A debt of gratitude – Really?

Anybody who has been reading this site for much time at all is aware that I take lessons in the Cebuano language, and that my teacher is Bebe Metillo.  Bebe and I are quite close, and I really consider her like a sister.  In addition to teaching me the language, Bebe also teaches me cultural lessons and about how to deal with Philippine Culture.

A couple of years ago, Bebe gave me a little guide booklet about the “SIR” system.  SIR stands for “Smooth Interpersonal Relationships” and is what the entire culture of the Philippines is based upon.  There are eight components of the SIR system, and I have outlined each in my series of articles about the SIR concept.

Today, though, I want to concentrate on one aspect of SIR, based upon an event that happened to Feyma and I a few days ago.  The aspect of the culture that I want to focus on is:

Utang Kabubut-on – “A Debt of Gratitude”

Here is the tenet of Utang Kabubut-on:

Every Filipino is aware of his sense of duty to those from whom he has received favors.  He is compelled to act in a grateful manner to honor what is considered an important obligation.  The finest compliment one can pay a Filipino is to say that he totally fulfills his obligations.

Flowers from WowPhilippines

Unfortunately, Feyma and I had an experience the other day that we felt showed a great deal of un-gratefulness toward us.  Let’s see what you think.

Labandera

Labandera

Many readers will remember, back in December, as we do every December, we went out and distributed food and other things to poor people.  Much of the distribution came from contributions made by readers of this site.  In addition to our normal giveaways, we took on a bit of a special goal this year by helping four needy high school students here in Davao.  These girls are extremely bright students, but are very poor.  In the past, for lunch they would only have hot water, nothing else.  We took it upon ourselves to sponsor the school lunches of these four school girls for the rest of the school year, and we fulfilled our promise to do so, not missing one day of buying their lunches.  Additionally we did some extra things for the girls too, including them in family outings, having them over for dinner at our house and such.

About a month ago, or so, our labandera (lady who washes our clothes) failed to show up for work.  After a few days of her not showing up it became clear to us that she had quit.  That’s kind of the way it is done here, if the maid or labandera wants to quit, they don’t usually tell you, they just stop coming.  Oh well.  So, it left us without a labandera.  Being a large family, we have a lot of clothes to wash.  I told Feyma to start looking for a new labandera, but it can be difficult to find one right away.

Free Lunch

Free Lunch

After a few days of not being able to find a replacement labandera, I told Feyma that perhaps we should offer these 4 girls whom we had been helping, if they want to earn some extra money by working around our house during the summer.  We would pay them a salary, plus also provide them with 3 good meals per day, which I would dare to say they were not getting at home, as they are very poor.  Feyma thought it was a good idea, so we contacted them and told them to come to our house on Monday morning at 8:30am.  One of the girls could not be found, perhaps she is out of town for the summer, I am not sure.  But, the other 3 showed up and were even early!  We talked to them and offered them our deal, and they were very excited.  They were really happy that they would be able to earn a little money over the summer vacation from school, and also that they would have good food to eat over their vacation too!

At about 5pm, one of the girls said that she had to go home.  We told her that she was free to go home, as the work was done for the day anyway, but we asked her if she wanted to stay and eat dinner with us.  She agreed, and texted her mother to let her know that she would have dinner here before coming home.  When the girls were ready to go home it was already dark, so I had my nephew drive them home, to ensure their safety.  Normally, the girls will use public transportation, but since it was late, and also their first day, I wanted to give them a ride home.  No problems.

On Tuesday morning, one of the girls did not show up.  Later in the day, we got word that she would no longer be working for us, because her mother didn’t like it that we made her stay here late!  Uh, what?  Made her stay late? Well, she did stay late, but only to eat dinner!  And, she had a good dinner too, not just rice or hot water.  She ate the same food on Monday night that I did, nothing different, and she was free to have all that she wanted too.

When Feyma and I heard the news that the girl would no longer be working, we felt it was a bit of a slap in the face.  We had been feeding the girl for about 4 months already and had given her a job with above average pay, and free meals too.  Doesn’t it seem that what we had done falls under the tenet of “Utang Kabubut-on” or “debt of gratitude?”  But, it seems that the girl and her parents don’t feel any debt of gratitude toward Feyma and I.

Well, my thinking as of now is that this girl will not be getting any school lunches from us next school year.  Sometimes, it seems to me that there is little gratitude in the Philippines.  However, I will say that the two girls that are still working are very friendly and happy to have a job, so I cannot say that all Filipinos are ungrateful, that’s for sure.  But, I have encountered the ungrateful attitude many times here in the Philippines, and I often wonder why it is like that.

Anyway, this was our experience this past week.  What do you think?

Post Author: MindanaoBob (960 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.


Comments

  1. Wade says

    Hi Bob,

    Could it be because you’re a white foreigner and your feelings don’t matter? That thought crossed my mind. Have you noticed the same behavior amongst Filipinos?

    • says

      Hi Wade – I was talking about this a few days ago with another foreigner who has lived here for some time. We both came to the conclusion that if you are a foreigner, your motives are automatically suspect. I would have thought, though, that since we’ve been helping this girl for a long time already, people would have known that we meant no harm to the girls and were only trying to help them.

      • says

        Hi there Bob & Wade, there is a saying that we cannot pleased everybody not only you experienced this. Philippines is a multi-culture peninsula Luzon, Visayas & Mindanao. Even in your own country of origin. Everyone of us has different mentor who raised us, upbringing of a certain plays a vital role. When a family living in too much poverty as you said, are you expecting that the parents has a time to honed their children not to be a social delinquent kids? We must accept the bitter truth. We are in the world of wait and see situation. Like where I am working now here in Nigeria, West Africa it is even worst. You give your hand, the next will come again to ask for more. But gosh am telling you this country is blessed of natural resources, they have the sweetest oil in the world ( as they are saying here about their refined oil & gas ), the land is fertile, living things like animals are so much around what a lovely place to live, it is like paradise for me. You can hear the sound of wild animals anytime, the singing of birds every morning. Til here Bob..reserved some of it..Thanks for sharing to us your experienced..God Bless.

          • Wade says

            Hey Bob & Marc, I lived in Mindanao for a year in high school so I do understand what you’re both saying. Even Filipinos recognize the regional culture shock; when a local Filipino exchange student from Manila knew I was bound for Cotabato, he begged me to find another place! Anyhow Bob, 10 years later and you still get surprised! And I agree that perhaps your motives were held suspect by the families in some way, shape or form.

            • says

              Hi Wade – I’m not sure what you mean by “10 years later and you still get surprised.” But, yes, I am surprised from time to time, there is no doubt.

    • says

      True not only for foreigners helping locals but also for locals helping locals, too.

      A priest I talked to lamented the failure of paying the monthly amortization of 200 pesos by the people he helped provide a piece of land to build their small houses. Yet each family member had their different individual brands of shampoo, had money to go malling, buy cell phone load, and drink some rhum. I, too, have similar stories. It seems the motivations and incentives of people cannot be easily divined.

      Well, Bob, as anybody who has tried to do “good works” that stretch over time (not just give things away at one time never to come back again) will tell you, yours is a pretty common experience. I hope that the positive impact of those who showed gratitude will be much more than the negative vibes generated by the so-called ingrates.

      As for the household help disappearing without the proper exit interview (again another common occurrence), chalk it up to another local cultural trait – hiya. These people are ashamed that they have to leave (even if there is a valid reason to do so). Because you treated them well (and a promise was extracted that the help will stay for x months), leaving would mean they have no utang na loob. So by vanishing, the shame that would come when asking permission to leave would not have to be experienced or at least be mitigated.

