Stickman Readers' Submissions March 27th, 2023

My Pinay Horror Story, Part 1

When Covid hit, I was working in Frankfurt and unable to get back to my wife and two children in the Philippines as the Philippine government placed a total ban on foreigners entering the Philippines. Never mind, I thought, we’ll stick it out – it won’t be long (never thought it would be two years!).  I had planned to retire in 2020, but thought that I might as well keep on working while I was in Frankfurt. Those Covid years went well for me. The job continued pretty much as normal (though with long periods working from home), but as I am a bit of an introvert, I didn’t mind the isolation. However, those years turned out to be disastrous for my wife, Angel. (“Angel” is a pet name , which was well-deserved in the early days – though these days she’s more of a devil – or to be fair, someone possessed. Having witnessed what has happened to her makes accounts of demon-possession more than credible). Covid isolation sent her into a deep depression which triggered her underlying mental illness. My theory is that she has partly repressed (subconsciously) and partly suppressed (consciously) the memories of the bad things that have happened to her over the past two years – and they are really bad: excessive drinking, neglecting her children and the house, and having an affair. All this is on top of her ongoing mental problems, which surfaced in about 2018.

What follows is a series of diary entries interspersed with comments and reflections, which tell how the situation unfolded.

He Clinic Bangkok


4th AUGUST 2022

(I retired on July 31st, left Frankfurt, and was staying with my sister in York to sort out some of the many admin details that retiring and moving country entail.)

I am here at my sister’s townhouse in York. I call the PI every day on Skype as they have no Internet in Mactan, Angel’s family’s home near Cebu. She stays there for long periods of time (neglecting the big house), probably because she values the protection her extended family can give her against all those people she believes are out to get her (paranoia!). I usually get through to Jason (my son) who gives me an update. He reports that her behaviour continues to be worrying. She walks around aimlessly, sometimes talking to people who are not there. He describes this sometimes as ‘hallucinations’ and sometimes as ‘daydreaming’. On one occasion she was hacking at one of the bamboo huts with a machete – probably another hallucination, and comparable with the report of her hitting the car with a stick a while ago. Perhaps she sees something that threatens her – snakes for example.

CBD bangkok

In discussing Angel’s condition with my sister (Anne), and researching it online, we came to the conclusion that she is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. This one of the definitions I found online (

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V is the manual most mental health professionals use to diagnose disorders such as schizophrenia. The DSM-5-TR specifies six diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia (this includes all types, not just paranoid):

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Catatonic behavior or “grossly disorganized” behavior
  • Negative symptoms, which include avolition, or a lack of motivation
  • Significant behavioral disturbance such that a person does not work or interact with others well over the course of six months

She is manifesting all of the above symptoms to a greater or lesser degree, and has been doing so for a while now. Thinking it over, I wrote down these principles in my diary:

  1. Help J & J (my usual abbreviation for the kids: Jason, 13 and Jasmine, 10).
  2. Take care of myself.
  3. Help Angel as far as possible.
  4. Protect our property investments.

After discussing them with Anne, I decided to move 2 to the top. After all, I can’t help anybody if I stress myself into a heart attack! (I have high blood pressure). 4 is also a later addition. While it is tempting to relocate us to the UK, that would mean our PI properties going to rack and ruin. Those investments are for the kids’ future, not for me, and anyway, I hate waste!

wonderland clinic

3 won’t be easy. My wife jibs whenever mention the doctor. For example, yesterday, when she complained of tiredness, I suggested that it might be low haemoglobin and that a doctor could prescribe medicine to help – no mention of mental illness – but she reacted negatively. Clearly, doctors are on the list of people who are out to get her!

As for 1, what I hope to do is to give J & J an extended period of stability and routine, though it won’t be easy! These are some of the obstacles I face:

  • I need some kind of long term visa. A marriage visa would be easiest, but will she cooperate?
  • I need domestic help. I will ask Marisol (Angel’s cousin) if she can recommend a maid.
  • The house is barely habitable. I have the address of the builder who did the kitchen, so I will contact him to do it up, and there is a lot to do: the collapsed ceiling, the many plumbing problems, including a new cess tank. and renovation of swimming pool.
  • When the house is done, I will need to fix up the town house and get it rented out.
  • I will have to act as chief cook and bottle washer until I can get domestic help.

