One Filipina I know told me about an experience she had when she was 19 and fell in love with a 60 year old foreigner. She was a virgin at the time. This European man was walking in the road near her village and they happened to meet. The man started talking with her and from that time he began to visit the home. Each time he visited he would bring presents of food for the family. Simple enough, but the family thought this man was wonderful for doing this and since he was living in a resort at the time they invited him to stay at their house. So the man was saving perhaps 1000 pesos per day and living at my friend’s house. The big issue here was he was buying food for the family. Remember that. The Filipino family spends perhaps 90 % of their income on food. Their housing is usually free in that they live in the family house. They work to eat. If someone else is buying the food, the family members literally no longer have to work so it’s party time. The man who buys the food like this European was doing is providing a vacation for the family.
So if you are courting a poor Filipina, KISS (keep it simple stupid).
Some foreigners come to the Philippines ready to wine and dine the woman of their choice just as they would in their own country. Big mistake. Take it slow. Go at the pace of the Filipina. Get to know the family stay with the family and get to know the relatives and the neighbours.
One thing about Filipinos, they love to watch one another and they love to gossip about one another. Ask the neighbours about your girl and about her family. Don’t believe everything you hear as the negative gossip is sometimes false and only intended to keep the girl in her place to keep her from rising as she would do if she married a foreigner, but if you hear something negative, chase it down. Make sure the family members are not big drinkers. Find out if the girl has children, I have seen Filipinas successfully hide this. One friend of mine met a Filipina in Hong Kong. She ended up moving into his hotel with him for quite a few months there. Come to find out the girl had 4 children and was legally married in the Philippines. Too late for my friend, by that time he was already hooked and “in love”. He ended up paying for a Philippine annulment (no divorce in the Philippines) and bringing the girl to the US where he had yet another child with her and helped her support her brood at home.
Not that you should avoid women with children, but make sure you know what you are getting into. One of the advantages of women with children is that it is OK to turn around to the family and say you will be responsible for the woman and her children only and not support woman’s parents and relatives. I have seen at least two men who have successfully done this and the families are very understanding. Also, quite often the single mom has a better appreciation of the difficulties of life as a single mother. However, don’t fall into the trap as do so many foreigners. There is an implied feeling that there should be some gratification, some debt on the part of the girl for having been “saved” by the foreigner. My experience with people is that gratitude is a very short-lived emotion. You can not build a relationship based on gratitude.
Personally, I feel that the foreigner who comes here is like a god or at least like a potential saviour. I suggest you demand the best that the Philippines has to offer, what ever that means to you. Don’t settle for second best. Keep your standards high. Whether you want sexy or beautiful or smart or college educated or young or whatever. Go for it and don’t settle for less then what you want, but think about yourself first and have a talk with yourself about the kind of lady you would like to meet. Too many guys come here and fall for a face on the street, in a restaurant, in a bar. This is definitely not the best way to go about this. If you are considering the Philippines to find a wife/girlfriend as in a serious relationship then look beyond the mere physical.
My friend, Michael wrote me recently of his experience. He spent his hard earned cash and his 2 week vacation to fly to the Philippines from the US. He wined and dined the young woman he had been courting on the internet. I warned him and invited him to come and meet a small island girl, but he had spent considerable time and effort on the internet courting the young lady in Cagayan de Oro. So he returned to the US after meagre results and when he finally made the big push, the girl told finally told him she was married. So be careful, especially with the internet correspondence. I once saw a figure that addressed the issue of honesty on the internet. It suggested that 80% of people misrepresent themselves. And with a cross cultural relationship, even when the two people are honest with one another, for sure, there will be misunderstandings due to the different backgrounds.
For example, a high school sweetheart in the USA means absolutely nothing. The person might have had a girlfriend for a while, but both people knew they would go on to other relationships eventually and the high school relationship is left behind and forgotten. Not so in the Philippines where a high school relationship often ends in eventual marriage. Take those Filipina high school relationships seriously and find out what happened, why it ended and where the guy is now. You’ll be lucky to get the truth. Usually what the girl says is that the guy was a cheater and went on to another. That may be true or not. Sometimes the mother of the boy will not approve of the relationship because the girl is not “good” enough. You should think in the same terms. What is good enough for you?
This is a different culture and you cannot make judgments about the life here from over there. It’s different here and some things are accepted that are not accepted where you are. Generally speaking the Filipino culture is very supportive of vast age differences, not only for foreigners, but also for Filipinos. I had some interaction with a Filipina couple some time back. The wife was 50 years of age and the husband was 19. This was a Filipino couple and they were both poor as church mice, so no talk about marriage for money with this couple. In the West the vast age differences between couples is frowned upon and people when they see a big age difference between a couple they immediately look for the reasons for the attraction with money being the biggest suspicion. It is worse, the age prejudice that exists if there is a big difference between couples ages can be downright insulting. The first thing people suspect is that the marriage is “only for money”. Since when did a woman not think about her financial security when sizing up a potential mate? Speaking of the age difference, I have spoken with Filipinas here about
20 years of age. Often they are seeking a man 40 years of age or there about. Once again this is cultural. The Filipino male is a hard drinking man who wants to work, but is often limited by lack of jobs and opportunity in the Philippines. The other issue here is that some of these Filipinas go to the city where they are courted by city guys who specialize on “getting a virgin”. The girl is often left high and dry. The Filipina assumes that an older foreigner will not “fool around”. Little do they know the other side where the foreign male often has had many wives or what they would consider a wife.
