Husband from a Developed Country vs Wife from a Developing Country

I live in the developed world and my wife comes from the developing world, so much so that she has acquired the citizenship of my developed country.

Now this expression “developing” is interesting because it conveys the idea of a country that is tired of being underdeveloped and wants to explore the other side of the spectrum.

In some “developed” countries (like mine) there is evidently the desire to explore what it is like to go downhill and become like the developing countries in their pre-developing stage and here are few examples….

Sementado Na!

A few days ago I was viewing my wife’s area on Google Maps to see what has changed since I was there the last time and, much to my surprise, I noticed that what used to be a liblib na lugar in the Sierra Madre Mountains (I mean the area around barangay Akle in the municipality of San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Much of the Sierra Madre is still wild) is now sementado na.

Surely this is good news for the locals, not much of a good news for me as I was used to the idea that just few km away from my wife’s house I could experience adventure.

It seems like I will have to cover many more km to get to the remote areas of the Sierra Madre and it also seems like (as I’ve already touched on in another article) even the remotest corners of a developing country have much better roads than the ones we have in Rome and I would like to know why….

One Year of Blogging

WordPress is reminding me that one year has passed since I started this blog.

This blog is nothing more than some sort of personal journal where I gather my impressions about my Filipino wife’s culture and mentality and the challenges that are typical of a relationship between a Westerner and a Filipina.

Sometimes I also glimpse into other aspects like the Tagalog language and other stuff that is somehow related to Filipinos and the Philippines.

At times I also mention aspects related to psychology and mindset (that I’ve learned from books and blogs I’ve read) because the key to thriving in this kind of intimate relationship is having the proper mindset and, in fact, it is much more about psychology and mindset that it is about knowing many facts about the Filipino culture or even the language.

I want to thank all those who have visited my posts and I’ll keep working on putting out stuff as I journal almost every single day.

I think that pretty soon I will get my own domain and work on improving the graphics and other stuff to upgrade this site. I have been way too busy to do that these past few months.

Maybe I will be able to do that while on vacation.

Thanks everyone!

Si Pilosopo Tasyo Debunks Purgatory

While in the Philippines I got my copy of the Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, the Tagalog translation of it (one of my favourite places in the Philippines is the National Book Store that can be found in many SM malls).

I find it a great way to practice malalim na Tagalog.

While reading chapter 11, I came across a character named Pilosopo Tasyo. He was known as Don Atanasio by the taong may pinag-aralan or as Tasyo by the mga walang pinag-aralan. He is described as a man who was madalas makitang palibut-libot sa mga lansangab nang walang tiyak na pakitunguhan (like most reasonings of philosophers for that matter).

Anyway, on page 85 of the Tagalog version of the Noli, said pilosopo says something quite interesting and telling about one of the core beliefs of the mainstream religion of the Philippines, the “Purgatory”: hindi man lamang daw nabanggit ni Hesukristo at ni Moises ang Purgatorio. Wala raw sa Bibliya at sa Santong Ebanghelio ang Purgatorio .

The religion that the Spanish passed on to the Filipino was already the result of layers upon layers of tradition built on top of the original nugget of Christianity and Filipinos mixed it even further with some of the traditions of their mga ninuno.

I think that if mainstream religion had remained consistent with the original teachings of Hesukristo…Moises and the Santong Ebanghelio there would be a lot less mystical tradition and a lot less corruption, karahasan, bawal na gamot, labis ng alak, awayan, patayan, barilan and suntukan…..

Pilipinas: ang “Lupain na Inaagusan ng Alak at (Pulot-) Pulutan”

Noong unang dumating ako sa Pilipinas nalaman ko na mahirap uminom ng tubig ng gripo at kailangang bumili ng mga tanke ng malinis na tubig.

Kaya mukhang may malaking kakapusan sa maiinom na tubig ngunit hindi ito masyadong tinitingnan bilang ang isang problema dahil mayroon (para sa marami) ang “ibang uri”ng tubig….

