Justine Macabasco Sow Your Kultura

  • Tauira / Student
    Justine Macabasco
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    George Hajian, Phoebe Ellis
Judge's comments:

Such a lovely cover to this book. We loved the colours and the visual expression of the Filipino origins. You could feel it on every page.


‘I’m Filipino’ has been a phrase long overlooked by myself and others. For years, Filipinos have found difficulty in identifying their heritage due to a string of colonisations by the Spaniards and Americans. “Sow Your Kultura” is a publication that explores ideas about culture, identity, and heritage through a second-generation migrant’s eyes. It focuses largely on Filipino family heirlooms that have been brought along and preserved in New Zealand, along with language and food.

Last year I realised I had limited knowledge about my own Filipino origins, historical background and culture. This lack was shared by many other Filipinos I knew as well; it was a pattern I wanted to disrupt and remedy. It slowly became the driving force behind this publication—looking into the adaptation and the evolution of what we identify as Filipino today and how we uphold these customs in a diaspora.

"Sow Your Kultura" aims to connect Filipinos with the Philippines, as it intends to encourage the re-discovery of familiar elements to create a sense of nostalgia, revive cultural values, and renew traditions despite being in a different country. Taking inspiration from jeepneys, cigarette packets, and signage, the bright colours and typography used in the publication represent the familiar scenes and visuals you would see on the streets of the Philippines. The publication is also targeted towards individuals who may feel as though they have lost their connection to their Filipino roots and need to be reminded of what it looks and feels like to be Filipino.

The concertina-style binding technique is a significant part of the project, as this allows the reader to experience the book in three different ways; reading front to back, backward, or with the spreads extended to view as a large publication. The images incorporated throughout the book represent the stories that many Filipinos tell one another as they reminisce on life events, over food and drinks.

There is great importance in educating and encouraging the acknowledgement of cultural identity in a new environment because this will empower the maintenance of Filipino values throughout future generations. “Sow Your Kultura” is an approachable, yet informational publication that informs second-generation Filipino migrants about their country’s history. It sheds light on the uniqueness of the Filipino culture and its evolution and at the same time, serves as an opportunity to safeguard culture and help define what is Filipino.