We commonly refer to our home as simply our house — the roof we live under. This is no surprise when looking at the possible origins of the word “home”; its root nouns emphasise its spatial and physical features. It’s no wonder that we see our home merely for its physical presence.

On the other hand, the Tagalog word for home is “tahanan”. It stems from the root “tahan”, meaning to cease, to calm down, or to pacify. If, say, you wanted to comfort a crying toddler, you would tell her: “tahan na, anak”, which means “stop [tahan] now, child.” A home is a place of “tahan” — a place of peace. Unlike its English counterpart, “tahanan” is not simply a manor nor a village. It encompasses more than just the physical attributes of a home, but relates it to a place of comfort; physical, emotional and mental.

Through these photos, I hoped to convey the idea that a home is not merely a house or a physical space. A home is a place of comfort, granting emotional and mental peace that a mere building cannot provide.  A home is complete only when filled with people and things that bring peace: Just as the polaroid photos are inserted into each frame as if to complete the rooms of our house.

My family completes my home; they are the focus of my tahanan. The photos capture them in their most raw and natural selves, revealing a little something of each of their characters. This is a taste of my home, in its purest and most authentic form.




1. The roots of the word “home” include “ham” (English, as in Nottingham, Birmingham, meaning “abode”, “estate”, or “one’s native place”), “heim” (German, meaning “homeland, native land”), “haims” (Gothic, meaning “village”), “heimr” (Old Icelandic, meaning “world”) and “hamm” (Old English, meaning “a piece of pasture land; enclosure; house). See more here: https://blog.oup.com/2015/02/home-word-origin-etymology/   

2. See more on “tahan” — the root word for tahanan — here: https://www.tagaloglang.com/tahan/

About the author
Kyra Maquiso is a third-culture kid. When she’s not drowning in exam notes and casebooks, she’s rediscovering her inner Pinay through learning OPM songs on her ukulele or jamming on the cajon with “Diwa”. Her favourite hobbies are cafe-hopping, making Spotify playlists to add to her exisiting collection of 32, and taking photos. Find her on instagram at @fsa_diwa and Tumblr at kmaquiso-photography.