Readers' Submissions

Told You So 3 – Filipinas and Papers



Disclaimer and HistoryI’m now back in UK going through a divorce with my Filipina princess (my petition, unreasonable behaviour). I’ve never been to the Philippines. I spent a few days in LOS with my exTGF (all documented here). The Filipinas I met and have knowledge of, I met in Cyprus while living as an ex-pat. They may, by definition, be entirely unrepresentative of Filipinas in their homeland.

The first thing I need to say, and I know I’m repeating it but I’ll continue to do so without apology, is that THERE IS NO DIVORCE IN THE PHILIPPINES. There is ‘annulment’ but only under very strict laws and all of the grounds (six, I think) relate to things such as under-age marriage and the like. Google it if you’re interested or e-mail me and I’ll send you a link.

As I understand it, until recently (and perhaps ongoing) outside of the big cities or rather outside of the P4P areas life for a young Filipina is very ‘traditional’. That means she doesn’t go out on dates or if she does she’s chaperoned and there is certainly no question of her staying overnight with a boyfriend or – heaven forefend – living with him outside marriage. This isn’t only in strong RC church communities, it also applies to Protestant villages such as the one I now understand my FP comes from and her mother is a leading light in the (very strong) Methodist church.

This doesn’t, of course, stop the young Filipino sowing his wild oats and I imagine from reading Stick that this is much the same as in LOS. As a point of interest my FP tells me she lives in a village in the Fils where the gates to the village are closed at midnight. Just outside is a main highway and there is a truck stop and beer-bar (she tells me) where girls work P4P. Not local girls, she assured me but then in a few brief discussions she would never accept that any Filipinas would work P4P in the Philippines, only the naughty girls from Eastern Europe.

Back to the subject. One characteristic trait I found in ALL the Filipinas I knew in Cyprus (and here in UK) is their attitude to dealing with official papers – especially those relating to visas, residence permits, etc. Bear in mind that Cyprus is an EU country but God knows why, it’s actually geographically in Asia and everything I read on Stick suggests that it’s a fair comparison with LOS.

I digress. Most if not all Filipinas in Cyprus are on 4 year combined work / residence permits. The occupations they can follow are limited to housemaids, personal carers and nannies and that’s about it. They aren’t allowed to work as cooks, waitresses, whatever. The employer is specified on the visa and if they leave that job they have 30 days to find a new one and register or their work / residence permit is invalid and they become illegal. A recipe for exploitation, for sure, and I have known a number of Filipinas who have been subjected to economic and sexual exploitation.

Why would they expose themselves to this? I hear you ask and the answer is just the same as it is in LOS. It’s economics. In Cyprus, legal ‘live-ins’ could earn 500 Euros a month with no living expenses to pay (disregard the hours and the shittty living conditions). An ‘illegal’ could earn (say) 5 Euros an hour cleaning apartments. Compare this to the Phils where I understand that a monthly salary for a ‘good’ job could be 200 Euros a month (for many it’s a great deal less) and you have the answer.

So you can understand why some Filipinas want to stay in the West. How do they achieve this? That is, when their papers are no longer valid and they face deportation (which by all accounts is a fairly brutal process in Cyprus and may not exclude theft and rape).

First you must understand the Filipina state of mind which in my experience is ‘forget yesterday, don’t worry about tomorrow, let’s just think about today’. Actually not a bad philosophy for everyday life, I suppose, but unfortunately not one that works well with officialdom, applying for visas, etc.

Second, the Filipina ‘wish list’. (In my limited experience again).

No. 1, of course, a rich Western man who will marry her, give her children (security tag), take her to ‘the west’, a good life, from where she can support her family, build houses in the Phils and she can visit as a golden benefactress.

No. 2, not quite so good, same same as above but no child.

No. 3, Western man marries her, takes her to a Western country from where she dispenses largesse.

And this does not include the ‘dream’ – rich Western husband buys land in village, builds mansion, and forever is source of unlimited San Miguel and Red Horse.

Some examples from personal experience (these are not exaggerated):

I have a very wealthy friend in Cyprus. He is married to a much younger Filipina and they have a young child. Should her (first) husband ever see his death certificate – which cost a lot of money – he’d be most surprised, not least because his death apparently occurred in a maternity hospital. Good opportunity for some baksheesh, the more cynical amongst us might think.

A Filipina ‘friend’ married an Eastern European man. I fell out of favour because I wouldn’t contribute to the fund (i.e. what she had to pay him), several thousand Euros.

A Filipina who wanted to marry a Westerner – but she was married in the Philippines. No problem, she just ripped and burned her marriage certificate. See? Not married now.

And I haven’t even got to birth certificates yet!

Next time I’ll mention e-census, birth certificates, etc.

For now, just take care of, and with, your Filipina princess.

Stickman's thoughts:

It sounds like a minefield out there!