The Filipino Migration Experience: Global Agents of Change.

The Filipino Migration Experience: Global Agents of Change. By Mina Roces. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2021. E-copy: 264pp.

Given the magnitude and diversity of international migration from the Philippines, considerable research has been conducted to discern its impact on Philippine social and economic realities. Such scholarship includes studies on the effects of remittances, understanding the "brain drain" and "brain gain" phenomena, as well as sociological investigations uncovering the impact of migration on cultural values and social norms.

While The Filipino Migration Experience deals with the same migration issues, its author, Mina Roces, asserts that it differs from most other works through its focus on migrants as "agents of change" [p. 3). By placing migrant agency front and centre, the book veers away from the arguably dominant lens of victimization that both the academic and policy discourses on the Philippine migration experience tend to focus on. Rather than passive subjects reacting to external forces beyond their control, the book portrays Filipino migrants as active agents capable of altering the economic, cultural and social landscape in both their home and host countries.

Roces uses an historical approach, piecing together a history of Filipino migration from the 1970s to the present. What is noteworthy about the process of writing this history is her use of material from what she refers to as the "migrant archives", which are data collected, published, and disseminated by the migrants themselves (p. 8). In doing so, Roces seeks to present a history of Filipino migration from the migrants' perspective. She argues that this is important because migrants "want their voices heard" and "their stories of challenges and successes to be visible and publicly validated" (p. 8).

The book proceeds in three parts. The first part (Chapters One and Two) deals with the way migrants have challenged traditional views about the Filipino family and constructions of gender and sexuality. Roces highlights that in the eyes of many migrants, the Filipino family has often failed to live up to its reputation as a nurturing and caring institution. Based on several migrant stories, readers are made aware of cases in which families demand too much of their migrant relatives, are unappreciative of the sacrifices they endure for their sake and fail to provide the moral and emotional support expected from them. In response to this...

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