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.

Eduardo Lumabi, 42

Mahirap talaga maging security guard, pero mas okey na kaysa magsibak lang ako ng kahoy sa amin. Taga Tabuk ako, sa Kalinga. Mahigit 20 taon na rin ako security guard. Mga isang dekada na rin ako dito sa Intramuros, nagchecheck ng ID saka mga papeles bago pumasok yung mga tao sa building. Mababait at maayos naman ang mga seamen kasi alam nila kami yung pwedeng humarang sakanila.

Minsan lang, may mga umiinit ang ulo pag hindi namin pinapapasok. Meron kasi kaming 3PM cut-off. Pag nagpapasok kami, malalagutan kami sa taas. Kaya kelangan talaga namin silang pigilan at pabalikin nalang ng maaga kinabukasan.

Minsan merong nagagalit. Naninindak. Naninigaw. Pero tahimik lang kami kasi alam namin na hihinto rin sila. Gusto ko lang malaman ng lahat, wala pong personalan ito. Sumusunod lang kami sa utos. Kelangan eh, para sa pamilya namin.

Minsan nga, naiisip ko kung papaano kung baliktad naman. Ano kaya kung ako yung seaman na kumakausan sa security guard bago kumokolekta ng malaking checke sa loob? Nakakatawa, pero hindi naman kasalanan ang mangarap, diba?

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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.