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.

Maria Estela Altea, 65

Seafarers should always carry a rosary. Alam naman natin na mahirap ang trabaho nila, not just physically but spiritually kasi malayo sila sa mga mahal nila sa buhay.  

Our order of nuns, the Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd (SJBP) is based in La Union and we concentrate on migrants, both on land and at sea. We pray for seafarers and help fresh graduates find work both here and aboard international vessels. Marami kaming partner agencies tulad ng DOLE, POEA and DFA.  

Pero minsan, naiiyak ako when I talk to family members who seem more concerned about a seafarer’s remittances then how he or she is actually doing. Parang ATM yung turing sa kanila. We are all human beings and children of God. 

Our seafarers are guided by the Lady of the Sea, si Mama Mary. She is a mother who protects her children, especially when things get spiritually or emotionally difficult.  

It doesn’t take much to open your line to her. Just regular prayers, mass and confession. The Lady of the Sea is a beacon, a lighthouse in the darkness.” 

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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.