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Publication Date

Fall 2013

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Nick Taylor

Subject Areas

Literature; Asian literature


Pasalubong is a short story cycle featuring eight immigrant tales about Filipino expatriates or balikbayan from the fictional town of Nakalimutan City (translated as the "Forgotten City") who return to the Philippines after spending several years in the United States. Drawn back to their hometown for different reasons--caring for a sick relative, conducting a mission trip, attending a wedding, honoring a deceased parent's last wish, seeing friends at a college reunion, celebrating an anniversary, or attending a funeral--the protagonists must face the people and events of the past in order to heal broken relationships and move forward in life.

The story cycle is founded on the idea of the pasalubong, a souvenir gift or "token of remembrance," given to a special loved one who has been on the mind of a traveler while he or she has been away. For the balikbayan returning to Nakalimutan City, the gifts come in the forms of understanding, forgiveness, and love as the characters struggle with themselves or with loved ones to find resolution with the memories that haunt and limit their present lives. Ultimately, they will discover that any hope for future happiness depends solely on returning to and making peace with one's past.

Pasalubong explores the impact of assimilation and neo-colonialism on Filipino immigrants with memory, loss, longing, and disconnection as its central themes.