ThesisPDF Available

Embracing the ‘other’ through a city that cares: Recognising impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on London’s Filipino health and care community



This dissertation explores the condition of the London’s Filipino health and care community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on concepts from the world city, particularly, the call for coevalness in London’s coproduction by migrant workers, this research takes interest in how a certain group of Londoners are not equally visible as other urban dwellers. The Filipino community, which has a critical role in the city through their presence in the health and care sectors, is, compared to other ethnic groups, much less discussed in the understanding of the urban. This research problematises their invisibility, and uses it as a hinge point to investigate how the community copes in the pandemic, as well as how the community fosters care among its members and the spaces they move in. Using in-depth interviews, surveys, and investigative netnography for empirical basis, this research situates the Filipino community in contemporary London, but also reveals longstanding issues—othering, racism, even abuse, and physical proximity in work and homes have exacerbated how they cope with COVID-19. This research reimagines London: the city has a symbiotic, cyclical duality of hostility and care, and, from the eyes of the Filipino ‘other’, the city has become a cage. This research yields spatial concepts, such as how Filipino relations and virtue ethics create ‘spaces of care’, which, in turn, can be used to rethink how London (and other cities) can become ‘cities of care.’
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction!4"
Chapter 2: Research Aims, Questions, and Objectives!5"
Chapter 3: Related Literature!6"
3.1 London’s diversity and duality!6"
3.2 Global changes: The COVID-19 pandemic!7"
3.3 The diasporic Filipino community!8"
Chapter 4: Research Approach!11"
4.1 Methodology!11"
4.2 Ethical considerations!12"
Chapter 5: Discussion and Analysis of Results!13"
5.1 Taking a closer look!13"
5.2 Revealing the invisible: Longstanding issues!14"
5.3 The heightened challenges of a pandemic!19"
5.4 A self in the other: Coping through relations and Filipino culture!22"
5.5 Reimagining spaces!25"
Chapter 6: Conclusion!28"
6.1 A summary!28"
6.3 The wider discourses!29"
6.4 Recommendations!30"
Interview Guide!35"
Survey Questionnaire!36"
Participant Profile!38
I would like to acknowledge the following people for their support in my research:
My tutor, Dr. Johannes Novy, who was instrumental to this entire endeavour—thank you for always
pointing me in the right direction, for selflessly imparting your knowledge, for setting an example on
the best work ethic, for always motivating me with encouragement and such kind words, (which I
wrote down on post its and plastered on my wall), and for being an outstanding tutor;
Our course leader, Tony Lloyd-Jones, who accepted me into the university, and who has been
supportive throughout the study year, and my professors, who, through their teachings, have
inspired me to always find perspective;
My research participants, who have taken time out of their frontline work, or from their quiet lives
inside homes, or from their relief work—they showed remarkable courage to share beyond what
was asked of them;
My frontliner friends in London, and friends in the London Filipino postgraduate network, who
actively supported my data gathering stage; and
My family: my mother, Eileen Leyva, who embodies care and empathy, and my younger sister,
Patricia Anne L. Palma, MD, a OB-GYN and frontliner of the Philippines in battling the COVID-19
pandemic—you are my source of strength.
Panginoon, maraming salamat po sa lahat ng Inyong biyaya.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Londoners joined the clapping. It began in March, and continued for ten weeks, promptly at 8:00
PM every Thursday—cheers could be heard throughout the city’s streets and balconies. Social
media stories, complete with #ClapForCarers hashtags and stickers, would echo the show of
gratitude towards the health workers of the NHS. Like many cities around the world, London had
become a battleground against the COVID-19 pandemic, and health workers were the first line of
A young Filipino nurse, working in a hospital in Waltham Forest, ponders on the clapping. If London
could show support to her, she said, it shouldn’t just be through “purely clapping… (They should
provide) proper recognition of our efforts as health workers, and provide PPE’s (personal protective
equipment).” She was anxious, having been reassigned to the Intensive Care Unit, to which she did
not have the skillset for, but she had no choice but to care for COVID-19 patients. She temporarily
finds relief by sharing her situation with fellow nurses in a group chat, her safe space. But at the
back of her mind, she has more worries: Saving money for the renewal of her work visa, thinking
about her family overseas, and moving out of her house because she had an ‘aggressive’ flat-
sharer; that was too bad, she thought, because she had worked “extra hours at the expense of
days off” for her currently cramped house and her ‘acceptable’ lifestyle, and lockdown restrictions
would mean she had to stay in place.
On the more affluent side of London, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a Filipino
domestic worker recounts her almost daily trips outside, risking her safety to bring meals to a
fellow Filipino worker in the area. The latter was undocumented, had stage IV cancer, and did not
have any blood relatives in the city. In the course of the pandemic, she continued to work and send
remittances to the Philippines despite her condition and her increased vulnerability to the
COVID-19 disease. She was forced to neglect self-care, and provided the housework needed by
her “amo” (master), who had brought her along in relocating to London from the Middle East. The
two women grew to treat each other like family, providing comfort for one another, until the cancer-
afflicted worker passed away in July of 2020.
These cases are only two amongst hundreds, if not thousands, that show what a Filipino health or
care worker goes through in London. The nurse continues to brave the ICU and her precarious
future and environment in the city, and the domestic worker, who literally poured out her life into the
care and service of one family, will now probably be only remembered through this writing. This is
because, despite being Londoners, they were both invisible. This is also because London, as a
city, can be hostile to certain people. This hostility exists where these people live and work—
hospitals and homes—the very spaces that provide comfort and safety during a health crisis. How
ironic that this hostility is aimed at those who provide one of London’s most crucial needs as it
fights the many fronts brought by the COVID-19 disease: Care.
Filipino migrants and workers in London are also ‘Londoners’; as a city, London has an “‘internal geography’ of relational identities”
that are “multiple and hybrid,” (Massey, 2007, p187) including Filipinos as an ethnic group.
Chapter 2: Research Aims, Questions, and Objectives
The cases of the nurse and the domestic worker thread along a number of discourses that are
predominantly political and economic—London’s cosmopolitan nature as a global city, diversity and
ethnic groups, transnationalism, and migrant communities. While these discourses provide a wider
perspective to this study, the research takes particular interest in how a certain group of Londoners
are not equally visible as others who dwell within the city. Filipinos, who have a critical role in the
world’s urban societies through their presence in the health and care sectors through their
diaspora, are, compared to other ethnic groups, much less discussed in scholarly works that
shape the understanding of what is urban.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected change globally, confronting cities and society with
numerous challenges. For the Filipino community, who is in an already precarious condition, and
who now stands at the frontline, the pandemic poses graver challenges. Their invisibility aggravates
this precariousness. The study problematises this invisibility, and uses this situation as a hinge point
for setting its aim of investigating how Filipinos in London’s health and care sectors, as a
community, copes in the ongoing pandemic, and more crucially, how the community fosters care
among its members and the spaces they move in. To be more specific, the study asks the
following questions:
1. What challenges does the London Filipino community encounter?
2. What new challenges did the COVID-19 pandemic bring to the community?
3. What coping mechanisms did the community use to respond to the pandemic?
4. What relationships or types of support networks were formed?
5. What spatial and cultural attributes can be observed in the community’s experience of
responding to COVID-19?
Further to this, the research also takes interest in how urban policy can respond to the challenges
that Filipinos face as migrant workers in the city. Building on the premise that the COVID-19
pandemic shines light on both the longstanding and new challenges that the Filipino community
faces, it also underlines the need for London—and other cities—to reciprocate the care its dwellers
provide within its spaces.
In order to achieve the aim of the study, the research documents online posts about the London
Filipino community during the pandemic. From this, the study proceeds to collect primary data by
interviewing key informants from relevant community groups with pandemic-related efforts and by
conducting a survey that targets Filipino migrants in the health, care, and domestic sectors.
This thesis hopes to contribute to the growing understanding of social and spatial changes which
COVID-19 brings to cities and communities. It also hopes to contribute to the body of knowledge
surrounding migrant and ethnic groups, as well as London’s geography, both of which are
discussed in the following chapter.
Chapter 3: Related Literature
3.1 London’s diversity and duality"
London is a super-diverse city, a “home to an astonishing multiplicity of ethnicities and
cultures” (Massey, 2007, p9), its peoples having global origins, their lives having a transnational
nature. This is very much reflected in London’s communities, and how they influence the city’s
spaces. London is a fusion of differences—its streets, sounds, and culture, all of which differ from
one borough to the next, characterising the people who use them. The feel and character are
backed by statistics: As of July 2019, London’s BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic)
community accounted for 40.2% of the city population (Office for National Statistics, 2019); many
first and second generation immigrants shape the contemporariness of London, bringing cultural
attributes and ties into their relationships and activities in the city.
However, this multiplicity is mirrored by challenges. London’s colonial history and present neoliberal
power affect how inequality manifests in aspects of the city’s contemporariness. One such aspect
is how certain ethnicities and cultures are rendered invisible, and treated as an ‘other.’ Massey
(2007), in her seminal work World City, critically examines the interplay of many factors that cause
this invisibility.
London is an imbalanced duality—it is home to many ethnic and migrant workers, but it is also
home to a new stratum of global elite, the “true heir to the imperial legacy” (ibid., p50), those who
run the world’s finance and business. They are also those who bring London to the global pedestal
and drive its ‘success’. Massey (ibid.) argues how invisible communities and the glorified elite are
“intimately related” (ibid., p55); this holds true for success and poverty—corporate greed and need
“are not independent of each other” (ibid., p71). Visually imagining this duality would make London
appear to be yin and yang, or an electric dipole, or a binary code. But while these images help
visualise how concepts appear in space, Massey warns against perception in a “juxtaposed
coexistence” (Hamnett, 2003 in Massey, 2007, p55) and a “paradox” (Hill, 2003; Ackroyd, 2000 in
Massey, 2007, p55), which suggest separate facets or coincidence; diversity, she argues, should
be cognisant of the “relations that exist ‘between’ the elements” (Massey, 2007, p88).