      • says

        You are sure right Bdul. When you try to help people, disappointment is inevitable. The hope must be that there is more satisfaction than disappointment, and that is my experience so far.

  2. David L Smith says

    Hi Bob
    Sorry to hear that, but i guess its life and part of the merry go round we have to deal with. It hurts a lot more when its one of your own blood relations that shows such ingratitude. The main thing Bob is not to let the bitter disapointment change you, keep on being the guy you are because im sure most people will be grateful for your kindness . I can understand the parents concern but after they have been informed that their daughter has agreed to have dinner and also will get transport home then i think they have very much over reacted to the situation.Hopefully they will realise and offer an apology to you soon.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment, David. I don’t think that any apology will be coming… and I really don’t even want an apology. There are plenty of people here who are willing to accept help, and need it, I suppose. It just saddens me that this girl will have to go back to having no lunch at school.

      • Papa Duck says

        Bob

        You are right there are more than enough people to help. All you can do is move on and help someone that will appreciate what you do for them. You are doing all you can and somethings are just out of your control. Have a nice day my friend.

      • Loren Pogue says

        Why be sad? You may still be able to supply her lunch, with out to much offence to the family. Of course their pride and the fact that they can’t take proper care of the daughter may prevent them from allowing their daughter to accept your generosity. Oh well, their loss. The real loser is the young lady. Any way keep up the good work. The world needs more good people like you.

        • says

          Hi Loren – I do not wish to provide her with lunch if she or her family are not willing for her to be able to interact with my family. It is their choice, though.

  3. Paul Thompson says

    Bob;
    Help me out here, was it the girl, or the mother’s fault, that she stopped coming to work? If her fault then I understand your feelings. If it was the mother’s fault, than the young lady was doing the correct thing, in obeying her mother. Either way it would be hard to understand why the mother would have no gratitude for the kindness you’ve shown in the past. I guess I’ll second Tony’s comment!

    • says

      Hi Paul – I am not sure if we know the real story, or ever will. What was said was that the mother will not allow the girl to come back, but I am not really sure. I don’t blame the girl, but I do blame the mother at this point.

      • Biz Doc says

        hi bob,

        how old was the girl again? who knows, she could have stayed out late that night after she was driven home, only to do what she pleased at that time, and then gave the work at your place as an excuse so she wouldn’t get scolded by her mom.

        sometimes you have to do stuff yourself, meaning driven those girls home yourself, just so you’d not be made an excuse for anything. at this point, even if you ask your nephew what time he brought the girls home, he wouldn’t know if any of them sneaked out as soon as he was out of sight.

        of all the bad pinoy traits i know, this is one of the worst since something so petty gets turned into something so major without you ever knowing where you went “wrong”.

        cheers,

        • says

          Hi Biz – Perhaps you overlooked in the article… we DID drive the girls home, directly to their doors. The girl was driven to the front door and entered the house before we left.

          • Biz Doc says

            hi bob,

            not to add fuel to the fire, but i still think the girl’s ‘reasoning’ on why she was late had something to do with the mom’s resulting decision.

            after all, having been kids once, we all know entering the house doesn’t mean we can’t sneak out before somebody sees us we’re back home ” )

            cheers,

  4. Ricardo Sumilang says

    Hi Bob – let’s see if I got this straight. Out of the kindness of your heart, you took it upon yourself to sponsor free lunches for 4 honor student girls when you found out that, because of poverty, the girls were drinking only hot water for lunch. When you lost your labandera, you saw an opportunity to financially help these girls further by offering them employment to work around your house for a good salary plus lunch, which they have all happily accepted.

    On the first day, Monday, one girl did not show up for reasons unknown. Later that day, one of the three remaining said she had to go home at 5PM, which you approved. Upon your invitation, though, she stayed for dinner after having texted her mother to notify, or so you thought.

    The next day, the girl who stayed for dinner the night before did not show up, and will not be returning to work “because her mother didn’t like it that we made her stay here late”, according to you. My take on this is that maybe the girl never texted her mother, or maybe she did, we’ll never know. In either case, she found a very convenient excuse not to return to work on the pretext that her mother did not approve of her staying out late.

    Most importantly, Bob, you never described the chores that they were expected to do around the house, only that you said you needed a labandera. I don’t know what these chores are, but my hunch is that the chores that they were expected to do around the house maybe a bit too demanding for them. Also, given that it is a summer vacation and they are young girls afterall, those two who did not fulfill their obligations probably felt that they needed some rest and a little relaxation before going back to school again.

    In my opinion, the first one who did not show up at all appears to be an illustration of the Filipino trait of never saying no, especially to a benefactor such as yourself, when you offered the job. The second one who quit after one day was probably indecisive, but was willing to give it a try for one day, and found out that the work may be too difficult. As for the other two happy campers, well, not everyone is alike in temperament and disposition.

    Is this a case of “way utang kabubot-on” on the part of the two girls? (I am guessing here that “way” is the tagalog equivalent of “wala”, as in, “wala[ng] utang na loob.” ). I really do not know, given that these are very young people whose sense of gratitude has not yet fully developed. It depends on the individual person’s perspective, I suppose. In any event, I wish with all my heart that whether or not you find them to be ungrateful, you would re-consider your decision about withdrawing your sponsorship of free lunch for both girls when the school year begins again.

    • says

      Hi Ricardo – Actually, you have misinterpreted what I wrote in several ways:

      1. One girl is not available at all. She is not in town. I have no problem with that. She has not and will not be working because she is not in town.
      2. The girls are not given a good salary plus lunch. They are given a good salary plus THREE meals per day – breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus two snacks.
      3. The work they did? They washed clothes for about an hour. Washed dishes. Cleaned one bedroom. They rest of the day they played with our kids – badminton and other games. They told us that they had a great time and could not wait to come back the next day because it was so fun.

      My agreement with these girls back in December was that I would help them find a summer job, because they wanted one. So, I offered them this summer job. 2 of the three girls who were given the jobs love it. The third did not come back.

      I never said that two of the girls had no utang kabubot-on. I said that one of them did. I will not be withdrawing support from two girls… that is not what I said. I said at this time I am feeling like I will withdraw support from one of them. I still feel that way. I am certain that I can find others who are more willing to join in with us, be “part of the family” and such. I don’t know why I would want to support somebody who doesn’t really want to join in with us.

      Perhaps you would like to support the one that I may cut off? If so, let me know, and I would gladly pass the money on for you.

  5. Gary says

    I don’t think it’s a white foreigner thing. There may be some of that involved sometimes, but I’ve seen very similar things as you’ve described (or worse) when Rose’s mother, or Rose’s aunt and uncle have helped others out. No white person involved. I’ve also seen where expectations for help rise, “you give me free lunch what about breakfast and dinner too?” The opposite is also true, many people are very grateful, and it’s really nice to see those who have “made it” because of a little help they received years ago. People like that tend to be very grateful, and usually pay it forwards.

    • says

      You are right, Gary, many people are indeed quite grateful. The two girls that are working with us now are grateful, and I enjoy having them around. Since December when we started supporting them, I can see improvements in their health and such, and it really makes me happy. I enjoy having the girls come here and spend time with our family.

  6. Stevo says

    Hi Bob, Maybe you should have Donald Trump check her birth certificate! Maybe she is really a spoiled rotten American like too many are now. We Americans are getting so lazy! Maybe she is watching American TV. Who knows for sure. Anyway, you seem to have a good heart for the really less fortunate, so don’t stop caring. There will always be ungrateful people everywhere, so good luck and appreciate the good girls. There have been people in our family that we have helped, some are grateful, some not so much. But, it really makes me appreciate the ones that are grateful. And some have really made us happy by becoming successful in their own right. So who knows, maybe these girls will hopefully become successful and they will show their gratitude that way. Keep up the g0od work, I feel better already. We will be in the Philippines to visit soon, so everyone has been warned, haha!!!

