CBG looking to Marry in Philippines

Can Comicbook Guy Marry in the Philippines?

The Philippines expat community is in an uproar and if you are familiar with some of these serious-minded men you know some serious shit must be happening.

Turns out there is a proposed bill in the Philippines legislature that might make it harder for a “foreigner” to marry a Filipina, at least within the Philippines and it’s got some expats quaking in their flip flops.

The bill is sponsored by Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn F. Garcia, who described her measure as a protection against “vagabonds or social and moral derelicts in their own country whose real motive is to abuse Filipino women…to take advantage and exploit our women by making them work for the family and worse, by sending them to prostitution and other degrading and dehumanizing occupations.”

“The exploitation of our Filipino women, through the so-called mail-order or pen-pal, Facebook, website-made, and other internet-made marriages, has not only caused untold miseries and suffering to our Filipino women but it has also brought dishonor and disgrace to the Filipino womanhood,” she said.

Note to self: Don’t disgrace or dishonor Filipino womanhood anymore by asking Janet what she’d like to make for dinner.

Note to self: Don’t disgrace or dishonor Filipino womanhood anymore by asking Janet what she’d like to make for dinner.

If the bill passes they are actually going to require the foreigner husband-to-be to document his income and prove that he is of good moral character.

The uproar among the expats mainly has to do with several areas of distress:

1. Distrust of government. Well, this is a generally good, libertarian type stance, I suppose. The Philippines Government ought to stay out of personal affairs whenever possible (ours certainly does :)), although potential charges of degradation and prostitution is somewhere I expect governments to be very involved – as an equal partner. In this case the guys were more worried that the estimated cost of said documents (1000 pesos = approx. $25) is just one more area where those thieves in Manila are ripping off poor foreigners who can already barely afford their daily ration of San Miguel.

2. That many of the guys in question don’t know what the term “good moral character” means, nor where to buy the document that says they have it.

3. That there is a general lack of respect for foreigners living in the Philippines, many of whom, hard to believe, are viewed as sex tourists. See the above “good moral character” definition.

4. General confusion because no one has used the word vagabond in fifty years and most guys think it has something to do with hitchhikers or backpakers. OTOH, most of the guys didn’t object to the use of the work derelict, which they assumed is used to accurately reflect their drinking habits.


Since I am already married to my darling Janet and didn’t marry in the Philippines, the proposed law isn’t a big issue for me. But if all my brethren are up in arms than I figure that I had better investigate for the good of the order. Now where’s my bottle opener…

In the midst of my extensive investigation, coincidentally Janet asked me if I was aware of the bill. “Yes, I heard about it. Thank goodness we got married before I had to verify my moral character. And who knew that I was only interested in destroying Filipino womanhood.”

I did finally get around to asking her what she thought of the bill, since after all it would, at least in theory, make it harder for a couple like us to marry.

“I think it’s good,” she replied. “Many foreigners don’t take care of their wives, use them only as maids or treat them like sex slaves.” I may be a bit paranoid, but I didn’t like the look she gave me as she described these ne’er do well foreigner husbands.

“I don’t treat you like a maid,” I replied giggling. She gave me “the look.”

I am also aware that just as the expats are constantly sharing stories of the occasional bad Filipina wife, usually involving murder by bolo, Filipinas are often sharing stories about bad foreigner husbands. Janet often shares these internet stories usually asking me, “Did you hear about this foreigner who sold his wife into slavery in Iowa?”

“Well if it’s in Iowa, he’s not a foreigner,” I’d calmly reply. The “look” would follow.

It took me about a day to complete my attitude adjustment. Apparently I hadn’t drunk enough San Miguels.

So let’s consider the outcome of the proposed law. Of course the following assumes the law passes and furthermore assumes it is thoroughly enforced; and when does that happen? But assuming both conditions, what might happen to Fil-Am marriages in the Philippines?

The guy who promises his girl that he is a rich kano with a $100k job who can take care of her for life, take care of her kids, take care of her family, the neighbors, hell the whole barangay is discovered to be an unemployed phone solicitor with a bank balance of -$127.

