If you are married to a Filipina and she is out of the country with you, you are supposed to be able to get a “Balikbayan” visa, upon your return, which is good for 1 year. I tried that in 2008, when my wife and I attended the wedding of my daughter in California. Unfortunately, the immigration officer I talked to said that was only if the Filipino spouse was returning from living overseas. That is when I decided to try again for a residence visa.
When I first moved here, in 2005, it was difficult to get a permanent residence visa. There were a lot of requirements and hassles, even though I was already married to a Filipina. At some point, I think 2007, the government of the Philippines realized it didn’t need to make it that difficult. After all, most of us foreigners bring a lot of money into the local economy. Now, for those of us foriegners married to Filipina’s, it is fairly easy to get an “Alien Certificate of Registration” (ACR) I-Card.