Urban space becomes the convergence of these relations. The same space physically molds and
produces the inequalities in a city: urban regeneration for financial concentration, gentrification, and
affordable housing schemes are all neoliberal products. And these inequalities “sharply cross-cut
along lines of ethnicity” (ibid., p72). This exacerbates what is dominant and what is invisible:
Business and finance overshadow the ethnic or migrant sectors, the elite push away opportunities
for the rest of the labour force, while concentrated urban developments impel migrant and ethnic
communities to form enclaves.
The dual or divided nature of a city can be useful as a spatial metaphor to understand inequalities, but it also oversimplifies complex
realities; the concept must be appreciated with a consciousness on the actual happenings in space and society.
If a part of the city is ordinarily concealed, and another part is propelled to centerstage, then
London, as an urban space, creates neglect. Massey (ibid.) repeatedly asks the question ‘What
does London stand for?’, highlighting the responsibility of a place for all its dwellers. In studying the
hyper-diversity of London, Raco et al note how invisibility can lead planners and policymakers to
deliberately hide—even “systematically… eliminate”—certain groups from the wider landscape, or
“ignore their needs” (2017, p152).
So how can London address this duality, the imbalances it causes, and the invisibility of some
members of society? Massey (2007, p22-23) explicitly tackles this:
“That recognition of multiple trajectories is one implication of taking space seriously (Massey, 2005). It forces
respect for the coeval. Many political cosmologies, in contrast, are framed in such a way that ‘others’ (other
actors, other trajectories) are in one way or another either obscured from view or relegated to some sort of
minority or inferior status. Such cosmologies refuse the challenge of space. The smoothing of space into a
surface, as just described, renders invisible the other actors on the stage. It allows certain political questions – as
we shall see – to go unasked. Equally, there is that political cosmology that is framed in such a way that other
actors are relegated to a historical past (they are developing, we are developed). In this geographical imagination
the others are demeaned, their actually existing difference realigned to being merely a matter of their being
‘behind’ in the historical queue. This is an understanding of space (in truth, I turning of space into time,
geography and history) that refuses coevalness.”
While she (ibid.) explores a number of strategies to address London’s position—remoralisation (for
socially excluded regions in the UK), rearticulation (of two-way relations between parties),
reformulation (of places to have a “locus of political responsibility” in a globalising era) (ibid., p208)
—this study focuses on recognition, which counters invisibility, and redistribution, which prompts
for an understanding of the relations within a place. Both strategies pave the way for broader
theoretical ventures, which can create imaginaries or veer away from dominant narratives, and
better urban policy development and planning practice, which can take steps towards embracing
‘other’ knowledge, values, culture, and histories in their own right, and in their own strengths.
3.2 Global changes: The COVID-19 pandemic"
The COVID-19 pandemic adds to the historical challenges to urban space. It drastically shut down
the planet (The Economist, 2020), sent shockwaves through the global economy, with many
fearing an end to globalisation, and marked cities as disease epicentres (United Nations, 2020).
Due to the health precaution of physical distancing, society responded by staying at or working
from home, and continuing day-to-day life by shifting towards online spaces for safety; urbanists
ponder on transformations on the built environment: “Digital infrastructure might be the sanitation
of our time” (Klaus, 2020).
But even these responses reeked privilege; not everybody had access to safe spaces. Socio-
economically speaking, the pandemic exacerbated the situation of already vulnerable people, and
underlined inequalities in various fronts; world headlines featured homelessness on the streets,
domestic spaces spurred violence (Bradbury-Jones and Isham, 2020), and public facilities and
shared spaces were shut down or restricted. The closure of the latter, which the general public can
turn to for communal occupation, wellbeing and expression of respect for differences, created an
unwelcoming atmosphere.!In London, most COVID-19 deaths occurred in hospitals, care homes,
private homes, and hospices (Mayor of London, 2020); the pandemic had turned these safe city
spaces into fearful ones. London was also found to have the highest rates of the disease in the UK,
with its local areas being affected prior to the government’s lockdown (Davenport et al, 2020). The
city appears to have “higher-than-average vulnerabilities in terms of jobs and families” (ibid., p22)
compared to the rest of the country.
Vulnerability in the city also stems from London’s very strength of being diverse: its ethnic
communities. Multiple studies look into how the pandemic impacted Black, Asian, and Minority
Ethnic (BAME) groups. Ethnicity increases the vulnerability of a person and community (Mayor of
London, 2020). COVID-19 related risks to BAME groups included factors such as housing
challenges, occupations with higher disease exposure, more frequent public transportation use (for
essential work), and deeper, longstanding inequalities, such as historic racism and poor
experiences in work and accessing health care (ibid.; Public Health England, 2020).
Grouping the impacts and challenges experienced by ethnic groups would fall short of gaining
understanding about the differences they encounter (Platt and Warwick, 2020); these differences
are of importance, and knowing them can lead to realising policies that better address the urban
and the ethnic. However, it should also be noted, reports on London’s BAME community and
COVID-19 still refer to the “country’s main minority ethnic groups” (ibid., 2020), using census data
that relegates many ethnic communities into an “other” category. These statistics and analyses
continue to obscure parts of the entire picture, and create minorities within a ‘recognised’ minority.
But it is right to point how more meaningful narratives of ethnic groups must be told. It is simply
respectful and morally right to do so. In yet another challenge to urban space, London, a world city,
should not refuse coevalness in dealing with the pandemic. The changes in London’s space must
be conceptualised by delving into the relationships and state of the people that inhabit it. It is in the
“closer inspection” (Raco et al, 2017, p12) of the invisible ethnic groups that recognition can begin,
and, for those who are unseen, a chance to feel a sense of belongingness in the city. Gaining
‘literacy’ towards differences, and seeking the heterogeneity within a demographic of what is
seemingly homogenous (ibid.; Wood and Landry, 2008) informs urban policy makers and planners
about histories, values, and culture, which places can embrace.
One affected yet invisible ethnic group in London is the Filipino community. In the course of the
pandemic, what story do they tell?
3.3 The diasporic Filipino community"
‘Community’ is a social construct, a “mental abstract” (Cohen, 1985, p109), a vantage point of
shared symbols, identity, culture, and meaning amongst its members. The “London Filipino
community” falls into this abstract; Filipinos are identified by their ethnicity, yet many other factors
form their identity, such as occupation, peers, lifestyle, and experience. For the purpose of this
research, ‘Filipino community’ will refer to Filipino Londoners who are in the health and social care
The community shapes London for what it is. In fact, together with many ethnic groups in the same
occupations, it is integral to the city. Massey points out how “London, just to keep itself going, is
dependent… on nurses from Asia and Africa” (2007, p175). She then continues to point out how
Londoners “celebrate the arrival of such workers… they (we) do not pause to follow those lines of
connection out around the rest of the world…” (ibid., p175). This is very resonant with the feelings
of the young nurse who was introduced at the beginning of this study—she is clapped for, as a
carer in the National Health Service, but she remains to “feel like a foreigner;” her context of being
in London is not recognised.
This is something shared by many in the Filipino community. And this is true not just in London and
the UK, but in diasporic nodes in global cities. Filipinos have a “global reputation” on being “famous
for taking on caring work,” “as if it is a brand name” (McKay, 2016, p3). On the global labour
market, they take on occupations as nurses, as housekeepers and nannies, as caregivers, and as
staff in nursing homes, in home care, and in hospitals. This “export” of migrant workers and
“displacement of care” from one place to a host society (ibid., p26) is crucial to the Philippine
economy, as remittances ‘stabilise’ the economic unit of the household, and more importantly, the
country as a whole (Suarez, 2017). But while scholars acknowledge—and criticise—the economic
standpoint of the diaspora (as it is used as an intentional scheme by the Philippine government),
ethnographers establish how the geographic phenomenon is historically and culturally embedded.
Aguila, who writes about the Filipino “quest for identity” on a spatio-temporal undertaking, points to
the linkage of the “colonised past” to a “diasporic present” to an “uncertain future” (2015, p58).
Suarez ventures into how the work and movement of such a spatially fragmented community
stems from culture:
“Given how crucial and persistent the dialectic between nation and world has been in the history of
the Philippines, whose imperial history reaches back almost five centuries, we may go so far as to at
least think about how these issues resonate at a world-historical level. As many Filipina/os circulate
the nation and world through positions having to do with nurture, care, and service of different kinds,
the Philippines enters modernity through its own kind of nurture, care, and service to the global
economy—each a form that, as I will suggest, may be understood through the diasporic
maternal.” (2017, p6)
The ‘diasporic maternal’ references Inang Bayan (“mother country”), a conceptual figure which
expresses sacrifice for the homeland (ibid.), is crucial to understanding how Filipinos do the work of
mothering (book title) towards others; it forms a part of the ethnic group’s identity. Researchers, in
their works that span international care nodes and Filipino ‘communities’ growth with the global,
emphasise different cultural concepts. Aguila writes how kapwa (“a view of self-and-other as one”),
a collective concept, is a core cultural attribute (2015, p56); Pakikipagkapwa (“being one with
others”), meanwhile, which is used by Filipino migrants to support others, can be co-produced,
even formed in online space (ibid., p75).
The mishmash of colonial influences and innate traits on Filipino identity, or Filipinoness, is exuded
in the migrant Filipino communities’ work in contemporary spaces. Aguila describes the mixture:
“So, what has become of the Filipino after 300 years in the convent and almost a century in
Hollywood is: ...a blend of East and West. The Western influence can be seen more in external ways
—dressing, liking for hamburger and other food, Western music and dance, etc. However, the
internal aspect, which is at the core of his pagkatao (personality), is Asian—deference for authority,
modesty/humility, concern for others, etc. (Pe-Pua and Protacio-Marcelino, 2000, p56)” (ibid., p72).
Pagkatao, however, can also be exploited; Docility, quietness, and a preference for compliance and
hospitality are valued as inherent cultural traits for economic purposes (Suarez, 2017), but these
traits may also be a cause for communities’ invisibility.
Invisibility is not only a challenge to the London Filipino community; ethnographers dwell on it in
studying the diaspora. It has both cultural and historical aspects, which are internal and external,
respectfully. Historically, and with regard to the Filipino diaspora to the United States, Ceniza-Choy
(2003) writes:
“Also invisible are the migrations of Filipinos to the United States that have been shaped by this U.S.
military presence in the Philippines, such as the active recruitment of Filipino men into the U.S. Navy,
which, by 1970, contributed to a larger number of Filipinos in the U.S. Navy (fourteen thousand) than
in the entire Philippine Navy.”
