abroad sent more than $35 billion in remittances to the Philippines via formal channels, according to the World Bank’s estimate. Remittances more than doubled in the past decade and represented about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019.
Occasionally May Ann prepare Balik Bayan boxes to be shipped to the Philippines. An enduring symbol of Filipino diaspora, these boxes normally contain small food items, clothing and other material connection to be shared by the family back home. ​​​​​​​
The transition from living in the Philippines to the U.S. means a lot of sacrifices for May Ann. She also says that luck and a good support system from friends and co workers made staying here feel like home. A permanent resident after 6 years, She now enjoys little moments with her new dog aptly named Appy (happy).
In fiscal year (FY) 2018, the Philippines was the sixth-largest country of origin for new permanent residents. Approximately 47,300 of the 1.1 million new LPRs were from the Philippines according to Migration Policy Institute.​​​​​​​
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