Phantom Limbs in the Body Politic: Filipinos in Foreign Cinema


The Philippines’s experience with its last foreign occupant, the US, resulted in an entire package of fraught “special relations” that, coupled with the country’s problematic responses to the challenges of self-government, ultimately led to a global dispersal of the population, effectively turning the Philippines into the major Asian nation arguably most reliant on its citizens’ overseas remittances. This paper takes the position that diasporic Filipinos, for a variety of reasons starting with the effectiveness of maintaining unintrusive presences in alien cultures (including the acceptance of menial positions), have possibly developed and have enabled others to perceive them as silent and discreet figures once they step into the circuits of globalized labor exchanges. Just as overseas Filipino characters have started being acknowledged in non-Philippine overseas film productions, their presences therein partake of this self-effacing configuration of global citizenship.