It is an “invisibility of our multitudes,” as Suarez (2017, p117) quotes Brian Roley, a literary author
on the Filipino diaspora and Asian-American inter-culture. He further channels
Campomanes’ (2003) problematisation of the politics of invisibility and visibility, which are “fatally
entwined” (Suarez, 2017, p117) with the U.S.’ “imperial amnesia” (ibid., p118); visibility, which
counters invisibility, he argues, does not assure political justice, and implicates recognition and
But it can shape relations, and relations produce space. Filipinos seek shared experiences. In her
long immersion with a Kankanaey Filipino group in London, McKay stressed how networks were
“largely invisible,” connected using “affinity, exchange, and the sharing of good feelings,” and
traced through memory and artefacts, instead of formal relations (2016, p33). Invisibility becomes
common ground amongst the community, and so does a transnational background. Francisco-
Menchavez, in researching Filipino migrants in New York City, introduces the concept “community
of care,” a social construct of a migrant’s caring for other migrants. This concept sprouts from
“migrancy, undocumentation, and precariousness”, and fosters a “transnational, familial
context” (2018, p97).
A shared experience is vital to how Filipinos create relationships and space. The cultural concepts
of pakikisama (getting along) and bayanihan (solidarity or camaraderie), the latter being commonly
exhibited by Filipinos when facing shared challenges, create the character of a place. Francisco-
Menchavez draws examples of this manifesting in New York City: Filipino migrants coined the term
‘Queenila,’ they have their “feet in Queens” but with their “heart and mind always referencing
Manila” (ibid., p96). In this environment, where the community experienced exploitation and
tragedy, Filipinos “strengthened their ties” and “networks of care” by using both bayanihan and
pakikisama (ibid., p101).
With an understanding on the relationality of space, the discourse on recognition and invisibility, a
discussion of the Filipino community’s historical and cultural context, and the framing of COVID-19,
the research will proceed to study the London Filipino community closer.
Chapter 4: Research Approach
4.1 Methodology"
The findings of this study are based on mixed methods. The initial stage of the research process
aimed to explore the situation of the Filipino community while facing the pandemic. Investigative
netnography, which selectively records real time inputs of people in online spaces without the
concern of being researched (Kozinets, 2020), was used. Using the combined search words
“Filipino,” “Nurses,” “Domestic,” and “UK” on the social media platforms of Twitter and Facebook
yielded a massive number of posts, 161 of which were used as data entries. Information encoded
included the social media platform, date and time stamps, user IDs, posted and embedded or
shared content, media, and URLs, and post engagement, such as threads and replies, which
provided relevant discussion. Some entries led to news articles and YouTube video blogs, which
were useful for gaining context and reflection. All entries were within the period of January to June
2020 to capture viewpoints that reflected the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gathering texts and exploring social media helped create a rough sketch of how the Filipino
community looked like. The data entries led to the shortlist of several online groups which were
identified to have communities that could best embody the research interests. Messages
requesting online group posting and engagement, as well as a request for recommendations for
key informants for interviews were sent to all the social media group administrators and
moderators. Four key informants were identified, each one representing leadership in Filipino
organisations working on COVID-19 response efforts in London. Two groups were involved with
Filipino domestic workers in the UK, while two other groups were involved with the Filipino nursing
Open-ended Skype interviews with the key informants were conducted, each ranging from forty
minutes to past an hour. Two broad arcs were used to guide the interview flow: (1) Detailing the
organisation and community each interviewee worked with; and (2) Challenges and concerns prior
to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Probing questions focused on understanding community
relationships and online and physical spaces. The interviewees were encouraged to express their
answers in either Filipino or English to better capture meaning in the responses.
The investigative netnography also led to the development of an online survey, which aimed to gain
further understanding about the topics gleaned from social media posts and the interviews. While it
did not aim to generate a representative sample of the Filipino community in London, the survey
was able to gather relevant qualitative data, such as unique cases during the pandemic and
meaningful experiences. The survey also asked participants to provide demographic information,
which provided context to how answers were related to expertise or occupation, the years of stay
in London, geographic factors, and other notable details.
The survey was made available on both Google Forms and Facebook Survey App, and links were
posted on private social media groups to encourage members to participate. The survey was also
circulated by the key informants and other group leaders amongst the community, targeting those
who were part of the health sector (nurses, doctors, workers in hospitals and other related
professions), and the domestic work sector (carers for children or the elderly or persons with
disabilities, household workers who provide services on cooking or gardening or laundry, guards,
drivers, gardeners, and other similar work). The survey required that participants should have been
in London from January to June 2020, to be able to provide insight about COVID-19 changes
whilst in the city. It gained 39 usable questionnaires, and was closed after 20 days of being
Reflections for the data were written per entry in a repetitive, iterative process; these were shaped
as more responses from the three methods provided perspective and deeper context about the
Filipino community. These reflections were then integrated with tabulated social media entries,
survey results, and transcribed interview records, and were assigned codes and labels. Filtering
and grouping similar data entries and reflection notes yielded connected thoughts and patterns
which led to a thematic analysis. Emergent themes were then reviewed against theoretical
concepts to shape the discussion of findings.
4.2 Ethical considerations"
This research took to a number of ethical considerations. In accessing information from social
media, there was consciousness about using publicly and privately posted data. Public texts in
online posts are described but anonymised: Traceable keywords and identifiers from posts are
obscured in the best possible ways, as well as responses and threads, photos, videos, and other
forms of media. Engagement with private social media groups entailed communicating with all
administrators and moderators, and seeking permission to publish any posts about the research,
or communicate with any of the members.
A more sensitive aspect to the study was encountering undocumented migrants, who have legal
risks in the UK, and participants (organisation leaders and health workers) who may have had
tendencies to trigger emotional responses due to the impacts of COVID-19 (such as remembering
family, friends, or patients who died). During interviews, participants were constantly reminded
about their comfortability about answering questions and continuing the discussion, as well as their
option to decline responding. All survey respondents provided their consent for participation at the
beginning of the survey, and all key informants in interviews signed consent forms, acknowledging
relevant research and ethical considerations in an information sheet. All participants were assured
about their anonymity in the written research, and all names used in the following discussion are
Chapter 5: Discussion and Analysis of Results
Two perspectives arise from the research. The first comes from health workers, who have spent
most of their time as frontliners in hospitals and nursing homes during the pandemic, and the
second comes from domestic workers and social care workers, who have, depending on legal
status, either a peripatetic nature due to their part time jobs, or an enclosed, quiet life inside their
employer’s house. The discussion distinguishes perspectives based on occupation and space, but
note how these share the same concepts and concerns. Brought together, the narratives paint a
fraction of the London ethnoscape, and provide a snapshot of what the city was like for the Filipino
community during the pandemic.
This chapter begins with a profile of the Filipino community, and a discussion of longstanding
challenges they face. This is crucial context to the COVID-19 findings. A discussion of pandemic-
related challenges, the community’s coping mechanisms, and the relationships and support
networks that arise from it then follow. The chapter concludes with an attempt to spatially and
culturally interpret the emergent themes by using both theoretical concepts and empirical results.
5.1 Taking a closer look "
There are around 200,000 Filipinos in the United Kingdom (Quinn, 2020). While there are no
statistics to account for exactly how many are in the health and social care sectors, and how many
are in London, some statistics and literature can capture the generic picture. As of January 2020,
the NHS had 22,043 Filipinos in service, with 15,397 nurses, 4,901 clinical support staff, 823
infrastructure support staff, among other workers (Baker, 2020). This makes Filipinos the third most
numerous nationality in the NHS, following the British and the Indian groups. Domestic and social
care workers, on the other hand, especially those who are undocumented, are more difficult to
account for, due to many of them being ‘hidden,’ and avoiding detection from authorities. McKay
writes how they follow “where the jobs are” (2016, p24), and live mostly in London in the Southeast
area of the UK.
Community leaders emphasise how ‘Filipinos in London’ should be understood more closely,
beyond the usual brackets of ‘nurses’ and ‘domestic workers.’ Frank, a nurse who has spent 20
years in the NHS, and who created a response organisation to COVID-19, shares how Filipinos are
“not only in the NHS, but also the private sector, social care sector, the academia,… (there are)
nurse entrepreneurs, and those doing private work…, health care assistants and associate
practitioners.” He proudly shares cases of how some Filipinas have made achievements and
careers in London: One has been appointed as a COVID-19 adviser in the NHS Chief Nursing
Officers team, while another has become an associate director of research. James, a nurse lead
who heads a COVID-19 initiative, explains how his organisation, which responds to Filipino
migrants’ needs, links the health and care sector with Filipinos who are in business, legal practice,
and human resources.
A young, second generation Filipina, Kaylee, who manages relief and response operations for an
organisation supporting Filipino domestic workers, delves further into what it is to be a ‘migrant.’
As a daughter of two nurses, she dwells on invisibility and a transnational nature: “Not enough
credit is given to our parents. They’ve had this challenge of having to start their life from scratch,
adapt to this way of living in the UK, go to work, save—even if that’s completely impossible in our
community, because we send everything back home to the Philippines…” She further details the
picture of the often stereotyped community, and explains that there are dynamics, such as how
elite Filipino migrants who come from “affluent families in the Philippines” also reside in London,
and how there is an entire second generation of Filipinos born to the migrants of the 1980’s to the
1990’s, many of whom have a mix of British and Filipino cultural traits.
Patty, Hannah, and Ailyn, who closely collaborate as leaders for organisations which support
domestic workers’ rights and women’s rights, are connected with around 100 other domestic
workers, many of whom are ‘scattered’ within London and elsewhere. Domestic workers who
come to London seek the Filipino community at the church. Patty explains how migrants seek for a
commonality: “We all know how Filipinos connect with the church when they begin to live in other
countries. Being religious is inherent to us.”
