MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos are beginning to see marriage as an option rather than a requirement, a study showed.
International marketing communications company JWT, in a report on trends in brands and products in the Philippines for 2012, said there is a "growing acceptance of happily single mothers or single by choice professional women in their workplaces" among low- to middle-income segments.
"They loathe to publicly declare it being in a predominantly Catholic country. But it has been a long accepted reality that... women have been thinking of deferring marriage to avoid a potentially emotionally traumatizing mistake. They turn to their professional development which is something more under their control," said the report, which is based on surveys and focus group discussions of Filipinos from lower- and middle-income classes.
It added that a growing number of married women in their 30s and 40s want to experience "a few days of singlehood" with their unmarried friends, leaving the kids at home with their fathers.
The report also cited 2004 figures from the National Statistics Office, which showed that the number of Filipino marriages are declining and more marriages are being annulled. The Philippines is the only country in Asia that does not acknowledge legal divorce.
"A growing segment of women is taking an alternate life route, one that does not include marriage as an essential checkpoint," it noted.
NSO's figures in 2008 showed thatmarriage is losing its luster for many in the Philippines, with more couples starting families out of wedlock. More than 37% of the 1.78 million babies born in the country had unmarried mothers, 12.5% higher than in the previous year.
A study from the University of Missouri-Colombia last year, meanwhile, revealed that young adults are slowing the road to marriage with "stayover relationships," where they can enjoy committed relationships without living together.