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.

Giordan Riven Edolan, 17, Brother

“I’m the younger brother of Jinple Allen, who is graduating today. We’re brothers, but we couldn’t be more different. He’s stiff, serious and professional. Me? I’m his fun, jolly, crazy brother from Gen San 

We were close when we were young but we kind of grew apart, especially since our Pa passed away five years ago. The saddest part was that immediately after Pa died, Jinple had to leave for the academy – so it’s like I lost both my father and my kuya.  

I don’t remember ever having a deep conversation with Jinple. We just don’t get along too well. We’re awkward when we’re together.  

But he’s super generous – he was still in his third year when he bought me a laptop. I know he’ll be an awesome provider for our family. I’ll do my best to bond with him this time around, because I know I’ll see him even less when he’s at sea.   

Sometimes though, I get really emotional at home. You see, we really love chocolates. Our Tito used to bring us chocolates from abroad when we were young. Pa, Jinple and I would wipe out everything in a few days.  

Tito still brings our family chocolates – but since I’m the only one left in Gen San, the stash would last for months. Only when they’re gone do you realize the true value of family.” 

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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.