Most participants from the survey say how they work in the City of London, but live in different
boroughs within the city. Health workers were inclined to share their places of residence, while a
number of participants chose not to disclose their occupation and their areas of residence and
Basing on survey responses, the Filipino community can be identified more beyond their ethnicity,
occupation, and location. They seek a shared culture (as exhibited by a penchant for karaoke and
eating out, or by how they create friends in pastoral groups), and create bonds (illustrated by how
nurses keep in touch with their cohorts upon entering the UK). Filipinos also reflect Philippine
regionalism in London, as evidenced by the samahan (group) that they form based on hometown
groups. Belonging is created by how members of the community empower one another through
sharing of vital information for work and opportunities, and by how they organise events (such as
church events, trips, and other community activities).
5.2 Revealing the invisible: Longstanding issues"
5.2.1 London by chance
Patty has lived in London for 18 years. Hannah, 6 years, and Ailyn, 3 years. None of them are in
the city by choice; they were ‘brought’ in by their employing families—or in their words, their “amo”
(“master”)—who are diplomatic or multinational families. Patty’s plan two decades ago was to work
in Saudi Arabia, save, and move to Hong Kong. Hannah came from Hong Kong, and Ailyn, from
Qatar. Patty recalls how she was ordered, “Go to the Embassy, go with the driver” for her visa, and
was never asked about her opinion in moving to London.
“I had no idea about London,” Hannah adds. “As a nanny, I took care of a child, and even if I didn’t
know anything about London, or had a small salary, because I loved the child, I flew with them to
London. I’ve been with the family for eight years.” In Qatar, Ailyn cared for children. “One of their
twins, both of whom I care for, had a lung problem, and had to be treated here in London. Their
family had eight children. I took care of the twins, the three-year-old girl. The older ones, I also had
to look out for, because they were sheltered, not independent. The family brought me here.”
The treatment of being ‘brought,’ as if they were baggage, and the lack of choice and opinion, are
extended—and even intended —in London. Domestic workers are ‘tied’ to a private household,
cannot change jobs, and cannot access public funds (UK Government, 2020). In a comprehensive
review of the domestic workers’ situation, which tackles abuse and modern slavery, Ewins writes
how their visa status leads to invisibility:
“A tied visa risks creating a hidden undocumented workforce of escaped workers who are illegal,
invisible and fearful, living outside the protection of the law – all of which increases their vulnerability to
further abuse” (2015, p22, para 71.3, emphasis added).
He also describes their confined environment: “…working in private domestic dwellings, not public
spaces; … often work long hours; … have very little, if any, contact with the outside world; … are
separated from their wider community by language and cultural barriers…” (ibid., p35, para.
122.1-122.4). Patty confirms this: “You can’t venture out,” she says plainly.
This condition is further exacerbated by hostile policies and an environment that resulted from the
Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016, illegal work was criminalised, with penal provisions such as
prison sentences and financial penalties (Kanlungan Filipino Consortium and RAPAR, 2020). For
Ailyn, who ‘escaped’ her master, and is now doing part-time jobs, the policy takes a toll on her
wellbeing, affecting her everyday:
“My coming here against my will led to my being trapped in a situation as an undocumented migrant not
allowed to work. Every time I mop, I feel like I am a criminal, because I am not allowed to do that as
work. I feel like a criminal doing my part-time work, but I do it for my family, so my children will have food
on the table, so that they can be able to study.”
Patty, Ailyn, and Hannah all lament how their community of domestic workers and social carers
share this. “Most of the domestic workers in the UK were brought here by our masters. None of us
really chose to come here, it just so happened we were brought here.” Several survey respondents
attest this; in response to the question “Why did you choose to live in London?”, they respond
“Because my employer brought me here in [London]”
“I didn’t choose to work in London, I was brought here by my employers without asking me if I wanted to
come and work here.”
“I have no choice”
“I had no choice, my employer was moved here from HK and they brought me with them”
Being in London without consent or choice is one of many factors making domestic workers’ living
situation precarious; another, and a more dangerous one, is abuse. It happens within the confines
of a home. Ewins writes how there is a lack of evidence, and that there is a need for further
research on the matter: “…the uncontentious evidential conclusion is that such abuse takes place
but that the extent of such abuse is unknown” (2015, p76).
But the fact that abuse happens shows how pockets of London—the elite ones—are, and can still
be, hostile. Three years after the UK government rejected the conclusion from Ewins’ Home Office-
commissioned report (Travis, 2016), the city continues to tell the same narrative (Karpf, 2019).
This study’s own empirical findings adds to this. Ailyn recounts how she was abused several times,
by different families, and across countries, the latest being in London. “And it’s not just physical
abuse,” Hannah adds, “workers have very small salaries, or their employers take their passport, or
don’t give them any days off.” Patty finds verbal abuse too normal to consider it threatening: “My
master is not abusive, he/she just shouts at me. (Filipino domestic workers) have a tolerance to
this. We tolerate when they shout, curse, call you ‘brainless’ or ‘stupid’.”
Health workers share how living in London was by chance. James, who has lived in London for 20
years, recalls,
“In 2000, in the Philippines, everyone wanted to go to America. That was the plan, I wanted to go to the
States… I was doing my master’s when I left, at that time, London just started to open their nursing to
Asians. When I say Asians, these are Indians and Filipinos. So, because most Filipinos can speak
English, it was easy for them to hire Filipinos. My friends were already leaving. In the PGH [Philippine
General Hospital], few stayed. So it was a coincidental application. I applied with my friend, got
accepted. That was meant to be in Oxford. We were meant to leave in October 2000, but it took long,
and applied to another agency, and after two months, we left. It was a trend that time in PGH. Then I
never left since. I like it here.”
Another nurse shares: “My contract in Malaysia was expiring, so I applied for an advertisement for
nurse hirings in the UK.” A clinical support staff simply said, “The job offer was in London.” Other
survey participants, on the other hand, responded with an appreciation for London’s diversity and
better-paying jobs. At the end of the day, the Filipino community’s being in London today is a result
of a continued endeavour to seek relief from the failures of the Philippines as a country to provide
opportunities and take care of its workforce.
5.2.2 An Asian other
Census forms in the UK classify the Asian/Asian British ethnic group as “Indian,” “Pakistani,”
“Bangladeshi,” “Chinese,” and “Any other Asian background” (Office for National Statistics, 2011),
and Filipinos point this out:
“(We need) more recognition, even in (the) census. There should be an option to identify us as Filipinos.
At the moment, the only choice for us is Asian Other.”
“We are often invisible to the average Londoner. Since we are not a recognised ethnic group, we are
considered ‘Other Asian.’”
London, whilst super-diverse (and branded as such), still has to improve on further recognising
what comprises an “Asian” ethnicity. ‘Asian’ is too broad a term to define a singular identity, and
has within its subregions a multiplicity of cultures and peoples. And that is very much felt by those
who have spent years in solidarity with the city. Frank has spent 20 years of service being called an
‘other’ nurse, and deeply feels about this, for himself and for colleagues:
“The Filipino nurses are the second highest number of foreign nurses working in the NHS and in the UK,
right after Indian. There are different estimates, but if you include all the Filipino nurses working in the UK,
there are 40,000. In the NHS alone, it’s around half of that. Which makes around 2% of the total NHS
workforce, which is a lot by just one nationality. We don’t have representation… We are not even on the
ethnic form as a nationality; we are part of the ‘Other Asian’ ethnicity. If you fill our your Equality and
Diversity (Monitoring) Form, you’ll find it there; we’re not even recognised by the NHS.”
This invisibility, this lack—even absence—of recognition, holds hands with racism. James, who has
also climbed the ladder to being a nurse lead in the NHS, reveals what statistics cannot account
“If you look at the NHS alone, the higher the position is, the lesser the number of coloured skin that hold
positions. How many black or BAME chief executives do you see in London? 1 or 2? As a chief nurse…
There are only 2 or 3 at that executive level. The question is ‘why?’ It can be either we are not given an
equal opportunity, that’s what they want to eradicate, or… because we’re not confident enough to apply
for that post. That’s another ‘why?’ (question). Is it because in your mind, you know that ‘You won’t get
it, because if you apply, there’s another person who is white and is more capable than me.’ He knows
these people, and probably they will give it to that person. That is the right reason why people are not
applying. Politics is a given fact.”
A 48-year old nurse, who works in a different hospital, echoes the sentiment of succumbing to
employers’ biases:
“There are very few Filipinos in higher posts such as the executives, and culturally, you will have a second
thought when concerns are escalated to the executives, as it appears there are biases in decision
making in general. You go to a civil/diplomatic to reach a certain level of escalation. (You are) Anxious
that (the) decision and outcome will be [biased] against you. Sometimes it’s safer not to say anything,
Several health workers in the survey also write about racism in the workplace as a challenge they
have had to live with, as if normalised.
“Even if they ‘address’ racism at work, we Filipinos still lose”
“Indirect racism in the workplace”
“Racism at work”
“Systemic racism”
“Since day one, racism has been rampant. They prioritise promoting white colleagues, and prioritise their
special training over us. Is is still right that they do not allow us to use ‘Ate’ (Older sister) (and)
‘Kuya’ (Older brother) at work? They even make us report to human resources to warn us about using
these terms while on duty. And when Filipinos are able to accomplish something, they only recognise
management, and not our work.”
The last response, which comes from a nurse who has been in the NHS for 20 years, shows how
the hospital, as a work space, can suffocate cultural value. ‘Ate’ and ‘Kuya’ are terms of respect
and bond in the Filipino language, and disallowing use of these terms, in a way, denies identity.
Kaylee, being a second generation Filipino, stresses how the issues of invisibility, othering and
racism are, indeed, longstanding. Referring to her own experience, and the many Filipinos she
interacts with in her organisation, she says:
“We’ve all encountered something that where we felt like it’s a bit unfair here, whether that be racism or
through university, being a minority, being an undocumented migrant and not being able to access
government funds, having to pay ridiculous immigration fees to stay in the UK. I think we’ve all just
identified the barriers for us to actually belong in the UK, and we want Filipinos to overcome that. That
has happened to me since I moved here at 3 years old. Gary, who is 45, would experience the same
things I did at such a young age.”
5.2.3 “15 people in a 3-bedroom flat”
All of these inequalities experienced by Filipinos impact the city. Domestic workers’ employing
families’ homes and hospitals or care facilities are not the only problematic spaces; living spaces in
London have been in a crisis that can be traced back decades. Massey writes, “It is not just… that
the poor in London have to live (‘paradoxically’) cheek by jowl with the rich; it is also that very co-
presence makes their lives even harder. Juxtaposition in place makes a difference” (2007, p67).
