Getting adjusted

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Today’s Guest Column is from Kevin Smith.

When my wife was pregnant I remember her telling me she needed to get her belly “adjusted”. I was confused. What did this mean? She said that some girls get their belly adjusted to make sure the fetus is in the right position. This adjustment was done by a hilot, a person with limited medical training who claims to make sure the fetus is in the correct position. This is a tradition for a hilot to visit the expecting girl in some parts of the Philippines. I asked my friends and family here in the states and nobody ever heard of doing this. I thought this was not safe, so I didn’t want my wife to have this done.

On my December visit to the Philippines, I was eager to see my wife as she was five months pregnant. I told her we would consult with her Ob-Gyn doctor when we visit her. When we went to the appointment, the doctor said that nobody should make any “adjustment”. This confirmed what I believed.

Even Ronald McDonald needs adjusting!


Fast forward to the delivery room in Digos in April. Thanks to God that we were blessed with a healthy baby girl. She was born in the Philippines which makes her a Philippine citizen. The total bill was about $400.00.

The next day when we arrived home, I started thinking what I needed to do to claim my daughter as an American citizen. Contrary to popular thought, offspring of American citizens are not automatic citizens in the Philippines. One has to make an appointment with the American Embassy in order to prove the claim. I’ll discuss a little more about this next time.

Post Author: Guest (78 Posts)


  1. says

    It will be interesting to hear how your quest for your daughter's US citizenship works out, Kevin. I've seen US citizens have all kinds of experiences in the past 8 years. Persevere in your quest, because it's worth it to your daughter. I recently had a chat with a US fellow who has two Filipino sons and has refrained from registering their birth because of some property issues here … he's very short-sighted in my view and getting some bad legal advice.

    One, perhaps unintentional, error you made is the statement your daughter is Filipino becuase she was born here in the Philippines. Rest assured your new bundle of joy _is_ a "natural born" Filipino citizen, but it is becuase of her mother's nationality, not her place of birth.

    The US follows the principle of citizenship (nationality) law based on jus solis … of the soil. Thus, almost everyone born in the US or a US possession is a US citizen by birth. Those born to one or both US citizen parents elsewhere are entitled to US citizenship if the US parent(s) claim them and "perfect" their citizenship.

    The Philippines (and many other countries) follow the principle of jus sanguis .. of the blood. Under the current (1987) Philippine constitution, a baby born of one or both Filipino parents is a Filipino … the place of birth has no bearing on the status. If, for example, if a two non-Filipinos had a baby in the Philippines the child would never be a Filipino, birth in the Philippines never conveys citizenship.

    So when you complete the process through the US Embassy, you daughter will be fully and legally a US citizen and a Filipino citizen. Some countries have restrictions on dual citizenship (multiple nationalities) but the US and the Philippines, in general, do not, so she can remain a dual citizen for life … there is nothing that has to happen when she is 18, or 21, for example … she will be what she is forever … and congratulations on your blessing!

  2. says

    "I recently had a chat with a US fellow who has two Filipino sons and has refrained from registering their birth because of some property issues here … he’s very short-sighted in my view and getting some bad legal advice."

    Amazingly short-sighted. Should he live forever, it's probably not a problem. Should he be hit by a truck next week and die, that citizenship claim became much more difficult. Not impossible, certainly, but definitely more difficult.

  3. says

    Absolutely right, Tom. It's very important that aUS citizen register his/her children born overseas as soon as practical. It is possible … in some cases … for a son or daughter not registered to gain their citizenship but it's time consuming, problematical and not at all certain. There are also no real deterrents to registering US citizen sons and daughters.

    In the case of the fellow I was referring to, he was under the misguided apprehension that if they became US citizens they would lose their natural born Filipino status. But this is not the case. The only way Filipinos lose Filipino citizenship is if they "perform an act" to do so. The most common act is swearing allegiance to another country for citizenship … as in becoming a US citizen. The former Filipino can reacquire his/her Philippine citizenship under RA-9225, the "Dual Citizen Act".

    But, by the same laws, a child can not perform any legal act, and the mere registration to acquire US citizenship has no legal effect on the child's Philippine nationality. The minor child does not have the legal capacity to perform any lega; act and becomes a dual citizen as a consequence.

