Her family is Chamorro, indigenous people of the Marianas, which includes Guam, and they own a ranch up the road from the Gill-Baza subdivision. For nearly twenty years, she has been doing research on Micronesian mobility and migration, with the past six years focused on the settlement of Pacific Islanders on Guam.
As a filmmaker, researcher and author, as well as a longtime neighbor living on her family’s nearby ranch, Lola Quan Bautista provides a big picture of life on Guam for the new migrants and contextualizes the struggles and experiences of her Pacific Islander neighbors.
Her bond with other Pacific Islanders is highlighted in the film, when Kathy and Lola travel by boat to Kathy’s family home in Piis Paneu, a remote atoll in Chuuk, where Lola is treated like another member of the family. Because of this close relationship, Lola is able to film the women of Kathy’s family interacting in a sweet, familial way, having conversations in English and in Chuukese about their relationships with their gravesites, and the significance of promised brother/promised sister relationships.
“Kathy and I are ‘promised sisters,’ a special relationship featured throughout Micronesia amongst people who are not blood related, but who promise to love and care for one another as if they were.” –Lola Quan Bautista
Lola is also the author of Steadfast Movement Around Micronesia, a book that examines how people from Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) move about and their cultural interpretations of movement itself. She also published “Building Sense Out of Households: Migrants from Chuuk (Re)create Local Settlements in Guam,” a journal article that focuses on the same residents of the Gill-Baza subdivision on Guam that are featured in the film. In the article, Lola aims to discover how migrants from Chuuk interpret cultural and social change within a process commonly known as urbanization and modernization.
In addition to the film, Bautista and her team are developing educational curriculum for both colleges and high schools to accompany the film, and they have plans to conduct outreach programs at schools throughout the Pacific and in places in the United States where many Micronesians now live.