Filipino Godparenthood: Blessing or a Curse?

During the 2nd quarter of 2015, a cousin from my mother’s side of the family sent me a private message in Facebook, asking me if I would be honored to become her newborn son’s Ninong (Godfather). At first I didn’t really put much thought into it and simply said, “Sure, why not”.

It wasn’t until a couple of months before the baptism ceremony itself, when she sent me a reminder about the auspicious event, that a bolt of reason struck my mind.

“Why am I being chosen in the first place?”, I asked myself.

Let me sidetrack a bit. I left the Philippines together with my parents since I was 4, because my father had a job in Malaysia. I grew up there for most of my life and the Philippines was a place that I visited for short periods of time at least once a year, just to visit relatives. For 25 years (and counting) of my residence abroad, I have not forgotten my roots. I am still fluent in my mother tongue, and I am not alien to the ways of the Filipino people.

As for this cousin of mine, she and I aren’t that close. In fact I have no memory of knowing her in my childhood, due to the fact that she wasn’t even born by the time I left Pinas in 1992.  The brevity of our meetups at my mum’s provincial home of Nueva Ecija, the paucity of our social interaction between one another, proves that she felt more like a stranger to me than a family member. I mean can you blame me? I lived abroad for 25 years. Life back home just moves on in your absence.

At times, children would come up to me and ask for a Mano, which I awkwardly gave, only to be told that he/she is a cousin, whom I completely had no idea even existed until that very moment! Same goes for aunts or uncles who I don’t recognize because they are a newer addition to the family, thanks to divorce or whatever circumstances that led to that eventuality. You get the picture.

Anyway back to the exchange with my cousin.

In a tone of respect and reverence, I asked her as to what prompted her to include me into the Ninong-Ninang list? As expected, her response to me was, “Because we see you as an excellent person to become a guide to our child as he grows up”.  I wasn’t satisfied with that by-the-book answer.

By definition, as a Godparent, you bear the mantle of responsibility of being a moral guide to the child, to support the child in their needs, and even assume the role of parenthood should anything happen to the parents. Looking at it from a Filipino context, and since this is a Catholic thing, I’m sure you are expected to raise the child in the Catholic way and since I’m not a very devout Catholic myself (Truth be told I’ve pretty much become disillusioned with organized religion), I felt that I would be doing a great disservice to the parents and the child.

In addition, I have never seen her child, nor have I ever even met her husband, and my presence in Pinas are rare at best. I’m pretty sure her son wouldn’t recognize me when he grows up. So why should I acquiesce to a sacrament as sacred as marriage itself? Knowing that my Ninong-ship would only be by name and not from my own heart?

Later on, I explained to her that it would be difficult for me to attend the ceremony, since I’m busy with work, and traveling back to Pinas is not as easy as she think it is (understandable since she has never experienced life abroad), especially now with the current state of the economy. In essence, I was implying that I would like to RESPECTFULLY DECLINE her offer. Because I felt that as much as I am greatly honored by the invitation, I also felt sincerely that I was not worthy of assuming that mantle of responsibility. I cannot for the life of me, be anymore honest than that!

That is how much reverence I give to the sacrament of Godparenthood! I’m not like those Filipinos who take it lightly and make no second thoughts about it. Some parents accumulate Ninongs and Ninangs for their children as if they are some Pokemon collectibles. Sad to say that this tradition has become more of a blind obligation, devoid of any spiritual significance.

Another subtle reason as to why I declined has to do with the fact that I am aware that Filipinos have a tendency to use this as an opportunity to ask for money, especially knowing that I’m living abroad. And true enough, when I told her that couldn’t make it to the ceremony, or that I wouldn’t be back for another year, she unashamedly said the following, “Oh it’s okay, even a donation for my son’s cake would suffice”. Wait what?!

It’s not that I’m being a Kuripot (stingy/miser) for refusing even a meager favor. It’s just that I totally dislike the idea of me being taken for a ride as if I’m a foolish simpleton! I have given money to another younger cousin in the past, to pay for her schoolbooks, but only because she approached me personally and told me honestly that she needed some money. I can accept that.

My mother, being an aunt to that cousin of mine, inquired about the situation much later on, and suffice to say, I made a huge mistake of being honest with her about my decision because it led to a very heated argument between us. She felt ashamed and dishonored over what I had done, which to me is a ridiculous over-exaggeration of such a trivial situation.

She went as far as to say that my decision shows how selfish I am and that I have no concern for family. Well excuse me?! Are Filipinos so shallow that one’s love and devotion for family is measured by blind obligation to tradition?! For me, love and care for family transcends man made rules and traditions. And just because I turned down my cousin today, doesn’t mean I have completely closed myself to her. How erroneous and judgmental of an assessment is that?! I decided that the argument has become too one sided, and decided to end it there to continue with more productive tasks, than waste my time with such trivial drivel.

Honestly I do think that just because someone identify themselves as “family member” doesn’t mean one is unequivocally obligated to that person. And often times, I find that Filipinos abuse this precept by unashamedly asking for one too many favors, without regard to whether it causes inconvenience to the other party.

In my understanding, it’s the common norm that to decline the becoming of a Ninang or Ninong is not only a dishonor and shame to oneself, but also a terrible insult to the family, and some would even say that it’s “Bad Omen” to do so. It is an honor that one cannot back out from once chosen, regardless of whether you agree to it or not, regardless of the circumstances you face in life. Very typical mentality of many Filipinos, like so many other things they believe in, despite the obvious flaws found in their world view.

