The cost of being a single mother in the Philippines

In the Philippines, being a single mom means dealing with a great deal of stigma… and rising prices. In photo: Franshey Abonita, a single mom, left her husband four years ago, and brought her three kids — Gavin, Francesca, and Francine — with her. Photo by JL JAVIER

By Regine Cabato/CNNPhilippines – Filipino culture still largely upholds a sprawling family that, despite size, keeps tightly knit — but more and more kids are growing up in non-traditional family structures.

In 2015, the Philippine Statistics Authority estimated about three million household heads without a spouse — two million of whom were female. The Federation of Solo Parents has a member base of 80,000.

In a dominantly conservative country, the stigma is particularly hard on single mothers. In May last year, Majority Leader Senator Tito Sotto was hit for a supposed joke, calling then-Social Welfare Secretary and single mom Judy Taguiwalo “na-ano lang.” Although he has since promised to give solo parents a helping hand, the laughter that followed his quip was telling of a larger problematic culture: society still expects women to bear the brunt of child-rearing, but can’t take her seriously when she does it alone.

We sit down with some single moms and talk about what it took to raise a child alone: a lot of strength, a stroke of luck, and then a few budgeting skills.

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