My own experience was that I did not want to meet a woman through the internet. I have seen what happens from both sides of the fence regarding these correspondences. Let me tell you what happens from the Filipina side: I have a family I am friendly with from a tiny island Yabyaban. Yabyaban is a tiny village of 30 houses, no electricity, no running water. Their daughter expressed an interest in meeting a foreigner. I helped her write a bio data that extolled the virtues of small island life. Then I took photos with my camera and wrote to my friend, Jade who p
ut her on his list, Jade rune.com. I messed up with her email address so that never worked. But, when I helped with her bio data, I described her island life and the fact that she had never been to a mall, but she could row a boat and climb a coconut tree. A real “Island Girl”. So how many men wrote to her. Lots. It happened with another Filipina friend of mine as well only that time I did not mess up the email address and I helped with her correspondence to men so I saw better what happens. Lonely men from various countries, many professing love after one or two emails. Some of the men, when they find out how poor the girl is, want to send money and indeed, they use Western Union to send money orders to these girls. Now how can you blame a girl here for taking this money. To most of the men the ten, twenty or even fifty dollars means very little, but to the girl who would be lucky to earn $35 for a month of living and working in someone’s house, this is a gold mine. Of course some of the girls abuse this, some of the girls are married, many of the girls have multiple men professing love and sending money. These are lonely, desperate men. In the case with the lady I knew, I had to ask Jade to pull her from his listing because I found out that she was taking money from more then one man.. My ex-friend, Barbette, asked me to advertise her daughter. I did so. She’s a pretty girl, a virgin, which I mentioned in her bio data. What I did not know is that she was not so interested in meeting and marrying a foreigner. Her mother was interested in her doing so. Her mother did some of the correspondence. I found out that one American came here to see her. Imagine he spent is his once a year 2 week vacation and the $1000 round trip air fare to come and see this girl. She was not interested and when I found out about this and that the mother was actively pushing this girl to do something she did not want, I asked Jade to remove the advertisement as well. They must have discovered a good thing, though, because I still see the mother at the internet. So my rule of thumb, don’t do it! That is, don’t fall in love with an email girlfriend. Sure it works lots of the time, but most likely the girl is corresponding with other men as well. My friend from Yabyaban has 2 men coming to visit her in the few months ahead. I have the email address of one of them. I will tell him. The second man, I don’t know, so nothing to do about him. No, my advice, correspond with these girls by email for entertainment only and to get to understand the culture. Don’t send money. Let’s face it, you don’t even know if the person writing the emails is a girl or a boy. This is business in the Philippines. I recommend that you correspond by written mail (snail
mail) to a girl who has no email address. This is a much better choice. All the foreigners want to take the easy path, that’s why so many of them are involved in scams or get divorced soon after marriage. Also, they really do not understand where these girls are coming from. Many of the men come here with their overseas cultural understandings not with a Filipino cultural understanding.
So what do you do when you get here. My advice is to visit your lady and stay with her and her family. Get to know them. Talk to the relatives who will probably live within walking distance. If the girl does not take you home to see her family, there is something drastically wrong. Ask questions about your friend and her family. When I was interviewing my wife I also met her school teachers. I met the neighbours. I met the uncles and the aunts. I wanted to know what kind of student she was. I must admit that one young lady, my wife’s competitor, told me that she observed my wife strolling around with men in an area where my wife had never frequented. So take the information with a grain of salt, but check it out. There is a bad jealous streak in Filipinos. Some of them hate to see the next person “get ahead”. The person who told me this false information was another young lady I was somewhat interested in so she had a vested interest in the lie. Courting was very simple with my wife, very straight forward. I told her what I was about, what I was looking for and asked her if she was interested and would she come and live with me. I went on about my business for 2 weeks and looked around at some other Filipinas. I came back in 2 weeks later and got my answer. It was wonderful to hear. My wife said “you have got me”. The parents had left the decision completely up to Richel. After that she simply moved in with me. We’ve been together every since. There is a marked difference in our ages which we talk about. She is an incredibly loving young lady and I believe very “in love” with me. And why not, besides the fact that I am a wonderful guy, she has never had another romantic experience in her life. That’s what I was after. I wanted to be a Filipina’s “first love”. Well worth it should you follow the same path. The Filipinos have a saying “First love never dies.”. So to be a woman’s first love makes for a very special relationship.
So, once again, keep it simple. Stay with your family. Go to the market with them. Buy food for their daily consumption. This is enough. If the situation works out very well and you feel that this is the woman for you, then by all means go away for a few days with her to be alone and have some romantic time together.