Courting a Filipina – Guest Writer – Allen Moretsky

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 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.

16 comments for “Courting a Filipina – Guest Writer – Allen Moretsky

  1. Jen
    October 18, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    It’s sad that Filipinas who marry foreigners are almost always depicted as coming from the provinces and are after the money. I have yet to see a writing considering other reasons for chosing a foreigner over the local ones. There are those who are well educated and could afford a life that the guy can give but still opt to marry a foreigner..what abot just being more interested in a different culture or just being in love?
    Your thoughts are good though, gave me insights on what my foreign guy must be thinking or should be thinking about…

    • Tropicalpenpals
      October 19, 2010 at 12:21 am

      Hi Jen,
      I think the important thing to remember is that the writer is here in the Philippines and writing from internal experience. Now not all Filipina’s are alike that is for sure and I have met many outside of the Philippines all loyal,hardworking and married. The problem within the country though is many are looking of means of escaping the poverty trap and this is why so many will fall into a negative stereotype. I have seen it first hand myself and not always by women. A barber once offered his sister when I told him I am married his response was “one wife many girlfriends”, with that type of mentality and acceptance you will always be riding against the tide trying to improve the status of women.

  2. Anonymous
    October 19, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    it is really true, foreigner should stay in the family house in order to learn and see who she is and what kind of family she coming from. I even invited before my husband from the first met to visit my family in order to meet my family and this is very a simple signs that the woman has a feeling or serious not just hooking your money. Don’t date the woman just by seeing her alone without meeting the family because this woman has a secret maybe from her past or whatever. In my case, I marry my husband not for the reason of money, I marry him because I love him. I even not asked money for the support of my family instead I worked and earned my own money to send to my family. I only asked financially help to my husband if there is emergency or something need to rush to the hospital but for daily needs my family is contented for simple life as before and never demand more.

    • Tropicalpenpals
      October 20, 2010 at 12:06 am

      Yes its important to understand the family as a lot of the problems can stem from them. If brought up in a good household its unlikely the girl will be looking for cash. But I have heard of stories of relatives even forcing their children into the sex industry in the Philippines.

      I experienced the problems within my wifes family from relatives who were nice on initial meetings but after a while started looking for financial gain even up until this day they still try to abuse the situation. So its never always easy to assess but main thing is use common sense and set guidelines initially. If relatives/partner know your strict on guidelines they may already have rumblings of the street not being paved with gold and this may bring things to the surface which may otherwise not be noticed.

      • Anonymous
        October 20, 2010 at 8:02 am

        This type of problem is only depend to your wife. If she stop and refused from her side what her family and relatives asked favor to you this will never be happen. I personally refused them before I told to my husband. There are always problem coming out anywhere and this is not our responsibility to solve, this is what I always thought to my self and my husband and I also need for our future not spending our money to them. I won’t let anybody to go directly to my husband just to ask money or help thats what I warn them since from the beginning.

        • Tropicalpenpals
          October 20, 2010 at 11:28 pm

          The initial issues come from manipulation as relatives try to use the fact they helped with funding schooling, not the fact the amount of money they received in the first 6 months of knowing me was well above that. Its seen as a permanent life line like selling ones soul to the devil. Once you sign that paper your forever in debt.

          • Anonymous
            October 21, 2010 at 8:28 am

            this attitude we called it “otang na loob” it means debt of gratitude which is very common to our mentality and attitude, once they help you for examples by funding to school they expected you to pay later and it the same expectations also from the parents. Parents expect that the children will support them when they get old because the children has debt of gratitude by raising or brought them to this world….sounds funny right? but as you told me it seems like they abused the opportunity while you are there and asked money as long as they need…this is not normal! You better talk to them or refuse them that you have more priority for your money or else you better not live near from them in order to avoid quarrels. Don’t scared if they got angry with you or spread humors because this is the only thing they can do and it won’t harm you. Talk to your wife with this matter, im sure she will find a way to talk her relatives properly.

          • Anonymous
            October 25, 2010 at 8:11 am

            Utang na loob” – I find it absolutely amazing that parents who just popped children into this world and nothing else, no support towards their children whatsoever, not even emotionally, would claim “utang na loob” once that child grows up and has managed to elevate herself somehow to a better social standing.

            I have met Pinays who eventually got burnt out eternally paying this “utang na loob” while supporting a family here. Eventually resentment grows and rebellion start by reducing the “payments” to this utang na loob. The thing with “utang na loob, there is no stipulation how long one has to pay for it. As one Pinay friend argued, “I did not asked to be brought out into this world. My parents had “fun” and I was the consequences of that “fun” and now they expect me to pay them back?”.

