Ina Raymundo reveals her struggles on raising a bicultural family
According to award-winning actress Ina Raymundo, love has no geography and knows no boundaries, so when it comes to raising a blended family, even love can hurdle any cultural gap.
Raising a bicultural family isn't easy, but mom and actress Ina Raymundo is definitely making things work!
Ina Raymundo reveals her struggles on raising a bicultural family!
Ina Raymundo met her prince charming, Brian Poturnak, at the height of her career when she was 24.
They had met through common friends on a group date and the introductions were amiable. When Ina asked for his name, Brian teased her, “I’ll give you two minutes and I bet you that you won’t remember.” And sure enough, “I forgot it!”
No feelings were hurt though as they both shared a good laugh, setting the mood for the night ahead filled with light and easy conversation.
Brian, who is six and a half years her senior, was then working as a financial consultant, and his profession had him traveling the world. Though he was based then in the US, he was in the Philippines for work.
"There was no romantic spark"
And so Ina thought nothing of it when Brian asked for her number. “I thought that he was initially interested in my other friend who joined us, because he said that I was very shy,” shares Ina. “Dalagang Pilipina lang ang peg!”
“There was no romantic spark, none at all!” she reveals, but she was willing to get to know him better as a friend, because she admired his being down to earth and kind-hearted.
Then what followed was a year of friendship, built over endless conversations and long distance phone calls.
“Before, we were really just phone pals,” shares Ina. “We’d talk on the phone every day, and he was either in the US or Bangkok. At that time I had a boyfriend, and Brian knew that. I wasn’t open to a relationship, so I just joked with him that the only reason I was willing to talk to him was because I wanted to practice my English!’ laughs the true blue Bulaceña beauty. “And in fairness, my English did improve.”
They settled on friendship
The handsome blonde-haired, blue-eyed bachelor was clear with his intentions for her, but she clarified that she was, indeed, in a committed relationship.
They both agreed and settled on friendship.
Eventually, Ina’s relationship with her then boyfriend ended, giving way for the two hearts to finally and fully explore the love and affection that had blossomed between the two friends.
After almost a year of phone calls, they finally decided to go on their first date. “And we’ve been inseparable since!” beams Ina.
Fifteen years later, with five beautiful kids between them–Erika (13), Jakob (10), Mikaela (6), Annika (4) and Minka (2), Ina and Brian are still very much in love. A glimpse into their Instagram accounts shows how much their youthfulness and playful amour have endured. “Kinikilig pa rin ako ngayon, sa totoo lang,” adds Ina.
Indeed, it’s a match made in heaven.
On the next page, read the secret to melding Filipino and Western cultures and ultimately raising a bicultural family according to Ina Raymundo.
Ina On Raising a bicultural family | Culture Shock
While being from two different cultures was not a big deal when they were dating, it became a bigger, serious consideration when they started to raise a family of their own. Certain decisions had to be made–from how the kids were to be disciplined, the language used at home, what to eat, how they were to spend time as family, etc.
While both believed in and shared the same values of respect, family, and love, how it was to be imparted to their children was a matter of constant discussion.
It has always been what comes naturally and what feels right
“Actually, when it came to planning how we were to raise our family, we didn't sit down and discuss with each other in the beginning,” she says. It’s not because they went into parenthood with no plan or direction. "[Rather] it has been always been what comes naturally and what feels right,” explains Ina.
Undeniably, there are stark differences in their upbringing. She was raised in typical and traditional Filipino fashion, while Brian was accustomed to a more Western household. It did take some adjustment, and questions did arise on how they should go about with their own child rearing, but it was nothing that couldn’t be handled.
Like with any other problem or hurdle– open communication is key to reaching compromise.
"One of the biggest differences is the idea of family"
“I think one of the biggest differences is the idea of family. As Filipinos, we are raised to be very close-knit. We’re very clannish. Just look at our parties. At every handaan, it becomes a grand family reunion,” shares Ina.
But in Western culture, though the respect for family is still there, they’re not as close. “Sometimes, I even have to remind my husband to call his siblings and his mother. Two weeks would go by and he still wouldn’t have called them,” she shares. But it’s not because he loves them less, it’s simply a matter of culture.
“In the U.S. especially, children are raised to be very independent, and by the time they’re 18, they’re expected to be on their own. Here in the Philippines, sometimes even if you have a family of your own, they'd even pressure you to still live with your parents.”
“So in the beginning, I was very frustrated, I wanted my children to be with me all the time and share the same Filipino values when it comes to family. But we’ve had to compromise,” she reveals.
“The kids don’t have to come with us to the big family events, but at home, I'm allowed to coddle and shower my kids with affection,” she laughs.
“I told my husband, ‘Honey, at least once a week, we have to have the kids sleep with us in bed, like sardines. And even when they turn 18, I don’t want to pressure them to move out.”
There is no right or wrong way
According to Ina, one thing you have to understand when raising a multi-cultural family is that when it comes to cultures, there is no right or wrong way, or a better culture. It’s simply a different hierarchy of values, and different ways of expressing these principles.
In the West, families might not be as close-knit. But it’s not because they don’t love their parents or their children any less. It’s because being independent is a value they encourage more.
On the other hand, in Asian culture, women are raised to be more timid and submissive. That’s very much the opposite in the US. “That’s one of the things I love about being married to a foreigner, I’m free to be more outspoken and forward with what I say,” she says, adding that it's liberating and empowering for women.
Read on to find out why Ina Raymundo says that raising a bicultural family is your business and no one else's!
In their household, Ina and Brian marries Filipino values with Western culture. “It’s 50% Filipino and 50% American,” confirms Ina.
The kids speak English and are raised under a more Western approach, but Ina still envelops them with her Filipina brand of love and affection. The children go to an International school, but Ina makes sure to ingrain in them good Christian values.
When it comes to raising a bicultural family, or any family for that matter, the bottom line is - What are the values that you want to teach your children?
"Love, respect, and hard work are universal, and if you look across the different cultures, these are present and honored in one way or another. So the differences really do lie in how you teach them, and how these are expressed in your life," explains Ina.
Raising a family is never easy
Raising a family is never easy, and more difficult is raising a bicultural family and so parents shouldn’t be too burdened with what’s right or wrong. “When it comes to parenthood, does anyone really know all the answers? What family doesn’t have its share of questions and disagreements?” Ina says.
“How you raise your family is your decision and not anybody else’s. For me talaga, I always pray for wisdom and guidance. Lalo na ngayon, when it’s getting more complicated,” reveals Ina.
"Always remember to have Jesus in your life"
“[Cultural differences aside], what I want to teach my children is how to nurture a relationship with God. I teach them to always end the day with a prayer. I explain to them, the time will come when you’ll be so successful. Always remember to have Jesus in your life. Yun ang pinaka lesson ko.”
More than trying to figure out that perfect balance of cultures in your household, what matters most is that there should be a loving and caring environment for raising a bicultural family, and that you strive to be good parents and the best providers for your children so that they can blossom into good individuals themselves.
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