You don't need to be a photographer to know how easy it is for life to move on and for our personal photos to sit buried in our hard drives never to be seen again, so I'm relieved I can finally share some of these, because they're important to me. These photos are from our time going back home to The Philippines in late December (2014—yes, better late than never).
Since leaving The Philippines in 1996 we've only been back home to visit in 2004, 2011, and now in 2014. Every moment I get with both of my (very large) extended families is a deeply cherished one. Years usually pass between our visits and thankfully we can all stay in touch through the Internet now, but there was once a time when all we'd really get were very brief phone calls every so often. We have about 45 family members on my mother's side and about 70 on my father's, so that's a lot of stuff to miss out on.
I never forget my parents' incredible sacrifice—to spend years away from their own siblings, moving to countries they have no idea about at all (and at the time, there was no Googling it), not being able to be home for when illness arrives and steals more moments away from the already limited time we all have. My gratitude for that runs so deep, it permeates everything I do in my daily life: the one that I would not have had it not been for their choices.
After Christmas it was my mother's family's turn to have us. One sunny day, knowing that the monsoon was near, we spontaneously decided to go to a little island called Atulayan, not far from our hometown of Naga. This was just another one of those times where, despite the passing years and sometimes feeling as if you're meeting each other anew every time, we fall into a rhythm. The rhythm and familiarity that only comes from being with blood; from being home.