As I bounce around Philippines, Hong Kong, and China, I so constantly run into single Filipino mothers working to support their children and family. I think its the biggest problem in the Philippines, and its a deep rooted problem that I wonder if I am even qualified enough to blog about…I will try my best to explain my perspective.
During my last two weeks back, being a social guy, I strike up conversations all over the place….and many of them are single Filipino mothers. I am so curious how this happens, and I am getting more and more bold to ask questions of the story how it happened.
Some example stories…. I will leave out names.
- She was under 18 (think 17), he was mid 20s, a filipino couple….she got pregnant, her father got so angry because she is so young, their families knew each other, so the girl’s father went to the boyfriend’s family to ask for (something?) and then got in a fight with the boyfriend at his home, punching out the boyfriends front tooth. In Philippines, girls under 18 are not allowed to date older men, and the boyfriend could have gotten in serious trouble from the police and government.
- Bartender in Wan Chai I met, she is 22 years old, computer science degree in Manila, has a 2 year old son, father left after she got pregnant, she now works 6 days a week night shift in Hong Kong, with a 2 hour commute each way to her home. Sends money back to the Philippines regularly…very angry at her baby’s father who left.
- Dancer in Angeles 22 years old with a 3 year old son, she was from the province (deep out in the islands far from city center) and she told me she thought she was in love…but after she got pregnant, here filipino boyfriend disappeared….
I can go on and on with stories, my friend MikeMo works at Western Union and the Philippines is one of the top countries to receive money from overseas workers…
There Is Hope for Single Mothers
This blog has helped connect many single moms in the Philippines to support network like the one below.
Also in the airport yesterday, I met a European woman, Esther from Samaritana that supports Filipino single moms that become prostitutes to pay for their baby and their family. I was a couple hours early for my flight, and Esther and I went through some stories….her non-profit doesn’t do much internet marketing, she honestly said they don’t have the budget to scale too big and are focusing mostly on Quezon City area of Manila.
She also said facebook and website marketing wouldn’t be effective for her organization to find these victims, because most don’t have internet at all and sleep on garbage piles in back alleys. I still advised she make more internet awareness, guides, how to, and support networks….it inspires me to do something as well.
Lets analyze why this happens, try to break down points:
Books For Single Moms
One thing I have noticed over the years working with many single mothers in my company is – those who do not treat themselves like a victim will succeed. We have some books that may also help you out as well.
The Philippines is primarily a Catholic state, forbidding abortion and after morning pills. I am not going to get into pro-life and pro-choice discussions, I am just going to inform you guys thats how it is. Also people are not educated on condoms…asking some people they do not know what it is. And those who know what condoms is, either think its illegal in the Philippines (which it is not) or are too embarrassed to purchase them. They are afraid to purchase them because the cashiers give them strange looks, like they are a whores. Its just a deep rooted cultural topic in Philippines. Last year I blogged cultural differences between the Philippines and China that is worth a read.
In Asian culture, there is no choice, you need to support kids, family, whereas in Western culture, its a bit more of a choice or financial condition circumstance. And it seems women are expected to be the ones to earn the money…which is so opposite from anywhere else I know. Maybe the men feel women can earn more money, have better education. But overall, in my opinion, Filipinos really take care of their kids and so many times the mother has to leave her children to her parents (child’s grandparents) while she leaves the country or the province to a city to earn money….however she is willing or able to.
Sometimes the women get jobs overseas, Hong Kong or Singapore being popular places. I learned the basic process and hopefully the mother gets a job in a respectable family household that respects her.
Abuse, Cannot Go To The Police
But many times, these single moms either willingly or entrapped, become prostitutes. Maybe they do it to earn more money than in a legitimate job, maybe they are not qualified to get a high enough paying job….or just have no idea how to get a job that can pay enough for their baby and their parents they are supporting. And prostitution is illegal in the Philippines, and Esther told me so many times boyfriends pimp out their girls, customers beat them and abuse them….and the mother cannot go to the police, as she is doing an illegal act of solicitation. And the overseas workers in Hong Kong or other places also may be subject to these conditions, also at a disadvantage being away from their home country and no one to turn to, no one to trust.
What About The Men?
This is a touchy one….but I have to say, in my experience in call centers and web work, Filipino women are more diligent and willing to work hard. I’m not sure where this happens in the upbringing or educational system in the Philippines, but the men mostly work general contractor construction jobs or manual labor. They do not seem to be as computer savvy or as strong in the English language. Then they seem to rely on the women to earn the money.
Resources For Single Moms
Over the years more and more resources have developed to support single mothers.
Keep us posted if you have ideas as well.
What Happens If I Get A Girl Pregnant In The Philippines?
This question has come up quite a bit from this blog post – what do you do if a girl you are dating gets pregnant?
Well, the culture in Philippines is very Christian – Catholic and don’t expect a Filipino women to be open to getting an abortion. People I know have had their Filipina girlfriend run away from them and have the kid on their own. The culture is very open to having the kid without the father, and you have the choice to owning up and supporting the kid, or , departing. Very much the situation in the Philippines.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Again, its another frustration in the Philippines that as Leon tells me, and I have to agree, has to be “bred” out over future generations…hopefully as the world is becoming more “flat” and information and opportunity are spread globally equally, all human beings will have a better chance at living the life they want.
On a closing note, in the 10 years since I have been working with the Philippines, Filipino women continue to support their children and work diligently in their jobs. Many in my company are some of the top performers in the work place.
I’m not sure of the statistics and the changes over the years, but the economy has improved and the awareness.
Dating Resources For Single Moms
Single moms, Filipino and all women alike, have needs to! Just because they have had a child doesn’t take them out of the dating scene. It is very common to date Filipino women that have children and here are some books that may be relevant.
Single Moms Dating – Romance: A realistic and healthy approach to help you understand how to prepare, what you can expect, and what you can do to make sure your dating life is a success.
The Successful Single Mom Finds Love (The Successful Single Mom Series)
Our Own Contribution To Single Moms in the Philippines
Over the years here at the blog have seen a lot of single mothers in Philippines struggle and have tried my best to foster their development working in various businesses we have operated (check our now page for latest projects). In the form of giving them time when they are delivering their child, to a shot at a scholarship fund, and overall trying to being understanding in our company culture.