  7. Boon says

    I am surprised that you are surprised. This is a common trait among people here for one reason or another. Many that defy logic.I have given up my sensitivities about such things a long time ago and come not to depend on anyone to appreciate what I do for them. Of course I am being somewhat melodramatic as most of the people that come into my life to help me with stuff here are very dependable and accomodating. One thing I never do is clap myself on the back and say what a great guy I am for feeding this person or that, giving this peron a job, whatever!!!. Or I am such a saint because I gave someone some used clothing. Whatever we do here we should do with no agenda and if people appreciate it great if not then we don’t dwell on it. People are people all over the world and nothing will change the behavior of them. I get the impression that many expats here think they are something special and demand more gratitude from the locals. The fact is they are jealous of us and our money even if we don’t have any, it’s the perception and will not change EVER!!! . I say Just continue to be the nice, unassuming, undemanding person you are and move on. Remember Some Will, Some Won’t , So What NEXT!!!

    • says

      Hi Boon – I don’t think I was “clapping” (did you mean patting?) myself on the back. I was only relating an experience. I didn’t say I was surprised either.

      • Christine says

        Hi Bob, I am with Boon on this one. I too have given/helped people in the Philippines and here in Australia (Pinay girls getting themselves into trouble), most of the times not even a word of thank you, and sometimes my kindness rewarded with malice in the form of “tsismis”. So I have also given up on the gratitude thing. Sometimes Filipinos will show gratitude if it suits at the time, but contrary to popular beliefs, Filipino utang na loob is never lasting, and you’d be lucky to even experience/told that they have “utang na loob” to you. In the old days perhaps, utang na loob is enduring, hence someone is forever indebted to you because you loaned money for medical care or paying for a girl’s schooling for example. A sign of the times perhaps, but nowadays, a thank you for money/help given is a rarity. A sign of changing times perhaps?

        • says

          Hi Christine – Yes, I agree too that gratitude is fading here. I pointed this out in the article that I had encountered many times when there was no gratitude shown for help that I have given in the past. There is still gratitude here with most people, but for some it seems non-existent.

  8. Ricardo Sumilang says

    “Perhaps you would like to support the one that I may cut off? If so, let me know, and I would gladly pass the money on for you.”

    Exactly my thoughts, Bob. The offer would have been the last sentence in my comment above, but deleted it at the last moment. I’m amazed at the coincidence. Yes, my first thought was to help, but, as you know, I am not a rich man. If you can give me an idea about how much a month, or for the entire school year, for the one girl who stands to lose her lunch, I would seriously consider it. Thanks.

    • says

      It doesn’t cost much, Ricardo. You could buy lunch for the entire school year for $200 or less.

      By the way, like you, I am not a rich person. You don’t have to be rich to help out those less fortunate.

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        Hi Bob – as the U.S. government likes to say, “Check is on the mail!” I will contact you via the “Contact Us” above to make arrangements for sending the money towards the end of the month. I am happy to help. She does not need to know who I am; I just would like to know her name so I can look at her picture in the article you wrote in December 2010. Thanks again.

        • says

          OK, no problem Ricardo. I will be on the lookout for your e-mail. I don’t want to publish the girl’s name, it would be embarrassing for her, I am sure. I will e-mail you privately with that.

          • Ricardo Sumilang says

            Good enough, Bob. I will contact you by private email about the end of the month. I just finished reading the article about your Christmas give-away last December, and your and your family’s visit at the home of the 4 girls. I am just curious as to which one it is that I would be helping.

  9. Dan says

    Well Bob…It looks to me like the Mother of the girl can take over and pay for lunch for next years school year..but hey from the sound of this post and one many months ago..this Mother could not even handle that responsiblity as a parent…So…from everything I have read…I would say she is a poor Mother…and really do not care if any body else reading this LIP agree’s or not…..In my mind…A good parent wants the best for their child in many and all ways…and so if they let their own pride…or bad thinking or what ever stand in the way of their child getting the best they can get . then they are a poor parent….I think it great the way You and Feyma try to help those with little there in the Philippines….

    • says

      Hi Dan – Thanks, I appreciate your comment. Yes, I really don’t feel much desire to help the girl further. I feel sorry for her that she would not get a free lunch next year. The thing is, though, I want to sponsor kids that I can mold and teach. I want them to spend time with my family, and take in things that I can teach them. I feel it is important for kids (including my own kids!) to learn the value of money by working. I feel it is important for them to learn how to earn money, and how to handle it responsibly. That is what I want to teach these kids. If they are not willing to learn, I don’t feel a desire to give a handout.

      • rebecca Ferry says

        Bob,
        Can i apply for a part time job? hahaha! As you may know i’m planning to retire in 2 yrs. time and although i said i will retire i dread to think of staying at home and doing nothing, infact, i still want to work but i will probably just doing some part time job,i mean just a few hrs. just to keep myself busy or taking up some vocational course or anything just to keep myself away from home most of the time ( but no more full time job), 2 of my friends here are also planning to retire soon, the other one said she will take up some additional courses in college to qualify her to teach in school and the other will put up some business.

  10. says

    Hi Bob – I would not let the girl suffer because of something maybe she had no control over i.e. her mother’s wishes.
    If you give willingly to someone then don’t be disappointed to receive nothing in return other than their success. Unwittingly you applied the western cultural logic to a situation you found yourself in here and because it did not work out as you expected you felt let down. Yes I would say you were entitled to feel let down as a foreigner but after all, you are in the Philippines.
    Regards.
    Jim.

    • says

      Hi Jim – My whole thought on the project of helping these girls was to be able to mold them and teach them. If the mother will no longer allow the girl to come to my house, then I have no way to mold and teach her, so I see no way that she can continue to be part of my project. I did not “expect” anything from her other than to just be available to interact with my family. If she cannot do that, I see no reason why I should continue to give her anything.

    • says

      Hi Jim… just one other thing. You say that I “applied western culture”. You are wrong… it is Philippine culture that there is a “debt of gratitude” that is not western culture. So, I actually applied Philippine culture.

      • says

        Hi Bob – What I meant was you expected assistance in return allbeit you were prepared to pay for it.
        To be truthful I now expect the unexpected here and if I get what I would like its a bonus.
        Take care.
        Jim.

        • says

          I did not “expect assistance”. As the article clearly says, we were actively seeking to hire a labandera. As a side thought, we had been unable to find a summer job for the girls, so thought it might be a good way for them to be able to earn. Also, we could spend more time with them, and hopefully have some influence on them. Nothing was “expected”.

  11. David L Smith says

    Bob
    I have been thinking that maybe if you do cut this girl out of a free lunch next school term that it would send the wrong message to the others. They will obviously know that she is no longer a recipient of your kindness and themselves feel threatened that if they dont assist you in working there next summer that they will also lose your support. I know you have set this up for their benefit to earn a bit of pocketmoney and obtain some nice meals, so i hope this is not the case here.

    • says

      Hi David – The girls begged me for a summer job. They know what the rules were when we started helping them, that they would have summer jobs to help their family.

