Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Mia Albano (2023)

“They Only Remember Us at the End of the Month”: Experiences of Overseas Filipino Workers

The active and systemic migration of Filipinos for temporary and typically contracted employment in foreign countries exploded in the 1960s when the Philippine government formally established legal frameworks and policies to promote such labor. These individuals with Filipino citizenship who reside in another country for a period of employment have been coined Overseas Filipino Workers. Not only has the deployment and brokering of Filipino migrant workers around the world perpetuated the underdevelopment and “brain drain” of the archipelago nation, but it has had significant effects on scales of the intimate and personal, including on workers’ own bodies, senses of self, and families. This project seeks to understand the personal transformation and effects overseas Filipino workers undergo when working abroad as contracted workers by creating a documentary film that integrates the personal stories of overseas Filipino workers with the Philippines’ unique history of exporting human capital in the form of migrant laborers. An oral history archive will also be created using interviews with potential, current, and former Filipino migrant workers. The narratives of the Filipino diaspora are worthy of being told, heard, and preserved so future generations may learn the impact that migrant work has had at different scales, from the interpersonal and intimate, all the way to the global and national. These stories — the heart of this project — must be remembered.


Born and raised in the East Bay, Mia Albano is a first generation college student and Filipino-American. Her father was a migrant worker for seven years in the Northern Marianas Islands before making his way to California where Mia was later born. Mia grew up hearing the migration stories of her father, relatives, and friends, which inspired her to uplift and preserve their voices and histories to better understand the experiences of migrant workers in her community. Mia graduated in May 2023 with a degree in Geography. She has focused on global poverty and development and the cultural, historical, and economic dynamics contributing to uneven international development. During her time at UC Berkeley, she studied global development at The London School of Economics, played bass in the university orchestra and jazz band, and presented her research at a Renaissance Weekend. Mia intends to continue helping marginalized communities by working in international development.

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