Click here for the Filipino version. 

Carl Joshua Flores, 23

The secret to engine maintenance is cleanliness and alertness. You need to constantly check if everything is clean and working properly. Few engines will have problems if you’re vigilant. I worked for a year as an engine cadet at an inter-island ferry servicing Sorsogon and Samar, with occasional trips to Cebu. I want to move up, so I’m taking a test today.

I spent more hours than I can remember studying. At home, especially when everyone’s still asleep. Or already asleep. If we have guests, then I’d go to 7-11 or someplace quiet and affordable to concentrate. I don’t memorize answers – there are 3000 random questions in today’s examinations. My style is to understand the concepts behind questions, so I don’t need to mechanically remember answers. I hope not just to pass, but to finally apply my skills at an international ship and become a chief engineman someday. 

I’m a hard worker because I want to be a good panganay for our family. I’m the eldest of seven kids and I want to set a good example for my brothers and sisters. I want to help make their dreams come true, just as my parents are doing for me. In our family, we stick together.”

A new visual series by Seafarer Asia, Kumusta, Kabaro? Kumusta, Kaibigan? gives viewers gritty glimpses into the lives of Filipino seafarers and their kin. True tales of love, pride, sacrifice, failure and success weave a living tapestry and an oral history of life at sea. The subjects are given free rein on what to share and how they wish to be photographed. The series is inspired by the popular photoblog, Humans of New York.

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Gregg Yan

Gregg Yan is an award-winning writer and photographer who covers marginalized groups and environmental conservation issues. His work has been featured by National Geographic, Discovery Channel, CNN plus over a dozen books – including Into the Wild, his first coffee table book. He also has a monthly magazine column on wildlife.