Migrant Returns: Manila, Development, and Transnational Connectivity
The Balikbayan Economy: Filipino Americans and the Contemporary Transformation of Manila
In order to explain the material transformations occurring throughout Metro Manila’s landscape, this chapter outlines the architecture of an emergent return economy being produced in the Philippines. It describes the contemporary configuration of three components that are working simultaneously to reshape the social fabric and landscape of Metro Manila. Through an ethnographic investigation of transnational realtors, Filipino American investors, and business process outsourcing employees, this chapter utilizes the case of Metro Manila to demonstrate how the forces compelling the transformation of cities within major labor‑sending countries, while both global and neoliberal in shape, were created by decades of state policies of economic development aimed at sending labor abroad. Policies begun by the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the International Monetary Fund during the 1970s persisted through decades of remittance sending and eventually created the foundation for an economy built on property speculation.