|The best day of our lives|
|Inside the Tabun caves in Palawan|
|Honeymooning at the underground river in Palawan|
|Getting our wedding rings in San Fernando SM|
|A regular staple on Sunday's after church. Bee Happy Jolibee|
In a Fil-Am marriage the term "East meets West" definitely comes into play. I have gone through an amazing transition as I adapted from being the "Hey Joe Kano" to a foreigner who not only appreciates the Filipino culture but actually credits it with transforming my life in a wonderful way.
Togetherness is a serious way of life
As I look back on the many years of experiences I have had in the Philippines there are a few things that seem to be universal when it comes to relationships between Westerners and Filipina's. One of those things is the immersion of the Westerner into a family oriented culture. This "pagkikisama" togetherness culture of the Filipino is something that most Westerners are just not used to. Most Westerners including myself at first will feel like their personal privacy has been invaded as they learn the art of togetherness in the Philippines. Having people run in and out of the house is as normal as brushing your teeth there. Going to do things in a group is also more the norm than the exception. Even in our own bed we have both our kids there with us. No cribs, no extra room for our daughter, just togetherness. I would not have it any other way now. But honestly took some getting used to it.
It's not about me, it's about my family
There are many reasons for the difference. The most basic is how we are raised. In the West, especially in America the wild wild West spirit of independence comes into play. We are taught from the very earliest stages of our life that to be strong is to be independent. In the Philippines it is quite the opposite. To be strong you become one with your family and find strength in interdependence. This difference is seen by the foreigner when he tries to figure out why his honey is constantly in contact with her family or needs to be around people. I have learned a wonderful and valuable lesson as I have come to understand how we gain strength in interdependence. I love it now!
Hot oil protection
Fried food again? Ha ha ha .... as a foreigner I was amazed at how much my wife used to fry foods when we first got married. I was wondering if "Sunog" was par for the course when it came to cooking meat. Little did I realize that my wife was actually saving me by cooking in that way. It never dawned on me that the meats from the local market that are not refrigerated would pose a serious threat to my well being. Little did I know that if they were not cooked in a way that would end the existence of any harmful thing then it would pose a serious risk to my health. Thus I no longer question why things are fried. Rather I am just grateful she loves me enough to protect me. Ano pagkain natin ngayon? Frito ulit? ha ha ha ... meaning, what are we eating now? Fried again?
Note: My wife who is standing here beside me as I write this wants me to put on record that she also does her best to serve me non fried foods and as much western cuisine as possible. That is true and she truly loves me enough to do her best to make me happy. Whew, I think I just dodged a slap on the head!
Why it takes hours and hours to wash clothes
I was amazed the first time I saw my wife washing clothes. First of all I never knew a person could even break a sweat washing clothes. I had come from a push button instant wash culture. I don't think any young lady in America even knows how to wash clothes by hand. I thought it was an injustice to allow my wife to wash clothes by hand when we could afford a machine but she took so much pride in our clothes being cleaned she refused my offer. She would not have it any other way. Having clean clothes that are properly washed are a super priority for her. And I am a direct beneficiary too. It is a fact that hand washed clothes are cleaner and last much longer than machine washed clothes. The only issue is it takes hours and hours to do a family's laundry. Oh well, I'll go for the clean over instant any day.It will be interesting how we will manage this kind of washing once we are back in the fast paced life in America. I will write you all about it if and when that day comes.
Being married to a Filipina is a wonderful experience which has given my life many new interesting adventures in culture. There is a balance that most Filipina's hold in having been born into the unique culture of the Philippines where East meets West in so many ways. I heard that in the U.S. the lowest divorce rate of any mix marriage class is between Filipina's and their Western husbands. That in itself speaks for the strength of intercultural marriages between Filipina's and Westerners.
I will write more on my experiences of being married to a Filipina. She is priceless!
|A pic taken at Langoggan Beach|