      • David L Smith says

        k bob..i guess its down to the individuals…seems like you have 2 really grateful kids and 1 maybe not so, but it might not be the case as Todd suggested in his post. We took in a young girl 16 yrs of age 2 years ago and gave her a job as a maid. She has no parents and not much schooling so i guess we took a chance on her, mainly to keep her out of the bars because we felt that would be her only course to take in her position. I have just enrolled her in college on sundays (her day of) to learn a computer course..she is so happy , my wife told me she thinks all her dreams have come true now because she lives in a house, eats nice food and now will go to school…such little dreams, for me to know her happiness i would have to win lotto i think, hahaha…but yes i do love the feeling that she is a happy camper and i hope she always will be.

        • says

          Hi David – Without a bit of a doubt, I have helped hundreds of people in the time that I lived here. I am not congratulating myself for that, just stating that I have helped enough people that I understand the dynamics of it. What it all comes down to is exactly what jim said in his comment… we get to choose who we are going to help. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Papa Duck says

      David

      I think he’s sending the right message. You have to help yourself to make improvements in your life. Not just expect a handout and not earn it. Good day.

  12. rc says

    “But, I have encountered the ungrateful attitude many times here in the Philippines, and I often wonder why it is like that.”

    Some people can’t accept good fortune or an opportunity, even when it slaps them right between the eyes. It’s a good, solid 30 to 40 percent of any population. I can think of a few countries other than the Philippines where it is a much higher percentage (not naming names). It has always been so and thus it will always be. They are not to be pitied. It’s their right not to improve their lives in any way. But you are not responsible for their wooden-headed approach to life.

    It was a generous gift you gave and thankfully, some seem to have accepted it in the spirit in which it was given. As for the others, forget about them. They probably hate you for your kindness.

  13. says

    Wow! This is a real tough one for me Bob. When I read your article around Christmas it literally brought me to tears…in fact more than tears. I think what you have done for those young women has been amazing.

    But one thing I would advise is to try and find out why this happened.,what made this mom do what she did. Maybe it is a huge misunderstanding in some way…hard to say for sure.

    It would be a shame for the young lady to be penalized for a misunderstanding or because her mom is not grateful. That is not the girls fault.

    And we all know that most filipinos are very non-confrontational so the mom might not have been comfortable dealing with you head on. Especially since you are a foreigner.

    I would try to find out more about the situation if you could.

    • says

      Hi Todd – I have discussed this matter with a very wise Filipino whom I trust implicitly. I was advised to just leave it along and not say anything as I cannot change it. I will follow that advise.

  14. says

    I just read David Smith’s post and agree….the other girls might be frightened that you have cut off the other girl and feel overly obligated to do what YOU want them to do….I am sure that is not the message you want sent.

    You surely do not want them to feel threatened do you?

    The original agreement, in part, was to make sure the girls had lunches at school and I would keep that up as long as the girls were going to school and getting good grades.

    • says

      If it comes down that I will have to pay people who won’t even come and talk to me… well…. I’d rather just drop the whole thing and be done with it. I won’t do that, though…

  15. jim says

    Hi Bob……..Good artical ,it’s not to much to expect a littel gratitued from the peopel you help and support, most of the time they are treated like family. You are trying to help, more than their owne family can or will,so be it. It is up to us Who we help and how it,s done, entitelment i don,t think so.

  16. neil says

    Hi Bob
    I think the two girls who did show up and are very happy with your job arrangement will appreciate how there are consequences to your action. If they see this other girl not showing up and still get a free lunch for the next school year maybe they will then feel I will always get a free lunch without having to work under your guidelines.
    I was helping a lady out that I met in Davao a few years ago, my one condition was to stay in touch as friends, but it turned out that every time she stayed in touch was to ask for money. I had to end that. Just like with this one girl. If there are some rules to your generosity (which is very much to their benefit) and they break them, then there is no more obligation on your part to help them.
    On a side note there was a documentary film in India several years ago. A European women was teaching camera classes to children of Prostitutes. In this city these children usually follow their mothers into prostitution (actually several generations). With the help of this European lady she got them all into schools (some were high end private schools with a guarantee of college). A couple of the moms took their daughters out of school most likely condemning them to a life of prostitution.

    • says

      Hi Neil – You and I think a lot alike, I must say. We seem to be two of the very few who feel that the one girl should be cut off, as it shows others that there are rewards for working. I am not a slave driver with these girls, in fact they have it very easy. They find it fulfilling here, both monetarily, and it gives them something different to occupy their time. If the other girl just keeps getting a free lunch, it is kind of a slap to the others! :wink:

  17. AmericanLola says

    Hi Bob,

    I just need to weigh in here on this one. I think I am more likely to see things from Richardo’s perspective, as when I read your article my thought was, ‘We really have no idea what happened, or is happening in this girl’s home.’ There is a lot we don’t know. Maybe this girl was supposed to be the one to prepare supper for the family and watch her sibling that night, but was ashamed to go home after your invited her (and maybe she wanted to eat your food) and even though she texted her mom, she got in big trouble when she got home and so her mother punished her by saying you can’t go back there. She would not tell you that.
    Or maybe her uncle or father or someone else felt that his family pride was offended by the girl spending so much time in the home of foreigners, or jealousy, which motivates a lot of ‘If my daughter can’t have it your’s can either’ attitudes. If an older sibling of her parents said she shouldn’t go, she would have to stay home. There is so much that could be going on behind the scenes, Bob. Not coming back could be a great grief to her, and completely out of her control, and you would never know it.
    So, let me encourage you to not assume you know why she didn’t come back, and give her a break. If this is the only thing she has ever done to show ‘ingratitude’ or ‘disrespect’ then maybe that is not what you are seeing. There is so much we do not know

    • says

      Hi AmericanLola – Not only do I not assume what happened… frankly, I have no idea what happened! All I know is that she is not coming back, but I don’t know why. I suspect that it is not her choice, but I don’t know for sure.

  18. Ricardo Sumilang says

    Frankly, I do not see any relationship between the free lunches and the girls’ employment because the free lunches were promised to the girls during the Christmas giveaway last December and the offer of employment wasn’t made until the summer of this school year. Re-reading Bob’s article, I note that Bob broached the subject of helping find employment for the girls come this summer; however, I saw no mention of employment as condition for receiving free lunches. I don’t see any connection between the two, so I’m baffled by the suggestion that the one girl who didn’t return for work is no longer deserving of a free lunch at school.

    I remain committed to helping this one girl out of compassion, but, who, for reasons we don’t really know, decided not to come to work. However, if this offer of help is going to cause problems for Bob, or be seen by the two girls as a double standard, I have no problem withdrawing the offer upon Bob’s recommendation.

    • says

      Ricardo – Frankly, not trying to be mean… but you have really misinterpreted nearly everything I wrote, it seems.

      1. At the time of the Christmas Giveaway in December, I told the girls that I would try to assist them in finding a summer job. The summer job was not required for them, although every one of the girls were very excited and told me that they wanted a summer job.

      2. In March, before the end of school, each girl contacted me and specifically asked if I was able to find them a summer job, as they still wanted one.

      3. Employment is not and never has been a condition of the school lunch. At the time I offered school lunches, I made it clear that they would be provided until school was out in March. No lunches were offered beyond March 2011. My obligation to every girl was fulfilled 100%.

      For the 2011/2012 school year, I will evaluate and decide who gets free lunches. These girls may get them, or other people may get them. The girl who decided not to work must not be in as much need as I thought she was, as she turned down a job (which she asked for) and 3 free meals per day. Because she appears to not be in need, I will likely not include her.

      It all seems simple to me.

      • Boon says

        Seems pretty simple to me as well. I as well think the girl that turned down the job should be excluded from the free lunches unless you can with certainty determine it was not her doing and she is suffering the consequences to no fault of her own. Then again it is not your role to be Sherlock Holmes so I would say forget her no matter what as if it is family related best not to get invloved. It’s their soap opera. Move on to those enthusiatic about what you may be offering. As for me, I would have opted for free massages and not eat if that was available Lol.