This is my pet peeve with Filipinos and their idea of tradition. For them, tradition is absolute and should be performed without question! To employ one’s intellect, wisdom, and the ability to use reason and logic to question these norms are immediately met with fierce rejection. And that is what I got for choosing to emancipate myself from the typical Pinoy hive mind, I was dismayed to say the least because I felt like I was viewed as a Pariah for actually using my brain!

Why can’t I have the freedom to choose?! It’s not like I’m doing anything directly harmful. In fact I kindly explained to my cousin as to why it’s hard for me to take up the role, and although I did not blatantly said that I declined, I think she understood my position and chose not to query me any longer. In other words, there’s an implied understanding between us. Or at least so I thought.

For me, I’d rather that my cousin be offended by my honesty and unflinching assertiveness, than to agree to something that I have valid personal reasons for declining, all in the name of pleasing her and everyone else? After all, the truth is the truth. The truth doesn’t care if you’re offended by it. Another concept that Filipinos find it hard to wrap their heads around.

I guess this explains a lot as to why so many Filipinos are in the situation that they are in life. Filipinos spend so much time trying to please other people, often times to their own expense, thanks to their own lack of assertiveness. And when you query them as to why they do the things they do, they’ll simply tell you that’s how it is and choice is out of the question. In fact, many don’t even know the significance of why they do these things. If I can think of one thing North Koreans and Filipinos have in common, this is it.

Indeed, the Spaniards has done a great job in creating generations of people whose blind subservience, disguised as tradition, has rendered them intellectually incapacitated to this very day. Just look at the nation and you’ll know what I mean. Now I’m not lumping Filipinos all in the same basket, because I know there are many forward thinking Filipinos whom are fighting hard to free themselves from the “Pinoy Matrix”. If you’re one of them, you can pat yourself at the back.

I had this thought at how ironic that Filipinos are so unquestioningly devout as Christians, and yet they are doing the very thing that Jesus himself was very critical of. Jesus, in the Gospels criticized the Pharisees for being overly legalistic about their religious traditions, and yet for all their devotion, their hearts are empty. Likewise, Filipino tradition is supposed to impart good values of respect, benevolence, kindness, charity, the concept of companionship and humility, that is supposed to penetrate on the spiritual level. And yet their actions are anything but such.

Have you ever encountered this situation before? Or anything similar? Do share. I would like to hear from you.

Published in OFW, Relationships


  1. Profile gravatar of Sarah

    I have been asked several times to be “ninang” by neighbors and mum’s extended family in the Philippines. I always tell them that I am not Catholic even though Mum WAS, she has practically disconnect herself from that religion when she left the country 34 years ago. So I tell them to find someone else and they tell me “it’s bad luck to refuse a baby”. I don’t get blackmailed easily so I just tell them “am flying out on that date, find someone else”. Geez, they really are determined to hook me up with this “obligation” because then they’d say “oh don’t worry, we’ll find a proxy for you”. The dumb fuckwit just can’t take the hint: “I don’t want to be in it!!”. They must take me for a fool because I know that their motivation is, to get me to send gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I think they are getting the message though, coz I have not been asked since my last holidays which was last year. Mum don’t believe in it either anyway.

    1. Profile gravatar of Don Quixote
      Don Quixote

      I have had the same experience but I have noted it has cooled off too
      My excuse was I am at sea all the time and travel to much to be a God parent as I would not be able to take my responsibilities seriously.
      I never knew about the Catholics , shit I had that all the time and didn’t know it.
      Proud Anglican !!!!!!!!!!! NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Christened but never Confirmed the only one in my family !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was expelled from Sunday School before the ceremony.

    2. Profile gravatar of Mike Gutierrez
      Mike Gutierrez

      I am Filipino. And I have only one godson, despite being asked at least 3 dozen times to be. I simply refuse. These previous to current generation of pinoys have forgotten what a god parent is for. When I was young, my god parents didn’t give me money. They gave me opportunities like a summer job, or good advice when I was troubled. The only time they helped me financially was when my mom was hospitalized and died, and I could not afford all the costs. Being a god parent is a serious thing, it is a promise to the child parents and god (it is a church thing after all) that if something were to go wrong, you would be there to help their child cope without them. But all of that has been lost, they instead focus on things like bday and xmas gifts, some even ask you to pay for their child’s education! I chose to be this one boy’s godparent because I love his father like a brother, and consider the boy my nephew. People need to make being a God parent a serious a thing again.

  2. Profile gravatar of Anne

    They make you feel honored because they chose you, which meant in the past = they trust you. But this fucked up later generations (which I also belong to) pick godparents by the capacity of them to give financial assistance and monetary gifts during celebrations such as graduation, baptismal, Christmas, birthdays etc. Being a godparent automatically meant being one of the sponsors on birthday, yay… right? WTF is wrong with people! Can’t even wait for the person to offer! Ugh.
    I became a godparent of someone I didn’t even know. Apparently, they wanted my dad to be the godparent because my dad was somehow generous when it comes to his extended family but my dad was too old to become a godparent so ta-da, the daughter it is.
    Before, I end up ranting… I’m going back to study lol.

    1. Profile gravatar of Johnny

      Thats happened to me a few times. Luckily my fiance shut it down real fast before I knew what was happening. When we were dating, I told her people kept asking me to be a ninong for a wedding or other events. She asked, “do you know them” and I’d say, “not really”. She said to immediately shut that down and say we you are out of town that day. She explained how its simply about money for their wedding. Luckily, I only did one, donated like $50, but I learned my lesson for the 1 hour before church service, 1 hour church service, 2 hour reception, and all this on a saturday or sunday morning.

