I came from a Godforsaken third world country – I cringe everytime I say “third-world” but reality bites like a son of a bitch and I can not do anything about it. I came from Philippines, that’s a fact! And I am not ashamed of that fact about me.Amidst the very corrupt government, the crab mentality, the pollution, the over population, the poverty, unemployment, inflation, the economic crisis that our government is facing for the past few how many years – there are still some things about our nation worth of our pride. The beauty of our country (which I hope will be preserved longer so my kids will be able to see it and take pride in it) and our values. More specifically, our great sense of gratitude.
I have encountered a lot of people having failed relationships/marriages due to “cultural indifferences”. Always, the main reason will be a conflict with the non-Filipino partner about the closely-knit family ties of the Filipino partner. The thing is, the Filipino’s main concern will always be “to help their family against poverty”. We have an ongoing fight against it and will do everything we can just to save them from it just like how they protected us away from it when we were kids. Poverty is the evil of all evils in our country and you have to be grateful if you have not suffered from it.
I came from a somewhat middle-class family in the Philippines. Though not very rich, we are blessed for being able to afford some simple luxuries in life. My siblings and I are not compelled by our parents to send them some money on a monthly-basis, but we do so whenever we can. Being the youngest in the family, I have less responsibility but it does not stop me from thinking about the welfare of my family back home. And that is because of one reason alone – my gratitude towards them.
“The life of a middle-class Filipina.”
As the youngest of four siblings and having an 8yr gap from the last child, I was spoiled rotten by my whole family. Parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents were all amused by this smiling child with cute dimples. (Haha! Yes, I was cute when I was a kid…. I wonder what happened now). My siblings will all have something for me when they get back home from school, my uncles/aunts will buy me new clothes for no reason at all, I will always have the biggest birthday celebration at school, they sent me to a good university in the Philippines – to cut the story short, I was well taken cared of.
No monetary value can repay the love and care my family showed me – yet, it is still one way of showing them that their hardworks for me were not taken for granted. Henceforth, as a Filipina with a deep sense of gratitude towards my family (or anybody for that matter) I will take care of them against poverty the way they did to me when I needed it most.
* We won’t put our parents in a home for the aged. They took care of us when we were little kids, why can’t we do it to them when they’re too old to take care of themselves?
* We will send them money if the need arises, unlike the other countries wherein the elderlies will get a pension – the pensions our parents will get from our corrupt government cannot even support the daily needs of a dog. So yes, without batting our eyelashes – we will definitely send money to our family if there is a need for it. I understand that once you get married, the properties and income will be shared by the couple – but you also have to learn to compromise towards the cultures and values of the other partner.
* They say, once you marry a Filipino you marry their entire clan. That is not entirely true, but yes you will have to bear the grief of meeting more than a dozen people during special occasions such as weddings, funerals and family reunions. But as for me, you need not get along with everybody (as I don’t get along with everybody as well haha!) but at least try and enjoy the occasion and the great food.
* We, Filipinos are naturally happy people. No matter what problems we may be facing, we usually have a sunny disposition. So don’t ever think that we care less than you do if the electricity consumption have sky-rocketed in a span of 2 weeks. Yes, we worry about that too (who wouldn’t?) but we just have a different way of dealing with it. Glass is always half-full on our side of the planet.
Those are just some of the reasons of “relationship” conflicts between Filipinos and non-Filipinos. Compromise and understand and the world will be a better place. 😀