With so many expats living in the Philippines, disagreements over how children are brought up often come about. In large part it is about the difference in Filipino culture and Western culture. I’ve talked with a few expats that mentioned these issues. These problems often become more intense where that man of the house is not the father of the children. I don’t have the issue myself. This is Jessie’s country and they are her blood. Funny though, usually it is the man complaining about how lax discipline is. I was pretty strict when my children were young. I had a strong drive and I wanted them to have it too. I’m far more laid back now, I’m more about building a child’s confidence now. Give your child confidence and teach them respect, the rest will take care of itself.

Filipino Child With Ice CreamThis isn’t just a problem in the Philippines though, it happens all over the world. It is your life, I won’t tell you how to live it. I just can’t see myself trying to impose my will upon a woman with children as to how to bring them up.

What actually made me think of this topic was that I took some pictures of Jessie, her friend and the kids the other night that I wanted to share. They put on their Halloween customs and we hung out on the porch and had a little fun while I took some pictures. I thought about writing about family bonding in the Philippines. Many Filipinos make an effort to bond with their family and friends. Usually there is a part of some kind that often involves drinking and karaoke. I admire how Filipino just don’t seem to care how bad they sound when they sing. Well, I’ve been too general. Jessie doesn’t sing on a microphone and the singing of others often drives her a little insane. I usually don’t even hear it. Once again, it seems Jessie and I have reversed roles. Usually it is the expat complaining about the bad vocal creeping into their ears.

Jessie and Sheila and I had gone to the Pizza Point here in Bogo City. On her way out the door her oldest asked for ice cream. Jessie is a big fan of ice cream so she got everyone some but me. Actually she asked if I wanted some too. I was really tempted but I know that when I’m taking Prednisone that I’m more likely to eat ice cream. I decline as I’m already having enough high blood sugar issues even without the help of Prednisone which tends to make that worse.

Jermain, Jessie’s five year old generally presents some great photograph opportunities when he’s eating ice cream.

Since I’ve written about Halloween in the Philippines twice over the last week or so I didn’t want toFilipina in Halloween Mask write about that again and I just didn’t want to say “Here’s some pictures I took,”  I took the time to mention the increasing number of blended families. It isn’t my purpose to tell anyone how to run a home. After all, I don’t know what the issues are in my home. What I have learned though is that the more control I let go of, the fewer things I let bother me, the happier I am and the happier the people are around me. I don’t have all the answers, who am I to say how things are to be done for anyone other than myself.

That reminds me of something that has been bugging me though. So many people I run into around the web either tell me I’m totally wrong because I love the Philippines. Then a smaller number tell me I’m all wrong because I’m so negative about the Philippines. I lean more to too positive than negative. I’m not negative at all. That doesn’t mean I like everything about living in the Philippines. I certainly didn’t like that 30 minute brownout we had today. It hit when I was writing an article, of course. I didn’t loose anything, because for about 18 months we had so many brownouts I developed the habit of saving my work often. While I’m complaining about the brownouts in Bogo City, I should mention that we don’t have them very often any more. I can’t remember the last one. The bad part is that I had the air con turned up to 28 already when the power failed.

What gets to me about these people is that they think I should adopt their positive or negative view depending on which way the tend to be. If I’m happy, I should be unhappy? If I’m not happy, I should be happy? Give me a break folks, you’re the one with the problem.  You just might be a control freak.

The other day, I posted a picture of a modern building in Cebu City and mentioned that I thought it wasCebu City Building a pretty building. One guys response was to ask me “Are you crazy, its a vile monolith. What? I’m crazy because I like the building?  haha Oh geesh, the real point of the picture was to show that there are many modern building in Cebu City. I like take pictures of older structures and rural settings. One could get the idea that the Philippines is only like that so I put that modern building on FaceBook. It is the same picture showing here.

While I’m rambling, I suppose I might as well continue with it. My skin has been oily for the last week, I assume it has something to do with Prednisone too but I don’t know that. With the power off and no hot water tank, a cold shower wasn’t high on my list of things to do. I only do that once I’m melting after several hours of a brownout. It left me feeling pretty icky though.

I don’t try to make turn every article I write on this website into some stunning idea about living in the Philippines. It is a personal blog that shares my life in the Philippines that often does give important information. Sometimes, I just want to have a conversation with my visitors. I enjoy the conversations. As for those that disagree with me, well “I would agree with you but then we’d both be wrong.” 🙂

I’m sure why but I have clearly mellowed a bit over the last few years. Is the more casual life style of the Philippines? Or is it just too hot to argue? I don’t know why but mellow is good. I can of course still be way to intense at times.

While the power was out, I asked Jessie for my parol kit just for something to do. She got it out and handed it to me. Now I bought this kit from the USA and the forwarding company threw my instructions for the kit away.  I didn’t know what to do with it. I asked her to show me but she ended up putting the frame of it together herself. So, I thought, okay, I’ll order another kit. It is something I want to do. It is just another tiny aspect of Filipino culture that I can do for myself.

What is a parol? It is a Christmas decoration. In its simplest form it is a star made with bamboo and covered in colored paper. It should have a light in it but it is not totally necessary. They come in different colors to represent different aspects of religion or the culture of the Philippines. They are mostly used for Christmas but they are also used some during Holy Week or Easter.

Blending Families In The PhilippinesThey can be sophisticated electronic gizmos or works of art. Most though are just hung out and I believe the tradition comes from lighted lanterns to guide the masses to mass. I’m still looking forward to building my own parol. I can get the bamboo locally probably but I don’t know where to get the bamboo strips and the begs. I asked Jessie to get me some for months and finally I just ordered it from a company in the USA. I find that a bit ironic. I wanted it so I’d have something to do during brownouts!

In any case, if the lady you end up with in the Philippines has children, you should keep in mind that conflicts could arise where the children come in, especially if they are not your biological children. You should be aware of it and consider how you’re going to react to it. The only suggestion I would make is that you and mom always present a solid front to the children. Never disagree about it in front of the kids. I often disagreed with my second wife in dealing with her children. I learned to just stay out of it completely because if I said anything to them she’d always come running to their defense. I think, for me, it is a good approach. I might make a suggestion to Jessie but mostly I just leave it to her. She’s doing just fine with it anyway. She has two that live with us and they are wonderful kids. They are very polite and very respectful. They do fantastic in school. All this makes it easy for me to butt out.

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