Creating Imagined Homelands and the Politics Behind the Balikbbayan Identity
Humilde, Angeli Grace
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Balikbayan is a Filipino term used to describe Filipinos who have left the homeland, and have returned for temporary visits. Due to the large economic contribution of balikbayans in the past, the Philippine state has hailed those who occupy this status as Heroes of the Nation. In the recent years, balikbayans have been targeted by real estate development companies as sources of capital due to the widely held belief by Filipinos that balikbayans are very wealthy. Many development companies specifically look to target balikbayans to purchase luxury enclave development properties in the Philippines as investment properties. Using data that I had gathered from my fieldwork in the Philippines in the summer of 2014, I will examine what role these luxury properties and consumer consumption have in displaying the balikbayan identity, why it is such a desired subject position by Filipinos, and the discrepancies between the state definition of balikbayan, versus on the ground definition of balikbayan.