Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Submissive, docile, caring and attentive are some of the characteristics of the pinay that make them endearing to any man they meet.  This appears to be ever more present in the "probinsiyana" pinay but also in some city-dweller pinays as well.

Because of the docile behavior of the pinay some pinays (not all) have come to rely heavily on their men folk.  This is all the more true for the pinay who marries a foreigner thinking that he can give her the comfortable life she has not known before. Some foreigners, happy with the love and concern of the fairer sex come here to stay in the Philippines; lured by a lower cost-of-living and the prospect of having a large family.  But what they do not realize is that being foreigners as they are, they have a unique set of needs that can be addressed only by a pinay who shows a less laid back personality in dealing with the challenges of living with a foreigner.

Luckily for my husband, I was never laid back.  I have been a problem solver myself since my own father left us when I was just in the middle of my college years.  I have taken on the role of "head of the household" and have taken the weight on my shoulder as my own mother was the "typical" probinsiyana pinay - docile, submissive and just reliant on the "stronger" sex.  I was in every way both the man and woman in-charge of the household.  So when my husband came to live with me with his special set of needs I took on the task of doing my homework and doing research on all the things I can do to better our family's life. 

On the first year of his stay we spent a total of P11,000 a month for his medicines (out-of-pocket).  Now believe you me, although I was earning and did have a higher than average salary, paying for my husband and I's household and my mother and brother's household meant that a cut of P11,000 a month in the family budget was nothing to sneeze about.  So I asked myself, how can I remedy this situation.  During the course of our courtship I had learned later that my husband is a rated US veteran.  At the time I did not know what his rating was, so eventually I learned he was rated 20%.  I asked myself what did that mean in terms of possible benefit. I learned through research on the internet that it meant he belonged to Priority Group 3 and therefore was entitled to more than most veterans.  Later on I learned that there was a VA outpatient clinic in Manila that was catered specifically to rated veterans.  I called the US VA in the Philippines, set up an appointment and lo and behold, all his medications were covered. Presto... we were able to get P11,000 allotted for other things which then meant getting a new car.

As a lawyer, I did the research to know what he needed to get his 13-A visa here in the Philippines.  Believe me, if you know what you are doing and did the research, you do not need a lawyer to file this yourself.  But you have to be open-minded about learning what you need to learn for your hubby to live here comfortably.  Don't rely on your husband who may or may not know better.  And certainly do not rely on a lawyer who will overcharge you for a service you yourself can do.

Also as a lawyer, I did the research for my son's CRBA (Certificate of Recognition for Birth Abroad).  Again, believe me, you don't need a lawyer for this.  You just have to think like one - what are the requirements to transfer citizenship. Believe you me, it is not cut and dry.  Unlike Philippine law that only requires that you be born of a Filipino mother or father, US regulation requires that you had stayed and worked in the U.S. for a certain number of years after 18 in order to transfer citizenship.  So coming there with nothing more than your US passport is really not good planning.  Likewise, in order to debunk paternity or filial issues, more than a picture of relationship, proof of the relation of the parents (stronger if they are married) is necessary and proof of the pregnancy (birth/medical records).  Again this involves planning and research that only one who has patience, insight and determination can accomplish.  The pinay has to come out of her "victim" or "damsel-in-distress" personality and become the master of her family's fate - not only for herself but for her husband and child.

When the US bank started asking for hefty fees for remittances that cut our finances even more.  I literally had to be creative to reduce the backlash and asked for remittance only once in two months, so we had to stretch our budget for two months at a time.  I again had to ask myself what can we do to make this less difficult on our family, so I remembered something the US consul said on my son's interview for his CRBA, to make sure I report his birth to Social Security.  I learned on-line that as the son of a US citizen already receiving his pension, he was entitled to an allowance and that solved our monetary problem.

Every day offers new challenges for our family - things like converting his US driver's license to a Philippine license so that he did not have to take the exam.  These little things all together meant I had to take the time and creativeness to do my homework to help my husband, and my son have the life they deserve.  Sure it is important you know how to cook and clean your house - but you are more than just a maid, you are a mother and wife and that demands more than just cooking and making your house clean.  And as a wife of a foreigner who will be seen as a cash cow you have to be more than just a house help or a pretty face.