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"Maximizing The Social Life Chances:" A Case Study on the Cross-Border Adaptation of First-Generation Indonesian Migrants in the Municipality of Glan, Sarangani Province

Written by Erika Tadeo. Posted in MA Theses @ UP Asian Center (2013–Onwards)

Recent discourses on migration and diaspora evolved from migrants’ hopes for return to migrants’ finding home outside their homeland. Such inquiries seek to explore life after reaching one’s destination given that migration opens the door for newer possibilities and challenges. These new endeavors trigger the need to adapt and to develop innovative ways to survive— a reality to millions of migrants, refugees, and other individuals dispersed/displaced from their country of origin, including those Sangir Indonesians in southern Mindanao. 

Although thousands of Sangir Indonesians have been inhabiting several parts of southern Mindanao in the last century, only a handful of studies have attempted to investigate their presence. Many of these focused solely on determining the push and pull factors of migration and its implication to foreign policies. The lack of research, however, was supplemented by newer studies offering description of the migrants’ status and identity. Now, attempting to start anew, this study aims to explore the cross-border adaptation of first generation Indonesian migrants in Glan, Sarangani province. Anchored on Eugene Brody’s work on the adaptation of migrant population, the study explains how Indonesian migrants adapted and are continuously adapting in their present settlements. Here, the case study of fifteen respondents are used to examine the migrants’ conditions from the time they left Sangihe to their lives now in Glan. The study also looks into the strategies that enabled them to survive and the factors that affected their adaptation. In answering these, the study treats the migrants as actors and as important parts of the societal processes. 

At the end, the study hopes to contribute to the understanding not just of the Indonesian migration phenomenon but more so of the actual lives of these migrants. Doing so may bridge the gap between the visions of the state and the needs of the people imperative at formulating sound policies that ensures the development of both agencies.  

Author: Erika Tadeo • Year of Completion: 2016 • Degree: MA in Asian Studies (Southeast Asia)