Setting precedents in an Australian/Filipina relationship

This is not meant as “dating advice”. This is advice for those Australian men who are engaged or married to a lady from the Philippines, and are probably still in that floating-on-air stage where everything is new, exciting and apparently could be no better.

It’s about setting precedents for the future about things that could cause you relationship problems in the future.

What are the main things that Aussie/Filipina couples fight about?

Money and family!





Money is an issue you want to clear up first and foremost, because there is an illusion that all Aussies are rich! And if a man isn’t clear about setting limits right from the start, he can set a dangerous precedent which he may well later regret.

A man comes to visit his lady. Mentally he’s in holiday-mode. He’s also trying to impress his lady and her family, and he’s generally in a great mood. That’s very different to the everyday situation of life back in Australia for most people. And the cost of living in Australia is considerably higher. Have a look HERE for a comparison.

You MUST make the true situation clear to her and to her family, so that they are under no illusions! Tossing money around freely can give the impression that this is how it will be from now on!





There is also a different attitude toward duty to family members in the Philippines as there is in Australia. Australia was founded by ruggedly independent pioneering types, and in our culture we respect (and expect!) self-reliance. Not so in the Philippines. There is a particular duty toward older relatives, particularly parents, and there is an obligation to help with education costs of younger siblings.

And you need to be reasonable and realistic. There is no automatic pension for oldies or “dole” for unemployed people. If your inlaws live in a leaky shack, and if they can’t afford medicine when they get sick, you can’t expect your wife to simply do nothing. However, the less-palatable aspect of the supporting-families tradition is when you get the family lazy-lump! Every Filipino family seems to have at least one, eg. a 31 year old son who doesn’t work, but needs feeding and needs money for alcohol and cigarettes! Are you happy to keep doing this, even when it shouldn’t be necessary?

And there’s also a tradition known as “balato”, where the family feel entitled to share in the good fortune of one of them. Family members may consider your wife/fiancée to have “struck it rich” when they met you, and they may sit back and wait for their share. I’ve known numerous Aussies and other westerners who have wondered why nieces/nephews/siblings have shown no interest in their offer to put them through college. It’s because they’ve thought “Why should I study and work when we’re now all rich?” They’ve made the assumption you’ll be carrying them through life from now on! Again, are you happy to keep doing this??



  • Set a good precedent right from the start.
  • Don’t expect elderly parents to wallow in dire poverty, and realise that lack of money can equal hunger, lack of the basics, and even death! Realise that kids need educating. Realise that people get sick and that typhoons damage houses.
  • But make the true situation clear, especially if you are on a low income and/or are facing imminent retirement.
  • And DON’T wave money around like there’s no tomorrow. Show fiscal restraint from your first meeting.
  • And make it clear what you feel about who should be supported and who shouldn’t.
  • Be prepared for her not liking what she hears! But honestly? If her family living in luxury matters more to her than you and your future family with her? And if she breaks up with you over this? What have you actually lost? A major headache and years of misery! That’s what! Let her go and move on!
  • And if you’ve left it a bit long and are now regretting it? You can only do your best to try to repair the damage already done and to make the reality of the situation clear to all concerned.



Filed under Philippines, Relationship Issues

4 responses to “Setting precedents in an Australian/Filipina relationship

  1. allan

    Jeff, well done. I agree 100% I made it clear from the start, my interest was in my partner, not in keeping her family, she understood, it’s amazing how many of her family and friends, ‘have a problem’ so to speak, you always know what’s coming next, my partner just say’s I have no money sorry, and that’s the end of it now. But yes spot on, all Australians are rich, and how much can we get, that’s what I found. I have found family and friends also cheat and lie, and run away from paying back what they may owe, and even want to borrow more money, when loans are not repaid, a different culture.

  2. It is so true,until 2 yrs ago I never left Australia,but I’ve been to the Phillipines 5 times since then ?never been to a nightclub or bar or a beach yet?i go there to get to know my family and let them know me,Everything Jeff said is completely true so trust me,it is all true but I have met more honest people in that time than I would ever meet here.And by honest I mean that if they have your back,you will always be welcomed

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