My master plan for Holy Week 2002 was to journey to Bohol, Philippines to meet the woman I had fallen in love with through letters and phone conversations, to get permission to marry her from her family and bring her to the US there was no Plan B. Three months before I embarked on my journey, my beloved’s father had been found dead in the family home. The death is believed to have been of natural causes there was no sign of anything else and he had a lived a hard life. He and his wife had nine children. He was a fisherman and every day he would go to the sea in his small boat to catch fish so he could take care of his family. I very much regret that I never met this man I greatly respect what he did for his family and his influence in making my wife the wonderful virtuous person she is.
My future wife was living, working and going to school in Mindanao with a brother who had relocated there to be a fish merchant. The plan was for her to travel by ship to Bohol while I was traveling by air from the US. As happens often in the Philippines a typhoon had diverted my loves travel to Cebu. When I arrived in Manila I was informed that she was in Cebu and so I canceled my Bohol flight and flew to Cebu to meet my future wife. We meet at the Cebu airport and the following day we traveled by a fast ship to Bohol.
In Bohol I met my future wife’s mother some of her children and their children. The family welcomed me with open arms. The family values I saw displayed by my soon to be Filipino family and the people of the village reminded me of how things were when I was a young boy growing up in the southern US in the very early 1970’s. Younger people respected their elders, neighbors actually talked to each other and seemed to care about each other, and the people of the village seemed united by a strong belief in God.
My fiancé’s mother was physically very different from my own mother. She was almost a foot shorter than my mom who herself was only 5’4”. Her skin was a deep brown while my mom’s skin was ivory white. But in my short visit, I saw in my fiancés mother many of the same qualities of my own mother the deep love of family, kindness to neighbors, hospitality to guests, deep belief in God, etc were all evident in this physically small lady. These values were instilled in me as a boy by my good Southern parents although in truth I had abandoned much of my values as I had lived the life of a bachelor for many years. My fiancé and I managed to get permission to marry from my future mother-in-law and my fiancés eldest brother. Even though my fiancé was 27 years old and I was 36 years old we both found this vital. A few months later my fiancé came to the United States and we married on December 7, 2002.
My mother was a wonderful caring and compassionate lady. When my Juliet arrived from the Philippines my mom immediately welcomed her and accepted her as a new member of our family. Mom took Juliet shopping, to restaurants, movies, out for ice cream, etc. This was a true blessing for my wife and I because I work long hours and my new wife was unable to get a driver’s license or a job for a year or so because of issues with Homeland Security and the NC DMV. During the second summer my Juliet was in the US and two weeks after the birth of our first son my mother lost her battle with colon cancer and died.
The next summer, my wife, our son and I traveled to the Philippines to visit our Filipino family and celebrate our son’s first birthday. When my wife’s mom saw me she said to me in the best English I have ever heard her speak, “You can call me Mama now.” I took her small hand, bowed forward and placed the back of her hand to my forehead and said, “Salamat Mama.” Now I have two mothers one in heaven and another in a small cinder block house in Bohol, Philippines.
One of the things I like about this site is the interactive nature where the reader participates and adds to the post by leaving a comment. I would like to make some suggestions of topics I would like to learn from you the reader of this post. Your participation is greatly appreciated!
- Share something about your Filipina Mama.
- Tell how you feel about the saying, “When you marry someone you are marrying their family.”
- Tell whether you believe it is or is not important to seek the approval of the family of the person you intend to marry.
- Share your thoughts on whether or not you believe in love without first sight.
- Share any insights you have on Filipino family values.
- As always feel free to make comments and questions of your choice.