Finding Romance in the Philippines

If take a moment to read any ‘My life in the Philippines’ blogs [written by expats], you will undoubtedly encounter a few articles about love & romance here on the islands. This should be no surprise. After all, the number one export of the Philippine nation is its women. American/European men want Asian wives who are much simpler and more domestic than their home country counterparts and the women here want the hope of a better lifestyle that’s wrapped up in a blanket of ‘My knight in shining armor’ fairtytales. Here in the Philippines, both sides usually win. There are horror stories of things gone awry but those are typically the exception and not the norm.

So how do you find love here on the islands? Being married here, I’ll share my unique insights; I consider my insights unique not by virtue of any great wisdom but by virtue of my age. I am less than forty and that puts me in a very slim category since most foreigners here are part of the older, retiring generation. I’m more a part of the ‘I feel like enjoying life before the Government steals my social security’ generation.

The perspectives of older bloggers/expats are valuable in their own right and I have learned a lot from their blogging but I encountered a few things that, by reason of my age, I wasn’t expecting [not bad, just unexpected]. For those seeking a Filipina wife, I suggest you memorize these things (and those written by other expat bloggers). What you learn just might save your life and your wallet.

Rule #1 – Stay off the internet.

Yes, you read that rule correctly. If you want to meet someone for the first time, meet them in person. If you take that match.com American shopping cart approach then you stand a much greater chance of making a poor decision and or being scammed (emotionally and/or financially). Yes, there are wonderful women with profiles on the net but the amount of time you have to invest to get to know them is a headache and a half (let’s not mention how people only show their best side on the internet). I met my wife in person and have ZERO regrets. Can you meet someone on the net and have a successful relationship? Yes, of course. I know many happy couples but I think they’d all agree, you increase your opportunities and you’ll make better decisions by getting to know them in person. YOU WILL FIND THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE FASTER IN PERSON THAN YOU WILL ONLINE.

Plan a one-two month vacation and buy a plane ticket. You’ll be glad you did.

Rule #2 – Learn the language.

Whether its Tagalog, Ilonggo (LearnIlonggo.com [shameless plug]) or whatever dialect, do yourself a favor and learn the language. You may never be fluent but the more you know, the better off you will be. Even if you don’t live here, learn the language. You’ll understand your wife’s cultural perspectives much, much better. Trust me, you need that.

Rule #3 – Know your budget and the local economy

It’s easy to burn through your life savings. Know what you can live off of and don’t hesitate to tell those friends and family of your GF/Wife that you can’t afford to dole out money. The vast majority of Filipinos (certainly here in the provinces) believe that all Americans are rich. I was sorely abused on this point because, by nature, I am a generous person. I see somebody hungry and I feed them. My generosity only compounded their false belief that I was wealthy. How they’ve developed that false belief is a different article in itself but, back to my point, know your budget and stick to it.

Learn the economy ASAP. Until you learn the proper prices, countless jeepney drivers, bus attendants, chengue owners and others will cheat you because you’re a foreigner who doesn’t know better. I can not emphasize this enough.

Rule #4 – Take your time.

Well, take as much time as you can. If you’re here looking for a wife then you’ll be like a kid in a candy store. Don’t buy the first piece of candy you see. Take your time and get to know people. Spend one to two months here getting to know people and there’s a 99.9% chance you won’t leave here without a fiancee.

If you’re under 40, you will be bombarded by looks and eye-winks from the girls. This is not an exaggeration. White is attractive here (although sometimes for ulterior motives). I can not count the personal overtures that I vocally received [and turned down]. If you’re half-way fit and Caucasian, congratulations, you’ve found paradise. Don’t look for beauty, that’s easy to find here. Look for integrity.

Rule #5 – Know the Filipino Culture

I direct this rule more towards the younger group [under 40] than I do those older expats. I think the older crowd assimilates a bit easier. My generation, generation X, grew up with a great absence of culture. Part of this is due to the melting pot that makes up America and part of it is due to the disintegration of American society and the erosion of family values. While it is a bit backwards sometimes [to our way of thinking] and often superstitious, culture is a concept deeply embedded into this nation. I still have no clue (and I find it silly) why it is wrong to serve chicken at wakes but I do understand that is taboo. Those beliefs (and countless other things) have to be taken into consideration when you’re dealing with every day things.

Rule #6 – DO NOT SEND MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU’VE NEVER MET.

I have to put that rule in all caps because of the number of idiots who do it. I know girls in this town who have no problem siphoning off the cash of their internet boyfriends. Don’t think you’re special and that she really loves you. If you’ve never met her in person. Lock your wallet. Let me repeat this for clarification: DO NOT SEND MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU’VE NEVER MET.

That list is by no means exhaustive but I assure you, if you follow those six rules, you will have a much better success in finding that one true love here in the Philippines. If you break those rules (rule #1 being the only slight exception), then you will pay for it. Most expat bloggers say many of the exact same things: heed the advice. You have been warned 🙂

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