The Family EnigmaGoing a little bit further, I’m talking about the Philippine Family Enigma. What do I find puzzling or hard to understand about Filipino families? Nothing really. The enigma for me is how foreigners often deal with their Filipino family. It has often been said, and is generally true that when you marry a lady in the Philippines, you marry the whole family. It is actually also true, in my opinion, in western families, but in a much more limited sense. When you marry in the Philippines, it becomes incumbent on you to assist the family. If there is a family emergency, you will be expected to help the family financially. If you cannot help financially, you need to help in other ways, however you can. Generally, as expats, it is expected that we can help financially, though. The help, however, is not usually limited to you, all members of the family are expected to help in whatever way they can. Siblings of your wife are generally expected to help the parents, and the amount of help that they are expected to give generally is in line with their level of financial success. Those who are wealthier are expected to help more than those who are poor. That is to be expected, in my opinion.
What is the Enigma?None of that is puzzling, though, it all is known or quickly becomes known to expat husbands of Filipinas. So, what is the Enigma? Well, if you talk to foreigners who talk about wanting to move to the Philippines and you ask them why they want to move here, they will almost all say, in the top few reasons for moving, that they like the way that family is so important in Philippine culture. It is true, family is very important in the Philippines. Probably much more important than it is in the West. Don’t take me wrong, family is important in the West, but in a different way. Here, the extended family unit is much closer than most extended families in the west.
OK, what about the Enigma?Yes, my friends, I am getting to that now. After many foreigners have been here for a while, if you ask them about their wife’s family, they get started ranting and raving!
- They treat me like an ATM
- I’m not included in the family
- It’s all about money
- No matter how much I help, they want more