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.

Freddie De La Cruz, 41

I was working as a steward at the Manila Polo club when a friend at my boarding house helped me become a seaman. It’s been 15 good years and I’ve been able to buy a farm in Iloilo. Four hectares planted with rice, bananas, mangoes, calamansi. And cacao, am thinking of trying cacao. I’ve been around. My favorite area is Europe, not just because it’s clean and there’s a lot to see but because it’s safe. The worst place to sail is Africa. Somalia. When we pass through there we have armed guards that go aboard. Thank God pirates haven’t taken us yet. But what I’ve invested the most in is education. My kids can go to any school they want. Take any course they want. I already put all three of my brothers through school. They turned out great – and they became seamen. Just like me.

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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.