        • says

          You are right, Boon, it is not my job to track down the whole thing. I know what my goals are in giving assistance, and if the girl is not allowed to come to our place, then she cannot fit into my goals, because part of the goal involves interacting with our family. Since she simply cannot fit within my goal for giving, I see no reason to include her. She made the choice, and I will simply follow what she chose. It’s quite simple.

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        Hi Bob – I am sorry if you feel that I misinterpreted nearly everything that you wrote. On reading some of the readers’ feedback urging exclusion of the girl from receiving free lunches in the future and your responses to those comments in the affirmative, it’s clear to me that my offer to help is putting you in an embarassing spot. For this reason, I respectfully withdraw the offer, and apologize for any inconvenience the offer may have caused.

        • says

          Hello Ricardo – If you want to help the girl, that is your choice. It does not put me into any kind of embarrassing situation at all! I am a bit surprised, though, that you were so eager to help her, regardless of her actions, yet you withdrew your offer so easily. No problem, though, of course it is your choice, just as it is my choice whom I help.

          • Ricardo Sumilang says

            Withdrawing the offer was not done easily, Bob. I woke up this morning to see a number of comments urging for the exclusion of the girl. This I can easily ignore, but I cannot ignore your responses to those comments agreeing to them. You are the person on the ground, so to speak. You see things more clearly and have a better grasp of the situation than all of us do. If you feel that the girl is not entitled to free lunches for the various reasons you have cited, I feel that my helping the girl independently but through you, despite your decision not to help her, would appear to jeopardize your principle of not rewarding those who are not deserving. I just can’t see how you can pass on my help to her without it being perceived as infringing on your principle, at least in the eyes of the other two girls.

            I definitely want to help the girl. Perhaps I can help her without my assistance passing through you? If this is acceptable to you, please send me the girl’s complete name and address by private email, and I will take it from there. Thanks.

  19. chris says

    Hi bob i know that i am not living there so you may tell me to pull my head in if you wish,i urge you do not cancel this childs lunches because of her misguided parents ,i would imagine that when she was told that she would not be coming back she was devastated and probably unable to do anything about it as she must obey her parents ,if she had not wanted to work or help you with some of the jobs around your home i could understand your frustration after helping them ,i beleive that pride is very big in the philipino culture perhaps her father felt that it was wrong for her to be working as he being the provider should be able to look after his family ,or maybe it caused problems with her siblings if she has any knowing that she was earnng money as i say i am not living there but i ask you to remember one thing children are the future prehaps you feel like you have had a slap in the face from her parents , her parents not the child ,she has probably now resighned herself that she will no longer go on outings with you and feyma and your family and for just a short time be able to forget the poverty at home and feel like someone special ,or to sit in a nice house and eat lovely food in a safe and caring enviroment ,i know that you are a bigger man than this bob ,to let a small thing like this distract you from your intended goal of helping these children ,remember they will not be children forever and you and feyma may be the ones who make the difference in her life .
    chris

    • says

      The father is unemployed, chris, so he is unable to provide for his family, which is why we tried to help. My family and I tried hard to help make a better life for the girl, but she and/or her family is unwilling to accept the help, I see nothing that I can do about that.

  20. brian says

    Initially I disagreed with Bob but felt he had some merits on the issue. I decided not to comment just to reflect on it for a bit. Not to say my opinion really matters but I think your approach and conclusion is correct Bob. Its simply boils down to trying to help not only the girl but the family, if the family for what ever reasons does not appreciate this and they have that much control over the girl then it would be better to move on to a girl/family that would not only appreciate what he is trying to doing but welcome it as well. If not than this family/girl is simply out for a gracious handout.

    • says

      Hi brian – Thanks for your comment. Like you point out, I can simply move on to another recipient who would welcome the help, no reason to worry about somebody who seems to be not needing the assistance.

  21. Allan Kelly says

    Hi Bob

    Maybe this is a jealousy thing – on the mom’s part. It does happen. Some parents do not want to see their kids do better than them. Hard to believe, but true. Whatever it is, I would say it comes down to you and Feyma being nice people and having it tossed back in your face by one of them. Caulk it up to experience and move on.

    By the way, I would check on the four when school starts. A case in point. I have a friend here in Canada who was in the Philippines many years ago. He had rented a place and hired a woman to cook and clean. he thought she was really nice and met her family. Seeing the poverty and their hard work ethic, he decided to help them. Now, he happens to be gay. So what. He decided that since he probably would never have children of his own and he has the money, he would help their kids. Pay for school, college, etc. He would put all three girls thru college. Every month he sent money. Years go by and he decides to check on them. One just dropped out of school, the other two got pregnant in college and dropped out. The guys are all sitting around getting drunk on the money he was sending. So he stopped sending money.

    You just can’t help some people. So continue with the ones who seem to realized how lucky they are. It does not seem to me that you are looking for a big pat on the back. Just an acknowledgement of the effort you are making to improve the lives of others. If one of them wish not to take the help you offer, I am sure you will be able to find someone who will.

    My wife and I just sent $200 to start the kids into school. It’s not much, but we have our own problems to deal with here. If I find out the money went for anything else, I will be mad. But I am realistic. I can’t do much aboput it from here.

    Best of luck to you and your family.

    • says

      Hi Allan – You are right, if you help somebody, it’s best to keep an eye and make sure they are really using the help as it is intended. No worry on these girls, because they are actually given the lunch money right at the school, so if they are not at school, they have no way of receiving the assistance. Good idea, though, to follow up!

  22. Cy says

    I’m curious about something. You mentioned in your article that the girl texted her mother. This means both the daughter and the mother both have cell phones. How is it they can afford cell phones but not lunch? Is it possible this family has their priorities a little turned around?

    • says

      That is a point that I have actually considered too, Cy. Here, though… no matter how poor, everybody seems to have a cellphone. It is surely a difference in culture compared to what I’m used to.

      • brian says

        maybe its an ulocked Obama phone..u kmow the ones they give to indigents with 200 minutes a month free….not that it pisses me off ..but IT DANG WELL DOES !!
        Sorry…my torrets is acting up !!

        • Miss August says

          @Brian:
          Sorry to inform you that Obama didn’t give away free cell phones. It’s true that there was a federal program called Lifeline and Linkup that subsidizes providers who supply cellphones and essential cell services to qualified low-income customers.

          But the Lifeline/Linkup program is NOT an Obama program. It was not initiated by or during the Obama administration. Lifeline was implemented by Congress well before the advent of the Obama administration. Tracfone was one of the company that provides subsidized cell phone service and it was launched in Tennessee in August 2008 and Florida in Sept 2008, months before the election that put Barack Obama in the White House.

    • Jim Hannah says

      I think that only a very small percentage of everyday Filipino’s can afford a mobile phone. The vast majority are sent from overseas, and handed down time and time again. I know that we must have sent over forty phones in recent years, and that’s to a family of five, and I believe that the majority are one way or another still in use, handed on to friends who don’t have…etc. etc.

  23. says

    There is an old wise tale or saying if you will, “You can please some of the people some of the time but you can not please all the people all the time”.

    I’m sure there is more to the story than meets the eyes or that you will ever know. Perhaps the girl has a history of being sexually active and staying out late — the mother would simply be trying to protect her. Perhaps the mother is jealous, perhaps the mother and daughter have a strained relationship for what ever reason, the possibilities are endless.

    Unfortunately, the mother’s stance will not benefit either her or her daughter.

