Mobilities, Communication, and Asia| “I Have Always Thought of My Family First”: An Analysis of Transnational Caregiving Among Filipino Migrant Adult Children in Melbourne, Australia

Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto


This article investigates the ways in which six Filipino migrant adult children in Melbourne, Australia use mobile devices and networked communications platforms to deliver care to their left-behind parents in the Philippines. The study interrogates the diverse mobile practices through a mobilities lens emphasizing how the performance of a resource-based and mediated mobility is engendered and undermined by existing sociocultural and sociotechnical forces. The findings reveal that the performance of various types of transnational caregiving—emotional and practical—in cementing linkages is shaped by filial duty and the obligation to care. Importantly, this study unveils how obstacles and frustrations arise in caregiving at a distance as a static familial norm remains unchanged despite the configuration of familial organization. In this case, sustaining transnational relations warrants constant negotiation and performative adjustments. In sum, the study seeks to unravel the enactment, embodiment, and negotiation of caregiving across distances and borders in the age of ubiquitous digital media.


Filipino migrant adult children, smartphones, transnational caregiving, filial piety, Facebook, Viber, Skype, tactics

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