  3. Profile gravatar of BLX2

    After I learned the first one already had 4 or 5 other ninong ‘s, I’ve declined. The one I did say yes to I went to the christening but skipped the first birthday and haven’t seen her in almost 8 years.

    “my decision shows how selfish I am”, standard line they use when they are the ones being selfish. They are SO self centered I really believe they just don’t see it. They do nothing but take, create consequences for you, and then berate you about how bad you are.

    1. Profile gravatar of Julian
      Julian Post author

      “They do nothing but take, create consequences for you, and then berate you about how bad you are. ”

      that’s exactly how I feel too. I feel that these people are so hardwired to see the bad in everything. You can do a 100 good things for them, but do just 1 wrong, even a small one, they will remember it and capitalize a 1000 times more than whatever good you have done. Sigh…

      1. Profile gravatar of BLX2

        “1 wrong”, that’s usually when you finally defend and/or protect yourself. Or when you can’t handle it anymore and speak the truth knowing it is going to hurt their ego. Defending yourself against their tactics makes you a bad person. You’re suppose to take it and worship the holy special one.

  4. Profile gravatar of Sarah

    You allow yourself to get roped in into this stupid “tradition” you will never see the end of it. Can you imagine every time the kid gets sick “Ate, little Dong-Dong is sick can you send money for medicine?”, or school time “Ate, Dong Dong is starting grade 1, can you help with school costs?”. Like most things Filipino, that particular cultural practices is designed to bleed money out of you…. if you allow them to.

    1. Profile gravatar of Julian
      Julian Post author

      Thank goodness I was firm with my decision to decline. My intuition never fails me and something tells me I’m in for a ride once I agree to it.

      Thing is, these sort of people ALWAYS happens on my mother’s side of the family. My father’s side of the family are very civil minded and never once did they ask for money. My cousins from my father’s side of the family are very ambitious and intelligent. Some of them have no full time job, but they make money by freelancing and capitalizing their skills and talents. As for my mother’s side of the family, they’re the typical mendicant pinoys. What ticks me off is how I’m made to feel like I’m obligated to them especially FINANCIALLY when they are in need. I can vouch for my grandmother. But for the rest of the younger bunch who has both hands, legs, and mind in working order? I don’t think I’m obligated to them. Worse thing is, if I refuse to give, immediately I’m labeled as “Madamot” or “Maka sarili”. My ears flare up in anger whenever I hear those things. But I’ve learned to stop caring anyway.

      1. Profile gravatar of BLX2

        Guilt tripping is abuse. Remember that. Helping them is actually doing the wrong thing, it’s rewarding abuse and enabling the abuse cycle to continue, generation after generation. They obviously do not feel sorry for the children they will bring into the world and will not work to support and educate, but will make servants out of the first chance they get

  5. Profile gravatar of Denmark2

    Great insight and told in a very good understanding of both culture and live. I do like it.

    Actually, I’m Godfather for 2 kids – one 6 year old girl and her (now) 7 month old brother.

    I came about when meeting the young couple moret than 8 years ago at one of their first “public” meeting with friends and family to annonce their intention to become a steady issue.

    I count it as a blessing that they at that early meeting decided to confine in me and over the coming years, took my advice to a living.

    1 year after our first meeting they married and I attended the ceremony with huge pleasure. Partly to see the tradition, partly to guide the two.

    Gil are a hardworking carpenter and Shelby are the local nurse in this small village (2600 heads and still growing).

    My first duty as a guide for them was to set up the frame for money, teaching them the basic of a budget, asking them to read books of importance to becoming a family, making plans for the future in a very modest way.
    I sponsored a bank account with an opening balance of 25.000 peso in January 2008 – and proud to say it has now grown to more than 320.000 peso, the main reason to be that they followed the plan to make savings, to look ahead and to be responsible for their acts.
    Later this year or early next year the money will be put forward to a down payment for a house, the particularly one in sight costing 1.650.000 peso on the drawing board, to include a house of 68 square meter and a plot of 180 square meter near Balanga, Bataan.

    When their first child was born, naturally I attended and yes, I quickly realized there was some substance of “curse”, but that to be from the various aunts, cousins, other related family and of course the locals, all of which created a kind of fuzz around me.

    I talked to the young couple about this obvious way to “catch” me into other families and told them that this they should themself avoid in the future, never to be hooked up on guilt for others, leaving others to depend on their money.

    Since coming back over the years and still maintaining our way of guiding, reflection, planning and living the ordinary life, I have found great pleasure to follow the small girl and her development, allowing me to have a say and also to give advice on a weekly basis.

    Don’t fall down your seats and shit your pants now.

    My first advice to the young couple back in 2007 was to use contreceptive and NOT to cave in to the pressure from the church IN ANY ASPECT of their future life – including any kind of advice locals would give them how to build up a family life.

    If they wanted to become succesful in life, don’t copy anybody showing a failure….!!!

    Not to say they abandoned the church, but in some way they did, surely enough for the local Pastoral Council to pay them a visit in 2009, asking them “why are you so distant from the church?”
    It will be to much to go into details of all this, but the bottom line was that the church tried to bullshit them with treats of “blacklisting” them from other parts of the society and local life, both in the village, but also in Balanga, casting a shadow over the plans for Gil to create a business (furniture repair shop) and Shelby to study further to become a head nurse.

    Anyway – It’s my private blessing and I enjoy the weekly reports in my e-mail box, the monthly talks over Skype and the ever so possible visits.

    Gil are prospering in the building trade and being audited few times by BIR and various tax officers (no, Gil never gave into bribes), Shelby now Head Nurse and family growing in happiness by the day.

