There are things that work very well and some things that work against family life in the Philippines and over the last few years I have managed to interlink with different levels of society and the family groups.
One of the big problems is that Asian family structure normally bases itself on a fixed structure that they don’t like changing. For example the head of the family, the eldest child etc. are normally leading the family but problems come about when things start working in another direction. For example a family with a structure that has no parents and an OFW eldest child who supports his/her siblings through college etc and maintains the role of head of family. But then a younger member of family becomes more successful and this doesn’t just happen here but in most Asian cultures that it rocks the boat because the OFW has become displaced a lot of the time they like looking down on the others as helping when in a lot of cases they like the fact they rely on him/her. But breaking that assistance by someone suddenly being able to support themselves as well as other members of family can totally throw the natural karma into disrepute especially if the eldest member is looking to retire and is going to have the financial wings clipped coming home as the years abroad “helping” has put a strain on his own direct family.
But then on the other hand I find some of the poorest families around seem to be the happiest as they have nothing to grumble about except being poor. The disputes seen to happen when money enters family life. This even happens with death because most people don’t leave wills which opens up disputes of ownership and its very common for relatives to murder each other over land. Especially if one tries to sell it without the others knowing. I have seen people die here before the land disputes are resolved which traps them in poverty over greed and common sense. If the land is useless to all but an asset to one why not sell it and just split it between the numbers involved? I know its not always that simple as many people can’t sit round the same table at the same time seeing people living in poverty when there is millions of pesos trapped in empty land just seems madness.
Living together and sharing seems to be very normal and everyone seems to get on fairly well and like I said earlier problems only seem to occur when money enters the scheme of things in family life. The simple happy family life that existed previously before consumerism and greed entered society does make me wonder if Western ideals are worth the loss people have. In the UK you don’t notice it purely because the family unit in most cases is already destroyed. The fact that so many people don’t know their neighbours shows that society isn’t functioning properly yet even now here in Minglanilla a very busy town most people know each other directly or indirectly I can’t say the same about the UK.
The problem is that the happy structure of the family in the Philippines is not only changing its often misunderstood for the main reason that most people don’t even know what it is. They assume because they heard it from others that its true but how many people can say it is? How many people can actually say that the Philippines family unit is as strong as it used to be in the way people care and look after each other? Things are changing and not for the better.