The Filipino global diaspora has precipitated the circulation of embodied modesof identification and belonging. This paper focuses on the experiences of Filipinoyoung people who were born and/or raised abroad, and who have returned to thePhilippines to seek fame and economic mobility in the entertainment industry.These migrant hopefuls, unlike older counterparts, enact the material tensionsand semantic contradictions that form part of popular discourse around lifeabroad. As such, institutional media practices and mass audience perceptionsmirror such conditions and create shifting systems of valuation around suchthings as skin color, accent, and bodily comportment. To respond and conformto these demands, these migrant returnees refashion cultural citizenship bydeploying performances of locality and authenticity with varying successes. Suchcorporeal revisions enable the displacement of attachments to and affinities forvarious expressions of home, citizenship, and selfhood. The main contention ofthis ethnographic and media study is that these experiences constitute what isbeing called an “aesthetics of mobility” where the shifts and travels of meaningsand value inherent among this group return migrants are embodied in ways thatunravel notions of class, gender, race and national belonging. The experiences ofthis youth group provide a distinctive narrative about the travails and travel ofbodies and generations of modern Filipinos in the world.


balikbayan, cultural citizenship, identity, performance studies, popular culture, return migration

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)