“Cheek by jowl,” “co-presence,” and “juxtaposition” have very real faces; many domestic workers
have to endure packed flats within the city, while are many have a ‘stay-in’ arrangement, living in
their employing families homes. Ailyn, who is ‘stay-in’ shares how her life is inside the house:
“I took care of children while their parents worked. I brought them to and from school, cooked their
meals, and cleaned. They wouldn’t be able to function properly without that help… they left for France,
and it’s been three months. They left me to take care of the house. I water the plants… They have peace
of mind because they can trust me to take care of their house here.”
Health workers struggle with this too. Affordable housing was commonly cited by survey
participants as one of the pre-pandemic challenges they encountered. A nurse in Newham says
there is a tradeoff to living comfortably:
“I really hope they do something with the housing situation and rent prices. It's sad that with our salary
as nurses, I had to choose between comfort but with high rent or save money, but live with five or six
other people in a cramped house.”
Kaylee, who visits members of the Filipino community, details more about the living conditions of
“Sometimes it’s 15 people living in a 3-bedroom flat. So overcrowding is a very, very big issue within the
community. But that’s just for undocumented migrants, because they very flexible landlords, who, as
long as they’re paid by cash, (say) ’I can turn a blind eye: ’I don’t care who’s going in the house.’ One of
the people I used to deliver to a lot, she was a pensioner. She’s a British citizen, she’s living alone now.
She lived in London, a spare room, she was living with other people. I think it’s really crazy, she’s 70.
You’d be so surprised at how many Filipino senior citizens are in sheltered homes, so they live in these
council estates, and they live alone.”
Home is one’s refuge—a place of comfort, and a sense of security. It is also a place for nurturing,
bonding, and feeling peace. And yet, the tangibility of inequality manifests the most in this space;
ethnic migrants are not afforded the very states of wellbeing which they help create.
5.3 The heightened challenges of a pandemic"
In the introduction of this study, the cases of a nurse and two domestic workers were used to
encapsulate some of the most common challenges the Filipino community has encountered during
the COVID-19 pandemic, which will now be discussed in detail. The related literature and the first
part of this chapter revealed the context to their stories.
Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic brought changes to London and its communities. Using
the established issues (invisibility in the city, othering, and hostile spaces) the chapter proceeds to
examine how these changes impacted the Filipino community, and to reflect on how these
changes lead to even more challenges.
5.3.1 A heavy toll
“Your community has been devastated,” a comment reads on a Twitter thread. The post it refers to
pays tribute to a deceased Filipina nurse, whose 12-year old daughter has been placed in foster
care. This aptly describes how the Filipino community felt, with many frontliners clashing with the
perilous crisis. While news reports record various numbers of deaths among Filipino health
workers, Frank, who keeps up to date with the community, relays how “56 colleagues of ours died”
(as of 13 July 2020). Many cases and deaths of domestic workers and social carers are not
formally accounted for, as they are, as established, invisible.
In the initial stage of the research, social media was used to explore the scope of the study.
Numerous Twitter and Facebook posts concerning Filipinos in London and the UK were actually
epitaphs to frontliners; tabulating them for the netnographic investigation of this research created a
digital obituary. Online shrines and eulogies were put up by various groups, and netizens paid
respects through comments. Battling COVID-19, indeed, “exerted a heavy toll” on Filipinos (Quinn,
2020, para. 1).
5.3.2 Sharpened inequalities
All participants in this research were asked how they felt upon the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,
and what additional challenges they encountered. Many responded with feelings of fear, anxiety,
tiredness, and depression, describing how they could not “perform properly.” Others shared
experiencing xenophobic attacks. Hannah, who admits to be a very feeling person, becomes
emotional with these incidents. Her response grazes on the issue of othering:
“One time, someone shouted and degraded me on the street, they thought I was Chinese. (They
asked me) “Why are you here? Go back to your country!” The fact that it happens… Early in the
morning, when you go to work… I easily cry. But why does that still happen? I think, no one should
be illegal (or unwelcome) here (in London).”
But inequalities are even more sharpened beyond street encounters, and are tied to the physical
nature of the community’s work—both health and domestic care entail very physical and close-up
activities. Most nurses who responded to the survey share how they were redeployed to intensive
care, but feared for their personal safety due to the inadequacy or lack of personal protective
equipment. James shares his feelings about the situation, and expresses the need for a safe
space, which he couldn’t find within the hospital:
“For the past few months, from March to April, (we were assigned to) solely COVID patients. (We had) 12
hour shifts. We need to do 150 hours per month. If it’s a long day, we work long days and nights. It is
At times, I just felt a bit depressed. Down. During COVID-19, we were deployed to work in intensive
care. Personally, I have intensive care (experience), I used to work in ITU. What I needed at that time was
someone to talk to, someone to open up, someone to vent your frustrations, really. Because you didn’t
go home. You feel very, very tired, knackered, you just want to shout. You felt unwell. I was exposed…
You see your colleagues crying. It was difficult. They cry after shift, there’s nowhere to go after the shift…
Can you imagine, in one shift, 4 patients will die. Sometimes, 7.”
On top of his nursing duties, his volunteer work for the community connects him with others’
experiences. He shares about a Filipino carer’s case, who works in a nursing home, and who was
forced to provide care towards patients:
“There was a lady, she was sick, and was diagnosed to have COVID, and was told to isolate for 14 days.
After the 14-day period, she still wasn’t feeling well. But the employer, the nursing home, said, ‘Look,
you have to go to work. Because if you don’t come to work, you will lose your job.’ So can you imagine
the pressure and the anxiety brought to that person? She said, ‘I know I’ve finished my isolation, but I
don’t feel well. I shouldn’t be coming to work.’ I understand why the employer wanted her to work,
because everyone was falling sick, no one would look after those patients. So because of the fear of
losing her job—we know the consequences, if you lose your job, how are you gonna pay your bills? She
went to work. The bad side is, she went to work not feeling very well. She could have possibly affected
people in the nursing home. As a result, though it wasn’t proven, 9 patients in the nursing home died. It
could be anyone. It could be her, her colleague. But it’s not good. She still wasn’t well and she was
asked to go back.”
Nurses further attest to inequalities experienced while on duty:
“I’m given the more complicated or sicker patients”
“Some patients are less trusting and at ease as compared to when they speak with a Caucasian
“[I] still feel I need to prove my merit even among those with the same experience and training.”
Domestic workers faced further hardship with the pandemic. “Many have lost jobs,” Patty sighs.
Physical closeness affected them greatly; workers were asked to distance and were cut from their
jobs as nannies and as cleaners, due to the fear of possible coronavirus transmission. Survey
respondents share:
“Employers are working from home and they need space, that made work even more difficult. I also lost
some part time job because my employers who went on holiday were not able to come back because of
the lockdown.”
“Finding [a] job. [It’s] hard. They asking [if you’ve] been out, they [suspect] that [you are a] carrier even [if]
you [don’t] have any [symptoms].”
“[You] can’t go out in my work place, my employer [asked] me not to travel everyday, as they [are] scared
[to get COVID-19].”
Kaylee, who has interfaced with “about 600” callers in her work to support domestic workers, tells
about their biggest concerns: Being able to eat, keeping their living space, and planning how to
continue providing for their families.
“It’s being out of work, and not being able to pay rent. And if they have young dependents, it’s putting
food on the table. It’s kind of like a state of… Panic? But they have to be resourceful. They’re not doing
nothing. They’re very pragmatic. because the way that the political environment at the moment is set up
to work against them. It’s very, very difficult for them. I think it is just trying to get by. Maybe not a job is
what they need, but to be able to eat.
…hearing about a girl who was 14, should be studying for GCSEs [General Certificate of Secondary
Education] but her mum was struggling to feed her breakfast. That, for me, is just—you’d never think
that would ever happen as an issue. If I were to say what had made that worse, it would definitely be
their migrant status, because with undocumented migrants, they enter very precarious jobs… with
undocumented migrants, they can only really do part-time work, cash on hand, which would either be
domestic work or cleaning and cooking, something like that. They were very much hard hit.”
Home space continued to be a struggle for health workers and domestic workers; overcrowding
heightened their risk of getting infected. A nurse says how her flat became unsafe: “(A challenge for
me was) isolating because of housemates having symptoms.” Some were threatened with
homelessness, even deportation. Kaylee recalls:
“There was this undocumented migrant who was living with a Filipino, a British citizen, they have their
own flat here in London. Because of coronavirus, she was unable to pay her rent, and it had been over a
month, she was threatened by her landlady, who was a Filipina, that she would be evicted as a result.
She couldn’t get the money to pay for rent, she didn’t even have money to feed herself. It got so bad to
the point that her landlady started confiscating her stuff… It got to the point that ‘If you don’t pay me, I’ll
call the police, and they’ll deport you.’ Migrant status is such a big thing in the Philippines, it can be used
as a weapon against each other… if there were tension in the community—if there was one factor that
could trigger it, it would be migrant status. What happened at the end is we ended up rescuing her and
finding accommodation for her. Obviously, we didn’t want to put her in a position that the police would
arrest her at this time.”
The state and places where the Filipino community lives and works in already exhibit hostility, and
COVID-19 intensifies this: the invisibility of health and care work have cost domestic workers their
jobs and made a hazardous environment in hospitals and homes; othering grew from a lack of
recognition to xenophobia. And yet, the hostility that is related to the spaces where Filipinos live in
lead to how they seek safety, and a space where they could continue to provide care, seek
reciprocity, and be cared for.
These… ‘spaces of care’ are relationally produced, and are both physical and online. Survey
findings show how nurses turn to their original nursing cohorts, with whom they have developed
strong trust and relationships. Via private social media group chats, they exchange support, and
create a safe space to express their feelings and concerns. Domestic workers, on the other hand,
gravitate towards the communal urban spaces in London, such as churches in Battersea and
Kensington and Chelsea, where they could find other Filipinos for assistance, and parks, where
other Filipino domestic workers bring the children they care for to get fresh air. Similar to how
McKay (2016) observed lines of affinity and invisible, informal connections in her ethnography,
which were deeply rooted to Filipino (specifically Kankanaey) culture and belief, the participants in
this study exhibit Filipinoness in responding to the pandemic.
