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In 2011, Malta became the latest to join the rest of the world in legalizing divorce. Now there are only two holdouts left. There’s Vatican City (do they even have marriages there?) And then there’s the Philippines. That’s right—this is one country where if you get married, there’s no way out!Weddings 1

Modern Philippines and Liberal Views

It’s a rather strange concept when you think about it, since in many ways the Philippines is a very modern country. Everyone has a cellphone, for example, and despite what you may have heard about the poverty situation here, everyone owns a TV. A lot of people have cable TV, and they have DVD players as well. Teens listen to American pop and hip-hop, while their elders are stuck on the 80s new wave and 90s alternative rock. Women wear skimpy shorts out in the streets.

Filipinos actually have modern views about sex too. Now it’s no longer a scandal when people engage in sex before they get married, and adultery among men is actually “normal”.

Officially Conservative

But you may notice that most Filipinos are still conservative. For women, it’s very rare to find one not wearing a bra out in public. Then you’ll also notice that people behave courteously towards their elders and strangers.

There’s also a difference about what’s tolerated and what’s approved of. People living together outside marriage is tolerated, but openly sanctioning it is a different matter. And that’s what the divorce bill is all about.

The Roman Catholic Church is against the very idea of divorce because the priests and bishops feel that it’s an attack on the very idea of family. The Church is so conservative here that the idea of condoms is tantamount to abortion, which is also very illegal here.

Right now, married couples can and do separate and find new partners. It’s just that they can’t get remarried. A Filipino can get the marriage annulled and the Church agrees to this all the time, but this is a privilege granted only to the rich (because it’s expensive!).

Filipino Weddings

So if you have your heart set on getting married here, you may want to get some legal advice first. And you should also try to get the blessing of a priest. Most people think of weddings as events that happen inside a church. If it’s on the beach, then it’s just a legal procedure. It may be fun and exciting to have the wedding on the beach, but it sure is different than what they’re used to.

But if you’re a foreigner, then it’s probably all right. Most people here accept that foreigners do things differently, and they don’t assume that they’ll take to all the local customs. Besides, the scenery can be a great come-on, and Filipinos always love a good reason to get together and celebrate.

When it comes to weddings, it’s always a big celebration for Filipinos. Maybe that’s because they expect the marriage to be (officially) forever. And perhaps they’re right. After all, there’s no divorce in the Philippines.


In the Philippines, you can find a lot of exotic animals in their zoos and also find even more excitement underwater when you go diving. But even walking in the streets can give you a very adventurous time, especially if you live in the US or Europe.

Wildlife 1

  1. Dogs. Filipinos love their dogs. Although there was a time not so long ago when eating dog meat was common here, and one Filipino author even wrote a book entitled The Dog Eaters.  But the Internet changed that quickly enough. Since tourism is a very big deal here and the government didn’t really appreciate having foreigners accuse Filipinos of being inhumane, dog eating was outlawed and now such a practice has become very rare (at least officially).

You’ll find dogs in the streets, and for the most part you won’t find collars. These dogs have learned to adopt a “live and let live” philosophy, so they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. The only problem is when a dog is not allowed to go roaming in the streets—they become quite attached to their home and property so they bark a lot when they see a stranger.

  1. Cats. Many of the cats you see here don’t have owners. They just go from place to place trying to find food from garbage bins, but if you find one in your property and you want to keep it, then you just leave your leftovers for them. Soon they’ll stay with you on a permanent basis, and then all your rodent problems are solved.
  2. Rats. While city rodents are a problem all over the world, here they are actually farm rats that don’t eat garbage. They eat grain, so they’re pretty clean. Some locals even eat them just as some people eat squirrel or raccoons in other countries.
  3. Birds. There are plenty of birds in the Philippines, even in highly urbanized cities like Manila. They can be very noisy in the morning, but you won’t notice them since there are noisier things going on in the streets.
  4. Bats. In the city, when the sun is about to set, you may notice some “birds” in the sky with weird flying motions. If you look more closely, you will realize that those things aren’t birds, they’re bats. And no, they’re not rabid and they won’t attack you.
  5. Roosters. Roosters are everywhere in the Philippines. These roosters aren’t for eating, they’re for cock-fighting. While dog-fighting is almost unheard of here, cockfighting is a national pastime. Even government officials are open advocates of cockfighting. They actually have competitions in the big cities which can fill up entire arenas.

What’s more, some of these regular cockfighting competitions are shown on television. There are more than a couple of shows devoted to it, and some foreigners such as those from the American South, participate as well. And these shows even show slow-motion replays of spectacular moves.

  1. Spiders. Local kids like to pit spiders against one another, and they do this until they grow up and graduate to betting on fighting cocks. It’s one of those things that are common around here especially in the provinces.

The Philippines is a different country and it has a different culture. Once you accept that, then you’ll appreciate it even more. Just be careful of certain places where there are giant crocodiles. Just kidding! (Actually, it‘s not a joke—Google it!)



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Badladz wins tops travel award

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