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A writer for CLM Magazine and CLM Social Pages, Achelle is also an independent blogger, giving her two cents on personal and social issues from an educated Filipina's point of view, especially those relating to love and relationships. She has a knack for tackling issues from unique angles that are often left unexplored, posing questions that move and challenge readers to view a certain issue from a wholly different perspective. Achelle is happily engaged to her childhood sweetheart and is currently based in the Philippines. Achelle's writing is a delight to read and highly enlightening, entertaining and thought provoking. You're going to see lots of her on our Emagazine, Blogs, Social Pages and Hubs. Enjoy
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Not A Stereotypical Filipina Story    

By Achelle Vinzon
2555 Views | 3 Comments | 3/7/2013 3:01:17 PM

There is this Filipina I know who had been illegally staying in a particular Asian country for a number of years, during which she got involved with a Filipino who had legal status in the said country and with whom she had three kids. The relationship ended badly.

According to her, her ex-boyfriend had a hand in tipping off immigration about her illegal status which got her a three-month stint in an immigration facility, while she awaited deportation. The only reason they did not deport her right away was because she was already in a relationship with a U.S. navy guy when all this happened (the U.S. had several navy bases all over the said country), and he had been using all his connections to keep her from being deported and to get her out of the facility. He got things sorted out, on the condition that they get married so she’d have the legal papers to stay in the country. That relationship also ended badly.

According to her, the guy cheated on her and got another woman pregnant. In fact, from what I pieced together, she already knew about the affair and the pregnancy even before she spent those three months in the immigration facility. Saying that she only tolerated the cheating and stuck with the guy because she needed his help to get her out and get her papers would not be a far-fetched presumption. They were only married a few months before they got the not-so civil divorce process started. Later on, I found out that during this new, difficult time in her life, she was already with another U.S. navy guy who helped her sort things out.

The first time she shared with me what happened to her, back when she was still with the first U.S. navy guy, it already crossed my mind that she might just be using him. I had my reasons. While she always talked to me about how in love they were, how happy she was with him, what their future plans were, and that he was willing to support her and her three kids, there were times in between when she also told me about their ugly fights (which usually involved both of them getting physical) and how he humiliated her in front of their friends and often insulted her behind her back. When I found out that they finally got married soon after she was released, I already knew that the marriage wouldn’t last.

Eventually, she told me about the divorce, but it was not until many months later that I found out about the new guy. That made me think that perhaps she preferred a certain type of partner (insert sarcasm here). That was followed by another thought that perhaps she was pulling another lady-in-distress act with this new guy. She already had her papers, but now she had a divorce to deal with, and the father of her kids had still been giving her a hard time with the custody of their children; she still needed to be able to provide for herself and her kids, too. At the time, she only had a part-time job as a nanny.

When the dust from her divorce had settled, she told me that she and her new boyfriend had to keep their relationship a secret for quite some time or he would have gotten in trouble with the U.S. navy. When they eventually brought the relationship out in the open, she started talking to me again about how this new guy had been treating her right, how he had been providing for her and the kids, and about maybe moving to the U.S. with the kids in the future where she and her boyfriend would get married. During this particular conversation, the subject of my own engagement came up, and I told her that after my fiancé and I get married in the U.S., he still wanted us to come back here to the Philippines for a church wedding so that all my family could attend.

Her response to this did not surprise me at all, although I was surprised that she came right out and said it. First, she asked me if I was sure about having a church wedding. I said, yes I was; this marriage was for keeps; we would be husband and wife until death do us part. She then gave me what she considered very sound advice, which is that I should just consider having a civil wedding both times because an annulment would be harder and more expensive to get than a divorce. I told her confidently that, that would never be a problem because it would never happen. To which her unashamed response was that she would make sure she got a fiancée visa first so she would be sure that she would get to the U.S., and then she would only agree to a civil wedding because a divorce would be easier to get. The word “user” crossed my mind.

They have been together for two years now. They are still in that other Asian country (I’m guessing because he does not want to leave the U.S. navy yet), and he’s been fully supporting her and the three kids, all of whom live with them. She’s a full-time mom now, and he’s away for months at a time. I can tell that the guy is crazy about her. In the physical department, he is way out of her league; while I was suspicious in the beginning if she really loved the guy, I cannot honestly tell now if she has eventually grown to love him or if she’s merely being practical and “smart” about things, or both. One thing I’m certain of is that some of the guy’s family back in the U.S. do not like her.

