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Courting a Filipina

One of the readers here asked about me writing an article about courting a Filipina. This has given me some thought about how to write this article.

In America and I would expect in most Western countries meeting and courting is similar. First, there are many ways someone meets the opposite sex with the thoughts of finding a mate. It can be through a friend, at your employment, in a social event or a dating site online.

Fist I will talk about the direct contact. In most cases, your first meeting will be face to face. You might be out in a bar or social place. Your eyes meet and you find a way to start a conversation. You talk, joke and try to find something in common to carry on a conversation. Once you find this easy conversation and some common interests one will offer their phone number and possible arrange to go for coffee or a meal.

If all goes well on the first meeting, you will offer to go out again. This basic dating will continue for months or even years. Each will invite the other to their home for a meal or an evening and can eventually upgrade to meeting each other’s family. At some point, intimacy will come into the relationship. You might spend nights at each other’s home or go for weekend get-a-ways.

With all this dating and courting, you get to see how each other reacts to life’s situations. How they control anger, happiness and how they are in private, social and family situations. You see how they handle their finances and how they live their lives. Over time, you will decide if this person will be a good fit for the long-term relationship. If not and you remove your “rose colored glasses”, you will end the relationship and start all over.

Over time if there is a strong compatibility is developed and the two decide to either cohabitate to save on money or decide to marry. If you are young, this is a natural step.  If you are in your 30’s, 40’s or older there can be other complications. What if you have children from a previous relationship, if this is the case there are things to look at. Do you get along with your mates children, do they respect you and willing to treat you as a parent figure. Who does the discipline and are you both willing to give up part of your power to the other.

One thing I have learned while living here, Filipinos are not caught up with appearances as we are in America. In America, some look for hair color, height, weight and figure sometimes even eye color.  You also have to remember, Filipinas either are looking for a foreigner or not. I have not heard of many that had no interest in a Foreigner husband and then met one and fell in love. If a Filipina wants a foreigner, she will sign up for many of the online dating sites.  Their whole plan is to find a foreigner to marry and improve their lives. Some only want to relocate to another country and somewhat the foreigner to move here. A few do not care as long as they find a foreigner.

Now for the courting to a Filipina from an American or European man.  In most cases, the man has met a woman or many women online. You start with emails and chatting online. You might have sent gifts or sent money to improve her life. Finally, you decide you need to meet this woman in person. You take your vacation and fly to the Philippines to meet.  You will only come for one to a few weeks. You both show the best of yourself.

In many cases, the woman is not a virgin, and if she is, most times she is willing to give that special gift to you.  With the Filipina culture and to treat a perspective husband well, she will treat you like a King. She will be loving and caring, as you have never experienced. If you visit her home city, she will show you all the sites, even if you do not find them interesting, she will be proud of her city.

In the Philippines, public display of affection is not looked upon well. If you are touching and kissing in public, it will make the woman feel cheap and others to think of her as a whore. Holding hands or arm around shoulders is fine.

In some cases, if she is young, especially if she is going to travel to a city to meet you, she might bring her mother or a family member as a chaperone. If this is the case, show her and her chaperone with respect. You will be expected to cover all costs for both. As I mention many times on this site, set your boundaries. You will look at as a Rich Foreigner. Even if you are poor in your country, you still have more money than she does. Many Filipinas will ask you to take her everywhere, eat at best restaurants and purchase her items from clothes to new cell phones. Look out for this, the more she asks for, the more it will show it is your wallet she wants and not you.

If you are already living here in the Philippines courting is not much different. Most women you meet that are interested in dating or marrying a foreigner are looking for a better life. In addition, many will see you as a way to go out and have fun without any expense. I have heard of many men who make a date and she shows up with 4 to 6 friends. They will order food and drinks and leave you with the tab. Again, set boundaries. If she asks to bring a friend, tell her you are not willing to be the sponsor to feed all her friends. If you agree on one extra person and she shows up with many, my best advice is to give her taxi fare and leave. If she really were interested in you, she would not have lied. If she is looking towards you as the banker, you did not need her anyway.

22 Responses to “Courting a Filipina”

  1. william says:

    Thanks Bruce. Much truth in your comments.
    I like your comment about showing respect to the family. I have found too that some flexibility (eg shower with a pail at my in-laws in Mindanao, and rice with every meal etc,) a sense of humour, and a fair bit of give and take makes it work.
    But be4 meeting my wife online I too got burnt by others (eg send cash for brother’s operation!) And yu can’t do this online 4ever – you’ve got to get on a plane and meet face to face (but go with an open mind!)
    But sometimes the stars align – 3 years in a wonderful marriage so far.
    We are in Australia until end 2010, but plan to return to Davao thereafter.

    • Bruce says:

      As you know and I write, we all have to be careful with our wallets and our hearts. There are as many horror stories as there are good ones. We all just need to give it time to meet MS Right.

