Here’s a pretty interesting question that came in recently in the comments here at PhilFAQS, where we try to answer the question you have about living in the Philippines”
A question has come up with my wife and I. She is Filipino. I am American. You always hear about the improbability of a US citizen obtaining employment in RP. The question we have, and have been asking many people, our children are ages 2 and 5 now, we have always planned on moving to the Philippines in the future, say 5 yrs, and living full time.
Our children being US citizens, would they have any chance at finding employment when they reach working age? We are planning on schooling them in phil, probably with a home tutor and US studies, but when they do reach working age, would they face the same troubles a foreigner has in finding meaningful employment?
I know we are trying to predict years ahead, but would like to have as many opinions in final decision process as we can gather. Thanks for any opinions, advice you can share.
Well, as already noted, who can predict? But, for sure, an intelligent and well thought out question. My crystal ball is pretty cloudy these days, but let me bounce a few thoughts back at you with this article, and perhaps some other readers who already have experience with raising children here will chime in as well.
One issue that comes to mind immediately is you reference to your children as US citizens. Are they not the children of your Filipino/former Filipino wife? If so, they entitled to be natural-born Filipinos, regardless of where they were born. In fact, if your wife, whom I am assuming gave up her Filipino citizenship when she was naturalized in the US, were to reacquire her Philippines citizenship, the children will become Philippine citizens as well. Even if you wife chooses not to reacquire, it is still your children’s birth right and I advise you to look into this really hard, because even if you feel there’s no advantage to Philippine citizenship, that crystal ball pops into play agin … who can say what their advantage might be twenty years down the road.
The dual-citizenship status leads right into my second point. And I’m going to speak straight from the shoulder here … some of my Filipino friends may not like this, because I don’t beat around the bush, I tell it as it is.
The common description that your children will always be known by, like it or not, is “mestizo”. personally I consider this to be a derogatory, distasteful remnant of the Spanish overseer culture, but the fact is, racial discrimination (in both the positive and negative sense) is a big fact of life here in the Philippines.
Given that the situation “is what it is”, the positive aspect is, if mestizo children do not have an advantage, I can surely say their heritage will never prove a disadvantage. I could say more, but I think I’ll save that for a slow day.
Regarding their schooling, your plan is pretty sound in my view, but there is a but. The schools that a Filipino child goes to are a big part of his or her future life. Often much more so than in the US scheme of things.
Of course, if your children decide to go and seek their fortune elsewhere, the schools they went to in the Philippines will not be of much consequence, but if they stay here in the Philippines, not only the school, but their “batchmates” and in university, their fraternity will be a major factor in their future careers.
So I’m thinking, were I to be raising children here, I’d lean heavily towards sending them to a ‘name brand’ school and perhaps backing up that education with US recognized home study courses. Sounds like overkill, and perhaps it is, but don’t forget, you’re looking forward to a child who is well-qualified in both the Philippine world and, perhaps, the USA or other western country.
Accredited International schools are another potential solution, but I don’t see them held in very high esteem … mostly that issue is outside my area of expertise.
To give some concluding thoughts. Let’s say you child wants to be a lawyer. Well, s/he is in good shape here as opposed to a straight US citizen, because the law is one of a number of professions restricted to Filipinos only. If s/he got a law degree here and some experience and then decided there was a better opportunity, say, in the US, most states that I have researched will accept the Philippine education at close to face value … usually requiring a short course of US and state specific education and then passing the bar exam in the state they wanted to practice in. I know of a number of Filipino lawyer who have US credentials as well.
But suppose they wanted to practice medicine? Their options change, significantly. The US doesn’t directly recognize their Philippine medical credentials. They might be a board certified MD here and have only the choice of working as a physical therapist or some other support role in the US. It’s so hard to predict the future.
Were they to enter the world of commerce? I don’t see many barriers except their education and their initiative and drive at putting that education to use. One of my wife’s former workmates keeps me dizzy. She’s living in another city every few years. And pretty darn good addresses in those cities, too. She’s a stay at home mom, raising their children, her husband (100% Filipino and Philippines-educated) is a very senior marketing executive with a very large multi-national corporation. His career has bene like a senior officer in the armed forces, he gets sent to different assignments all round the world every few years as he climbs the corporate success ladder.
Another online friend, Filipino born and educated, is a senior executive with a large pharmaceutical firm. He currently works out of Hong Kong, his only regret is he can’t come home to the Philippines and enjoy life with his family in his several very nice homes in the Philippines, fly his private plane which mostly sits at the airport, un-used, etc.
Bottom line is, I think your children’s potential for success if they are raised in the Philippines is certainly not less than if raised in the US … potentially, for the factors I mentioned above, possibly significantly higher.
I got out of the child-rearing ‘business’ some years ago, but if I were to be blessed with another child? My wife and I would have no reservations at all about raiding him or her here in the Philippines, for sure.