Philippine culture lessons come in many different ways. They come in the smallest of ways. Often, they are missed. I know I missed many in the past. I suspect, I still miss them but I’ve learned to question everything so perhaps not as often as I use too.
Culture of the Philippines
One such missed culture lesson came about four years ago, even before I was here. And yes, I did miss it. Couples often struggle with cultural differences. We often don’t know it.
I remember trying to get Jessie (my girlfriend) to open a checking account for herself. She was concerned, saying too much responsibility. This is part of that culture clash. It is caused by my looking at the world through my Western eyes. I was baffled that she didn’t already have a business account. She seemed perplexed that that I wanted her to get a checking account.
I had found a bank with online bill pay. She kept telling me they don’t have that in the Philippines. I showed her the bank and she was amazed. Before she could open the account though, the bank was swallowed up by another bank and those accounts were no more.
She had a heck of a time opening an account but she did manage to get it open. When she moved to Cebu City though, it didn’t travel with her. So all her efforts were mostly wasted. Once again, I didn’t realize that a bank account would not follow you from city to city within the Philippines.
I’ve had a checking account since I was 16 years old. It was hard for me to understand. I’m sure it was just as hard for her to understand why I wanted her to get one.
Something as simple as a bank account causes misunderstandings. If you’re planning on connecting with a Filipina once you’re here, get ready, there will be many much more complex issues. It will take some work to get through them. Filipina seem to put more effort into avoiding conflict than Westerners, that too might cause you some problems. It will also prevent some.
Before you judge her too harshly. Give it sometime, exercise some patience and try to gain some understanding. It will take time. I learn more every day and it only comes by actually living in the Philippines.
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