    I may have to add I received minimum 10 proposal of marriage to various locals, aunts and “friends” of the family – and that I as a minimum have refused becoming a Ninong to 15 children.

    The first request in 2008 (the neighbor girl to Shelby).
    I use this example for Gil & Shelby in how NOT to plan a life.
    This neighbor family (now) consist of mom+dad+4 single daughters+11 grandchildren (and 1 more in the owen)….and no man in sight to support the children….

    Yes, we had some ups and downs, some stubborn issues ( I created a few to admit ), some misunderstandings over budgets and plans, but mostly a great blessing.

    I’m blessed with 2 sons, one building houses in France, one being a priest – plus one daughter being a lawyer. I’m further blessed with 2 grandchildren, so being Ninong to 2 kids in Philippines have just added quality to my life, but mostly feeling glad that I ventured in to doing it.

    1. Profile gravatar of Julian
      Julian Post author

      I’m glad things are going so well for you. How I wish this was the norm.

      Speaking of Religion, yeah Filipinos have a frightening level of adherence towards their faith. Certain sects of the Christianity in the country will even go as far as to stick their noses way to closely to their attendants, like announcing publicly how much tithes you have given for the day, why were you absent last week, and so many other things! It seriously scares the crap out of me. I’ve been a born Catholic all my life. Although I was raised in a more moderate Catholic life in Malaysia, I began realizing that as a Filipino I’m being sucked into the same vortex of cult-like adherence, where Obligation is more important than Spirituality.

      As the years pass, now that I’m close to my 30s, I’ve began opening my eyes to the truth, and I’m rejecting a lot of the things I’ve been indoctrinated to since young. Thankfully my family are a very open minded people. My grandmother has an altar at her home, with Buddha along side with Jesus, because my German uncle is a Tibetan Buddhist. Hearing him ring the singing bowls every morning as he meditates always brings a soothing calm to me.

      I realized Filipinos practice their faiths out of FEAR rather than LOVE. No wonder the Church is so successful in controlling the opinions of the masses. It’s really disturbing.

      1. Profile gravatar of Rice Ganda
        Rice Ganda

        Lets face it, the cops here in Malaysia are pretty terrible at their daytime job, and always like to earn a few ringgit on the side – So why not! You could probably get the PM to dress as Jollibee for a large anonymous donation.

  6. Profile gravatar of Catabisis

    Denmark2, it sounds like the young couple has immense respect for you on the level of a parent. I can’t phantom any Filipino couple following the advice of an outsider as you described. You must be a squared away individual to accomplish what you did. Hats off to you. Damn, I just can’t imagine.

  7. Profile gravatar of Denmark2

    I came to this country way back in time with my wife, mostly to visit relatives of my staff (here in my country), partly to catch up on some contacts previously made.

    Seeing the standard way of living in FlipFlopLand I quickly decided to stand away from disputes and NOT to interfere in local unhappiness.

    The guy – Gil – I first met in 2005 – oh my… a flying hazard on a stupid bike, but prune to some decent talks.
    Gil’s parents were both hard working so it was easy for me to inspire him to follow them instead of drinking his salary away every Saturday.

    I got my German friend to hire him making a wooded fence – building a shelter for the chickens and fixing some internal doors in the house.
    Gil and my friend did bonded very quickly, so my friend taught Gil some good skills in carpentry and wood work.

    I totally forgot this first meeting until 2007 when i spotted Gil in town with this pretty girl Shelby.
    A bit angry ( joke ) at my German friend for not keeping me updated on Gil, I learned that they had some good 2 years and 7 month to develop Gil’s skills and attitude to life.
    In hence sight I realized some 2 years ago that my German friend just saved me from the hazel it was to bring Gil into a man, fighting with Gil’s boyish need to show off.

    I also have to admit that Shelby was the tricker for both me and Gil. This girl was just that honest and frank, not ever demanding ( she stayed that way) but very supportive to anything new for the family.
    I remember one incident where Gil wanted a new mobile phone – and naturally it had to be a smartphone…!!
    No money in the budget for this – but there were enough funds to provide a cheaper model….
    Shelby just quoted my words for Gil; “you want bigger and better, you work harder and longer”.
    New smartphone earned in 4 weeks, Gil repairing a driveway in spare hours on Sundays for a shop.

    I think the main issue here are; “don’t copy a failure”, but strive to become wiser by time.
    It surely worked for Shelby, Gil, the kids and me.

  8. Profile gravatar of Johnny

    Its sad. How did this culture get so obsessed with money and material things?
    It seems a kid needs a party each time he graduates a grade, like from 2nd to 3rd grade and either a private party with his face on a tarpaulin sign, balloons, and games. Or the school wants a party where the parents are required to donate a couple thousand pesos. Next, Filipinos pride themselves on being such great family people, but everyone here can attest most of these family events can be requests for money or YOU fund the event. It is really sad few expats or returning OFW’s have the feeling of genuine relationships with in-laws or relatives. Any invitation means a certain level of skepticism since we are always expecting an ulterior motive for money.
    Foreigners are taken advantage of a lot, but the biggest group in the Philippines to be cheated and taken advantage of are the OFW’s. @sarahfin can attest. An OFW who leaves money or property behind is almost begging to get it stolen by their family. Then any OFW coming home is expected to always bring gifts on top of all the money they have been sending home.

    1. Profile gravatar of Attila

      I know a Filipina here in New York who chooses not to visit the Philippines to avoid being abused. She needs to carry over ten thousand dollars when she visits her relatives or she will not go. That is my culture she said and she shrugged her shoulders.

