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Photography Exhibition


Leia Maminta Smith was born in Batangas City and grew up in the Philippines. She moved to the US in pursuit of science and completed her PhD in Tumor Cell Biology from Northwestern University. She trained in molecular biology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO and at the National Cancer Institute, Maryland. She worked in academic and biotech organizations and is currently a scientific consultant. To explore her love of photography, she immersed herself in learning more about the history, techniques and business of photography through a Certificate Program at the Univ of WA. She is a member of Seattle Photographic Society. She has earned multiple awards from the Northwest Council of Camera Clubs and Shoreline Arts Festival. She enjoys doing portraits, nature and travel photography. She has been a volunteer for Pagdiriwang for several years as coordinator of the photography exhibit.

Artist Statement

Capturing the moment and preserving the memories are my primary motivations in taking photographs. I see amazing images all around us and appreciate the beauty in minute details of life, in the grandeur of nature, and in the warmth of human relationships. A photograph is both art and science to me since it can show the beauty in the details, document the essence of life or the significance of an event. I found joy in photography, in seeing the unexpected and capturing images that bring happy memories and hope. For our theme this year “Kababata at Kababayan” (Childhood and Hometown Friends), I have selected images from my hometown, Batangas. I love coming back to visit family and get together with friends from grade school.



Bong Serrano is the published author of Batangas: My Sky and Earth, a story about his recollections and reflections on growing up in the southern province of the island of Luzon in the Philippines, enriched by its people, culture, and traditions. He takes the reader on a journey to a bygone era with a visceral narrative of his sky and earth—a child’s life from the house on the hilltop of a little-known subdivision. It has taken a village to raise him. Bong finds love and forgiveness by recalling his memories with his elders and contemporaries in their journey of rediscovery during a global pandemic and deepening climate crisis. He lives in Vancouver with his partner of thirty-one years and loves engaging with good stories, listening to music, taking long walks along the seawall, and cooking adobo when he’s not watching Asian dramas.

Artist Statement

I’m excited to join Pagdiriwang and share my debut memoir, Batangas: My Sky and Earth, with the vibrant Filipino American community in Washington state. Along with my book, I’ll be showcasing some of the photographs that were published alongside it. Collaborating with my childhood friend and fellow artist, Leia Maminta Smith, we’re thrilled to celebrate the theme of Kababata at Kababayan through both visual and written art. I hope you’ll visit our exhibit and enjoy the journey with us!

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