    • says

      Hi Rich – I know you were just speculating, but I don’t think she has been sexually active. Whatever the reason, it is what it is, and it’s unfortunate.

  24. jonathan says

    Hi Bob,

    It’s a sad news indeed. But, maybe you have overlooked something in dealing with the girls? Maybe when Feyma or you, informed the girls to come over to your house, maybe that’s what just the girls told their parents like they would just go to your house to eat and play? And then, maybe, when you told the three girls about the job the other one was only persuaded/swayed to decide in favor of the two girls at that time? And finally, maybe when the affected girl did came home and her mother asked her what type of job she did at your house, maybe the mother was a bit slighted because she was not informed beforehand of the job to be done? Maybe, she also need her daughter to do some chores and can’t afford her to be away for a long time? You know, some Filipinos have this pride and sometimes out of “hiya” also they would not tell you what they really mean. I’m just totally guessing here but we would not really know the real scenario behind it but over all it’s really a sad situation.

    • says

      Hi jonathan – I can’t know what the reasoning of the mother or the girl. If I did something wrong, they should tell me, but I know of no wrongs that we committed against the girl.

  25. Boone says

    Bob, what would you do if a stranger to your family starting giving food and gifts to your child without your permission. Next, the stranger employs your child without consulting you the parent.

    Bob try putting the shoe on the other foot. One might think someone so well versed in Philippine culture and of economic capacity could have texted or met with the parents.

    • says

      Hello Boone – What makes you think I did not “text or meet the parents?” In fact, I have met with the girl’s mother and grandmother.

      What makes you think I employed the girl without consulting the parents? Fact is, I sent somebody to inform the parents before employing the girl.

      • Boone says

        Well, Bob, you did not mention ever contacting with the girl’s relatives.

        But when you did contact then for employing their daughter, sending someone to inform the parents before employing the girl is certainly less than appropriate in American culture. Meeting with the parents and asking their permission to hire their daughter would at a minimum show the appropriate level of respect and communication.

        From my experiences the issue of having a male driver drop the girls off at their house especially after dark would cause a lot of chatter on the gossip grapevine in most neighborhoods in the Philippines. Did the parents understand and approve of a male driver to drop the girls off? What is Bebe’s take on this?

        I think you owe the parents an apology.

        • says

          My god… I owe an apology for giving free lunch at school and giving the girls a job? Your remark, frankly, is comical.

          What is Bebe’s take? One of Bebe’s daughters is included, and Bebe thinks I am 100% in the right.

  26. dans says

    bob,

    Your situation is almost similar to the family I personally know, their child was given a support by one American and I think he was a close friend of the father, I am not sure what kind of support was given to the child perhaps a school tuition fee support, he has been supporting her for over a year, everything was fine until one day, I’ve heard that the support was stopped, I don’t know exactly the whole story but from what I understand, the mother misinterpreted the generosity of the man, she thought that his generosity would lead to something bad for her child, the only thing i could think of is something like “a man giving a candy to a child to exploit her”, I had a chance of speaking to the father and he said that his friend has a good heart and in fact supporting not only his child but many children, perhaps he is a philanthropist or something, as much as the father wanted to continue the support given to his child, he could not make his wife to agree.

    Could it be that the parents of those kids felt the same thing?

    • says

      Hi dans – I can’t really say for sure what the reason is, because I don’t know. But, I would not be surprised if it is something like that. I know of nothing I can do to convince them that it is not, nor do I think it is my place to even try to convince them, since they have not said anything like that.

      • dans says

        bob,

        There are some cases of exploits done by the foreigners in the Philippines and the victims are the poor, It won’t surprised me if they have that kind of thoughts, I know that you are just trying to make a difference and your intention of helping them is genuine but you are probably dealing with someone who probably sees your generosity as a prelude to a bad intention.

          • dans says

            bob,

            I totally agree that not only foreigners exploited the poor, Filipinos exploits their own, as a matter of fact, they have done it more often than the foreigners, and because of that, it gives them more reason and perceptive of the situation between you and them. well bob, if they don’t need your help, there are 90+ million people who would gladly accept your help with an open arm and would probably not question your good intention.

  27. Boon says

    Interesting timing. Afriend sent me this last night. Certainly has merit.

    Will someone please tell me what the HELL’S wrong with all the people that run this country!!!!!!! (U.S.A)

    We’re “broke” and can’t help our own seniors, veterans, orphans, homeless etc.,?????????

    Congress can give themselves raises but NO COLA for all of us on Social Security!

    In the last months we have provided aid to Haiti , Chile , and Turkey . And now Pakistan ……home of bin Laden. Literally, BILLIONS of DOLLARS!!

    Our retired seniors living on a ‘fixed income’, receive no aid nor do they get any breaks, while our government and religious organizations pour Hundreds of Billions of $$$$$’s and Tons of Food to Foreign Countries!

    We have hundreds of adoptable children who are shoved aside to make room for the adoption of foreign orphans.

    AMERICA: A country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed hungry, elderly going without ‘needed’ meds, and mentally ill without treatment -etc,etc.

    YET………………….

    They have a ‘Benefit’ for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations, ships and planes lining up with food, water, tents clothes, bedding, doctors and medical supplies.

    Imagine if the *GOVERNMENT* gave ‘US’ the same support they give to other countries.

    Something that any Americans reading this should think about before helping anyone in a foreign country.

      • dans says

        bob, I think he is trying to point that, before you help poor filipinos, help the poor americans first.

        • says

          To be honest, dans, I was being a bit facetious with my comment. I did get that… I just don’t think it is relevant. I’ve lived in the Philippines for 11+ years now, have not been back to the States in that time. Without a doubt, I would focus my philanthropic giving in the Philippines!

  28. Boon says

    This is a very controversial subject and I don’t mean to cause a stir. It is a matter of Philosophy and is not race related or based on any form of prejudice (on my part) just to make that clear. I think the point of my firends email was why would and should anyone not from the Philipines or not living in the Philippines have any desire to help some poor people there when there are plenty of poor, helpless people in their own countries that should be considered first. Of course Bob living in the Philippines and practically a Filipino himself this makes sense but as for supporting his or anyone elses Christmas drives to benefit Filipino people for me that doesn’t make sense. However, let me be clear as someone living in this country over 15 years my wife and I do help people here as this is our home (like Bob) but I would never ask anyone with absolutely no ties to this place to do the same. I think it is the responsibility of the governement and local private agencies. People should first and foremost take care of their own countrymen first. Amercia is going down the toilet mostly from helping the rest of the world. People from their should focus their first before helping some mountain kid in a far away land.

    • stevo says

      Boon, Hey, America has some problems, but it is not going down any toilet by helping the rest of the world. We are a nation built on helping other people. It’s still a free country, and you can give to whomever you want to. Also, only about 1% of Federal spending is for foreign aid. Plenty of Americans still help each other, because that is what we are about. And we also can help people from other countries, also. We ARE other countries! Bob, give to whom you want to. Keep helping poor kids.

    • Dan says

      Boon……You said..”Of course Bob living in the Philippines and practically a Filipino himself ” Bob sure does not look like a Fillipino…He looks like a red blooded Irshman to me…but from what I have read over the years he sure loves the Fillipino people…..

    • says

      Hi Boon – No worries. You are free to present your thoughts, and everybody else too. One thing to keep in mind is that anybody reading this site pretty much automatically does have ties to the Philippines in some way.

  29. Bryan G says

    Hi Bob – I had a great deal of thought before putting my 2 cents worth here. As far as helping people in the Philippines is concerned I have come to the conclusion that you should not be surprised at any result.Sometimes I have been thanked, sometimes it has just been taken for granted that as a foreigner I am so wealthy it is of no consequence. In other cases I have the impression that it is thought I should have done more. Many of the circumstances that have occurred in the Philippines do not occur in the west so I do not know if the reaction would be the same.

