Welcome 2 Barangay Pitong Gatang mate !

Loosely translated means no humans allowed 🙂

Dear mate :

So you’ve finally made the big plunge.  Good on you, good luck and welcome to the club !

I say welcome because like you, I also have a Pinay wife.  I know it’s different cuz I can almost hear you say, you’re Pinoy too bro but it’s the same banana through and through my friend.  We may have been born and raised worlds apart, have different tastes and ways to amuse ourselves but in the end, we’re spending our lives with the same species of lovable, irrepressible, category-defying and and life-changing human, the Pinay wife.  We are bonded forever.

Just thought that having spent a little more time than you have with these Pinay indefinables, I’d share with you the little aphorisms and insights I’ve learned not just about married life, but about Pinoy married life as well.

You marry me, you marry my family.  Oddly enough, this is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, as a lightheared commentary on how close extended families are in the Philippines.  But it’s true in practice just as it is in theory.  Especially in families who’ve gone through hard times, the problems and challenges facing any of its members are assumed by the rest of the family, or better yet, as a whole.  Career choices, financial issues, milestone events like weddings and migrations, etc are all deliberated upon by families in general assembly, even though ultimate decisions are left to the person concerned.  So don’t be surprised if you see your wife consult and be consulted on anything from how to match sofas and curtains to which school is best for her nephew or niece.  Another way to say it is ang problema ng isa ay problema ng lahat.  It’s obvious, but the load is lightened when it is borne by all.

No such thing as privacy.  This sounds a bit like an exaggeration, but when you marry into a Pinoy clan, expect to know and be known by everyone else down to the last uncomfortable detail.  Even more scrutiny is on you since you’re from a different culture, but that’s obvious right?  Every fact is fair game, no subject is sacred, no topics are taboo.  You would be well-advised to use discretion during those weekend family dinners where everyone is present and everything under the sun is discussed; all it takes is one careless comment, or a joke about something personal between you and your Mahal.  You can expect not only repartee and commentary from unsolicited advisers, but a thousand-and-one discussions beyond earshot on ganito pala si sis at kanyang mister and raised eyebrows and double meanings passed around.  It’s mostly in good fun, at your expense of course.  Sorry for that.

Emphasis on the extended.  Don’t be surprised when you see in gatherings third cousins removed from previous marriages, godchildren had from baptisms and confirmations years and years ago, or in-laws off-the-boat from the provinces.  Don’t be too surprised as well when you see both branches of the family of your loved ones gathered together, whether or not they barely tolerate each other’s company and come from regions of the country known to dislike the other’s famous character flaws.  When it’s a family gathering, there’s no such thing as by invitation only, everyone who’s related whether by blood, affinity or by accident will show up, if only for the free food and drink, but usually for the company as well.  You also realize of course that being a visitor from White Man’s Land, you’re the main attraction? 😉

These are just samplings of what you’re about to encounter as an official member of the Pinoy version of Cosa Nostra, and it will only get better (or worse).  By now, you will have learned to accept every aspect of being half-Kiwi, half-Pinoy, and reading these probably just confirms your best hopes (or worst fears).  Just think how broad your in-laws’ smiles will be when you and your Mahal have little Kinoys of your own to show off!

Haere mai, welcome and maligayang pagdating!

5 thoughts on “Welcome 2 Barangay Pitong Gatang mate !

  1. hahaha, thanks for the insight Franz, yes it’s our unique habits, not so Asian and not so Western that make us truly Filipino 🙂 we never grow old looking at our funny side as Pinoys right? maraming salamat again!

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