Sa kabila ng kakapusan sa tubig, ang alak ay “medyo” nananagana.

Ang sinaunang Israel ay kilalang-kilala bilang “ang lupain na inaagusan ng pulot-pukyutan at ang gatas”. Bweno, mukhang ang Pilipinas ay ang ibang uri ng lupaing pangako: inaagusan ito ng alak at (pulot) pulutan.

Bilang foreign na asawa ng isang Pilipina ang isa pang bagay na napapansin ko ay na, kahit sa aking bansa kung saan malinis ang tubig na galing sa gripo (mas malinis pa iyon kaysa sa bottled water), gusto pa rin ng mga Pilipino bumili ng mga bote ng mineral water na, sa tingin ko, ay pagsasaya ng pera at ng panahon sa isang First World country.

Baka ito ay ang isang “mental conditioning” ng mga Pinoy na akala nila na yamang sa Pilipinas ay mapanganib uminom mula sa gripo, nagiging mapanganib din ito kahit saan sa mundo…..
Kung ano ay hindi itinuturing mapanganib ay ang labis ng alak….

Should I Sell Everything and Move to the Philippines for Good?

A friend of mine sold his house 15 years ago and moved to the Philippines for good with his Filipino wife.

He managed to live quite comfortably for 15 years but, eventually, he got seriously ill and the whole family had to return to Italy for medication.

What this tells me is that, even if you have a few hundred thousand euros or dollars in the bank, getting seriously ill in the Philippines could easily eat away at your savings.

On top of that what scares me is the fact that the whole extended family could show up day in and day out asking for financial support and that too could easily cause a little fortune to vanish in few years.

The temptation to sell everything and move to the Philippines is strong, I’d admit to that, but the things I’ve mentioned hold me back from now.

I think it is not enough to just have some money in your bank account.

I guess that if you move to the Philippines for good you need to figure out a reliable way to invest and grow your money.

Where would you invest your savings? In a mango plantation? Rice fields? A Jollibee restaurant?

I have no idea.

Maybe I would find myself a place in a kweba in the Sierra Madre Mountains….

How I Maintain my Sanity While Dealing With the Various Idiosyncracies of the Filipino Mentality

The “Culture Shock Philippines” book says that many foreigners who interact with Filipinos develop an antagonistic attitude.

I myself was very frustrated and antagonistic for quite a few years.

Then something shifted within me and I learned to “turn frustration into fascination” (as the famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn said).

There were things that made me constantly angry like, for example, the fact that for many Filipinas the extended family seems to be more important than their husbands or the tendency to get into debt or utang.

In order to transform those consistent feelings into more positive ones, I studied what really creates anger and I realized that anger only happens when we create our little partition of reality and expect the whole world to fit into our little turf.

By replacing the attitude of getting mad at my wife’s mentality, even when she acts out the most extreme aspects of her culture, with being open to the reality that there are other perspectives, I started turning frustration into fascination (at least when I manage to operate from this lofty ideal).

A few years ago I saw a scene from the “Joe vs the Volcano” movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and I remember watching one scene where the character played by Meg Ryan says:

“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement”.

I realized that I could choose to live in frustration or in a constant state of amazement. Even if I left my wife there would be frustrating situations to deal with at work, with friends and relatives etc. There is no shortage of frustrating situations in this world where literally 99% of the population is asleep, or as Jesus said, is on the “large road” of mediocrity and conformity.

There is a nice quote from Thomas Campbell:

“That love and joy do not dominate our feelings most of the time is both normal and not a good sign. Love, joy, compassion, humility and balance are the dominant expressions of a high quality consciousness….your feelings reflect the real you with perfect accuracy. If you feel anger, negativity, inadequacy and anxiety this is a reflection of what you are and how you are from the inside and not of how others make you feel”.

And this is really what it’s all about: living in a “constant state of amazement” rather than in a state of anger and negativity boils down to what you are from the inside and not on what others, including your “significant other”, make you feel.