Balikbayan Box

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Cardboard Boxes
Cardboard Boxes

A three-dimensional box, containing a size small Golden State Warriors jersey, an eight pack of Spam, and bathroom essentials remained tucked away in the darkest corner of my house. “Ito ay para sa iyong mga kamag-anak sa Pilipinas,” [it's for your relatives in the Philippines] exclaims my Mother. “Balik,” meaning to return or go back, and “bayan,” meaning home or omeland. The box allows my family to connect with our relatives, being able to bestow upon them with goods we so graciously have access to. When my mother immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines at eighteen-years old, she landed in San Francisco. In the 2000s, she moved to Las Vegas, being a newly licensed Registered Nurse. What stood out to me was the dichotomy between the life my ancestors had lived in the Philippines, compared to the U.S. From fishing in a small village, to prospering in the U.S., their longing for a new life came to fruition. My Mother had passed down to me my great-grandfather’s autobiography, titled, The Son of a Fisherman by Floro C. Reyes. It contains a rich history of my past ancestors, of their life in Cavite City living on the rural side. I have realized that my family’s immigrant story connects to other family stories I am familiar with because of the journey of emigrating from our home country, to immigrating to the U.S. My mother had to conform to the social norms of the U.S. and in a way, strip herself and her relatives away from the place they called home. 

Place(s): Philippines and Las Vegas, Nevada

– Aeron Pearson

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant