The Typical Filipino Family

Learn about Filipino family, its distinguishing features, values and role as basic society. This will enable visitors and expatriates better deal with Filipino people.

A typical Filipino family is composed of father, mother, with three to four children and may also include an extended family of aunt, uncle, cousin or grandparent. Per UN survey a Filipina had an average of six children in the 1970’s. Just lately it has reduced to three. The RH Bill however, endorses a two-child policy for the future.

father-mother-child with brother

Left photo: father and child with brother / Right photo: mother and child

Roles of Family Member

The father is family head and breadwinner. He makes major decisions in consultation with his wife. He implements disciplinary measures to correct children.

The family treasurer and home keeper is the wife. She takes care of children and husband. Children are usually closer to her than to their father. Mother may also augment family income through employment or through engaging in business. To ease her workload at home, she hires domestic helper or requests assistance from extended family.

Most Filipino moms are already working because of the rising cost of living. Some are even out of the country despite estrangement with the husband and kids.

The children are taught to respect and obey their parents. The elder sibling, especially the girl, is trained to be her mother’s assistant. She learns to look after her younger siblings and to manage the home. Elder sibling also gets respect from the younger ones. Filipino children are assigned home chores to train them to be responsible.

The Filipino family practices monogamy except for Muslims where a husband may have multiple wives. Divorce is unlawful but marriage can be annulled with both parties not allowed to remarry.

Roles of Family, School and Church

two kids with fish undr the rain

The family is the first institution to develop a child's character. We, parents teach our children values learned from ancestors and community. These values are modified to suit our needs. Some factors affecting changes are parents' upbringing, religion, education, social and economic status.

We normally desire to provide bright future for our kids. We try our best to give them the best education we can afford. We have an adage that knowledge is the best treasure we can give them as it cannot be stolen and is their key to success in their chosen fields.

Two Filipino kids with caught fish under the rain. Photo courtesy of I Love Philippines!!! (Green Mango)

The school is another institution influencing our family. Teachers provide big role in children’s lives. They set lasting examples which may even influence children’s choice of profession. Good manners learned from school additionally provide solid values foundation.

The church is an institution that influences Filipino parents and children. Spiritual values which are addressed to the hearts and conscience of a man is powerful and all encompassing.

What Identifies a Filipino Family?

The most prominent mark of a Filipino family is its cohesion. It starts from childhood where kids see the sacrifices of their parents just to send them to school or support their daily sustenance. Family gatherings during birthdays, Christmas, reunion or fiesta further contribute to this bonding. Two families, relatives and close family friends who are sponsors are also united and form as the core community of the new couple during wedding.

kid doing

Kid doing "mano po" as respect to parent. Photo courtesy of I Love Philippines!!! (Green Mango)

Close family ties sometimes results to the practice of nepotism or preferential treatment. Some further allege that this closeness leads to the prevailing graft and corruption in the country.

This could be true to some but strong family ties can be put to advantage if tempered with sound heart, soul and mind to bring about sound judgment.

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