Cure for the homesick: Edon Fabreo and his miniature dioramas of urban Philippines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 14) — Like many Filipinos abroad, Edon Fabreo severely misses the Philippines and his loved ones back home — which is why he turned to making miniature dioramas of the country’s urban settings.

“It’s a product of my homesickness, I think. Been working here for more than a decade now and leaving my family back home,” the Riyadh-based Filipino designer told CNN Philippines’ New Day.

Fabreo, who’s been fascinated with small things as a child, said he also draws from his background in architecture and interest in arts in coming up with these models.

“From that, naisip ko na [I thought] why not ilagay ko siya [I place these] in a hyperrealistic miniature? But at the same time, it’s somewhat like an advocacy or to make an awareness of the daily lives we have especially in Metro Manila,” he further explained.

His dioramas include a detailed neighborhood sari-sari store, an LBC remittance outlet, ramshackle shanties of the urban poor, and many more.

The overseas Filipino designer says it takes him around 60 to 70 hours to come up with simple miniature diorama, with his concepts guided by the likes of Google Image searches considering how long he’s been away from the Philippines.

And Fabreo’s creations have been capturing the hearts of netizens, too, with some even purchasing his dioramas.

“Most buyers are immigrants, for sure having the same homesickness dilemma” as he does, he added.

While the designer isn’t accepting commissions at the moment, Fabreo said he still is “really happy” to sell even just one of his on-hand dioramas at present and even exhibit some of his works.

’Yun din ang pangarap ko talaga [That’s also my dream],” said Fabreo.