The Filipino family is unique, most households in the Philippines differ considerably from what is considered normal to most westerners or anywhere else around the world. While most families elsewhere are composed of a father, a mother or the parents and their children, a Filipino family would normally go beyond this in one household.
The grandparents of one of the parents are sometimes part of the Filipino family. Even nieces and nephews of the parents or uncles or aunts of the children may live in one household apart from the “basic family”, that is, the parents and their children.
Further, it is not unusual especially in the rural areas for two or more Filipino families to share a common house and household chores. They may also be found working together in livelihood activities like farming, fishing or small family enterprises.
The father in the Filipino Family often takes the role of primary provider. He is the authority figure, the acknowledged counselor and disciplinarian. The mother or wife takes the key responsibility for homemaking or household management. She is the moral compass and the children’s first academic mentor. But there have been changes in the home front. Parents today seem more open-minded, having evolved from being more disciplinary to being an older type of friend for their children.
Although some parents these days still get a little uneasy with this “leveling-off” behavior towards their children, more and more of them have seen the positive impacts, like closer ties, better communication lines, higher levels of mutual trust and, more importantly, deeper respect and love for one another.
While some grandparents and other members of the “extended” Filipino family gets drawn to this relational unraveling, in some cases it is still on a much more conservative level. This is understandable since grandparents were born and reared in family traditions and culture steeped in more conservative and stringent manners.
Nevertheless, it is an amazing discovery how the Filipinos, with both their traditional “extended” family structure and continuing social evolution are able to survive in spite of these seeming incongruent characteristics of both the old and the new.
My video above demonstrates this unique home life where several generations live together sharing in the daily chores, caring for the children and providing the daily meals. The extended family lives next door and helps also. My wife father has passed away but the family still shares one household and her mother looks after the needs of her grandchildren with help of one daughter and another working on the big island sends money home monthly to feed her children. I learned from my first visit to bring candy treats the kids love gummy bears as you can see.