Where are you from?
I'm originally from the Philippines. I've been in Chicago since 1993
What brought you to Chicago?
My mom first came back in 1989. She's a nurse and initially was sponsored in New Jersey and later came to Chicago because of family living here.
What do you find challenging about living here?
The cold obviously. I love experiencing all seasons and snow doesn't bother me but the cold gets old real quick.
Why do you love it?
Even though I wasn't born here it is my home. I'm proud to say i'm from Chicago.
Why do you stay?
I mainly stay because of family and friends. I've been very fortunate to have friends that I grew up with and maintained close relationships with.
How has community affected your time here?
Having friends from different backgrounds and ethnicity definitely helped shape who I am today. Being an immigrant growing up, it was nice to find similarities and have the same upbringing as the kids around me.
Can you speak into the creativity found in the Chicago community? How does it inspire you?
There's a lot of creative people here. I grew with people that were into breakdancing, djing, tagging, and artists. And to see the same people still actively performing as adults is very inspiring. It maybe a hobby to some but it shows that creativity doesn't leave you when you reach adulthood.
As a photographer / creative yourself, what's your favorite collaboration been in Chicago?
Anybody that I've met through instagram. The photo community here has been amazing and supportive.
When do you feel most empowered and comfortable in your own skin?
When I'm with friends and family.
Has living in the city affected your style and the way you approach what you purchase / invest in. If so, how?
My attire is because of Chicago. Mainly due to the weather. I invest in Coats and boots. You need more than one pair of boots if you plan on using them next year.
How has Chicago affected your worldview, if at all?
The city is very diverse. Everyday you can meet someone new from different parts of the world. Being a traveler I enjoy hearing people's stories from where they came from. This has kept me open minded about people and their culture.
Do you have an experience or a specific encounter here that has moved you/stayed with you that you'd be up for sharing?
I grew up a Bulls fan. Michael Jordan was the first real international sports superstar. Philippines has a love for basketball and moving to Chicago during that time was a big deal. I remember hearing the city roar when they won in 1993. My bedroom window was open and you could hear cars honking down Devon Ave all night.
As you reflect on life in this city, what kind of words would you use to describe it?
Home sweet home.
How would you like to contribute to its betterment as a citizen?
Be involved in the community. Whether it's talking to your alderman or voting. Chicago gets a lot of negativity because of its politics. But if we vote in the right people and speak up when we disagree with them, then we can change that for the positive.
Would you share a favorite a memory in Chicago?
I have too many. Can't think of one at the moment.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your time in Chicago?
We have an amazing cuisine. One of the best foodie cities in the world.