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Mixed marriagePatience is key to bridging differences
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승인 2010.02.25  13:45:58
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▲ Clockwise, from top left, Rona Grace Eboseo Limsiaco, her husband, Park Chang Yop, her brother Rene Eboseo Limsiaco, and the couple’s children, Park Haeng Buk and Park Gee Heh. Photo by Yang Ho Geun

Rona Grace Eboseo Limsiaco is the Filipino wife of Park Chang Yop and the mother of two biracial children. Originally from Negros Occidental, Philippines, she has lived in South Korea for the past 10 years, and on Jeju Island since 2003.

On a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, Limsiaco at the home of one of her Filipino friends where a child’s birthday party was taking place. The house was filled with children playing and the table had an abundance of Filipino food. As a Filipino myself, walking into the house brought back memories of being at home with my own family. There was pancit palabok and pancit, both noodle dishes, and fried chicken - three staple foods at any Filipino party.

For the first four years of Limsiaco’s stay in Korea, she and her husband lived on the mainland in Kwangju, where her son, Park Haeng Buk, was born. In 2003, after the birth of her daughter, Park Gee Heh, the family moved to Jeju Island to start a new life.

Limsiaco said she first met Park at her aunt’s house in the Philippines. He was visiting the country and requested that Limsiaco be his guide. After he returned home, they wrote to each other and it was then their feelings for each other blossomed. Eight months later, they planned to get married.

Today, the family resides in the village of Susan. Limsiaco stays at home caring for the children and Park is a junk dealer. In her free time, Limsiaco does volunteer work in her village, cooking at the village center and visiting with elderly residents. Last July, she also worked as a volunteer for the Delphic Games that were held on the island. She enjoys volunteering, she said, because it gives her an opportunity to meet other foreigners on the island.

Limsiaco said it had always been her dream to live in a different country and she feels that living in South Korea has opened up the possibility for her brothers to immigrate as well. One of them is staying with the family at present.

She hopes her knowledge of life in Korea will help her brothers assimilate more quickly to the culture. Differences in punctuality, work ethic and relationships were the biggest causes of culture shock for her. Slowly but surely, she has learned to be on time, to study hard (as she sees Koreans do both at school and at work), and to be patient when her husband tries to explain how marriages work within the Korean culture. Because of a slight language barrier that still exists between them, such patience has been the key to overcoming their challenges.

For the most part, the couple’s children are raised as any other Korean child. The family eats primarily Korean food, with the occasional Filipino dish added to the menu.

Although she doesn’t do so on a daily basis, Limsiaco feels that exposing her children to their Filipino culture is important during their childhood. She hopes that the family can make yearly visits to the Philippines during the winter vacation period so that the children can meet their cousins and make Filipino friends.

The children have yet to learn any Filipino language, but Limsiaco and Park intend to teach them. For now, they are encouraged to learn English, as Limsiaco and Park believe that knowing the language will open up future opportunities for them.

ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (
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