When you are about getting married in Philippines, you must consider that you don’t marry a single person. You will be one of an extended family. That new extended family is not only from her parents, brothers and sisters, but also the relatives. Your Filipino new family may extend to hundreds of members. You need to be ready! Handling a big extended family may be unfamiliar for most of us , non-filipinos.
Filipino Family is firmly connected and inter related. Your Filipino wife most probably will be close to her family. This means , she will care and support her family members, and return all favors done when she was a child, or during education. Any one support earlier course in her life, she undertakes to support in return.
Most probably, your wife is from a poor family. Most Filipinos that marry foreigners are from poor or middle class families. You need to expect that you will be the most rich member in your new Filipino family. If any one of the family has any financial problem, his mind will automatically be directed to you. This was almost the most common complain for many of my friends who married a Filipina girl. Actually I was one of the seldom found lucky persons. Surprisingly, the family of my wife are too conservative and shy to ask for financial support. They are poor, but this is their attitude which is unusual here in the Philippines.
Many friends of mine passed such experience after getting married in Philippines. It is really annoying when one of the members ask to borrow money from you. A foreigner is considered a rich man in the eyes of Filipino, no matter what is his real status. Lucky ones are those having a wife smart enough to put barrier between her husband and other family members. They will not approach him directly, it must pass through her. Such a rare Filipino type will never encourage any one to approach her husband for support in financial issues. My wife is one of them. This is her nature, she know I’m Egyptian, which is not a rich country. I was just an employee in Saudi having nothing except my salary. I said she is different, because really I met many men, not rich like me but were abused financially by their Filipino family members .
Generally a foreigner in Philippines is considered rich unless proved other wise. It is really hard to meet a Filipino who understand that some foreigners are not. For example: if you have problem that money can solve, you have to spend 10 times like a Filipino with a similar problem. It is well know that foreigners may be abused by officials, like policemen, traffic enforcers or any clerk, to get some money. It was published one day in the news papers. Police officers working in a police station in a park called CCP complex, were subject for investigations. They were used to trap foreigners dating girls in the park. At that time this park was quite enough for couple to have a walk and some romance, with plenty of Filipino men and some foreigners, dating their girl friends. With arrangement with other guards of the park, the policemen could trace foreigners (ONLY), catch and accuse them display love acts in public, which is a violation in the Philippines. Then, they get some money before releasing the victim.
Of course not all family members will be abusive, but most probably you will be approached by some for a support. Maybe for financial support or finding a job abroad. You can offer help as long as you can. But once you offer money for any, you may find a line of them next day asking also for money. You should be wise!
Something else, you have to be ready for. You have to pay the meal and alike when you go out with your Filipino family members. Even rich Filipinos will not offer to pay when a you are with them. I remember when I invited the land lord of my office to lunch, he never offered to pay. This man wealth is at least 100 times mine, but in his mind I’m more wealthy as long as I’m not a Filipino.