During Summer 2019, I took a trip back to the Philippines after 10 years. During this trip, we visited my grandfather's house in a neighborhood called Cabacungan. This house, for my family, is a representation of the efforts of my mother and aunt leaving their home country to find better opportunities in the United States, where I was born. In the same way, I want my thesis to be a representation of the gratitude I feel towards them working to pay for my education. The experiences and stories of others are windows to understanding the human you are conversing with. For me, they gave insights about my own experiences and identity. As someone who was not born and raised in the Philippines, these stories from my mother and aunt are ones that should be treasured because I didn't experience it growing up. Being a first-generation Filipina-American, it was hard for me to feel like I belonged -- the way I was raised is different from others in the States, and when I was in the Philippines, I was different because it wasn’t where I grew up. In the practice of listening to and creating work related to these stories, I can feel closer to my identity, and save these stories forever.
Modeling and animating these objects and characters in 3D, I feel like I am paying homage to them, making little souvenirs for myself to share with others. The objects, such as a bike and its sidecar, or a coconut tree are normal, everyday life things in the Philippines, yet they hold such sentimental value and significant memories for me -- like squeezing into a sidecar to get to a destination, the sound of a rooster first thing in the morning or watching people climb coconut trees in amazement when I was younger. It reflects the everyday simplicity but specialness of these objects. I want to share the beauty and appreciation of simple things that remind me of my other home. I hope to continue create a platform where stories from people like me will have a voice and opportunity for others to appreciate them.