Do Filipino married couples deserve “A Second Chance”? According to Philippine law, it’s a pointless question — because divorce is illegal in the Philippines.
What then are Filipino couples’ options? Nothing, actually. Filipinos must make their marriages work come hell or high water — because marriage failure is not an option under Philippine law. If your first marriage fails, there is no other way to get married a second time in the Philippines. So there is no “second chance” for love in the Philippines.
There is one legal solution to solving a failed marriage in the Philippines, and that is to climb into a time machine and travel to the past before the marriage transpired and make it not happen. In Philippine legalese, this is called “annulment”. When a marriage is annuled, it is regarded by law as never happened. Makes perfect sense, right? Of course it does. It’s the law in the Philippines.
Whatever the case, A Second Chance is a hit movie. In the immortal words of Popoy (played by John Lloyd Cruz) spoken to Basha (played by Bea Alonzo) before their wedding:
Ito na yung huling gabi na mayroon ikaw at ako. Simula bukas, ang meron na lang ay tayo, tayo habang buhay.
[Translated: “This is the last night that there is a you and me. Tomorrow, it will be just us forever.”]
Naks naman. My mom told me how my grandma told her after she got engaged to my dad that she should not quit her job after getting married. Back then, that was the thing to do for women. I guess my grandma was a bit advanced for her time. She was remarkable in that she was one of the very few female accountants of her time. Her point was (as relayed to me by my mom) that in marriage, it becomes even more important that you protect your individuality and that your partner respect both yours and his individuality. And this is what makes marriages truly strong — when there is mutual respect. Mutual respect involves recognizing one another’s personal space foremost.
Ironically, in One More Chance — the prequel to A Second Chance — this lack of individuality was what originally caused the relationship between Popoy and Basha to disintegrate. Popoy was constantly in Basha’s face, and Basha whose career at the time was just taking off, needed the space to spread her wings.
That desire for space and for one to be everything they could be does not change after marriage.
So it seems, Popoy’s seminal words in A Second Chance should be regarded with caution. Pinoy-style marriages are fraught with pitfalls as it is, what with relatives and in-laws being an integral part of most Filipino marriages as our culture dictates. There is no Pinoy-style divorce, unfortunately. So it is best that marriage be approached with eyes wide open rather than a lifetime of buntong hiningas with closed eyes that might eventually choke the love and respect out of what could otherwise be a beautiful lifetime partnership.
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