5.4 A self in the other: Coping through relations and Filipino culture"
The community’s way of coping towards the challenges of COVID-19 is very much rooted in
Filipino culture. In the literature review about the Filipino diaspora, several concepts drawn from
Enriquez’ (1978) seminal work on Sikolohiyang Pilipino (“Filipino Psychology”) were emphasised,
providing an understanding for the community’s identity, and why Filipinos have such relational
ways which tend to nurture, care, and embrace the ‘other.’ To reiterate, Aguila (2015) points to
kapwa (‘self-and-other as one’) as the core of the Filipino diasporic relationships. Further to this,
Reyes, in his introduction to the Filipino virtue ethics, rewrites how the concept pertains to a
“shared self,” a “shared identity”; it is central to understanding to a Filipino’s “relational will,”
empathy, and an “affective concern for others, it can even evolve towards “mutually sacrificial
relationships” (2015, p149).
5.4.1 Coping mechanisms
All of these are evident in the coping mechanisms employed by the London Filipino community in
responding to the pandemic. Netnographic investigations recorded numerous efforts by Filipinos to
reach out to bereaved nurses’ families and initiatives to deliver food and groceries to hungry Filipino
workers; Twitter was peppered with GoFundMe fundraisers, while Facebook and Filipino news
channels featured collaborative efforts amongst progressive groups, food entrepreneurs, and
There were mixed approaches. Already established organisations with programmatic activities
pooled efforts and resources into aiding the most affected. Kaylee shares how her group prioritised
a 'COVID response project,’ which brought food and groceries to members of the community who
needed it most, prepared Filipino food for the NHS, reached out to undocumented migrants, and
mothers with children. She recalls how bayanihan (solidarity, especially during hardship) played out
in one of her calls for volunteerism:
“Social media has definitely helped to such an extent. It was crazy. For example, the food project. We
were short on drivers. Who would I call? I would just go to a random group and say ‘Hi, I need a
driver, can anyone help?’ Within minutes, someone volunteers themselves.”
Patty, whose organisation also operated before the pandemic, recalls how pakikipagkapwa led to
respond to domestic workers’ abuse and invisibility; it brought together a community. In their
initiatives for the pandemic, she shows how the pakikisama over the years naturally led to
bayanihan as well: “Ailyn and I had no work, we volunteered to help deliver food. Hannah also
delivered food during her day off or after working.”
5.4.2 Strengthened relations
Organisations that were borne specifically to respond to COVID-19 also demonstrated bayanihan,
within and between members of the health and domestic sector, and those from the creative or
business fields. James shares their initiatives, which spans a variety of assistance:
“Some nurses who had some issues with their employers, we link them to the right people, either
legally or to the official organisation, like the Royal College of Nursing. We talk to their employers
through channels just to make sure that they have the proper support. Equal treatment… We are also
trying to provide some assistance to the newly qualified nurses here in England. Some of them have
culture shock… We also offer pastoral support—Catholic, Christian, any religious domination. Legal
advice, we do that as well. We are now liaising with some unions, like the Unison College of Nursing.”
He also shares how reaching out to undocumented migrants strengthened the relationships of the
“We go to their houses, we deliver. We ring them first. We ask them if any of them have symptoms,
so we say “Don’t go out” and we’ll just leave all the rice and supplies outside, and just collect it. If
some group doesn’t have any symptoms, they allow us to go in, and we accept, we have a good
chat… With that journey, we made good friends.”
Frank, who has been actively engaged with health institutions in the UK with regard to ethnic
diversity, says how his group sees the value of the Filipino community working with BAME
networks. In working with ethnic health worker groups (he mentions the Nurses Association of
Jamaica, the Association of Pakistani Physicians and Surgeons, the Zimbabwe Diaspora Network,
the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association), pakikisama is exhibited. He believes that there is
strength in finding unity with those who are ‘othered.’
Aside from volunteerism, organisation and collaboration, Filipinos sought a sense of belongingness
through their established connections; survey respondents sought support from their family and
relatives, support organisations and charities in London, friends and colleagues, the church, their
“UK family,” and neighbours. Pakikisama was also evident in online spaces; in social media posts
about nurses in London, many Filipinos would respond how they shared concerns, given that they
also had family members who were nurses and health workers battling COVID-19.
5.4.3 An ethic of care
Key informants to the research, as community leaders and organisers, were all asked about their
motives on caring for the community during the pandemic. All their responses stem from empathy
towards others, and giving value towards kapwa, to the point of self-sacrifice at varying levels:
Kaylee: “You’re putting yourself out there for people… when you’re doing this, you’re helping people.
The amount of time my housemates would see me crying, getting stressed… It’s emotionally
draining to hear a mum asking for food, with a child crying on the phone, it’s not nice.”
James: “For me, it’s just personal experience. When I first came to England, I was bullied too. I was
racially abused... But since then, I learned, I took it as a good learning experience and promised
myself that I don’t want other people to experience it, it’s a horrible experience.”
Frank: “When I was working in the NHS—as I’ve said I’ve been working there for 20 years—I’ve
always thought Filipinos are not being heard nationally… What drives me to do all of this is for the
welfare and benefits of Filipino nurses and their families, and health care workers.”
Patty: “What drives us to help is our own experience. I came from the Middle East. I was also
abused. When I escaped, I was still allowed to leave my master, because that happened in 2002,
when we could still renew and extend our visas. I understand what they go through, I know how
they feel. How could you not help when you see someone else with no freedom?”
Ailyn: “As long as you can help, you give it.”
The introduction of this study told the case of a domestic worker who passed during COVID-19.
Hannah continues this story, and, in her response, she precisely defines how the Filipino
community’s culture, identity, and relations come together to define a unique ethic:
“We are connected with the sibling of that member who battles cancer (who is in the Philippines).
The sibling really appreciates our help, because they know that this is his/her own responsibility to
provide care. Everyday, we bring food to that member, we give comfort. You asked how we are able
to do this. It is likas (inherent) in a Filipino to provide care for a neighbour, a community.
There are times when you have nothing for yourself, but you continue to help others. You do not
discriminate whether they have blood ties or not.”
Filipinos epitomise care. And this care flows into the spaces they move in, between the members
of their community, and their relations—both in London and to their families and supporting
networks abroad and online. This care may be perceived externally as something generic, or
merely provided, and in a commercial sense, ‘exported’, but Hannah and Patty, who have been
carers all their life, would challenge that:
“I can say we have a different type of care.”
“Our masters, they only think of you as an employer, that the care you give equates to salary. But
Filipinos give more than that. We do not just value the money. We give love, and that’s how we
become different (in providing care).”
In the survey, a clinical support worker responds to the question of feeling equally, as any other
Londoner, and she responds that she does, explaining that this is due to the recognition given to
her care, and by extension, her identity as a Filipino: “Our patients recognise Filipinos' sincerity,
politeness, friendly and positive caring attitude as compared to other nationalities.”
5.5 Reimagining spaces"
5.5.1 A symbiosis of care and hostility
Duality is a concept which resonated in the theoretical review and empirical findings about London
and the Filipino community. Massey (2007) depicted the ‘co-presence’ of London’s glorified elite
and the invisible other, consisting of ethnic, migrant workers, of corporate greed and need, of the
city’s success and the poor. This duality continues to be present in what was an invisible space in
the city, in the form of care and hostility.
Filipinos carry with them the cultural ethic of care, as a part of their identity; this is fostered in their
way of life, their work, and engagements while in London. This care flows into London’s hospitals
and homes, bringing a quiet yet vital element into the city. Hannah describes how this care
becomes relational towards London’s families, and believes in its essence:
“We’re not just helpers (that should be thought lowly of); people should look into how deep our
service is: We take care of their mothers, their elderly parents, their siblings, and those who are
disabled. If we weren’t here, how would they be able to perform their work properly?
We raise their children—we bring them to school, we’re with them from 8AM-8PM, then at night,
they sleep with their parents. We mould and shape the youth here. As mothers, we are able to do
that. If not for our care, what would happen to children who are neglected by their parents due to
work? There is great trust (given to) Filipino carers, because we have good service.”
But it is also in these very places where carers encounter issues that create hostility, which arise
from many nuances; London’s and the Philippines’ neoliberalism, which, respectively, depend on
migrant workers and a neglectful set-up to export health workers and carers, produces the
challenges which Filipinos encounter. Othering, racism, intended biases, invisibility, abuse, and
overcrowding in London’s flats have become normal to the community for decades. COVID-19
exacerbated this precarious existence; xenophobia in the city heightened, health workers were
forced to report for duty at the expense of personal safety and life; domestic workers lost jobs and
living spaces; and health risks in already overcrowded flats threatened personal safety.
Yet the Filipino community responded to these by strengthening their relations, and creating
‘spaces of care.’ Hostility in the employing families’ homes, and the fear in overcrowded spaces
resulted to sheltering:
Patty: “…one member can offer shelter for two days, another member gives another two days, just
so there is an immediate response to where they can stay…”
It also yielded volunteerism, and even an indication of identity recognition (as demonstrated by the
Food for NHS project). Tension in the hospital frontlines reinvigorated nurses’ camaraderie through
their private group chats. Food deliveries and psychological support to needy members of the
community led to new friendships and stronger ties with workers’ networks.
Kaylee greatly empathises with the people she helps. For certain cases in her work with mothers
and children, she expresses a sentiment for care to counter hostility due to the community’s many
“We’ve had mothers who are pregnant, mothers who are undocumented, and it makes it even
worse, who are unable to pay for hospital bills. There was one, she just gave birth the other month,
and she’s been slapped with a bill of £6,000, and that’s impossible to pay now. I know a family,
they’ve been undocumented for 10 years. Both parents went out of work. They’ve got 3 children,
and 1 who was expecting. It racked up to a total of family of 5. That’s why our work with
undocumented migrants and trying to have them to get a status in the UK is something we put a lot
of effort into, because whilst you can argue that it isn’t equal, to stay in the UK unlawfully… we are
not a wealthy country. Everyone who comes here starts from scratch. And having migrant parents…,
you can’t take away that they’re only doing this for people. Their families. That’s what our culture is,
we help other people. We can’t criminalise that.”
