These images, taken with 35mm black and white film and a Pentax MX, contain fragments of life in Manila, Philippines, and are meant to show my experience of returning home after living alone in New York City for an entire year. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote, “[T]ime also stumbled and had accidents and could therefore splinter and leave an eternalized fragment in a room.” Spending my entire summer back in Manila was like revisiting (and living in) a Garcia Marquez novel. I found home in the cityscapes of Makati and Quezon City, the sea, the searing sunlight, the old wooden rocking chairs, and the religious imagery present always and everywhere.
Life in Manila is so different compared to life in New York, and for three and a half months, I found myself missing my friends, my favorite cafe, the neon lights downtown, pilgrimages to the Hotel Chelsea, and cappuccinos at 3 AM. There were so many things I knew I’d miss about the city, but throughout my stay in Manila, I learned to make art out of time spent with family, time spent alone, and time spent with the place that impacted me the most throughout my childhood and adolescence. I spent an entire three months immersing myself in all the details of life in Manila, the same way I did upon first discovering New York. There is so much to be said about discovering and rediscovering the places that have shaped you and your art, and I am so grateful for the past summer. It showed me the beauty of experiencing and being impacted by two completely different worlds.