The “Anak” Filipino Movie: how Materialism gets in the Way of the Family Life of Filipinos

If you are married to a Filipina one of the best things you can do to become acquainted with her culture is to watch Filipino movies. This is one of the very first things I did as I was striving to improve my Tagalog.

I remember watching three movies in about one week and those movies are “Milan”, “All my Life” and “Anak”.

The one that really hit me was “Anak”. “Anak” (meaning son or daughter) is the story of a woman from the Philippines who takes a job in Hong Kong as a nanny for a wealthy couple for several years. When she returns home, she has gifts for everyone but her children don’t welcome her with open arms. The oldest, in particular, does nothing to disguise her resentment for her mother’s long absence which is perceived as an abandonment.

The reason why this movie hit me is because the story is very real and I know a lot of very similar stories.

I know Filipinos who have worked up to 5, 6 or more years in my country before they could petition their families. I know Filipinos who work as seamen around the world and spend long periods away from their families.

I actually even know Filipino families in which, although they all live in my country, one family member works as live-in and only comes home on Thursdays in the afternoon and Sundays.

I know Filipinos who immediately after getting married left their husband or wife home and moved abroad to support the family and I know Filipinos who are legal residents in my country who married someone in the Philippines not knowing exactly how long they would have had to wait to get their spouses here.

And last but not least I know Filipinos who have sent their children to the Philippines to have them raised by their grandparents so that they could concentrate on earning more money.

While it is understandable that life in the Philippines is tough it is also easy to understand how a prolonged physical separation from one’s spouse or children destroys family life and actually makes it pointless to even set up a family if the price to pay to have one is no contact whatsoever for months or years and communication through Skype or Facebook Messenger can hardly make up for lack of physical contact.

So if you marry a Filipina you’d better (in my humble opinion) make sure that you marry one who has her priorities straight and for whom intimacy matters more than money and who would rather go hungry than separate from their loved ones.