The government of the Philippines has for decades encouraged its citizens to seek work abroad and send money back to the country in remittances....

The government of the Philippines has for decades encouraged its citizens to seek work abroad and send money back to the country in remittances. But in recent years it has increasingly sought to entice Filipinos who have settled abroad to come home, not only for tourism but also for retirement. In Migrant Returns: Manila, Development, and Transnational Connectivity (Duke University Press, 2017), Eric J. Pido travels with Filipino Americans as they try to reimagine their lives and lifestyles in the gated communities and malls of Manila, and beyond. Along the way he encounters real estate agents, bureaucrats, investors and family members of returnees, or balikbayan, all in one way or another participating in attempts at selling an idea of home, one that for balikbayan from the US in particular evokes feelings both of homecoming and of a homeliness that they associate with their years spent on the other side of the Pacific.

Eric J. Pido joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to talk about histories of departing from and returning to the Philippines, segregated suburbs and walled megacities, the balikbayan economy, returning migrants’ anxieties and hopes, medical tourism, and 1950s nostalgia.

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Megha Amrith, Caring for Strangers: Filipino Medical Workers in Asia

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Nick Cheesman is a fellow at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. He can be reached at [email protected].

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