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An Ocean Apart: Philippines and Madagascar

An Ocean Apart

The Philippines and Madagascar are about 5,500 miles (9,000 kilometers) apart, separated by the Indian Ocean, but that distance has been bridged culturally and linguistically through trade and migration. People from Borneo, the Philippines southern neighbor, were the first settlers in Madagascar, so we share similar physical characteristics and as well as Austronesian language roots.

When I travelled to Madagascar for the first time in 2012, I was struck by a sense of familiarity. I had returned to the Philippines in 2011 and the sights, sounds and smells of my homeland were still fresh in my memory when I landed in Madagascar a year later. Many Malagasy people reminded me of my cousins, not just in looks but in also mannerisms. A rice soup brought back memories of home. Local children teaching me to count in Malagasy made me realize some of the numbers in Tagalog were similar.

An Ocean Apart includes images from both countries.

Exhibitions:

A Sense of Place II, curated by Juan Alonso, presented by IDEA Odyssey Collective at Seattle City Hall Galleries, Nov. 4, 2013 – Jan. 3, 2014.

An Ocean Apart, Geraldine’s Counter, Columbia City, Seattle, Oct. 1 – Nov. 10, 2014.

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