Filipinos Americans are more likely than other Asian-American groups to marry outside their race. You’ve heard some people say, “some of ‘ ma friends are Black/ Mexicans,” when trying to defend their spirit of inclusivity (ability to include others even in the outside group). For many families, having their children hang-out with the “outside group,” is alright until this same daughter takes home a Black boyfriend.
This is when the fairytale turns into a Telenovela especially for Filipino Americans whose parents hold very traditional stereotypes of other races.
One of the real indicators of inclusivity is interracial marriages. It’s not to say that if you’re married to another Filipino that you don’t embody this spirit but it’s likely that if you’re in one (married to another race) that you live this truth.
Full disclosure: I am in one. My husband is a mixture of other descent but he identifies as African American.
The Philippines has 7100 islands and imagine the variability of Filipinas in manners of culture, etiquette, mannerism at iba pa (and many more). This list is meant to be light-hearted and written with a tad of humor. It hopes to find commonality within interracial marriages despite the many flavor of differences each one of us may bring. If you’re Filipina living abroad and in an interracial marriage, please know that not all these would apply to you. It is written from the perspective of the husband married to a Filipina. Read with ease, curiosity for other Filipinas in interracial marriages and yes, you can laugh, agree or even disagree.
Let’s give it a whirl-
1. Koreans, Chinese and Japanese people start looking different from THE FILIPINOS. Sure, you get better with noticing certain facial/skin tone features but the give-away is the volume of their conversations. They talk like everybody’s their barkada, loud enough to be heard by the next-door neighbor.
2. You’ve never eaten so much rice in your life. You learn what ulam means, the dish that goes with your rice. So, when you ask, “what’s for dinner?” You are actually asking, “what’s the ulam tonight?”
3. The landscapers that you hired to beautify your backyard gets a merienda break. The catch is- you are the volunteered server. AWKWARD!
4. You take a baon bag to your meetings. While everybody else is busy looking over the menu, you’re busy unlocking your tupperwares.
5. Your wife said she didn’t want flowers on Valentine’s day but fumes at you the whole day for not remembering heart’s day. You should know by now that NO means YES when you’re asking a question she thinks you shouldn’t ask in the first place.
6. You know that a Saw-sawan is what makes a dish so sarap!
7. You feel served. Filipinas have a way of making you feel good as the Man of the House without compromising their womanhood.
8. They enjoy spoon feeding their children until they can’t anymore.
9. You always have Styrofoam containers in your pantry just in case party guests would like to take their to-go portions.
10. You feel so lucky to be married to one and you feel an instant connection when you heard a long lost friend recently married a Pinay.
11. You call everyone in your wife’s family-kuya. Her uncle and even her younger cousins. You figure its better to be safe and corrected than seemingly disrespectful.
Filipina Women embody a classy blend of expressiveness and a decorum of secrecy. She expresses her love through her cooking, her touch, her care but can also hold steady her internal pain and sorrow in her effort to shield those around her. She is predictable and yet unpredictable. She is self-less and yet never looses sight of her dreams that are on hold but not completely forgotten. She is ambitious but continues to find solace in putting on her children’s socks for them as she understands that all these precious moments shall pass.
She is a wife, a mother but most of all, she is a Woman,
A Filipina Woman.
Should I say more?
If you’re in an interracial marriage which one resonated with you more? I’m sure I missed a lot on my list so please share what your husband thinks about you-being uniquely Filipina. I would love to hear your comments (check the side bar).
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