Care and hostility in space are a duality, a merging, a type of symbiosis that is uncovered by this
research; cultural care from the Filipino community encounters hostility, and from this, cyclically, the
community produces spaces of care.
Moreover, in clustering these spaces of care from the research, one may imagine ‘invisible
enclaves.’ The London Filipino community’s networks are unseen, but organised. This can be
demonstrated by the multiple tenants who flat-share, and the the community’s knowledge of their
location. Patty tells how this was used in delivering food and aid in the pandemic:
“We organised by tasking, and by location. Ailyn would deliver to those who needed help in her area.
Hannah and I live in the same house, so we deliver together.”
5.5.2 London is a cage
The experience of Filipino domestic workers tells a crucial story in understanding London’s position
in the world from a very specific point-of-view. In an earlier discussion, it was established how
domestic workers live and work in London by chance. More specifically, domestic workers were
brought to London against their will.
Patty, Hannah, and Ailyn all relay how the most enticing place for a Filipino domestic worker is the
Middle East, because agents do not require placement fees for processing applications to the
region. Patty shares how she planned to save and then continue working in Hong Kong. But as
she, along with many other workers, were forced to fly to London, she have had no choice but to
live in the city. That makes London, in the eyes of a domestic worker, a cage.
Their organisations, which they describe as progressive, provide assistance. She shares how many
are trafficked; those who are legally recognised by the UK as such are allowed a leave to remain in
the country for up to 2 years (Home Office, 2017). “But that’s not enough (to earn),” Patty says.
And being granted a leave to remain is not always the case. “We know of people who have waited
for 7 years, but have not been given a decision,” she shares. These domestic workers, in avoiding
detection, know ‘London’ to be the confines of a house.
Hannah explains why being in London is an inevitable situation for most of the domestic
community, because of their tied visa and their options: “I want to emphasise how the law here
gives you no choice. You are tied. If you leave, you also lost. That’s why you choose to stay.” Patty
adds how COVID-19 prolongs what already seems to be a drawn out process, and this harms
workers: “We have cases like this during COVID-19. But we cannot persuade them to leave their
masters right now, because it’s difficult to find any work.”
Patty gives a scenario of what happens to domestic workers should they be granted a leave to
“After 2 years, you get deported back to the Philippines, but when you get there, we don’t have any
work. The Philippine government does not create jobs for us. They create for the Chinese. So what
happens is a cycle. Those who are deported will end up in the Middle East again.”
This makes London one chapter in a series of cities where Filipino domestic workers end up; This
series includes cities in the Middle East, including Dubai, Riyadh, and Muscat; Hong Kong; and
cities in the United States, such as New York City, and various localities in the states of California
and Chicago.
This is what Massey (2007) calls a ‘dispersed geography,’ a critical understanding of London’s
politics of place, or how, as a city, it relationally links to the rest of the world. She says of place:
“The imagination should not be of boundaries drawn ever wider, of ever bigger containers, or indeed
of a new geography of scales. Rather what is at issue is a more dispersed geography, or relations
and practices, and maybe even of identities: a different geography of identities within, as part of,
globalisation.” (ibid, p187)
This also partially responds to one of the questions Massey asks in framing the world city: “Where
does London end?” (ibid, p13;187)
5.5.3 Cities of care
There is one final understanding of dualities to be added to the list iterated in this research, and
that is the rethinking of London, and of cities, which embrace both a self and the other. The Filipino
virtue ethic of kapwa provides this way of thinking. Kapwa is a parallel of coevalness, and it affects
the dynamics of how cities are currently understood. As an ethic, it leads the city to be more
relational, and more empathic towards communities that it may neglect. In embracing this, and in
sharing an identity with an ethnic other, London is put in a position of responsibility, a position to
reciprocate, redistribute, and provide care towards those who care for the city.
The way the Filipino community brings care to the spaces and society of London, the way its
members view the other as the self, challenges the very notion of othering. There is a certain
selflessness in viewing the other as one’s own; it is in this sense that this study concludes with why
London, and other urban spaces, should become more caring cities. A city is where people live,
work, and where they spend years of their lives in. It becomes a home. In caring for its dwellers, it
should provide comfort and wellbeing.
The concept of a ‘city of care’ is born from a shift of perspective on viewing London—through the
lens, culture, and identity of an ethnic invisible other. Care is a strength of the Filipino community,
and it brings an advantage to the city; this is precisely why differences, ethnicities, and
multiplicities, which make London’s super-diversity, should be recognised and valued.
Chapter 6: Conclusion
6.1 A summary"
So, how is the London Filipino community faring and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, thus
far? There are a number of answers to inform this question. First, pre-pandemic context matters;
decades prior to COVID-19, Filipinos in London already lived with (to a point of normalising) unfair
treatment: being referred to as an invisible other, encountering biases and racism towards
professional work (and even hostility towards Filipino culture), abuse, and, inside the home,
uncomfortable overcrowding. Second, the pandemic, with its contagiousness and restrictions to
physical proximity, intensified precariousness and piled on more challenges to the community: as
part of frontline work, many nurses and health workers reported for duty, at the expense of life, and
of personal wellbeing; many domestic workers and social care workers lost jobs (which impacted
families and an economy beyond London’s borders); and the city’s spaces—shared flats, homes,
and streets—increased risks and threatened personal safety of members of the community.
Third, Filipinos’ coping mechanisms were very relational, and were found to be deeply embedded
in Filipino culture. Addressing the pandemic yielded volunteerism, organisation, and collaboration,
and were established to come from the concepts of kapwa, bayanihan, pakikisama, and other
Filipino ethics. Fourth, these mechanisms strengthened relationships amongst the London Filipino
community, as well as their members’ extended networks (in London and the UK, abroad, and in
the Philippines). Both coping mechanisms and relations were established to be motivated by the
Filipino viewpoint of seeing the ‘self in an other.’
Lastly, the first four findings—context on longstanding issues, those brought by the pandemic,
coping mechanisms, and cultural relations, all informed how the Filipino community shaped the
spaces they lived in within the city, and emergent thematic issues that resulted from the research.
The Filipino community, in responding to the pandemic, created ‘spaces of care,’ and, in their
work, highlighted a cultural virtue ethic, which can be used to rethink how London (and other cities,
by extension), can become ‘cities of care.’
The research also yielded spatial concepts and a reimagining that is particular to London; first,
there is a cyclical duality of care and hostility in space, a symbiosis resulting from a Filipino and a
‘London’ identity. Second, London, as a city, has many facets, each stemming from different
perspectives and experiences. In some Filipino domestic worker’s eyes, London is a cage, and is
connected to other world cities where the community gets ‘trapped’ in their work.
6.3 The wider discourses"
This study becomes a part of wider discourses. In London’s position as a world city, “A full
recognition of the coeval others” is what Massey (ibid., p216) writes to be the the challenge of
space. This dissertation attempts to respond to that. The study addresses London’s position of
imbalanced, precarious duality through recognition, one of several strategies laid out for the city.
But this project is only a small step in achieving coevalness, let alone a ‘full’ recognition of the city’s
diversity. Uncovering the relations and experiences of a select group within an ethnic migrant
minority in London is a fraction of the work; it is of understanding, but further steps lie ahead, such
as crafting urban policies which address the multiple challenges in the research findings, and
implementing these within city spaces, which have systems in place.
This study also contributes to urban studies; space, cities, and geographies continue to be
imagined and reimagined through different lenses. There exists a call for geographies of care
(Raghuram, Madge, and Noxolo, 2008), which, precisely, look into relationships that constitute
space. They point out:
“…responsibility and care might appear, not from an imagined centre, but from other different
positions, including those who are distant and those who help to constitute the centre through their
presence.” (ibid, p11)
‘Ethical spatial relations’ and tracing how care flows, which are the heart of this study, are central to
this particular discourse.
Literature on the Filipino diaspora also extensively discusses care because of the Filipino identity
and culture; many ethnographies examining the Filipino communities in various world cities reveal
how care, through culture, flows globally. This study is situated as a part of this series, and the
concepts that it yields may lead to a collaborative understanding of what earlier scholars have
produced about the diaspora, such as the “empire of care” (Ceniza-Choy, 2003, book title), an
“archipelago of care” (McKay, 2016, book title), and “multidirectional care” (Francisco-Menchavez,
2018, book title).
Lastly, this dissertation also becomes a snapshot in the extensive and multi-disciplinary discourse
of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
6.4 Recommendations "
The study opens up research areas to be explored. The concept of a “caring kind of globalism”
was explored by McKay (ibid., p19). Since this dissertation responds to London and puts forward a
more caring type of city, it would also be most informative to take the research further across
global nodes, where the Filipino diasporic community has established a caring presence—New
York City, Ontario, Manitoba, Hong Kong, and cities in the Middle East, including Dubai, Riyadh,
Doha, and Muscat. It would be most interesting to see the contrasting trajectories of how care is
fostered in global cities and how these cities stand on the domination of power, finance, and
Taking specific aspects of this research further would point to the following: First, addressing
rearticulation of care between the Philippines and the UK would benefit from a closer examination
of international health, domestic work, urban, and migration policies. Second, taking a closer look
at cultural attributes which gave influence, but were not specifically tackled in this study, could
provide a better grasp at understanding the Filipino community’s influence on London’s urbanism—
religion, gender, and psychology.
Lastly, as several participants in this study pointed out, the changes and challenges surrounding
COVID-19 and London do not only revolve around the Filipino community, but also numerous
ethnic communities who dwell in the city. Exploring deeper cultures, and gaining literacy about
them, can better address recognition. Further to that, embracing these ‘other’ cultures not just as a
‘part’ of London, but as London, strengthens how the city can embody care.
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Interview Guide"
1. Tell me how you came to be part of your organisation, what you do, and what your work is.
2. Tell me about the relationships you made while living in London. What activities do you do?
How frequently do you meet?
3. Why do you choose to help out our community?
4. What have you observed with regard to the relationships and connections that transpired in the
community/organisation during the pandemic?
