At the time that I married Feyma in 1990, I did not really realize that there are a lot of foreigners who come and get married in the Philippines. I thought it was actually kind of rare. But, as the years have gone by, I have come to realize, more and more, that it is a very common thing.
Another thing that I have come to learn over the 27+ years of our marriage is that a lot of those foreigners who get married in the Philippines come to resent money issues with their wife and her family. The thing that I hear from a lot of these folks is that they are “walking ATM machines”.
When I first met Feyma, in July 1990, we spent about 5 days in Cebu City where we met (Feyma was going to college there), and then went to General Santos City to meet her immediate family. It was my mission to seek her father’s permission to marry Feyma, and then to have the wedding there in General Santos.
Other than paying for the wedding, which I expected, I was never pressured to give any money. I voluntarily paid for things like food for the family during my stay, but these costs were very minor, something like $5 or $10 per day to feed the entire family back in those days. I had no problem at all doing that, in fact, it was my pleasure to do so, although I was never asked to do it.
The Walking ATM
To be honest, I find this talk from other foreigners about Filipinos treating them like a “walking ATM” to be rather embarrassing. When I have had first-hand experience with some people who complained about this problem, I quickly saw that the foreigner was putting himself into the trouble with his own actions and his loud mouth. I mean when you are hanging around with people who live very humble lives and you are always talking about how much money you have, you should expect that people will expect that you would not have a problem being generous with them!
In my experience, Filipinos will not expect you to pay for EVERYTHING if you treat them right, don’t brag, and be a nice guy. It has worked well for me over the years.
Through the Years
Feyma and I have been married for more than 27 years now. I don’t recall any time when I was overtly asked for money by anybody in the family. Yes, I have given money when it was needed, but never asked as far as I can recall. I am talking that I gave money for things like legitimate medical expenses and things of that sort. I don’t care what nationality my wife was if there is a family problem that requires money if you are family you chip in.
Feyma has a brother who had very good employment and earned a good living. He is retired now. But when he was working, he would always pitch in for family needs as well, so I was not singled out. And, as I said, it was never a case of being asked, it was a matter where I recognized that there was the legitimate need and helped willingly. This has not even happened many times over the years. Certainly less than 10 times in 27 years, I don’t consider that bad at all, and never for a very large amount of money.
If you marry a girl from the Philippines and money becomes an issue, don’t run around online complaining about being a “walking ATM Machine.” Instead, talk to your wife and find out if the need is legitimate, or if money is being wasted. Would you want your wife posting negative things about you online? Probably not. Have an open line of communication with your spouse, that is always the best policy!