When this post was originally written I was a single man. Which I am no longer… Hence the photo above!
So I have updated so the information can still help those trying to navigate the minefield of dating in the Philippines.
There are some broad sweeping generalizations made. This is not intended to offend or judge anyone. It is just a reflection of my experience – which was some years ago now.
Table of Contents
Expat Dating in the Philippines
For a young and single white man, coming to the Philippines can be paradise.
All of a sudden Mr. Average from your home country can become the center of attention for a large number of young and beautiful ladies.
While the common assumption that many can make is that the assumed wealth of the white man is the key driver of this, from what I have seen and experienced over the years I would say there is much more to it than this.
The money factor should not be ignored. If you are not wary of this then you are a prime target to be taken advantage of.
This happens with alarming frequency despite the many warnings and horror stories that you will find online.
A white guy looking for love, especially online, can be very vulnerable. Especially if they are not familiar with the culture.
For those who are in the real word and dating people face to face there are still some pitfalls, and I think that most of them are very well intentioned.
Come to think of it, they are only really pitfalls if you are not looking to settle down.
To be honest, unless you meet the love of your life why on earth would you want to settle down?
What Filipinas Really Want?
What I noticed early on when dating Filipinos is that most really are looking for love.
There can be an assumption very early on that you are in the early stages of a relationship and they will feel very let down and hurt if you do not share this view.
From their point of view, this is fair enough, but it can be hard to understand from the other side’s perspective.
Definitely a clash of cultures that can lead to problems.
The traditional life path of meet someone, get married, have kids etc. is firmly ingrained in the expectations people have of young Filipinas.
They get this from family, from the local TV shows.
It comes from everywhere that finding love and getting married is one of the most important pursuits in one’s life.
I won’t get into the marriage topic here as that is a whole other discussion altogether, but I did want to mention it here as it is an important part of the mindset of so many.
These high expectations early on when dating someone can lead to two problems:
1. They can become very territorial
What some girls are capable of really shocked me as my time in the Philippines went on.
Without me knowing it I have had girls warning off others around who they deemed as a threat, I have had my phone and FB accounts hacked and watched for a long time.
I also received anonymous texts from some stalker who has been making threats and seems to know details of my life intimately over a period of two years.
Initially, it was quite scary but it has become something almost comical it had gone on so long.
I had tried to engage in some banter with the person on the other end, but they rarely join in the fun.
Something that I am not proud of is that I caused a long term rift between two friends.
I was “seeing” one for a while, and the other I became good friends with. This caused tension between the two and they did not talk to each other for a long time.
The dating thing didn’t work out, but I have remained friends with the other girl for many years now.
We have traveled together and shared experiences that I am very grateful for. I am glad the friendship was not damaged long term but it is something to be wary of.
2. Often they hang around way too long
This happened a lot where we would be hanging out for the day or night at my apartment and the person just wouldn’t leave.
You never want to be that guy to say ok its time for you to go home now, but some girls just don’t seem to want to go back to their life.
There is always a point where you have to go and do some shopping for the week ahead, or get some work done, catch up with emails etc. You can’t have a never ending date…. but some girls just assume they are invited to do grocery shopping, or can hang out on the couch when you start doing some work.
It is a very awkward spot to be in sometimes.
I once had a girl stay with me when Manila flooded and she could not get home.
So, of course, I offered for her to stay so she could still get to work and wasn’t stuck outside and was out of any danger.
One day went by, two days went by, then the rain stopped and another day went by.
I was starting to wonder whether I had inadvertently invited a permanent house guest. It didn’t turn out that way though. She did go home, but again stayed long enough to make it uncomfortable.
So can you do anything about these things?
Well not really, unless you want to be a total dick about it.
Regardless of whether you are dating or looking to build a long term relationship every girl that agrees to go on a date with you deserves your respect.
Sadly, many expats that come here do not think this way and can let things go to their head.
But something I have noticed is that expat guys seem to be generally better to their women than what some Filipino men are.
This brings me to another element to the attraction Filipinas have to foreign men. From what I have observed they are just treated better in many cases.
I have observed so many Filipino men be quite horrible to their wives and girlfriends.
Many cheat (or try to) regularly, speak down to them, and restrict who they can be, what they can do, and who they can hang out with.
They are treated as a possession, not as an independent person who is sharing their life with you.
I can’t speak for all foreigners in the Philippines but I would never look at a woman this way, and I would never be attracted to a girl as submissive as this.
Strong independent women FTW!!
Culture Sensitivity Required
You will notice throughout all of this that the clash of cultures is present throughout.
So for me at least this probably limits the number of girls that I am compatible with in the Philippines.
The vast majority of the girls I have dated, and not really pursued beyond that, is because we are not compatible.
I am a complicated guy sometims, much more so than any of these girls would realize.
While we had fun hanging out, I didn’t think it fair to drag out something over a long period of time because if I wasn’t really serious about the relationship it would not be fair to them if what they are looking for is forever…
At least one person (stalker) has branded me an asshole for thinking this way. She is entitled to her opinion, but you will never meet the right person if you are not out there meeting people at all.
Dating or Social Circle – Pick One!!
The biggest pitfall that I found in the dating game as an expat is that if you are trying to make friends and settle down in the country, you need to meet groups of people where you will not date anyone.
It has happened a few times where I start to get to know a group of people and you date one of them, then if it doesn’t work out you can’t really continue hanging out with that group.
So you are left friendless again.
Sometimes if you get along great with someone it can be worthwhile standing back and really thinking about whether it is worth possibly wasting a friendship by dating them, and have it possibly not work out.
This is something I have held back from with fun and attractive young girls, and years later I am happy to still call them friends.
As mentioned at the outset, I don’t mean to make generalizations about Filipinas, but it is hard not to when writing on a topic like this.
I have met so many great girls who do not fit the mold and are really great people.
But if I had to speak in general terms I would describe your average Filipina as a hopeless romantic. That can make them do funny things, and act in unpredictable ways.
Yes, there are a lot of bad eggs out there that may be looking to use you for money, or take advantage of you in some way. Most are not like this at all and are good, honest, family oriented people.
There are plenty of fun loving, intelligent and just really really nice girls out there. I cannot think of a better way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
How to Approach Filipino Women
I am the furthest thing from an expert on approaching women as you could ever find. I mean it took me months to work up the nerve to speak to Anh when we worked in the same damn office so take any of my advice with a pinch of salt.
This is also not something that I exploited either.
But if you want to speak to a girl and just can’t think of anything to say there is one thing that you can do that will at least start a conversation nearly 100% of the time.
Speak to her in Tagalog!
Yes, this takes some effort to learn – and if you are in the country for a while you should make the effort to learn some anyway.
It doesn’t have to be good, or even coherent Tagalog. Just try! Because the same thing will happen every time.
She will laugh her head off…. and then say it’s cute.
From there you’re on your own and you will have to rely on your conversational skills. But at least you can break the ice… Good luck!!