The guy who swears to his girl that he has never been married is found to have been married twice and was never exactly divorced – from either wife.

The guy who loves children and can’t wait to have another one with his Filipina fiancé, owes child support dating back to the Clinton administration.

The guy who claims he can retire early in the Philippines due to his business acumen, owes the IRS $250k in back taxes.

The guy who is highly moral and religious and attends mass weekly with his FIlipina, is wanted in five states and by the Feds for grand larceny, racketeering and transporting a white fish across state lines. OK, I stole the white fish bit from Woody Allen – always loved that line. I guess that thievery means I wouldn’t pass the Philippines requirements either.

Not that any of these guys are vagabonds or derelicts. They’re just living the good life in the Philippines.










14 thoughts on “Can Comicbook Guy Marry in the Philippines?”

  1. So.. an expat is presumed to be a ‘sexpat’, wife-abuser and has to prove his income… meanwhile the average filipino male is abandoning kids in every barangay and hasn’t got 2 pesos to his name, be WE have to prove we are of “good moral character”??

    Geez, where to start with this? Let’s see.. how about prejudicial racism? If you’re a foreigner.. you can’t be trusted. Will that be included in the tourism brochures? How about nepotism? I will bet dollars to babinka that this whole bill was born out of some bad incident that happened to one of her filipina relatives with some bad-apple expat.

    And if protecting people from abuse is SO important to this bill’s agenda.. where is the equal protection for expats who get scammed out of millions of dollars from thousands of filipinas every year? Where is the bill to make filipinas prove they are of “good moral character” before being ‘allowed’ by the government to get married? What’s sauce for the goose is good for the gander, no?

    So, as a single expat who has made the PH my permanent home, done massive amounts of video to promote tourism and goodwill for the PH.. do I rush out and marry the first flipina I can find so I grandfather in before this law is passed? Nah, I’d do the responsible thing and take my time with a relationship and then HOPE the 2 apple san miguel’s I had for the month of July don’t come back to haunt me come marriage license time.

    1. Hi Henry:

      Let’s not take my comments tooooo seriously. We are after all talking about a bill that is only proposed and doesn’t exist, which was one of my points.

      But the reality is that all governments are prejudiced by definition. They see that one of their responsibilities is to protect their citizens from foreign nationals. There’s lots of debate in the US about whether our government does a good job of that, but no debate that it’s important. It also means, that for good or bad, governments are responsible for protecting their own, not foreign citizens. So sure, they are gonna be far more interested in protecting Filipinas than the horny, dumb foreigner that gets taken for a ride.

      The Philippines as a developing nation is a bit impotent. Like most small countries it can’t defend itself if it had to. It needs tourism, so makes it relatively easy for tourists to come there and even stay with not a whole lot of questions (OK a few). It allows 10% of its population to leave because it can’t provide adequate jobs for them.

      So, some politician somewhere gets to temporarily look good by pushing back and saying they can do something about a problem, that in fact I suspect has some reality to it. You don’t have to read the Philippines expat forums too hard to know there are some bad guys out there. But I agree that such a law, should it ever come to pass would at best be an inconvenience. A truly bad guy will get around it, unless he’s too loaded, which is certainly possible in the Philippines.

      One of the biggest complaints in the expat community is that Philippines law is rarely or badly enforced. Now we’re “quaking in our flip flops” over a law that doesn’t exist.

      And no, I wouldn’t rush out and marry if I were you – in or out of the Philippines. As I said in the piece, as with all laws, there’s a good chance you will be old and grey before it would ever impact you. Also, I suspect you’d pass muster. I’d write a letter supporting your moral character 🙂

  2. Dave, are you sure this wasn’t thought up by an American politician? It smacks of some screwball congressman(person?) squawking and trying to be seen as doing something useful (But think of the children!!).
    Not to say there isn’t a problem in some of these marriages but I find it a bit amusing that a government that can’t provide the most basic services to it’s people is spending their time grandstanding instead of trying to figure out how to keep the electricity going or perhaps provide competent medical care for their seniors.
    But it will probably pass because this is the kind of thing politicians care about and it will generate votes. And those of us who do attempt to marry there will have some other useless bureaucracy to deal with.
    How do I prove “good moral character?” Maybe walk through a room filled with baby ducks blindfolded without stepping on any of them?