  2. Steve in Davao says:

    Bruce, some of what you say here is true, some a little jaded. I’ve been married for 7 years and looking forward to many, many more. I’ve seen alot of Filipino’s married to Americans in the states and her in Davao. Some are there for the money, that’s true. The majority are great wives and mothers and love their husbands and cut coupons and work jobs and keep house and become American citizens and so on. I personally have seen more good girls than bad. Check the girl out, visit the girl and meet her family. She’ll have a hard time putting on aires if she’s around family.
    The great ones are out there. Just like anywhere in the world, sometimes it doesn’t work out. You still gotta try, right!

  3. GregNE says:

    Based on prior blog entries that kind of discussed this subject, I thought there would be an flurry of comments here.

    I am in the process of courting a Filipina in Davao, and am proceeding very cautiously. I will be making my first visit in about a month, and I hope all goes well, but really, that is the purpose of the visit. Both of us must decide whether there is sufficient mutual interest to continue, or if we meet and discover we just are not right for each other, it is better to learn this early on (but that would make for a real crappy week in Davao).

    I discussed money issues very early on, letting her know I am not going to be a source of money. She has reiterated my view back to me on several occasions. She expressed concern at the cost of my airfare to PI ($1012 inc. taxes from central plains of US to Detroit, and onto Manila via Tokyo on Delta. Actually not a bad fare based on the last few years.)

    I also asked her if there are any restaurants or types of food she has been wanting, and she expressed concern as well at the idea of dining at restaurants (in fact, it seems dining out is a very rare occurance for her.) Well, for the most part, meals are well within my budget, so this was not a concern for me. By the way, her first idea for a restaurant to go to? Pizza Hut—hmmm—fine dining at its best! Bruce, I will be asking for referrals to restaurants from you.

    Lastly, I told her that whenever she visits me at my hotel, I will pay for a taxi to return her back to her district in Davao (Toril). She was adamant that she expects to pay her own fares. While not realistic (PHP 250 or so for taxi I believe), it is reassuring that her instinct is to pay her own way.

    • Bruce says:


      I am glad your planning to take it easy with her. As I try to state, not all Filipinas are out to scam a foreigner and not all lie and say what you want to hear. Some are honestly looking for a loving man.

      I do not remember, are you planning, if all goes well, to bring her to the US? If so, make it clear if or what support you plan to offer to her family. Also while your here, to test the waters, do not offer any money for her family, no matter what she asks and see how she accepts your decision.

      If you do bring her to America, have a rock solid prenup agreement. Tell her about if before you bring her to the US.

      See you in a few weeks.

    • m60man says:

      Hey Greg, Glad to hear your headed this way. I just met another American and his wife last week. He from Alabama. They live in Toril as well. Give me a shout and we will talk about the things you need to know…..Rob

  4. Per says:

    “With all this dating and courting, you get to see how each other reacts to life’s situations. How they control anger, happiness and how they are in private, social and family situations. You see how they handle their finances and how they live their lives.”

    In my – not so humble (?) – opinion, getting married out of being in-love is the worst foundation for a marriage. Love is the easy part. The trick is to find someone you fit well together with in daily reality. So, I agree… it is important to see how the person reacts to life’s situations… anger, happiness, how they handle finances, etc etc.

    A dating tip that a wise person once gave is: take her on an outing… and (naturally without telling her) plan for mishaps… it could be running out of gas, far too much sugar in the juice on a hot day and no extra water, or what-ever mishaps you can concoct… and see how she takes it… 😀 make it a full day outing or a three day trip that just goes bad… 😀 That is real speed-dating… bringing down the process of getting to know a person in a fairly short time. I had a friend who – when courted by a younger woman – answered her question about his music taste with “I only listen to German military marching music”, just to see how she would take it. 😀

    An other tip is: see how she acts towards people that “don’t matter” in her life… the waiter / waitress at the restaurant, the shop attendant in the small shop where you pop in to get some cigs or candy or water, strangers in the street that bump into her… THAT is how she will eventually treat you… does she care about the people who “don’t matter” or does she treat them like air? Does she complain about them? Is she snappy or friendly toward them? And as mentioned: how does she treat her family?

    Well, back to the topic… Are you a home-body and she a very social party-animal? Do you like to read and she likes loud pop-music? Are you more fond of listening to the insects while she enjoys kareoke? Find someone who you function well with in daily reality, because thats where you will be spending most of the time in the future, and not on a pink cloud. 🙂

  5. triple5 says:

    I was intrigued by this comment – “You also have to remember, Filipinas either are looking for a foreigner or not. I have not heard of many that had no interest in a Foreigner husband and then met one and fell in love.”

    I met my lady through a friend of mine (her cousin), and I’m pretty sure finding a foreign husband wasn’t high on her list of agendas at the time. Maybe she’s one of the rare ones.

    • Bruce says:

      Well lets look at it this way. Most foreigners meet a lady online at one of the dating sites. If the lady had no interest in meeting a foreigner, why would she have registered.
      Second, a foreigner is already here, he is walking in the mall or having coffee. A girl walks by smiles and wiggles her eyebrow. He motions her to come over to his table and she does. Would she do that if she was not interested?
      Third, a friend of a friend tells you she has a cousin that would like to meet you. Is it just to practice her English?
      Many ladies here, when they see a foreigner with a young girl thinks the girl is a prosti (prostitute)
      Many young females do not even want to be seen talking to an older foreigner if she is alone so others do not think the worst of her.