Being a Filipina certainly was not the determining factor why she reacted to her difficult circumstances the way she did, nor was it the reason why she made all those bad decisions that created those circumstances in the first place. Her circumstances and behaviors mirror those of other women’s from various cultural backgrounds. Her motivations may seem suspicious, her actions may seem dishonest, but women all over the world also behave the same way when they find themselves in similar situations. The particular stereotype that would apply to them would not be culturally determined; it’s determined, simply, by one of the many forms of life’s harsh realities.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2013-03-07 15:01:04 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Hi Achelle - my wife and I had an interesting conversation today which I think mirrors the point of your blog, being that for many women desperate times lead to desperate measures. Sometimes they should be excused and forgiven, other times it is not so clear.

During a telephone discussion a friend of hers was describing how her new husband (from Germany) had a child from a previous relationship. The mother of the child now has 4 children from 4 different fathers. She indicated that in her husband's case the woman had pretended to be on the pill when she got pregnant but later admitted she was trying to get pregnant so he would marry her, which he didn't do.

Now the fathers all occasionally bump into each other while picking up or depositing their respective children and talk to each other. It turns out that the story was the same with all 4 kids. Mom tricked each father into getting her pregnant because she desperately wanted to be married. As it turns out she failed in all 4 cases.

This reminded me of a close friend of mine who, years back in Canada, had the same ploy pulled on him by a woman he was seeing and who already had a child from another father.

The difference is that she wanted a child from him but was not interested in marriage at all. He was fond of her, if not in love, and offered to do "the right thing" and marry her, but she bluntly refused and said she didn't want to marry him. She already had what she wanted, which was another baby with another father on the hook to pay her child support.

You see, in Canada the level of child support is basically predetermined by a formula in which the father pays a sizable chunk of his income for the first child born of the couple. But with each successive baby born to the two of them the child support he is obliged to pay is reduced. In his case, based on his income as an assistant bank manager at the time, he paid $800 per month and this was back in the early 1990's.

So her plan was purely and simply to have babies from different fathers as a means of creating a sizable passive income. A few years after my friend's baby was born she had also worked her way up to 4 kids from 4 different men. By design, all of the father's in her case had good paying jobs. She was raking it in.

First this demonstrates the truth of your conclusion that your friend's behaviour was not a characteristic of her culture, and that women (and no doubt men too) from even the most economically advanced cultures will sink to great depths in their attempts to secure their own future.

However, to my way of thinking one can forgive the first woman at least a little, since her hope and intention was to share the child and her life with the father, she wasn't simply using the birth of her own child as a means of grabbing someone's hard earned income on a long term basis in order to live the good life. For the second mother of 4, in my opinion, there is no room for tolerance and forgiveness - she is despicable to the core.

Your friend may fall somewhere in between.

#2013-03-07 15:46:06 by AchelleVinzons @AchelleVinzons

Hi @JohnAbbot

Thank you for sharing those similar stories. I agree that some desperate acts can be forgiven, some can be understood but not tolerated, and others are just inexcusable (such as the woman in your second example; using children that way, and her own, too... that is just very wrong.)

My friend's motivations, I believe, are partly practical and desperate; at the same time, I also know she truly wants the best for her children. As a single mother, myself, I can understand that. While the desperation behind her actions could not help but color the honesty of her initial intentions, I also do believe that, in her own way, she has been trying to make the "arrangement" or relationship a happy and worthwhile one for both her and her beau. It's even possible that she has learned (or will learn) to really love him; he seems to be a very decent guy, after all. And if, from the beginning, all she has been trying to do was to be a mother first (ensuring the security of her children), then she can hardly be called a heartless and selfish woman, right?

#2013-03-07 20:14:52 by zhangxiujin @zhangxiujin

"but women all over the world also behave the same way when they find themselves in similar situations. The particular stereotype that would apply to them would not be culturally determined; it’s determined, simply, by one of the many forms of life’s harsh realities. "------ I absolutely agree, and "no doubt men too" as John said.
The tendency to lable a culture or a nation as a certain Stereotype is, I would say, kind of superiority complex.

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