Mga Kaibigan (Friends)

I take a lot of photographs but it often takes me months before I see them again after the moment of taking. I mostly photograph people around me. I used to think that I would have a life as a photographer but right now, that’s not the life I have. Today I found these photographs of a trip I took in April 2019 with my friends.

I’ve known them for a long time. Some, of them I’ve known since 2008. That’s twelve years of knowing someone. We were in University then. I always had this feeling that we would always be as we were. I remember we would spend every non-school moments together. We would go on sleepovers in the weekend, take trips to Quiapo in the middle of a flood, Wednesday nights were spent in halls dancing to great music, and we made our first attempts at making films together.

But as we grew, we began to have different paths in life. The things we used to do, are no longer possible, especially because we live in different cities, and countries. For a while, I mourned the loss of this closeness. I felt that I grew and it was impossible to return to the old me. And for a while I thought that reverting back to who I was, is the only way to keep my friends.

I remember particularly during this trip that I realized how different we were, and I saw that it good. It was actually really good. Like somehow, that previous idea of staying the same to keep the friendship seemed so far away.

We had all grown. And I guess it’s not about staying the same forever, but more of learning to re-introduce the “new us” to each other. Kind of like evolving side by side. I realised that I felt quite happy knowing this. And I saw how incredibly important it is to find a way to show myself, and to share how I’ve evolved to the people around me, especially those to those who had always been there. The past years, I realised that friendship is not just about the sleepovers, the trips, the dancing, the attempts at making films — it’s also finding a way to say “hey I’ve changed, and like who I am becoming, you think we can still be friends and evolve together?” — and honoring whatever answer comes from the other side.

I was looking for photographs of my friends because I wanted to greet them publicly on instagram, but looking at all our old photos made me see other things. I’m glad though, that after all that has changed, the answer from the other side is still yes, I’d like to stay friends.

*The Tagalog word for Friend is “Kaibigan” in the middle of the word is “ibig” which means love. “Ka” is a suffix you place at the start of the word to state sharing of something and “an” turns the world love into ‘love for each other’. So the word “Kaibigan” means someone whom you share love to each other.

Published by Venice De Castro

Venice De Castro is documentarist whose curiosity is observing how personal and societal transformations manifest in everyday life.

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