  30. Jim H says

    Too many comments for me to read them all Bob, but it reminds me of my Mother In Law’s phrase: “you give them your hand and they will eat to your elbow”.

    Who knows what goes on in other people’s heads?

  31. Dr. Sponk Long says

    Hi Bob,

    What a mess you have here.

    Your feelings have been hurt.

    I suggest tomorrow or the next day that you go past this and think again what your first intention was.

    Adults are responsible. The girl is a child.

    Your responsibilty is the girl. This is a traumatic experience for her. It will be worse come
    school time when hunger pangs set in at lunchtime and classmates take her for a fool. Perhaps, an intermediary, like a priest or the barangay captain can talk to the parents and reconsider.

    This a very big break they (the girl’s family) are turning their back from.

    Time and time again it has been shown that working in richer households has broken the cycle of poverty…and it’s not only the money…it’s being trained how successful people work, behave, and discipline themeselves and people around them.

    Filipinas, millions of them, are in other families’ households to earn a living thousands of miles away.

    I hope that several days from now you’ll change your article’s title from “Debt of Gratitude” to “Misunderstanding” or even” Great Expectation”.

    Cheers.

    • says

      Hi Dr. Long – I don’t think that I have a mess… I think the girl does. My intention was to help these kids by providing them a lunch at school, and being able to work with them so that they could move beyond poverty and become successful in whatever they chose to do in life. Since the girl’s parents will no longer allow her to interact with us, I can no longer work with her or influence her in a way that she will be successful. Because of that, there is no ability for me to continue to work with her.

  32. william borkowski says

    seems to me Bob, that with a young girl you should have spoken to the parents yourself. Also, are you going to punish the girl for her parent’s reaction? That does not seem like you.

    • says

      I am certainly not punishing the girl, william. Her parents have chosen for her not to be able to interact with me or my family any longer, and I can’t change that.

      • says

        Well if you were to stop paying for the girls lunches you would be punishing the girl. Why? Because no matter what the parents say you can still pay for the lunches, and this girl could very well still need them badly.

        Until you know the reasons, if you ever do, I would just pay for the lunches. But having talked to my filipino friends about this they have the impression that the parents are worried about something concerning Bob.

        Maybe they have the impression that you only help those GIRLS and they have a bad feeling about it. Many filipinos have heard stories of foreigners taking advantage of young women by at first helping them.

        I do not believe for a second that Bob is doing that, but I will say this. When my daughter was in high school if this same situation had come up there would have been red flags for me. Maybe the same is happening for this family and they really do not know how to approach it.

        So that is why I would try to get to the reasons before you make a decision that could hurt this young lady through no fault of her own.

        • says

          No, I am not punishing the girl at all. I have made lunches available to her, and one of the conditions is that she must have interaction with my family. Her mother chose to not accept. It is her mother that is punishing the girl, not me.

          Secondly, I have not written about this, so you have no way to know, but we also help some boys too. Like I say, that is not a program that I have shared here, but indeed we do. So, sex has nothing to do with whom we choose to help.

  33. says

    I think generally, Filipinos are grateful …you probably just encountered the ones who are not. Most oftentimes, they can’t pay back so it may seem that they are ungrateful. What we should learn about helping and giving, is that—> we don’t look forward to being given or helped in return by the same people we offered help or given to. We give because we want to give not expecting anything in return. We help because we want to help not expecting anything in return. People may never be grateful to what you’ve done or worst , forget you, but God sees everything and He never forgets the kindness you’ve done and He will reward you for it. God sees through our hearts and if we intend to really give and help regardless of the person’s ability to respond with the same favor or gratitude, God is pleased.
    As in the saying goes, “We exist in this world to live for others not to take space in it.”
    Don’t worry Bob, God will reward you a hundredfold.

    • jim says

      Hi Bingkaycoy I enjoy most of your posts,but i think God is used to much here,as a tool to get what peopel want from others. There must be a human issue or there would never be a god. Amen

      • says

        JIM—First of all, I didn’t see or read any comment here that speaks and relates this post with God. I have read all the comments. So where are those comments that speak too much about God?
        Well, why can’t we say too much about God? Is there anything here that I cannot comment without mentioning about God? Human issues are related to God’s grace and everything we do as humans are related to God…..even if you don’t believe Him. This is what I believe and humanity’s expression of gratitude is always relevant to God—because we are His creation. I s there anything wrong with God to relate gratefulness and ungratefulness.
        I hope you get my point. I comment because this is what I believe. And I didn’t oppose or contradict Bob’s post. In fact, I encountered some ungrateful people too…but I BELIEVE if I always look at limitations of man and his failures, I’d always be the saddest, most miserable person on earth.
        Sorry , I don’t believe in humanism. I believe that God exists and He is proven to be alive for me and for the rest of the world who adhere to Him.

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          Bingcaycoy, I may be sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong, but I think what Jim meant was there is too much mention of God in your post, not in the comments of readers when he said, “… I enjoy most of your posts,but i think God is used to much here,as a tool to get what peopel want from others.”

          • says

            Hi RICARDI—I’m not using God to justify people’s actions or explain their actions. What I’m saying here is that we might never get the answers about why certain things happen ,, for example , why people can be ungrateful. All I’m saying is that we should look it at this perspective—-that we are going to be rewarded by God because God sees it. I didn’t make God as an excuse for people’s actions and for other people to use God . If we keep on wondering why people do certain things to us and we feel like we don’t deserve it, there’s really no answer that satisfies us. So we turn to God’s grace—-that certain things happen because that is His will and that we should learn to see it that way because He (probably) wants us to learn this —that when things like these happen, we just turn to Him and His grace and comfort will overwhelm us and prod us to move on—–because looking at it through humanity—may never give us satisfying answers and we may be stuck because we keep looking for answers.
            What I’m telling here is that certain things happen because they have to happen. So what if there’s too much of God in my comment? Is there something wrong with God in my posts or is there something wrong about it? This is my faith and this is what I live for—-everything is for God. You may not like my answer but I stand for it. People may persecute me for what I believe but I still stand on it. I don’t say things that please people but the truth. So that’s another mouthful for God.
            Thanks for correcting me….because JIM said that God is used too much here..and I didn’t know what exactly is he referring to.

            • says

              RICARDO —Again, lest you might misinterpret it….the sentences constructed in my reply to you is written like I’m thinking out loud—my comment,……You is not only one person but to all.
              “You may not like my answer….”—-applies to all not only You. Sorry about that.

            • says

              Well that post sure had a lot of God references, and no one is really trying to persecute you. Just pointing out, at least I am, that your response with all the God references really doesn’t make a lot of sense.

              You say you speak the truth, well to speak the truth you need to probably have some FACTS to enforce what you say and believe. Can ya give some FACTS on there being a God??

              Thanks, didn’t think you could.

              This whole thing has NOTHING to do with God. Nothing. It has to do with there being an issue with why the parents (almost for sure) do not want their daughter around Bob and his family. I doubt that has anything to do with God.

              • Heidi says

                I’m surprised that bingkacoy is given a hard time with her referenct to God. Todd, can you prove there is no God? Didn’t think so.

