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The Marcos legacy that keeps on giving

I remember Mom packing lots of towels and T-shirts in balikbayan boxes. And cans of Vienna sausage and corned beef and Spam. Lots and lots of Spam.

Sara Tardiff writes in The Atlantic that Ferdinand Marcos, of all people, seeded this tradition of Filipino immigrants sending giant boxes of stuff back to the homeland. And it keeps going today.

“‘Often when I think of a balikbayan box, I think about when the family receiving it gathers to open it,’ Clarissa Aljentera, a Filipino American writer from Fremont, California, told me via email. ‘And if you aren’t there, someone will put the item aside and make sure you receive a piece … of the U.S.” They’re a reminder to many that they aren’t alone and haven’t been forgotten.'”