Emerging Typologies of Young Filipinos Waiting for Employment Known as “Istambays” (on Standbys)


  • Clarence Mechilina Batan University of Santo Tomas




This paper interrogates the life course data of selected Filipinos born in the 1970s who experienced a phenomenon of “waiting for employment,” popularly known in the Philippines as “istambays” (on-standbys) during their growing-up years. It focuses on istambay typologies emerging from the analyses of life course data from three interrelated research projects: (1) Social Investigation on the Lives of Istambays in the Philippines (silip); (2) Istambays’ Social Indicators and Patterns (isip), and (3) Keys to Istambays’ Livelihood, Opportunities, and Success (kilos) from four research sites. Research findings direct attention to emerging istambay typologies that are shaped and influenced by the salience of vulnerability and gendered expectations working along the education-employment nexus in the country. These elements serve as sociological conceptual points in shaping negotiated types of istambay experiences. This paper ends by highlighting how “waithood” in the context of the istambay phenomenon in the Philippines appears to be similarly negotiated, shared, and experienced by young people in the Global South.


Keywords: Filipino, istambay, vulnerability, gender, young adults.

Author Biography

Clarence Mechilina Batan, University of Santo Tomas

CLARENCE M. BATAN, PhD is a Filipino sociologist, Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, and Research Associate of the Research Center for Social Sciences and Education (RCSSED) at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) (Manila, Philippines).