All that, and I have just retired! I should be looking forward to getting my feet up on the beach in Boracay with a pint in one hand and a Pinay in the other. Instead, I will be working harder than when I was on the full-time treadmill!!



I nagged her (gently, I hope) on Messenger about things that needed doing, and things seemed to be going reasonably well. She is back in the big house and has bought the material for the school uniforms and taken it to a seamstress to be made up, though when she went into town to get the necessary stationary, bags, etc., she came back with only a skateboard (!). There is no progress with the head lice problem. I  reminded her about what needs to be done, and am still hoping that we can get them to school on time (11th August) and properly equipped.

However, yesterday, things took a sudden turn for the worse. I woke up to find a series of messages from Jason. He explained that her behaviour had been strange for a while, alternating between depression, sitting slumped in a chair for hours, irrational anger, for example, telling him off for not sleeping enough, and soon after for sleeping too much, and outbreaks of singing and mad laughter.

I told him off for not keeping me informed, and he said that he was scared to tell me in case she overheard. Even at that moment he was speaking in such a low voice that it was hard to make out what he said.

He said he was worried about Jasmine who usually slept in the same bed as her (even though she is 9), though I said that, as Jasmine never challenged her, she would probably be OK. However, I was worried enough to wonder if I should call the authorities and get her sectioned – no chance! I looked up the Philippine Mental Health Act (2017) and found that they would only intervene is there was a serious risk to life – which, I suppose, is the way it should be if the rights of the individual are to be protected. I advised Jason to phone her family and ask if they would help.

I heard later that her mother and her sister had come to help. Jason said that they would stay until I came, so I was able to breath a sigh of relief.



I woke up to more messages from Jason. He said that her family had decided to take Angel and the kids to their place in Mactan and look after them there. It made sense, but the kids will hate it, as the place is basically a slum: a bamboo shack, a wood fire kitchen, a lift pump instead of a tap, a filthy toilet that has to be flushed with a bucket (if at all), and plenty of “company” in the form of snakes, spiders, rats and cockroaches, and, worst of all as far as the kids are concerned, no Internet! The worst thing from my point of view is that her family will not be able to prepare them for school as they seem incapable of managing anything. On their way there, they took Angel to the bank and she was compos mentes enough to fill in a form to withdraw money. However, when I asked Jason to pass the phone to her I couldn’t get in sense out of her, so I just said, “Get well soon,” and asked to be passed back to Jason.



I need to get there as soon as possible, but it would be ridiculously expensive to change my flight at such short notice. Anyway, I’ve got to finish my admin stuff here. In the meantime, I’ll ask Marisol if she will help to get the kids into school. That will depend if she is available. Of course, I will compensate her for any expenses – more than compensate, but as she is a relative, I’ll have to be diplomatic about giving her money.

Hopefully, she will hold the fort until I get there, then I’ll pick up J & J from Mactan and take them to the big house, leaving Angel in the care of her family. I could repair and redecorate the big house and make it a nice home for them, while at the same time finishing off the small cinder block house that Angel began to build for herself (with my money but without my permission) in Mactan, and also persuade her to get treatment. I know she won’t listen to me, but perhaps her family can persuade her. At this point I must re-emphasise one of my key principles: after what she has done, I will not live under the same roof as her, though I will help her as far as possible. Basically, I’ll be doing the Rochester thing (in Jane Eyre) by putting the wife in the attic in the care of Grace Poole, though before you think I’m being cynical, remember that Rochester did everything he could to help Bertha.


To be continued…

In the course of my relationship with  Angel, I wrote many poems to her which tell the story of our relationship in a different way. They are collected in a book entitled Poems to his Pinay which is available as a free download from Amazon until  2nd April 2023 – and do take a look at my other Bangkok Byron publications.


The author of this article can be contacted at :

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