  6. triple5 says:

    Thanks for replying to my comment, Bruce. So do you think all Filipinas have made their minds up about foreigners before they’ve even met one, whether or not they’d consider a relationship with one?

    Regarding many filipinas thinking a girl with a foreigner must be a prosti, would you say that applies to relationships where there isn’t such a wide age gap?

    • Bruce says:

      I am not going to say all have made up their minds. I do feel, since most Filipinos know about the life changing with a foreigner and the advantages some will look for this type of relationship. I think some might change their minds. But from talking to filipinas that have an education, jobs and a decent family life, they prefer to do itn the Filipino way. Remember a filipino needs much less than we do to feel they have a good life. Also, since the way of life makes it difficult for an average Filipino to climb the economic ladder, they feel this is their level and make the best of it.

  7. Tom Martin says:

    Bruce, my next door neighbor comes every three months. He bought his lady friend a town house and a farm outside Digos. On one visit he had emailed me and told me he wanted me to go to Paradise Island with them and stay four or five days. He had told me no one was going except his lover, the child, myself and him. When we boarded the boat there was over 10 friends of his lover, her mother and sister. He picked up the tab. At dinner every night I was disgusted because the friends would order food that was not even touched. They certainly took advantage of him, but it was difficult to have sympathy for him since he allowed it to happen. Last year I was invited to Cebu and declined, but the same thing happen to him. It is important to set boundaries or the “crab mentality” will swallow you up.

    • Bruce says:

      So true, some ladies, even when they are in a solid relationship still take advantage of there foreigner boyfriend as a way to show off and spend all his money on her friends and family. Elena is kind, but is not that way. When here family from out of town visit us, they bring us produce or seafood to give to us and never expect us to take them out to restaurants. One brother who has a fruit stand and a food cart in Kidapawan brings us cases of fresh fruit and the seasoning he uses for his food business. Then he cooks for us all the time his specialty.

  8. Dan says:

    Personally, I think the setting up tests is nothing but “game playing” and a ridiculous way to get to know someone. Maybe she should set up some tests to find out about you, but I doubt she is insincere like that.

    Observe how she is with others, fine. She will be observing you as well. In time you will both know if the other is right without resorting to tricks.

    • Bruce says:

      In a new relationship, as you date you look for compatibilities and things that will wreck a relationship. On a short trip to another country you need to work fast to be sure. There are many stories of women coming to the US, waiting the 2 years and then divorcing their older husband and running off with a younger one.

  9. Totoy says:

    Hi Bruce,

    The more I read your blog the more I become curious of what what Americans think of us. Courting of a foreigner to filipina is different from courting a filipino to a filipina.

    You are right at some point. Finding the right woman is difficult especially if you are a foreigner. But not all filipinas are taking advantage of foreigners. I had aunt married to an American. They have been together now for nine years now and had a nine year old daughter.

    Thanks for giving your insights on how you see filipinos on your point of view and your struggles in adapting filipino culture.

    Many filipinos like their women to marry foreigners not really because of money, but for breading. Cross breads people are more beautiful than local breads (that’s how I look at it. 😀 ). We love to see mestiza cousins and relatives. They are more guapo and guapa (guapo = handsome, guapa = beautiful) than we are. :). I hope you understand what I am saying. We had a different cultures and thus different views on how we look at things.

    • Bruce says:

      I still think the younger Filipinas marrying older foreigners is to improve there lives and living conditions. As for the mix breeding, that is something that bothers me. Many think white skin is beautiful and will bleach and ruin their skin just to lighten it.

  10. Liezel says:

    Hello bruce i really enjoyed ur blogs. Hi am liezel, 26, with a kid and now wants to settle with a foreigner husband. I prefer the older ones because most probably I can assure that I wont be cheated. Its a bit normal for filipino guys to have another woman and they feel good about it but it really hurts the wife or the girlfriend but still accepts the man especially when they are already married and have kids. The woman is thinking primarily for a united family that their kids will grow up with sacrificing the feeling of being betrayed and will be martyr woman. I am not generalizing that to all filipino guys because i have 4 brothers and they are all kind. also i want a foreigner because the result is really beautiful. hehe. i am so overwhelmed with ur blogs bruce & i think elena is so fortunate to have a loving husband like u. best wishes for both of u & Godbless.

  11. Chai says:

    Hi Bruce!

    its my first time to read your article. I am a filipina who is very much active in social network sites but not really in dating sites. Suprisingly, a guy wants to add me as a friend on a famous social network and asked him how are we connected. In short, we had exchanges of messages as well as he sends me poems in my email.

    He is like 8 years older than me. I dont know if he is courting me but he gets my attention everytime. I begin to like him but I still have doubts — doubts if he is genuine…and honest with me.

    Just scared coz we have different cultures. I am separated with kids…he is widowed with one kid…I am just afraid

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