It has been a few weeks since I have written in my series “A Life of Love.” There have been some holidays during that time, so we decided to delay the articles until we got more back to “normal times”. Hope you don’t mind.
Feyma had decided that she would stay with me at the hotel. She knew that this was my first time in the Philippines, and I came to see her, so she wanted to be there for me to “look out for me” and make sure I did not run into any problems.
After maybe 30 minutes of talking, the Aunt and cousins left and went home. We agreed that we would go to their house the next morning.
The next morning, we went to the family house of Feyma’s Aunt and Cousins. It was nice to see them again, and meet others who had not gone to the airport the previous day.
In my time that I spent with Feyma’s extended family, I learned that family relations in the Philippines were much different than in the United States. In the United States, we are not nearly as close with family as they are here. Especially with extended family, I have cousins, aunts and uncles and such that I have barely met and certainly don’t know well. That would never be the case here in the Philippines. If you are “courting” a woman in the Philippines, being nice to her family, and having them like you and accept you is extremely important. If they don’t like you, there is a good chance that the woman will not marry you, no matter her feelings.
For a few days, we stayed in Cebu. We had alone time, and we also had plenty of time with the extended family. It was an eye opening experience for me to see the family structure and interaction in person. I learned so much. One day we went to the beach on Mactan Island. This beach outing included the entire family, that is a lot of people! As a foreigner visiting, it was expected that I would pay for everything for the whole crowd, something that I was not necessarily used to doing. But, I did it and it was all cheap anyway. It really did pay off in the long run, gaining family respect and appreciation. These things are like currency in your pocket and go a long way toward establishing your place in the family structure.
I arrived in Cebu on a Thursday. As I recall, we did the beach outing on Sunday. We left Cebu City on Tuesday, heading toward General Santos City on the southern island of Mindanao.
During my time in Cebu, meeting the extended family was probably the highlight, and through that family interaction, I learned a lot about Philippine culture. Since then, I have learned so much more. After those 5 days or so in Cebu, we caught our flight to General Santos. I did not know what to expect, but that one flight really changed my life forever. In more ways than one. I will tell you about that next time!