Learning Filipino Culture
An important step if you want happiness in your interracial relationship!
Before I get into learning about Filipino culture, I want to introduce myself. I am Yuri Sincero. I was born and raised in Cebu, Philippines. I now live in the United States, married to an American man for almost 2 years now. I wanted to write this article because I feel that there is something very important that international/interracial couples should know. My focus is on filipino nationals married to a person from the west, but I feel it can really apply to any international/interracial couple.
There is a learning curve when marrying outside of your race and/or culture.*This specifically is learning about Philippine culture and its connection of how filipino women are.
.As a filipino national in a serious relationship with my American husband since 2012, what I have noticed is just how different our cultures are. Accepting the differences and adjusting continuously has been the hardest lesson for me. You cannot really appreciate the experience until you live with a person from another culture everyday. My husband and I are both very open to learn from each other’s culture and it is a huge factor that keeps our relationship happy and successful. Mutual respect, patience and understanding of each other is what has kept the relationship strong. But I have to admit that sometimes it is a tough adjustment. To this day, I am still studying how I can improve and blend into my new home in the United States.
Many filipinas I know who are in the United States are suffering because of the culture differences because it seems that many of their problems are caused by it. The root of these issues come from the the couple not taking the time to understand or even acknowledge the differences. Couples who do not consider culture as a factor often have major issues and don’t realize the source. When getting serious with someone outside your race and/or culture you take time to first of all acknowledge the differences, then accept and learn how to adjust to them. Men, in particular, do not realized that culture is one of the key thing you need to understand to have a successful relationship with a filipina. Unfortunately, some men do not think it matters. So when their significant other acts strange they really do not know why. If you are serious, you should really take the time get to know where your significant other is from, what people believe, and how and why they behave a certain way. Then you have a chance to understand his/her behavior.
When western men come to the Philippines looking for wives, they think of their fantasy. The beauty and submissiveness of a filipina who will obey everything they say is a huge asset. But a good relationship takes more than that. You cannot expect your partner to be “all in” while you are not giving your best. In order to put in 100% effort, it is important to know who your partner is and what they want. You can only do this if you learn their Filipino culture.
A Start to Learning about Filipino Culture
As an example, lets use something simple like food. Filipino food is so different from the western food. In order to understand how different our food is, it is important to try out each others food. If you know that your significant other is not fond of your type of food, they should support the fact that you have to shop for entirely different ingredients. Trying the food from another culture is respectful and informative. You might even find something you like. It is a way to bond and take a step closer to understanding and accepting difference. You don’t have to like it, but the effort of trying is a big deal. Filipinas adapt to changes so fast that we can often accept eating food from any culture but we are used to eating rice everyday. Rice to most filipinos in a meal is as important to meat to most Americans. We cannot erase this cultural conditioning overnight.
I’m saying this because some wives that I know have to sacrifice a lot to adjust when marrying foreign nationals especially food. We try western food, we may not like it but we do not reject, refuse or be rude about it. The point is we are willing to adjust to new things, new food, new people to help us blend in to the people around us including our new family. Relationship is a give and take. Meanwhile, some husbands actually do not understand how important something simple like rice is to their filipino wives. Or they will complain about filipino food because some of it has terrible smell. This level of ignorance amounts to neglecting your spouse’s basic needs. It is a small thing that can add up to something big.. Like depression, regret and homesick loneliness. Food is what a family shares at the table. It may not sound important but we filipinos share our happiness and love through food at almost all gatherings. That is something that you will notice in the Philippines.
From Food to Family Filipino culture is important. Filipinos are attached to family. The concept of a strong bonded family is what we live for. We believe that family is the most important thing in this world next to God. We believe that a strong family provides stable and harmonious life. This is also the reason why filipino women become great wives. Filipinas make family a number one priority. It serve as a life achievement to have a united happy family. A woman is the foundation of a home. This concept is even taught in school. Without a good mother and a good wife, a house will never be a home. Everything will shatter into pieces without it. However, because of this concept it also stabs filipino women back. Many parents in the Philippines use this to their advantage. Family member abuse that concept because filipinas are expected to take care of everybody. Filipinas are expected to feed and help extended family who are in need. When you do not help you are not a family. When you are starting to do better in life and do not give, you are considered bad. It is considered bad karma not to help. They will even wish you bad if you cannot help. Just because they think if you are doing better, you should help everyone.
Understanding and learning the Filipino culture of your significant other is very important. It will help you to know why they act the way they do, why they have certain habits and why they believe certain things. It is not about whether you believe their religion, like the taste of their food or want to send money to their siblings.. What matters is that you care enough to understand. What matters that you listen and learn and communicate. That is why it is important to learn the culture of your lover..If you really love them.