    One other little tidbit on this US citizen overseas issue. A child born overseas to a US parent and duly "citizenized" has all rights and privileges of any other US citizen, even if she/he never sets foot on US soil … except for one very important right … if the child does not ever live in the US s/he can _not_ pass his/her citizenship to the next generation.

    I think the period of residence is something like 5 years … and there are some age limits too … so if you have overseas US children and they will be making their life here in the Philippines, it would be wise to plan for them to spend some time in the US also, just to make sure that _their_ children can become US citizens too.

  4. Marvin says

    I found out earlier this year that I was a dual citizen of the Philippines and U.S. by birth. I was born in the U.S., but since I realized I want to live in the Philippines someday, I recently confirmed and claimed my birthright of dual citizenship. In my research, I found that Dave Starr is correct. Your daughter can and will be a dual citizen once you go through the birth report/claim process with the U.S. Embassy there. Here is a site I have found useful which explains a little bit of what he posted before me regarding dual citizenship via jus solis and jus sanguis. Congratulations!

  5. says

    Hi Dave – All of my natural kids are US born (I have an adopted Filipina daughter who has never been to the USA). My youngest son was only one month old when we moved here. By nature of his birth on US soil he is a US Citizen and can pass along his citizenship, is that correct? Being US born, the 5 year stay does not apply to him, does it? Just curious about this, and you seem to have more expertise than I do!

  6. says

    Bob, and others, to my knowledge, US born is US born. There.s no requirement to live in the US for any length of time. The residency restriction I was talking about applies to _foreign_born_ US citizens … of which we have many in the Philippines … They often find out about the law after they have children in the Philippines, go to the US `Embassy and find they can't "pass on" their own citizenship. The rules are here:

    and here:

    Again, so far as I know, a child born in the US and who has a birth certificate from a US state has nothing to consider regarding these rules … _US_Born_ is _US_Born_ … but Foreign_born_ children deriving citizenship from parents have to live in the US before they can pass their citizenship on to another foreign born generation.

    And @==> Marvin, thanks for that link, I'll be saving it, it is better than my other references on US Dual Citizenship issues. There are about 89 ther countries aside from the US that allow dual (multiple) nationality, so there is always something to learn in this game.

  7. says

    Just realized how appropriate all these comments and discussion of citizenship are on today, the 4th of July. On this day, the birthday of my country and the real birthday of the Republic of the Philippines (changed for political reasons, but you can't deny the current Philippine Republic came into existence on 4 July 1946) (interesting article here:, the US, in particular, seems besieged with anti-foreigner hate, blaming of acts of terrorism on religious orientation, blaming of economic ills on a nationality because they don't speak English , etc. and atbp.

    Yet here we are, a group carving out our lives the way we want to, learning, interacting and enjoying the true freedoms the Constitution grants us, no matter where we live. Life is still good. God Bless the USA, God Bless the Philippines, and as Tiny Tim said, God Bless Us, One and All … Happy 4th of July!

  8. says

    Hi Dave – Thanks for giving your interpretation on the Citizenship thing. Your thoughts mirror what I was thinking, just wanted that second opinion!

    Thanks also for your comments about freedom, etc.

  9. Kevin says

    Dave – Thanks for the comments and the education on US citizenship. I didn't know about the foreign born US citizens rule about passing on citizenship to the next generation.

  10. says

    Your are more than welcome, Kevin. In a lot of cases it never comes into play, but I have some members of my 'extended" family who have run up against it. Of course, if she were to marry and have a child in the US, her length of residency wouldn't matter … but let's not marry her off just yet, too many fun years are still ahead ;-)

  11. Marvin says

    Thanks for those links Dave, I am saving them. And I also agree with your sentiments about the USA and Philippines. I'm born and raised in the USA but I'm a Filipino born from two filipino parents. I have "rediscovered" the Philippines for myself and know that's where I want to end up, but I never go a day being thankful and blessed that I was born and raised in the U.S.A. and am a proud Filipino-American. I simply won the Earth lottery being born a dual citizen and have the advantages of being both a U.S. citizen and a Filipino citizen. What a great world we live in. :smile:

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