Culture, Featured

The Story Behind the Story: Anastasia Romero’s Journey To Finding Home

Something about the word “home” resonates deeply within us. It’s more than just a physical space where we keep our possessions and lay our heads at night. 

Home is where we feel a sense of belonging and find solace after a long day. Anastasia has always been in search of her home in this world. She was born in Russia and spent most of her academic years in Barcelona. After that, she traversed the world and found herself here in Cebu, Philippines. 

Set foot on the island’s beautiful beaches, unpacking not only her bags but also her heart.  The vibrant culture, the warm hospitality of the people, and the island’s stunning natural beauty all spoke to her soul. Not only did Cebu make its way to her heart like that, but she also met the love of her life and built a family together here.

As she watched her daughter, Emma, grow and thrive in the lush tropical surroundings of Cebu, Anastasia knew she had found her home.

When the pandemic hit, everything changed. Life as we knew it came to a screeching halt, and we were all on lockdown, which meant spending more time at home with our children, trying to find ways to keep them entertained. The pandemic didn’t hinder the wanderer within Anastasia from taking Emma on adventures. And she did this through stories and illustrations. 

They would sit together, and she would spin tales of adventure and wonder featuring Emma’s favorite insects and animals from their garden. Emma would listen to her mother with rapt attention, her eyes wide with excitement.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, they continued to create stories together. Laughing and playing, imagining themselves as the tiny creatures in their garden scurrying through the undergrowth, soaring through the treetops, and diving into the depths of the ocean.

As Anastasia kept telling these stories, she realized they were more than a way to pass the time. They were a way to connect with nature, to remind Emma of the beauty and wonder that was still all around us, even in the midst of the pandemic.

This new children’s book is a labor of love not only from a mother to her daughter but also from Anatasia’s appreciation of the beauty of the Philippines and how it has become not only hers but her family’s home. It celebrates the journey that led her to this place and the sense of belonging she has found here.

The book’s main characters are mother and daughter snails who embark on an adventure to reach the ocean. Along the way, they encounter a cast of colorful characters, from singing cicadas to hardworking ants, who support them on their journey. 

As they travel, the mother and daughter snails realize that being on a journey toward their home does not mean they are lost or displaced. They have always carried their shells with them. And the feeling of belonging is there wherever you are when you appreciate the people and surroundings around you. 

Anastasia’s innate ability to appreciate nature’s beauty was pivotal in helping her heart find its true home here; it has always been like her shell. It led her to a beautiful place where she built a beautiful family and became a way for her to connect with her daughter. 

Through beautiful illustrations and a charming story, “Home” captures the magic and wonder of the natural world and reminds us of the importance of family, love, and belonging. 

As Anastasia said, “I wrote this book with the hope that it can be enjoyed by kids and parents alike. I want children to learn about nature to encourage them to discover the world outside more. And for the parents, I hope it serves as a gentle reminder to be grateful for the gift of home and family. I believe ‘Home’ has something for everyone, and it will bring joy and warmth to all who read it.”

This book will surely be treasured by children and adults alike and is a testament to the power of storytelling to inspire, comfort, and connect.


Photography Adrian Agpasa | Hair Rona Baguio Sandoval | Makeup John Wel Raymundo

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