      1. Profile gravatar of Don Quixote
        Don Quixote

        I have a lady Pinoy friend in OZ she is 52 she left the Flipland 30 years ago her immediate family are all in OZ they are in Melbourne she is in Nth. NSW. Works as a bookkeeper.
        The very last time she visited the PI was because her mother wanted to visit her family as she was getting a bit old to travel alone my friend accompanied her.
        BIG MISTAKE.
        Despite 30 years in Australia the fucking mother became the queen upon her arrival .
        WITH my friends money, they never left Manila just hired a car to visit the pamily she stayed in a nice hotel in Manila the mother with the pamily.
        Two weeks later she changed her flights and ran home abandoning the queen to her parasitic family.
        A$10,000 in two weeks with the change of airfare.
        The family were outraged the meal ticket left , her mother/queen was so ashamed of her SELFISH DAUGHTER
        The family still not talking to her, she is wrapt.

    2. Profile gravatar of Sarah

      Not just the OFWs Johnny, it’s any family member who the pamily can guilt enough into supporting them: male, female, ladyboys, lesbian etc. It seems the Filipino child is born for the sole purpose of being exploited from cradle to grave. Next time you visit the Failed republic, count how many children under the age of 10 nursing their parent’s latest additions to the family. I have even seen children not even at school yet, but taking care of their younger siblings.

      I have also observed that the older sons tend to become their parent’s favorites. Or the youngest, called “bunso” are also favored. The middle children, girls especially are often used as slave labor at a young age, neglected, abused and when she’s old enough, “guilted” to become an OFW, or work at the bars…. for the sake of the pamily. And if she’s lucky enough to marry a Kano, the exploitation simply escalates and she is manipulated again into supporting the pamily.

      It really surprises me when I hear stories of Pinays being abused by their families when they were young, yet if and when they get the chance to better their lives, (through marriage with a western male for example) she willingly allows herself to get emotionally blackmailed. It seems the Filipinos will exploit and use anyone who is willing to be used and exploited regardless of their relationships to their “target”. Such a fucked up culture alright.

      1. Profile gravatar of Don Quixote
        Don Quixote

        I have seen that on a personal Scale, Nani continually talks about her great sons and fights constantly with the child bride.
        Why because we wont help her lazy asshole brothers any more. Even though they tried everything to get the child bride to bar fine to help them whilst they sat on their asses at home.
        Nani never takes the hint , if your sons are so great why are you not living with them why keep bothering us.
        We paid for a one way ticket for her to Iloilo bugger me if she didn’t find her way back 6 months later.
        Her family are like that poem the CAT CAME BACK IT WONT GO AWAY.

        1. Profile gravatar of Sarah

          Don, one Pinay GF is in a very similar position. She has been working in the mid-east for 8 years now, trying to save money for her annulment when she made the mistake of marrying a low-life Pinoy from the slums.

          When she left the RP, she had 3 mouths to feed: Mother, elderly aunt and unemployed lazy, freeloading older brother. Just when she started to save up for her annulment older brother brought home an unmarried single mum. So straight away, the 3 parasite instantly grew to 5! Did bro try and get a job? Of course not! Why should he when younger sister is willing to send money home? Did their mother try to push the son to look for a job? No, poor Kuya, he can’t possibly work because he can not cope if he has to work. He’s tried working before, the OFW slave horse (or should we say Camel?) sister spent P150K trying to get him a job. He worked for a total of 5 days! Then quit! “the job was too hard, the boss was too pushy” – were the excuses. What did their mother do? Nothing!

          As expected, Kuya’s wife got pregnant and poor Pinay had to raid her annulment money to pay for hospital bills coz Kuya was unemployed. WTF?? If he’s got no job he should not be making babies!!

          And just when little sister started to save again, Kuya made yet another parasite to be supported by the OFW camel sister. Las time I heard from her, OFW’s parasite had grown from 3 to 8! And Kuya still showing no inclinations to find work or live somewhere else. I tried asking Pinay OFW to cut down on her support as she’s had to deprive herself of foods that she likes in in the mid-east. But her reply was “if I reduce the money, they will starve”. No they won’t. It might just force Kuya to stand up for himself and support his family, rather than you! Kuya is still unemployed and bludging as I am writing this.

      2. Profile gravatar of BLX2

        Children, never properly cared for themselves, watching even younger children. X1 had no excuse, she insisted on a 15 year old niece staying with us to care for her son. practically 24/7. Her claim as the divorce was almost final, “Because I had to take care of you”. Bullshit, cook breakfast and dinner and make a pot of coffee requires a babysitter? The 15 year old niece was like a 10 year old. Now 23 going on 12, definitely a CB of the HPD variety. Original plan was to go to the states, she’d go to work, help with the household bills, I’d put that money (her share of the household bills) in the bank and match it $1 for $1 to pay for him to come to the states. I needed to KNOW she would financially care for him before I bought him over. He should of been 5 or younger. He’s 11 now, cash cow hates lola, no interest in his mother. Moms in the states, 40 pairs of shoes in the closet when I left 5 years ago. I’m sure she’s still getting sympathy in the US for sacrificing so much for her son because I forced her to abandon him.

      3. Profile gravatar of Johnny

        Yeah, these fucking idiots have so many kids with such little money they start having to choose which become more “invested in”. Meaning, we can’t send all to school, so the boys will go to school and hopefully the daughters will marry someone with money. Then sometimes the family starts to rally behind the smarter ones hoping he/ she gets a job in Saudi or Australia.

