At Home sa Abroad: Realities of Filipina marriage migration

MANILA, Philippines – “Fly high, Pinay.”

This is a joke often used when a Filipino woman is seen on a date with a Caucasian man. While labor migration is socially accepted as a path to economic advancement, migration through marriage to a foreigner is still something many women from developing countries are stigmatized for.

It was under the administration of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s when the Philippines saw an exodus of workers due to a newly developed labor export program. It was also then when thousands of Filipino women married abroad, many of whom settled in Australia.

There came the phenomenon of “mail-order brides.” This term was used to describe Filipinas who married foreigners through agencies that facilitated the matchmaking of a foreign man looking to marry a Filipina.

While some ended up living comfortable lives, there were also reports of abused wives.

By 1990, the Philippines outlawed the practice of matching Filipino women for marriage to foreigners on a mail-order basis.

The children of couples formed during the period are still around, and continue to tell their stories.

In this episode of At Home sa Abroad: Stories of Overseas Filipinos, Rappler multimedia reporter Michelle Abad speaks to Filipino-Australian radio producer Alan Weedon, who grew up wondering why he was one of the many children in his community born to an Australian father and Filipino mother.

When his mother, Jesusita, passed away in 2022, Alan decided to trace her story of moving to Australia in 1991. As he deep-dived into the circumstances that brought his parents together, he weaved his mother’s story and its context of a “great southern migration” together in a recently published audio documentary on ABC, Visions of the Filipina Bride.

Source: At Home sa Abroad: Realities of Filipina marriage migration (

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