The "Bawal Umihi Dito" Sign as a Metaphor of the Pinoy Mentality

One of the many "bawal" signs in the Philippines I remember riding on a trycicle with Tito  Benje, my Filipina wife's uncle.  After overtaking a bus on a double solid line (as Filipinos always do), he said something along the lines of " sa Pilipinas lahat ay pwede", basically meaning that in the Philippines you can do whatever you want and that road signs and markings are, more often than not, mere decorations. Bawal Umihi Dito, Bawal Magtapon ng Basura Dito.... One of the features of the Philippine landscape is the huge amount of signs that remind people that urinating against a public or private wall, on a sidewalk or against a pole and disposing of the garbage on the side of the road, in a river or a canal is not socially acceptable and that the offender might (theoretically) be given a multa, should a  buwaya be around. My bayaw told me in a very straightforward manner that Filipinos love urinating and disposing of their garbage exactly there where a sign s

The "Ningas Kugon" Trait of the Filipino Mentality

 Ningas Kugon is basically the tendency of Filipinos to get super excited about an idea a project for, maybe, one week or two, maximum few months. They lay a foundation then the wander off and lay another foundation.

So, it may occur, for example, that your Filipino wife wants to take you to the Philippines to live there for good and start a negosyo. She could even get you to invest some money there. Then she may change her mind and, perhaps, decide to stay in your Western country. After a while she may reconsider going to the Philippines for good. Then reconsider that again.

More often their not Filipinos don't have a life mission and a clear vision. They undertake myriads of projects that easily fizzle out and never stick around.

If you marry a Filipina this may cost you unnecessary money. For example, about 15 years ago, my wife set up an eatery in front of the Bulacan Agricultural State College and turned the ground floor of her big house into some sort of hostel for college students, because we were supposed to move there for good. Since then there has been an alternation of moments in which she wanted to follow through on that project and moments in which she seemed to be more interested in staying here in Italy and (after 15 years) I don't know yet what is going to happen.

The expression ningas kugon fittingly describes this Filipino trait: ningas basically means fire while kugon is basically the material used to build the roof of a bahay kubo which is, essentially, cogon grass, a type of material that kindles very easily and brightly and, after a short while, it extinguishes.

We in the Western world are generally more inclined toward making long-term plans and following through on those plans while, as I've just said, most Filipinos are the exact opposite.

So, if you are interested in marrying a Filipina, one of the many things you have to take into account is the fact that making long-term plans with a Filipino wife might prove to be extremely difficult.

The mindset that I have chosen to operate from, to deal with this and other aspects of the Filipino culture, that are difficult to accept from a Western standpoint, is acceptance (which is, by the way, one of the pillars of a thriving marriage according to many relationship experts).

As I keep repeating in my blog, Filipinos are the way they are and getting angry, pissed off and upset with them only creates friction and endangers the relationship and so the counsel I'd give to Westerners who are considering the possibility to enter this kind of relationship is to gather as much information as you can about the Filipino culture and mentality before embarking in this kind of relationship (and not make the mistake I initially made of assuming that I would figure things out down the road) and weigh very carefully if you are ready and willing to cope with the many traits of your future Filipino wife that are at odds with the Western ways.


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