    3. Profile gravatar of Julian
      Julian Post author

      Speaking of parties, yes I agree with that. Filipinos have this penchant for inflating their egos with extravagant parties. Here in Malaysia, it’s very common for Filipinos to do such things. Once, I attended the debut party of a friend who just turned 21. Her party was comparable to that of a Wedding Reception! Seriously! It was held at the ballroom of an expensive hotel, complete with 3 tiered cakes, a table piled with gifts, and even an entrance ceremony! During my 21st birthday I had a simple dinner with family and a few close friends, and that’s it. These guys however, can spend a fortune just for a birthday!

      Sometimes it makes me cringe as to how Filipinos take the concept of “Bongahan” (Extravagance) way too far. Can you imagine? There was this kid, the son of a family friend where I lived, during his 6th birthday last year, had a ballroom party. And the most surprising thing about that party was that since the kid loved watching a certain local police based drama, the father, who was the Head Chef of the Hotel, actually commissioned an entire brigade of the local police force in order to do a short skit during the party, which I thought was very silly and corny. I mean where have you seen such thing?!

      1. Profile gravatar of BLX2

        X1 has pictures of her sons first birthday. A pony, 3 clowns, roast pig, lots of different dishes, balloons, no expense spared. A few days after that she broke up with her net bf and became my net gf (oh lucky me). I had previously told her what I thought about girls asking for money online. What does she do? “Can you please call me?”. So I called her. She asked me for money because she had no food or diapers for her son (I till remember standing there debating if I should hang up, definitely made the wrong choice). Later from seeing the pictures I realized she had spent all that money for a party for a 1 year old when she didn’t even have money for food and diapers for him.

    4. Profile gravatar of Angeleyes

      So true Johnny. My wife’s pamily are obsessed with throwing fancy parties. Everytime some kid has a birthday it is out with expensives cakes, hot dogs, lollies, fizzy drinks, those terrible tarpaulins and of course a videoke machine. They all pretty much live in squatter shacks built with coconut lumber and plywood and are lucky to cook a proper meal once a week yet can throw these parties. My family could never afford such things when we were growing up.
      I put my wifes daughter through her first year and in a private school with one teacher to 9 children. You should of seen what happened on “Graduation” day. They extorted nearly 5k out of us because we had to put in for the photographer, the food, the ballons, the fancy tarpaulins, the list was very long. On graduation she gets this photo with her in one of those cloaks and hats you would wear if graduating from university. This is a kid going from grade one to grade two yet it is being celebrated like she finished her uni degree. I have never seen anything like it in my life. The kid did not win any award or anything, it is all just for show and is all so damn fake but everyone is in on it from the teachers to the photographer to the caterers. Oh, and if you dont pay she will fail her year.

      1. Profile gravatar of Johnny

        I guess that is the culture. They just celebrate anything mediocre. And yes, its with a full cap and gown for a single fucking grade.
        Filipinos just love those fucking tarpaulin signs,, which means I absolutely fucking hate them.

      2. Profile gravatar of Sarah

        Filipinos throw parties even when they can not afford it. Come fiesta time, they borrow money to host fiestas, weddings, christenings, graduations, even funerals. Any excuse for a party and feed feast and worry about what to eat tomorrow.

        First time I got invited to a Flip party here in Oz, it was a 1st birthday party of a Pinay’s son. It was grand, with balloons and even a live band. Guess what Dad do for a living? A mine worker! I’d hate to think what that costs. I asked Mum if it was Filipino culture for Filipinos to give grand parties for one year old and she said “not as far as I know, unless they have plenty of money”. I’ve since seen such behaviors repeated over and over in the Philippines, even from the poor. They borrow money, pawn items, solicit for “gifts” from overseas families just to give a grand party for a child who’s less than 5 years old. No future planning whatsoever. And when the going gets tough….”ate, I have a small problem, I need _______” . Fill in the blanks. That’s why I don’t do FB anymore.

          1. Profile gravatar of Johnny

            Yeah, those mine workers in Perth were raking in the big bucks for a while.
            I met a bunch of those guys in Thailand or traveling through the Philippines. I was always astonished how much money they made.

          2. Profile gravatar of Sarah

            Yes they did…. used to earn huge money. Not now. Think Clive Palmer and a dozen others like him. Many have now come home unemployed. Should have saved for rainy days.

          3. Profile gravatar of Angeleyes

            I have 2 mates working in the mines, they still earn huge money just it is not expanding like it once was so they are not hiring at the moment. Most of the layoffs are in construction like railway, bridge and wharf building. Last hired first fired but there is still way more jobs than there was 8 years ago. A mates brother works in the mines, dream job he has. 4 weeks on 3 weeks off as a cook for 130k AUD a year and free flights. He lives in Manila and has the sweetest life; I wish I had his job. Another mate cleans and repaints handrails for 110k AUD a year; he lives in a swanky villa in Bali. So awesome as their visas are always sweet as they fly in and out all the time.

  9. Profile gravatar of chloroform

    Great post! As for me, there were some several attempts of my grandparent’s extended filipino family asking me to be godmother of their kids. But my mum would decline immediately for me.

  10. Profile gravatar of 86andBelow

    Yes, ditto, excellent post.

    I have a saying about the Fails: “It amazes me to never cease”

    I like BLX2(I think it was yours?): “No good deed goes unpunished” (a gem I now use on a regular basis)

  11. Profile gravatar of Catabisis

    Hey, Hey-Joe, this video sounds like the visual to the book Closing of The American Mind. Thanks for passing it on. It was very good and refreshing to hear from an American woman.

  12. Profile gravatar of Alex Azar
    Alex Azar

    That’s funny ” I am still fluent in my mother tongue ” I’m sorry you are fluent in gutter language ? Filipinos don’t have their own names the days of the week like what is Tuesday call in Tagalog ? or the color purple in Tagalog ?