    1. Robert – Good points. Politicians are I suspect the same the world over. We don’t know enough yet about how (or if ever) the bill will be implemented to know how you’re going to prove good moral character, which was one of the things I found humorous.

      I should in some way apologize to everyone. I certainly had every reason to know that this subject and my posting would be controversial. I found it (like most things) to be humorous, especially once I realized that my wife had the opposite view of most expats and in fact did believe that Filipinas should have some type of government protection. In the end, like most laws, it will probably have little effect, but I found the outcry on all sides to be interesting.

      1. Dave, no need to apologize. I had not heard about the bill but the fact that is has been proposed isn’t really a surprise.

        To me the uselessness of the proposal is proven by the “good moral character” thing. How in the world do you prove that? Maybe they use my suggestion??

        1. Hi Robert:

          One of the purposes of this blog – other than just proving I’m a wiseass – is to document my own changes since I married. Three years ago I would have told every guy who would listen to go to the Philippines, meet tons of cute girls, and have a blast. All of which is still true. But now I have Filipina friends and a Filipino family and my perspective has gradually changed. Over those years I have had a few Filipina friends ask me if I knew of any guy they might be interested in. Unfortunately, on only one case did I say yes – and they are now married. In other cases I simply didn’t know anyone to recommend. Doesn’t make my friends bad guys or sexpats but when it comes to your sister in law you want to really think long and hard.

          My initial reaction to the proposed law, other than it would probably never pass or be enforced if it did, was to agree with the expats. But then I talked to Janet and realized from a Fiipina’s perspective what is there to protect them. Americans go to Phils and sometimes hire an investigator to check out the girl – and everyone applauds. Our Filipinas have little such options. They make life changing decisions based on love and trust. Frankly when the K-1 process required me to document my employment, my income, my marital status, etc. I was happy to show all that to Janet, because I wanted there to be no doubt in her mind that I was the person I said I was.

          So as I say, while like most laws, I expect this one to be less than effective, I don’t have a problem with its general intent.

  3. Many people are paranoid over this HB No. 2387 authored by Garcia on which it’s on nearing approval status by this moment .

    In real life, no one can guarantee a “happy ever after – tell death do as part”marital union” even if the “couples-to -be ” gone through a thousands of proofs/evidences that can prove their capabilities to get married.

    It’s their job to protect the people mostly the women who chose to leave their Family,Friends & their country just to be with the men they love & adore , chose to leave the humid & live with the men in 0 degrees .

    And by the way, if you’re a man with a good morals with no criminal history ,with no mental disability, no child support debts and not collecting food stamps from the Gov’t becoz you are lazy & etc., then no point of arguing. Just be happy & enjoy & if the right time comes, you meet a Filipina that you love & treasure then don’t sweat… You can prove it! 😉

    1. Thanks Janet once again for giving your direct view of this issue.

      Thank goodness I have no criminal history and am not collecting food stamps 🙂

      1. Thank you & good thing @ Dave or else you & your wife will live @ mother n law ( n our case none) and/or in the basement without heater or even a fireplace . Baby freeze!!!. 😉

          1. Yes Mr.Dave? I just remembered about somebody’s posts – her situation ” freezing in the basement ” I’m sad for her .. O_O

  4. The feedback I get from my friends, in the Philippines, Dave concerning the viability of this “proposed” bill is two fold. First, OFW abuse is much more rampant than foreigners abusing their wives and second, those that are of most concern are the Koreans (you may want to ask your wife also about that one…)-this is what I am hearing from those who live there and are always open with me. I ask my wife how’s my moral character-she tells me it’s about 90% and she would’nt have it any other way-lol! I guess I’ll get my Balikbayan stamp after all when I move there.

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