When your Filipina lady, wife, girlfriend or fiancée, arrives in Australia from Philippines with a partner visa or a tourist visa, she will need to make some friends sooner rather than later.
Most homes in the Philippines are like a scene from Neighbours. Always people coming and going, and constantly in and out of each other’s houses. I used to joke that there were no Tagalog words for “alone” or “lonely”. Of course there are, but many could not relate. Filipinos are sociable people. When they say they miss “home”, it means they miss friends and family.
Filipina Wives – Making Friends
Filipina ladies make friends easily and readily. You see a couple of ladies hugging, slapping each other, teasing each other, eating off each other’s plates, and it’s quite possible they only met two days ago. You know that British thing of holding back and being unfriendly? Well, that’s NOT the Filipina way at all!
And being in a new country, away from the old town barkadas (ie. close mates) and family members, she will feel much better when she has some kababayan (fellow countryfolk) to talk to. It will help her enormously to have someone to compare notes with whilst learning how her new country and society works. And it will give her that social outlet she needs, and will most likely be the start of a new social circle for the both of you.
How can you help your Filipina lady to make new friends?
Go to places where she can easily meet Filipinas
You’re probably aware there are generally plenty of Filipinas out and about in Australia. Decades of wives with Australian husbands, and overseas workers (eg 457 visa holders) over the last 10 – 15 years. And you will generally find a few Filipina ladies even in the remotest areas.
And specific places?
- Open-air/farmers markets
- Churches (especially Catholic Churches)
And I don’t mean you go to these places specifically to meet Filipina ladies. Just that it will be highly likely there will be Filipina ladies there, whereas not at the pub or at the hardware store!
And what do you need to do?
Nothing! Filipinas seem to be able to recognise each other very easily. You’ll be thinking “oh, maybe Malaysian….or Vietnamese”, but no they will sort it out. It goes like this: A glance….a smile…raised eyebrows. That’s the ritual. But don’t get involved yourself, because she may recognise signs of being mayabang (unfriendly, “up herself”), so trust her judgment! They will talk and exchange numbers if they want to. And it will certainly happen.
The only contribution from you is if you happen to have a mate or two married to Filipina ladies, then arrange a get-together fairly soon after your lady arrives. It will help a lot!
Filipina Wives and Social Problems
It’s not all smiles and hugs. You will unfortunately find some social problems out there which can be upsetting, and those which can be more than upsetting especially if your Filipina lady is young and impressionable.
The Divorcees and the Gamblers
This is my opinion. Disagree with me if you wish, but I hope you will at least consider this. Divorced women…Filipina or otherwise….often go on a mission. Why? No idea. Divorced men are usually depressed and keep to themselves, whereas the ladies long to go out and socialise. And they seem to like convincing other women that they TOO can obtain their freedom from the shackles of patriarchy by telling them all the faults they can see in their marriage. All under the guise of sisterhood, of course! A group of them 10 years older from their victim, and they can do some real damage. I’ve seen it! Be aware, and watch out!
The gamblers are the ones who play cards, mah-jong or the dreaded pokies. Again, be aware. Gambling can ruin lives and can certainly ruin marriages.
The mayabang, the maarte and the Filipino Associations
The mayabang, as I said, are the ones with a very high opinion of themselves. Maarte means showing off, basically. A bit stupid, but fairly harmless.
And Filipino Associations? Most areas have these. The President and Secretary of this are usually very mayabang, and there will be bitter rivals in the wings. Some last for years, and others break up because of internal squabbling. The power thing is often taken far too seriously, and it can make get-togethers very painful. I can remember one gathering where there were three distinct groups in someone’s house and yard, all avoiding each other. Others were texting others checking if “SHE was there”, because they wouldn’t go if “she”was.
What it all stems from is that ones position on the social ladder (in comparison with others on that same perceived-ladder) MATTERS to many Filipinas. And the object of the exercise is to climb the ladder by putting someone else lower down the ladder. In the Philippines, the need to cooperate with neighbours keeps most of this under control, but in Australia where new-found prosperity means no one “needs” others like they did in the Philippines, the gloves are often off. This means enemies and factions.
The “social ladder” has rules: If someone is below you? You look down on them. If someone is above you? You “suck up” to them. If your lady is young, unsophisticated and not very sure of herself, she may let the more dominant Filipina ladies “up the ladder” push her around. Be aware of this, and let her learn the Aussie social level-playing-field!
Advice from experience?
Meet people. Join the Association, at least initially. Work out who’s nice and decent, and work out who the manipulators and trouble-makers are. Make some friends, especially where Aussie husband gets on well with HER husband (otherwise you’ll find social get-togethers excruciating…..don’t remind me!) Then back off and stay away from the internal politics! If she has 3 – 4 nice, decent, family-oriented Filipina friends nearby, she is very fortunate indeed!