    1. Profile gravatar of Julian
      Julian Post author

      I am fluent in 5 languages (not inclusive of dialects i know) apart from Tagalog, thanks to my years living in a multi-cultural environment for the last 25 years.

      Truth is, even the Malaysian and Indonesian language does not have words for days of the week. A lot of the words are borrowed from Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, French, Hindi, Tamil, Sanskrit, and even mutated English! You will be surprised as to how many languages here in East Asia do follow that paradigm. These are all thanks to intercultural collisions in the past. But should I call all of them gutter language as well? I think that’s a very naive assessment.

      I must admit though that the everyday spoken Tagalog is full of rudimentary wordings, the use of excessive suffixes makes speech very mouthful at times, and sound like baby talk. But I cannot say the same to formal Tagalog. If you can understand formal Tagalog, such as those used in the Tagalog translation of the Bible, presidential speeches, and literature, it has more depth and tends to be more poetic. Sadly my comprehension for formal Tagalog is rudimentary, since I did not receive education for it.

      You should try and listen to how Malaysians, Indonesians, Bruneians and Singaporeans speak. They too suffer from the same “gutter language” dilemma. And you’d be surprised that Malaysians and Singaporeans are the most notorious for these, at times being labeled by certain local writers as, “the mark of a childish nation”, despite the fact that these 2 countries are regarded as leading nations within the SEA region.

      1. Profile gravatar of Rice Ganda
        Rice Ganda

        Of course Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesia have a lot of words with Arabic origins, as Arabic is the language of the Islamic religion . English was also the language of world trade, and this is a former British colony.
        I disagree that other SE Asian nations suffer from the same “gutter language” problem of the third-world dumbfuckery-fest that is the Philippines. Taglish is an invention of ‘educated’ Filipinos (I lose that term loosely) in Luzon because Tagalog words are longer than words in English, and words do not exist for legal and scientific terms …. Englog is largely usually used for ‘effect’, and is often heard from people from the higher society. Most Filipinos now just speak this way because they believe it is tv-star cool and elevates their social status.
        As always, Pinoys will try and disguise the lazy bastardisation of something under the banner of ‘culture’.

        1. Profile gravatar of Julian
          Julian Post author

          Bahasa Malaysia, English, Tagalog, Chinese, and Indonesia. In the Malay language I can speak Kelantanese, apart from the default formal Malay dialect. Here in Borneo where I live, I can speak Sarawakian and the native language of Iban. As for Chinese, I know Mandarin and Hokkien. If you live in these regions, it’s very common for one to be multi-lingual (provided you’re willing to learn them).

          About what you said, sorry to say but that’s pretty much the same thing that’s happening here in Malaysia and Singapore. The national custodian of the Malaysian Language, Dewan Bahasa Pustaka, was under lots of heat for integrating way to much foreign words, mutated into Bahasa Malaysia, even as far as to integrating “street talk” into the Malay dictionary. And goodness I can’t even begin to list the amount of variations present. Every state has their own lingo, and here in Borneo, we have our own versions of these things. It’s a cluster-fuck if you ask me. The vocabulary list goes through seasonal ebb and flow depending on what’s new and trending.

          Speaking of Enlog, Malaysians and Indonesians use something very similar to that as well. It’s friggin annoying at times. Singaporeans and Malaysians have an equivalent of the Taglish, which they call as Singlish and Manglish. It’s a murder of the English language. These norms are also perpetuated by the Entertainment Media. Wanna know what’s worse? You should listen to how Ministers talk during Parliamentary sessions. Slap in the Circus Theme and you’re all set for a great show. Here in Malaysia, the worse of these norms are present in Kuala Lumpur, ironically the capital and supposedly heart of intellectual, economic and cultural exchange here in Malaysia. It makes me cringe a lot whenever I travel to KL and hear the locals talk.

          Trust me, I know these cultures very well from living here and moving around for the last 25 years. You will be surprised that whatever plagues the Philippines and Filipinos are more widespread around this region. It manifests itself in other forms, but same nonetheless.

          I simply have such high fascination over these things. It doesn’t hurt to learn a thing or two.

          1. Profile gravatar of Rice Ganda
            Rice Ganda

            I live in KL . I have only ever noticed it from those of Chinese ethnicity – Who have an annoying habit of adding a superfluous “isn’t it?” at the end of every sentence.

  13. Profile gravatar of tambok

    This is my pet peeve with Filipinos and their idea of tradition. For them, tradition is absolute and should be performed without question! To employ one’s intellect, wisdom, and the ability to use reason and logic to question these norms are immediately met with fierce rejection. And that is what I got for choosing to emancipate myself from the typical Pinoy hive mind, I was dismayed to say the least because I felt like I was viewed as a Pariah for actually using my brain!
    One of the best articles I have ever read about Philippine culture, you are so right on, perfect. I see it every day, the family, the groups, the lack of individualism. The family thing, the group thing, narcissism, all to do with being over crowded, over doing everything.

    1. Profile gravatar of Phil Doh
      Phil Doh

      I gave up going to filipino gatherings/parties years ago, just because you know what to expect and it gets boring real quick – same food: lechon, plain rice and a few curry dishes full of bones, maybe a bit of halo-halo for desert if you’re lucky, followed by videoke. Just no imagination to ever try anything different. Let’s have a Mexican themed night, let’s have an Italian dinner party. Fuck that, let’s eat the same shit as we always do and sing the same corny love songs.