1. What were the changes to your personal life?
2. What were the changes to your community meetings and activities?
3. What challenges were brought about by COVID-19?
4. Did you seek support? From whom? What kind of support? Who do you depend on?
5. How would you describe the role of your community and the Filipino community in this
6. How has social media affected the changes of COVID-19?
Life as a Filipino in London
1. Why did you choose to live and work in London?
2. Tell me about your life here in London.
3. Since when have you lived here?
4. What challenges have you encountered before the COVID-19 pandemic?
5. Do you feel that you are treated equally, like any other Londoner? Why or why not?
Final questions
1. What changes do you think London can do to support you as a Filipino migrant?
2. What changes do you think London can do to support you as a worker?
3. Do you have any questions for me?
Survey Questionnaire"
1. What groups or communities in London are you part of? (Tick all that apply.)
-Peer group at the workplace
-A church group
-A neighbourhood group or association
-A Filipino community group
-Family and relatives who are also in London
-Prefer not to say
2. What are the names of these groups or communities? If they have no names or if you don't wish
to disclose them, please describe them (eg. a group chat of fellow nurses or a private chat of care
3. How did this group or community usually interact before COVID-19? (You may tick both.)
-Physical meeting
-Online communications
-Not applicable / Prefer not to say
4. If the group physically met, what spaces did the group utilise? (Tick all that apply.)
-Public spaces (parks, squares)
-Cafes or restaurants
-Private house
-A space in the work place
-Prefer not to say
5. How often does the group interact? (If you have more than one group, please select 'Other' and
specify the frequency per group.)
-Everyday or twice a week
-Weekly or bi-weekly
-Monthly or more than a month
-Yearly or more than a year
-Prefer not to say
6. What type of activities does your group do? (Please be specific, eg. sharing information about
agencies, spreading opportunities, organising events, holding picnics, church work, etc.)
COVID-19 Changes
1. How has COVID-19 changed the groups and communities that you are part of?
2. Before the COVID-19 pandemic happened, what challenges have you encountered while
working/living in London? (Please be specific, eg. finding a suitable place to live in, addressing
racism in the neighbourhood or work place, finding jobs that pay well, etc.)
3. Since the COVID-19 pandemic happened (January 2020 to present), have there been
additional challenges that you had to deal with?
-Prefer not to say
4. If yes, what are these additional pandemic-related challenges?
5. How do you cope with these challenges? How do you address them?
6. Did you seek any support since the pandemic started?
-Prefer not to say
7. If yes, what kind of support? (Tick all that apply.)
-Finding/sustaining work
-Wellness (physical health, mental health, emotional or spiritual wellness)
-Food and other basic necessities
-Prefer not to say
8. Were you able to find support in your groups and communities to deal with these issues?
-Prefer not to say
9. Who else do you depend on for support? (Please specify particular groups, such as new
support groups, communities in other parts of the UK, family or relatives in other countries, the
Philippine Embassy, etc.)
Online networks
(By social media, we include a variety of platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube,
LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp, Skype, blogs, vlogs, online fora, and other
1. Do you use social media to find support while we go through the pandemic?
-Prefer not to say
2. If yes, what social media components do you use to find support? (Tick all that apply.)
-Social media groups (where members can post and interact, eg. Facebook groups)
-Social media pages (Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Instagram pages, etc.)
-Group chats (Messenger, Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp, etc.)
-Fora (Reddit threads, Twitter threads, etc.)
3. In relation to support during the pandemic, what pages do you follow? What groups do you
participate in? (You may provide the name or the URL of the sites.)
4. In relation to the pandemic, what else do you use social media for?
Belongingness and recognition
1. Why did you choose to work in London (and not other cities)?
2. As a Filipino living in London, do you feel that you are recognised, that you belong, and that
you are treated equally as any other Londoner?
-Prefer not to say
3. Why or why not? (Please elaborate on your answer. You are encouraged to share particular
incidents and experiences, or feelings and reflections of having lived in London, and interacted
with other ethnicities.)!
4. What changes do you think London can do to provide you support as a Filipino migrant in the
5. Is there anything else that you would like to share with regard to the London Filipino community
during COVID-19?
6. Is there anything else not addressed in the survey you would like to share with me in regards to
my research topic?
Participant Profile"
There were 6 key informants for the interviews, representing four different organisations, all of
which are founded by Filipinos in London. The organisations all spearheaded response initiatives to
COVID-19. All key informants held leadership positions in these groups, and personally interfaced
with the London Filipino community in conducting their response work.
There were 39 survey respondents, with an age range of 26 to 59 years old, and with an average
of 11.1 years living in London. Their occupations include nurses, doctors, clinical support staff,
nannies, housekeepers, cleaners, a personal care provider, and a residential care home manager.
Majority of the respondents are tenants in the city, and are flat-sharers.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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This book is one of the outcomes of the DIVERCITIES project. It focuses on the question of how to create social cohesion, social mobility and economic performance in today’s hyperdiversified cities. The project’s central hypothesis is that urban diversity is an asset that can inspire creativity, innovation and make cities more liveable and harmonious.
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Both responsibility and care have much to offer in thinking through the relationalities that make up a postcolonial world. Although contemporary political systems often posit responsibility and care within the context of individuated and autonomous selves, geographers have done much to relocate responsibility and care within narratives of interdependency – spatially and temporally. They have argued that both terms offer a route for thinking about ethical geographical relations between myriad places. In this article we take this project further, by looking at how the nature and shape of these relationships might be construed in a postcolonial world. We suggest that, through a more critical engagement with postcolonial thinking, any exploration of existing practices of responsibility and care will not only reveal the enormous potential of imagining these geographies as forms of existing and evolving relationalities, but will also lead us to interrogate the deployments of these terms in the context of past and present inequalities. We show that routing care and responsibility through postcolonial geographies moves us towards a more pragmatic responsiveness, one that involves a ‘care-full’ recognition of postcolonial interaction.
COVID‐19 (the new strain of coronavirus) has been declared a global pandemic. Measures announced over recent weeks to tackle it have seen people’s day‐to‐day life drastically altered. These changes are essential to beat coronavirus and protect health systems (UK Home Office 2020). However, there are unintended, negative consequences. As the virus continues to spread across the world, it brings with it multiple new stresses, including physical and psychological health risks, isolation and loneliness, the closure of many schools and businesses, economic vulnerability and job losses. Through all of that, children (and their mothers) are particularly vulnerable (End Violence against Children, 2020) to the risk of domestic violence. Domestic violence refers to a range of violations that happen within a domestic space. It is a broad term that encompasses intimate partner violence (IPV), a form of abuse that is perpetrated by a current or ex‐partner.
Women make up a majority of the Filipino workforce laboring overseas. Their frequent employment in nurturing, maternal jobs--nanny, maid, caretaker, nurse--has found expression in a significant but understudied body of Filipino and Filipino American literature and cinema. Harrod J. Suarez’s innovative readings of this cultural production explores issues of diaspora, gender, and labor. He details the ways literature and cinema play critical roles in encountering, addressing, and problematizing what we think we know about overseas Filipina workers. Though often seen as compliant subjects, the Filipina mother can also destabilize knowledge production that serves the interests of global empire, capitalism, and Philippine nationalism. Suarez examines canonical writers like Nick JoaquÃn, Carlos Bulosan, and Jessica Hagedorn to explore this disruption and understand the maternal specificity of the construction of overseas Filipina workers. The result is readings that develop new ways of thinking through diasporic maternal labor that engages with the sociological imaginary. © 2017 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. All rights reserved.
For generations, migration moved in one direction at a time: migrants to host countries, and money to families left behind. The Labor of Care argues that globalization has changed all that. Valerie Francisco-Menchavez spent five years alongside a group of working migrant mothers. Drawing on interviews and up-close collaboration with these women, Francisco-Menchavez looks at the sacrifices, emotional and material consequences, and recasting of roles that emerge from family separation. She pays particular attention to how technologies like Facebook, Skype, and recorded video open up transformative ways of bridging distances while still supporting traditional family dynamics. As she shows, migrants also build communities of care in their host countries. These chosen families provide an essential form of mutual support. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of today's transnational family-sundered, yet inexorably linked over the distances by timeless emotions and new forms of intimacy. © 2018 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. All rights reserved.
Focusing on the experience of Filipino caregivers in London, some of whom are living and working illegally in their host country, Deirdre McKay considers what migrant workers must do to navigate their way in a global marketplace. She draws on interviews and participant observations, her own long-term fieldwork in communities in the Philippines, and digital ethnography to present an intricate consideration of how these caregivers create stability in potentially precarious living situations. McKay argues that these workers gain resilience from the bonding networks they construct for themselves through social media, faith groups, and community centers. These networks generate an elaborate "archipelago of care" through which migrants create their sense of self.
This is an introduction to a Filipino virtue ethics which is a relationship-oriented virtue ethics. The concepts to be discussed are the result of the unique history of the Philippines, namely a Southeast Asian tribal and animist tradition mixed with a Spanish Catholic tradition for over 300 years. Filipino virtue ethics is based on two foundational concepts in Filipino culture. The first is loób, which can easily be misunderstood when literally translated into English as ‘inside’ but which is better translated as ‘relational will’, and the second is kapwa, which is literally translated as ‘other person’ but is better understood as ‘together with the person’. These serve as pillars for a special collection of virtues (kagandahang-loób, utang-na-loób, pakikiramdam, hiya, lakas-ng-loób/bahala na) which are not individualistic virtues in the same way as most of the cardinal virtues of the Western tradition (i.e. prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude) but are all directed towards the preservation and strengthening of human relationships. This introduction to a Filipino virtue ethics is articulated and organized through a dialogue with Aristotelian-Thomistic virtue ethics.
Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino psychology) refers to the psychology born out of the experience, thought and orientation of the Filipinos, based on the full use of Filipino culture and language. The approach is one of “indigenization from within” whereby the theoretical framework and methodology emerge from the experiences of the people from the indigenous culture. It is based on assessing historical and socio-cultural realities, understanding the local language, unraveling Filipino characteristics, and explaining them through the eyes of the native Filipino. Among the outcomes are: a body of knowledge including indigenous concepts, development of indigenous research methods and indigenous personality testing, new directions in teaching psychology, and an active participation in organisations among Filipino psychologists and social scientists, both in the Philippines and overseas.