Filipina Wives · Perry Gamsby

Leadership, not control – in Australian Filipina marriages (Part 3)

There are horror stories of Aussie men marrying a Filipina, often half their age or more, who find themselves shackled to a gold digger who bleeds them dry and then tosses them onto the scrap heap. There are genuine cases of men who have been murdered by their Filipina wives after moving to the Philippines ot spend their retirement years in ‘paradise’. It does happen and yet it is still very much the exception rather than the rule.

I would think there are more Filipinas who move to Australia to be with their new husbands who find themselves on the receiving end of his drunken anger and physical expressions of his feelings of failure in life. By far, though, are the many marriages that are loving and productive; but that doesn’t mean it is always plain sailing.


Filipinas Respect A Man Who Is A Leader

In this series of articles we are exploring leadership rather than control. Filipinas respect a man who is a leader, who directs them through life. This doesn’t mean to control everything they do but rather to make decisions, to offer love and stability and hope for the future. The future of the marriage and of course, the family that 99% of all Filipinas want to have.

In Filipino culture the man is the head of the household; but don’t let that fool you. The woman is very much a major decision maker within the family home. Outside, in public, she will not ‘show up’ her husband and embarrass him by arguing with him, contradicting him or disobeying him. She’ll keep that for inside the home. This public ‘obsequiousness’ is genuine and part of how a Filipina maintains a steady and loving relationship. She knows men can have fragile egos and some, sadly mismanage issues with violence. The Filipina will use ‘tampo’ and offer silence and the cold-shoulder treatment that is eerily effective.


How To Avoid Tampo

To avoid such confrontations, the husband should be aware of the wife’s true meanings when she says ‘up to you’, or ‘that’s ok’ or ‘I like that too’. If there is silence then beware! Say you are in a store and you decide to buy a new TV. She says nothing so you think that it is ok with her and you are about to buy it when you go for the double check. You ask her again if she is ok with you buying the TV and she speaks this time. She says, ‘up to you’. Do not buy the TV!

So how is this being a leader? You want the TV, you believe you need it, or it makes good sense. You have made the decision to replace the old TV so you take the initiative and go out to buy a new one. But if that is her reaction, then buy at your peril. What you should do is complain how the old TV is not working properly, how your friends all have new TVs and how you are embarrassed for her when her friends to visit and see that old TV. Let her suggest getting a new one. That, my friend, is leadership. Lead her into making the decision you want. After all, that’s how they do it to us!


Perry Gamsby, D.Lit, MA(Writing), Dip.Bus, Dip. Mktg is a writer and lecturer who lives with his Cebuana wife and five Aus-Fil daughters in Western Sydney. The author of a series of best-selling ‘self-help’ books for expats and those married to Filipinas, he is also a Master of Filipino Martial Arts and a former World Stickfighting Champion who has lived, worked and vacationed in the Philippines since 1988. Perry and his family return to the Philippines on a yearly basis. You can read more of his writing on Philippines topics at


This article and website sponsored by Down Under Visa, Australian Registered Migration Agents in Manila – The Australian Partner Visa Specialists

One thought on “Leadership, not control – in Australian Filipina marriages (Part 3)

  1. I must reinforce that point about the Tampo. When it is said its ‘up to you’ (Which irritates me no end if used on me) really means ‘do it at your peril’. Not forgetting when out and about to dress neatly at all times. My wife takes that a step further and makes sure I am very well dressed just in case some ate or friend will see me and her together. It really is a serious embarassment to the Filipina if the husband looks like something the cat dragged in for last nights dinner. Definitely no talking for days. I did that by accident after working hard on the car at home and couldn’t be bothered to change to pick her up from work.
    Of course the point made about using the same approach of embarassment to oneself/wife in front of friends etc carries considerable weight. Me as an Aussie pay little weight to what others think. But this is most definitely not the case with a Filipina. We have an independent style culture. My wifes is a interdependent style culture where everyones opinion especially the ates and older rellies is very important. Mind you, my wife has adopted a sort of middle ground and is definitely more independent than when we first were married. She now tends to pay less attention to what others may think around her.
    Another favorite man habit is going into the caveman motion of watching the TV, playing computer games or some other pursuit. Again, under no circumstances ignore what is being said to you. One of my male rellies (a Pinoy rellie) had a whole load of coins tipped on his head when he was playing computer games. Needless to say that got his attention. Ignore your wife at your peril.

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