    2. Profile gravatar of Mindanao

      Our first son had his 5th birthday party and I wasn’t paying much attention to my wife’s preparations on account of the mistress, but I was shocked and embarrassed when the party started. A huge poster, the whole neighborhood, presents for everyone – WTF. Never again. Two months later was our younger boy’s birthday and she was good about it. Nobody but the family.

      She’s been great about questioning these traditions. We had just never been there for a birthday before and at home we’ve never had anyone but ourselves. She was pretty taken aback by the look on my face when she unfurled that poster.

  14. Profile gravatar of ConCanuck

    In a similar vein, I was recently asked to be a Ninang for my nieces wedding in the PHL. In other words, I would be the “principal sponsor” or main witness. Really what it means is that I would bank-roll a significant portion of the wedding. Like being a godmother for a child’s baptism, the expectation for financial support has very sharp undertones. I suppose I could’ve given some lame-ass excuse or have just been bluntly honest and have said “no”, but I caved to the guilt of being selected as an honor rather than a burden or curse.

    Without resurrecting familial history, me agreeing was in part to my family making the choice to emigrate from the PHL to Canada and being one of the ones “that made it” and supporting the ones “that were left behind”. I’m relatively new to all of this “giving to the relatives back home” gig That “honor” was previously bestowed upon my Dad who was only relieved of his duty because of his recent death. I’ve taken it upon myself to reconnect with my relatives. My siblings could give two-shits, which is fine. The altruistic side of me sincerely feels good about being able to give. But I’ve had to learn the hard way of not burning myself at the expense of keeping others warm.

    So, I guess in the near future I’ll have to set some money aside to buy a full-sized lechon (roasted pig), a wedding cake, a wedding dress, and whatever else they could squeeze out of me, all in the name of being a Ninang. My niece sure-as-shit better get married only this once because any subsequent nuptials will not be supported by me. I suppose in a ass-backwards country like the PHL where divorce is not legal, dissolving a marriage may be out of financial reach for the masses, which in my case saves me money. But I’m sure I’ll get hit up again circumstantially when she decides to have multiple babies and since the Catholic church boldly opposes family planning, the jun-juns, the bongs, the babys, the deck-decks will all be on their way. I suppose she can always ask my siblings to be their god-parents even in proxy!

  15. Profile gravatar of Raykyogrou03

    I have only been asked to be a ninong once, for my classmate’s kid. I was a bit excited at first, because I had never attended one of these but later also confused because it was my understanding that you would normally only invite close friends and family to these sort of things. I barely even knew this girl, we talked like twice the whole semester and she was rather tight with only one of my buddies. And when it dawned upon me as to why she would ask random acquaintances to attend the christening (I’m half white), I basically started ignoring her pm’s on Facebook and later came up with a flimsy excuse as to why I couldn’t come.

    But yeah, I now realize that this is originally a Catholic thing. I never really cared that much for the church eventhough half of my family and majority of my friends are all into this religion.

    So fast forward to now, one of my close friends has fallen pregnant and is due next month. She hasn’t asked me implicitly but I intend to be part of her kid’s life and if I have to be labeled a godparent by the Catholic church, that’s fine by me. Also, I feel a little bit responsible since I helped hook her and her boyfriend up.

  16. Profile gravatar of Harley

    Its been a long while since I’ve posted. I came across this topic about the god parents and thought I’d respond. During my years in Philippines I have been asked to be a god parent. I was like, say what?? On another occasion I was told I was being assigned as the god parent. I was being told by my girlfriend that they (her sister and to be husband) had assigned me to be the godparent, I wasn’t even being asked, I was being told. I was also told that I was required to be at their wedding (as the ‘best man’ to a guy I barely knew) and I should thinking about ‘our’ gift to their wedding. I sort of laughed a bit to myself as if this can’t be real. What is going on with these people?!?!?!?!?! I found the best policy is to ignore. Don’t go to the wedding or the christenings or the birthdays. I know that’s a bit tougher for the married people to do. I just said I’ll be out of town or out of the country that time, and I was.

    Some of the other comments on here have got it spot on (like Sarah) that all of this is Filipino money extraction. If it used to be ‘honorable’ hundreds of years ago, well it certainly isn’t anymore. Filipino are now always trying to get someone else to ‘shoulder’ (as they call it) the costs. They will use any manipulative twisted words to get others to be responsible for them. They don’t want to take responsibility for themselves. Its a tribal mentality. They want everyone else (especially those seen as being ‘rich’ in their eyes) to chip in so that they don’t have to work and do things for themselves. The manipulation is trying to get others to feel a sense of (what I call) ‘false guilt’. They try to make you out to be the bad guy because you didn’t ‘give’ to help them and pay for their family member’s birthday ect. WELL BIG FUCKING BOO HU HU HU !!!! Cry me a river, I don’t care. They are the biggest bunch of whiners and criers I’ve ever seen my entire life. Pathetic! As other bloggers have said, this is why their country is in the shape its in. Things don’t get done or fixed up because they are always waiting for someone else to do it for them or pay for it for them.

    Don’t let them trick, (yes it really is a trick and scam and game for them) Don’t let them trick you into feeling guilty for not ‘giving’ help to them or taking on their responsibilities be it in the form of godparenting or anything else. They will say you are selfish when the truth is they are the selfish greedy ones and they are being assholes. They know this. Its all a game to them. If they can sucker you or make you feel guilty they look at you as being weak and they will exploit that and disrespect you more and more.

    When I don’t do what they want they hate me for it. If I let them take advantage (yes they might smile and talk nice for a few minutes) but they still hate me AND I’m being trampled on. Either way they will never love you or treat you well regardless. At least don’t get taken by them and keep your self respect in tact.