Filipinos and the issue of separated parents

10 12 2009

Here in the United States, divorce/separation of parents is considered pretty common. When I was in Middle School, I noticed how open everyone was regarding how their parents are divorced, how they get child support, and how they spend half the time with their mom and half the time with their dad. Everyone seems so open about having separated parents. In contrast, when I was growing up in the Philippines, seldom do I see or hear people talking about divorce or parental separation. It is something that some Filipinos, to be specific, the hardcore religious ones, believe as something that is not considered to be ideal in the eyes of the Creator. When I was in kindergarten, I remember going to a Catholic school where majority of the school personnel were members of the Catholic ministry. We often had “family weekends” or “family nights” where each member of a kid’s family is invited to have lunch/dinner, as well as enjoy family related activities with the rest of the kids and their families attending the school. Coming from a background where I have a single mom, my mom was usually the only one who comes with me to the so-called family nights. It felt awkward, considering the fact that they always bombard my mom and I questions about where my dad and my older sister (she is ten years older than me) were. We would often brush off the looks and awkward conversations they would have with us. It is quite obvious that to their eyes, it is unhealthy to have divorced/separated parents since the child is apparently in their eyes, more likely to be rebellious once they get older. Today, however, whenever I visit the Philippines to see my cousins, they talk about how people there are now more open about divorce and separation if the cause or reason was logical/rational. It is just very fascinating knowing how over the years, cultural beliefs/feelings towards certain topics change.

-Justine Encarnacion

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