              • says

                Todd – With reference to what you said “It has to do with there being an issue with why the parents (almost for sure) do not want their daughter around Bob”…I will say this I will trust Bob with anybody. We have nieces that lives with us ever since living here in the Philippines. Right now we have 4 nieces that lives with us (that includes our adopted daughter). Bob treated all of them like daughters. We had lots of girls that worked for us before and they come here to our house for a visit bringing their husband and kids. Do you think if we did something to them they would visit us again? How dare you say that to us. You don’t know any of us here. If you do that kind of thing to anybody, don’t rub it on us. Think about what you said next time…

              • Boon says

                I personally don’t believe in God but more importantly religion. Perhaps the Philippines is a perfect example of God and Religion gone really really bad. I have never met in my life as many hypocritical and pardoxical people as Filipinos. This country is so screwed up because of this. Now they don’t want to pass a birth control bill. How absurd is that. The whole issue with Bob and this girl is also seeded in the stupidity of religion. This country will remain in the middle ages until it gets rid of it dependency on God and Religion to solves its problem.

          • jim says

            Bingkaycoy and Ricardo ……..Sorry for my poor posting, not directed to you Bingkaycoy, just poor post. What i ment to say is some family members use god as a tool to get aney thing they want. Some of my wifes family are like that, never happy always wanting more, in the name of god. For gods sake a simpel thanks would be enough.

    • says

      Hi binkaycoy – Yes, most Filipinos are grateful. Being grateful does not mean paying back, usually it just means saying “thank you” which sometimes can be hard to get from Filipinos. I am not always sure why, but that’s a discussion for a different day! :lol:

  34. Loren Pogue says

    Well I read the rest of the posts since replying up above and it has been interesting. I would again comend you for doing what you can to help people. You are putting your money where your mouth is ,so to speak. Keep up the good work and keep the interesting posts coming. Thanks, loren

  35. says

    Someone above mentioned why would anyone not being a filipino want to help filipinos when people in their own country need help. Well I will tell you why.

    I prefer to help filipinos because the average filipino has it MUCH MUCH harder than the average American. Even poor Americans, for the most part, have it easier than the poor filipinos.

    And in the filipines the opportunities are not even remotely close to as good as they are in America. The filipinos I have helped have been VERY grateful. Sure, there are some that do not show their gratitude but that is something far less common in the filipines than in my rich, spoiled, and lazy country.

    Most filipinos live a far far far tougher life than most Americans and most filipinos do not have the resources to help their fellow filipinos much.

    Now as far as the girl we have been discussing. If it were me, she would still get her school lunches paid for. After talking to some of my filipino friends they think the parents could be worried about the intentions of Bob, so they are making a decision that hurts the girl.

    That is not fair to the girl…so before I cut off the aid I would try much harder to figure out the problem. After all, it is the girl Bob is trying to help and it is probably NOT the girl that doesn’t want to work.

    • says

      Todd – If you wish to pay for her school lunches, you are certainly free to do so.

      I have made no decision to hurt the girl. Her mother made a decision that will hurt her. Her mother is free to decide what she wants, that is beyond my control.

  36. el says

    There’s a reason why the upper classes are indifferent to the poor here. There’s a silent class warfare that’s been going on for a long time.

  37. maria says

    parents decisions on what their children can and can not do make and mold the outcome of their childrens lives.
    bobs offer was to pay for school lunches for the school year not years. if he continues to pay then the parents might misinterpret his kindness to ill intent and to save face, gossips, and tons of it.

    • says

      Exactly, maria. I offered to pay the school lunches for the rest of the school year, and that school year is now complete. My obligation and commitment to the girls was fulfilled. Any future school lunches will be an entirely new deal.

  38. von says

    Actually Im glad to hear someone else having the experience I have had in the Philippines. I’ve been sponsoring kids here 27 years, monthly I finance the feeding of 200-300 kids. and personally I’ve supported so many people, the sick the poor, the helpless.

    I love to give I love to help but in the Philippines I’ve lost my joy in donig it as my experience here is if you’re white American–its expected not appreciated. I think it stems back to President Mckinley who had a good heart and wanted to help the Pinoy. Think of it over 100 years–America has poured billions to help Pinoy, shed its bood in WWII and Spainish War, and missionaries and Christians have poured tens of millions into the country to help. So after 100 years what has changed–merely that it is expected now if your white American

    • says

      Hello von – I get a lot of personal fulfillment out of giving to the poor. It is personally rewarding to me. I hope that you have also found personal reward in your sponsoring of 200+ Filipino kids. That’s a great achievement.

  39. says

    Well I must have missed something. I did not read or hear that they did not want any help from Bob as far as the lunches. My understanding is that they did not want their daughter to work for him anymore. Maybe in the comments it has been clarified that the family does not want ANY help from Bob.

    My understanding is they do not want the girl to work for Bob and his family. That is different that saying they do not want any help. Especially for the lunches.

    And I will stand by what I say…something about this whole deal is off. But if Bob chooses not to find out why the parents have decided to do what they have done it is his choice. But knowing filipinos the way I do….to turn down this type of help means there is a major concern the mother, father, or daughter (maybe all three) have concerning Bob and his family.

    And as far as the family not wanting help from Bob…I actually do understand that but again…so YOU people can figure this out…do YOU know the girl doesn’t want the help and would those lunches make her life better? I think they would.

    To give the girl free lunches at school would require no DIRECT contact with the family. But the girl could still get what she might so desperately need.

    As far as not taking the time and making the effort to find out the problem….I find that very strange and so do a number of filipinos I have talked to. To put this article on a well visited site and wonder why there seems to be no gratitude, but NOT take the time to see what the problem is seems awfully strange. And please do not say this is a filipino issue. It is not…it is a human issue.

    Something spooked this mom, dad, or daughter…PERIOD.

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      Todd, I hear you, but let’s not go there unless you are positively certain there is something spooky going on. But, for what it’s worth, a re-viewing of the video taken during the Christmas giveaway last December and the visit to the homes of the 4 girls by Bob and his family may offer some perspectives. This video is contained in the article written by Bob entitled, “Giveaway Part 2 – Students in Need”, dated December 2, 2010.

  40. Heidi says

    At first I thought that the girl should still get the free lunches. But if the parents don’t want any contact with you, what else is there to do? I think you and Feyma have been very generous and I applaud you. It’s too bad that the parents won’t explain their decision, but it’s not up to you to figure out their thinking. They should be thankful for the help you’ve already given the girl.

    • says

      Hi Heidi – Nothing in life is free, even a free lunch. The cost of the free lunch is that it requires interaction with my family. Since the girl was not able or willing to pay that small price, the free lunch is not available to her. I’m glad that you understand that… others can’t seem to understand it.

  41. chasdv says

    Hi Bob,
    Looks like everything has been said.
    Only thing i can add regarding the girls mum,(like we say in my part of the world)”there’s nowt funnier than folk” which actually means,”there is nothing stranger than people”.
    Take care,
    Chas.

  42. Ricardo Sumilang says

    This article has so far generated 154 comments and still counting with no closure in sight. Some comments are dangerously veering towards slandering Bob and his family, if they haven’t already, while others are wanting an explanation from the mother or from the girl what exactly is the reason why the girl suddenly decided not to return to Bob’s house.

    It could be as simple and understandable as the mother’s decision not to let her daughter return, given that she was not consulted personally by Bob about the employment, as Boon suggested. Yes, even poor people have pride, and they are are also very sensitive to slights. I think the best way to get to the bottom of this and perhaps settle the matter once and for all to everyone’s satisfaction is to have the girl independently post her comment here stating the reason(s) behind her and/or her mother’s decision not to return.

  43. says

    Comments regarding this article will no longer be accepted. When people comment in a way that causes grief in my family, it has gone too far. Those who have made accusations against me are now no longer allowed to comment on the site at all. If people disagree, they can do so in a more pleasant way. I am sorry to close the comments, but it has simply gone too far.

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