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Ten years ago, this March 2019, an amazing and incredible ensemble of academics, artists, writers, and my now dearly-departed good friend, Lito Cruz and I published the first issue of Balikbayan Magazine. Lito Cruz was also the first Editor-in-Chief of this publication. Today, those early founders and contributors of Balikbayan Magazine are continuing their remarkable work in a myriad of industries—from entertainment, literature, art, music, design, photographer, fashion, philosophy, government, law, business, to technology—quite a collection of worldly talents. And that is what specifically Balikbayan Magazine was designed for—a medium for everyone from all walks of life to tell their own stories or captivate you with a fascinating perspective on a beautiful place, noteworthy person, or experience.

I surely will never forget all of the people that have contributed to our publications throughout these years. And so, in the coming months, we’ll finally have all of our archive content up on our website for you to re-enjoy along with fresh and inspiring content from all those familiar faces as well. And we’d like to invite you, our audience to contribute to Balikbayan Magazine as well. Whether it is a story idea, photograph, or your very own column space with us.

Lito, in his first Editor’s Letter wrote:

“We hope this Balikbayan Magazine sweeps you off your feet at first sight. Like the first times we were moved by the mountains of Bukidnon. Or the first time we were swept away by the essence of a place called Bohol. A reverie still runs through it. We will take you back via the scenic roots, passing through historic markers and churches, and even hysterical landmarks. We may get lost finding the meaning of the day, or a moment. But along the way, we’ll find our muse.”

Lito certainly had a way with words. He was truly an artist in every sense of the word. I, and thousands of others along with our Balikbayan Magazine will miss him.

You see, these words printed on the pages of Balikbayan Magazine throughout every year and issue past, present, and future is so much more than simply ink on a piece of paper. For us, it’s a lot more than that. Each page is an appreciation—a celebration of all the hard work that goes into developing and curating each story and image. But not only that—it is a testament to our unwavering devotion and passion for fueling the greatness of the Philippines and preserving and showcasing our Filipino culture and beautiful country to the World.

Undoubtedly, within these past 10 years (and even before we started publishing this magazine), media, editorials, and print publishing have changed and moved to the convenience of your smartphone. We have surely moved and innovated along with it. But no matter what, we’ll always continue printing Balikbayan Magazine regardless of any technological advances or change in market environment because it matters. This publication is and always will be dedicated to serving Filipinos around the World. In the words of Lito, it is for OFWs—“Outstanding Filipinos Worldwide” as he liked to call us. Or perhaps, simply put, our muse.

We look forward to serving you another ten years and beyond and we hope you continue to join us in this journey.

Roger Oriel
Roger Oriel

Roger Oriel is the Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of the Asian Journal Media Group.

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