          • Anonymous
            October 25, 2010 at 8:33 am

            yes I know it sounds ridiculous such “otang na loob” attitude but you cannot run away from it. Me as a child of my parents I also sometimes told to my self that it is not my responsibility to support them when they get old but even how many times I tried, still I cannot run away from it. Im sure all filipino children doing this and thats the reason why Philippines economy is stable because of the money sent from overseas filipino abroad.

    • Tropicalpenpals
      October 21, 2010 at 11:39 pm

      We have cut them off completely we haven’t talked for over a year, the problem was they were doing one thing then telling extended family another. They got embarrassed when I made what they had been upto public on this blog as so many of their extended relatives started asking questions. For us its fine as it is what they do with their little bit of land is upto them. We will are trying to locate more land in the area so we can sell our mountain lot and locate nearer Minglanilla town.

  3. Mchristine077
    October 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Interesting article. Sure an island girl would be innocent and likely less “contaminated” with materialism which one can often find in girl brought up in the city. But prepared to be patient, and as the author pointed out, look beyond the pretty face/physical attributes. What about her English skills? You need to be able to communicate outside bedroom hours. Would you be patient enough if her language skills are limited to “honey come eat, honey we go shop”?. If you are intellectual, can she match your intellect?

    I live in Australia and while shopping the other day, I witnessed a very young Pinay with her much older husband. Reason why they caught my attention was because he was almost yelling at her, becoming impatience for her lack of savy with what was obviously a new technology for her. This was at the new modern self-serve check-out at the supermarket. Eventually she will learn, but these are just one of the things to consider when bringing your island girl (or even the not so island girl) to your country.

    • Tropicalpenpals
      October 21, 2010 at 12:40 am

      The problem is many of the Expats I have seen are on wife 3 – 4 and often not learned from previous lessons on mistakes they make. What your saying is a prime example, yelling at someone not used to the new environment and no doubt the compatability was one of the least things on the persons mind when deciding to start a relationship. Too many people look at the cute smiles and beautiful physique of the girl they met instead of long-term relationship compatibility. Are there things they both enjoy? are there things they are both expecting in the relationship? Lets face it a lot of these guys never even bother to ask what the girl wants from the relationship then complain Filipino’s think short term yet its exactly what the guy is doing. I hate stereotyping but here its so obvious when these stereotypes happen and you see the way people interact that within 5yrs the marriage will be over. A friend of mine in Mindanao currently has 4 motorcycles at his place all owned by foreigners due to 4 marriage breakups because they wouldn’t listen to advice. Advice doesn’t just equal working out how not to lose money advice also covers what makes a relationship work, understanding issues people seem to have over and over again and simply learning to live as a couple.

      • Anonymous
        October 25, 2010 at 8:50 am

        Once again you are right Matt. In normal circumstances any girl will ask questions why her BF/fiancee is courting her to become wife no. 3 or 4 or 5 and so on and so forth. Without sounding negative though, girls who were in a hurry to get out of the country often turned a blind eye to these common sense question.

        “Too many people look at the cute smiles and beautiful physique of the girl they met instead of long-term relationship compatibility”.

        I personally believed that many guys (especially older guys) feel flattered when a 20 something Pinay is keen on marriage with them. Hence the common sense issues that you mentioned above is overlooked also, with disastrous results. And guess who get the blame for the failure of the relationship? The Pinay of course “she just used me” is a common statement when he finds himself alone again. That may be true for some, but like you said, lack of compatibility is a big issue even amongst western marriages!

        • Anonymous
          October 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm

          let’s admit it, foreigner men married to a stupid and uneducated filipina girls are those men who look for woman who can take good care of them, as companion, sex or maybe somebody who become his maid. Of course they won’t look for a compatibility because they know nobody can be compatible to them. They always blamed at the end that the woman only using their money or etc…but why they don’t ask their self why they are alone again? did he give love and respect to this filipina girls? if not, im sure marriage won’t work longer. Not only that, many foreigner men living in the Philippines even they are married still flirting to other girls.I’m not generalizing all but they are a number of them.

  4. Mchristine077
    October 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    That is really sad when money start intruding into relationships regardless of the nature of the relationship. I have heard stories of relatives (not necessarily the girl’s parents) forcing a girl into prostitution. No excuse whatsoever, but again it’s all about the money.

    I do sympathized with you about being treated as a “walking ATM”. I get treated that, yet I was born there! So I guess it’s not what your race is, but where you normally lived (coming from a $$ country) that differentiates how one is treated.

    • Tropicalpenpals
      October 24, 2010 at 10:51 am

      When people start making decisions based on what you can make them its time to move on and cut them out your life.. These financial leeches will just drain you dry given the opportunity as well as have very little if any regard for your health,safety or general wellbeing.