Mercedita comes from a poor family. She started working in a garment factory in Manila when she was seventeen, as soon as she graduated from high school. She wanted to go to college, but her family could not afford the tuition. After working for a few years, she met her husband; soon after that, she got pregnant. After she gave birth to a son, she moved in with her husband and his family. At the time, he was still a student in the police acad- emy; they were not yet married. They were only engaged, and married af- ter he graduated.
Mercedita's parents-in-law gave her and her husband a small one-room house directly across from their own house. Her husband had four brothers who were already married and had children. They were all living nearby and often interfered with Mercedita's life. This gradually became stressful for her. Furthermore, her husband was a student whose only income was a sti- pend from his parents, which also caused problems. "My husband asked his parents [for money] whenever he needed something," she recalled. "I didn"t like it because my mother-in-law did "talk-talk-talk" [behind her back] with other in-laws about it and blamed me." Her in-laws thought she was spend- ing toomuchmoney, even though themoney she receivedwas barely enough to cover basic needs.
Finally, she could not stand the situation any longer. "I thought I should earn money for my own family." When she told her husband she wanted to work overseas, he objected. "He said, "I will marry another woman if you go to other country." But I said, "That"s ?ne. Go ahead." I didn"t think that he would really do it." In fact, he did. After Mercedita went to Singapore, he married another women without telling her. She only found out when a friend wrote to her in Singapore and explained what happened.