It was probably after I married my Filipina in 2015 that I began to pick up on the idea that family is important in the Philippines. I knew basically nothing about the Philippines when I married my wife, not even where to find it on a map. I wanted a good wife and I got one! Today’s video is about the impact the significance of family in the Philippines has had on me.
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The family unit in the Philippines is where my wife could be understood, accepted, protected, supported, made to feel secure and loved. There are families in America where I am, that have similar qualities but it may be that Filipinos take it all to a higher level. Here are some ways Filipino family importance is growing on me.
Respect for family-It starts at the top with a desire to honor their father and mother, a biblical command. This is a wonderful thing. I admit that my honoring of my father and mother have not been good, and since meeting my wife, it seems even worse now. My father passed a long time ago but my mother lives with us, so I have a chance for some redemption. Aiza has been a great addition to our small family here in America, fitting in seamlessly. Sometimes she will tell me to do something for my mom and always asks my mother if she wants some of the food we bought, for herself. Now I know where she got her good manners from… her family. By the way her parents were married for over thirty years.
Shared wisdom-Just think about all the wisdom a Filipina could acquire with so many family members in her life! As often as they spend time together, they could acquire much good advice. We had a lot of principal sponsors at our wedding and I got to know two of them (a married couple), well enough to be able to keep in touch if I needed advice, and I have.
Helping others in family-This is the positive trait that gets the most negative feedback from a foreigner seeking a Filipina, at least when sending money back home to the Philippines is involved. It’s ingrained in the culture that she will support her family if she is working abroad or not. She will face shame if she doesn’t. Foreign men need to know this. In some cases, there is tremendous pressure put on the one working overseas. A westerner must understand this.
That is just one way of helping others in the family, it tends to get all the headlines, but it is only one of many ways they try to help each other. If help is needed building something, they pull together, or to cook for a big event, or to fix something, they will help any way they can, I have seen this first-hand in the four times I have been in the Philippines. Since I am not used to that in the US, it leaves a big impression on me.
Debt of gratitude to elders-This is more readily seen in how a Filipina wants to be good to momma and papa, but it goes for other elders too. This may apply to an older foreigner. The elderly in the Philippines normally can die with family around them, and that’s the way I would want it. And speaking of that…
Grieve lost loved ones-I have noticed a couple of times where the body of a deceased relative remains in a family members house for a certain number of days before the burial.
Philippine Wakes and Vigils
Wakes are generally held from three to seven days. Provincial wakes are usually held in the home, while city dwellers typically display their dead at a funeral home.
That caught me off guard when we visited someone my wife knew who had lost a relative, but I can see that it reveals something about the family in the Philippines.
Large get togethers—It seems like large family get togethers usually occur only during some holidays but that isn’t needed in the Philippines. When in the Philippines that would be an excellent way to get to know some relatives.
Hospitality-Throughout a day at a Filipina’s house many relatives may come and go. I am simply not used to that, sad to say, but this is something to know about a Filipino family. It’s a good thing but it could make it a little difficult to spend much time alone with the Filipina you want to get to know. On the other hand, it is a great way to get to know her relatives and there are some things you can pick up just from observing her and her family interacting together.
Extended family-A lot of togetherness and sense of belonging exists within families in the Philippines.
Attend church together-I have read that many families in the Philippines attend church together which I think is wonderful!
Know their neighbors-This last bonus point isn’t family related but it goes with the quality of hospitality and Filipino friendliness, I think it’s great that Filipinos know their neighbors. When I grew up in the sixties, families would walk around the neighborhood, sometimes visit with each other on the front porch. You knew your neighbors but not so much today. Houses are built farther apart and some people want to live out in the country.
That isn’t the impression I get when visiting the Philippines, but I admit the homes are much closer to each other, but what impresses me is just being able to know your neighbors, and I look forward to doing that if we should retire in the Philippines. I lived in apartments for many years and in apartment life you tend to come home, shut the door and lock the door. Sometimes your neighbors won’t open their door if you knock on it to ask them something.
Filipino family values are growing on me ever since I married my love beyond the sea!