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Are you an American?"  I almost automatically replied "Oo!" ("yes" in Filipino and Ilongo, pronounced "oh oh". First time my Filipina wife uttered it while talking on the phone to a fellow Pinay in America, I thought something was wrong. You can tell I've been in the Philippines for awhile since phrases from the local language first pop into my head at times.)DSC


  • Catching myself, I replied "Yes" to the inquisitive kano. "I'm from Illinois."
  • "Chicago?" he asked (doesn't matter where in the world you meet a fellow American, they usually always think you're from Chicago if you say you're from Illinois.)
  • "Nope, I worked in Springfield, Illinois." I advised him.
  • "I'm from Tennessee." he said. "It's f****ing good to meet another American!" he said loudly as the workers at the meat counter looked at us as if we had just disembarked from an alien spacecraft. "My name's Mickey!" (not his real name) as he stuck out his hand.
I shook "Mickey's" hand, and  I asked him how long he has been in the Philippines. He replied eight years,  and after I told him I was married to a Filipina he told me he got married in the Philippines but had a problem.
The poor guy could not get his wife to the United States as Immigration kept rejecting her visa. "Mickey" eventually found out that his wife was already married to someone else in the Philippines, and, of course, could not travel to the United States. Immigration services tend to frown on bigamy. "Gold digger!"
exclaimed my fellow kano even though he returned to the Philippines to be with her.
Told him I was sorry to hear that. He said, it's OK, he's engaged to another Filipina now and as soon as his annulment goes through, he will marry his new love. Yes, even though he married a woman that already had a husband, that still did not void the marriage.
To try and explain this issue and how often it occurs in the Philippines would require a separate new eBook from me, and is way too complex to go into now. I have related in the past that one of my wife's first cousins in the Philippines married another lady after his first wife left him for another man without obtaining a divorce or an annulment.
Divorce is not legal in the Philippines, and annulments are expensive and only granted about 95% of the time according to online sources. Mickey tells me he lives in a nearby dormitory, and then gives me a bit of surprising information that convinces me he likes to live on the edge. I'll finish this story tomorrow, and fill you in out what "Mickey" told me. You'll understand why I am using a pseudonym for him.

4 thoughts on “Are You An American? Encounter in Iloilo City!

  1. Um, hadn't his lawyer heard about Article 26 of the New Civil code? There's a loophole there that's seems 'customized' for marraiges between Filipinos and foriegners.

    Under Article 26, FC, a foreign spouse can obtain a valid divorce in his own country, in Mickey's case, the US. When the divorce is granted, the effect is automatic on the marraige held in the Philippines. Under Philippine law then, Mickey and his wife are now deemed 'divorced.' Philippine law recognizes this grant of divorce and it is valid here in the philippines.

    Mickey then would be capacitated to remarry under philippine law, subject to certain procedural conditions (like adequately proving the divorce granted by the foreign court).

    Here is Article 26 of the Family Code:

    Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35 (1), (4), (5) and (6), 3637 and 38. (17a)

    Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.

    – Kaltehitze

  2. Hi Dave! My take on it is he has to look into the provision of Article 26 of the Family Code in conjunction with Article 15 and 16 of the Civil Code.

    Art. 26., second paragraph states:

    Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.

    On the other hand Article 15 essentially states that laws relating to family rights and duties are governed by the law of the person whose citizen is in question.

    I honestly don't think he needs to get an annulment here. As a foreigner, his family rights is governed by the law of his country. If he is able to secure a divorce from his country against his former Filipina spouse that alone should be sufficient for him to remarry.

    A Judicial Recognition of a Divorce Decree is necessary only for the filipina former spouse to remarry. But it is not necessary for the foreigner to remarry, if he has already validly secured a divorce decree from his country.

  3. Well, I am fortunate to have two great legal minds commenting on this. Thanks so much to Kaltehitze and Doods n Bobby for their legal advice on Mickey's issue. I had never heard of Article 26 of the Family Code which you both mention, and can pass that on to "Mickey". I am reasonably sure he does not have an attorney, and when I post the follow-up to this story, you will find he has some other legal issues to be concerned with.

    Thanks to both for your information. It will be useful in another website I have which I will credit you both for. I appreciate your valuable legal opinions.

  4. The Philippines is a Christian country so divorce is not allowed. I find that too old fashion. But what can we do right? Politician are afraid to contradict the religious organizations here in the country.

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