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Look before you Leap

What do I mean by the title “Look before you Leap”? If you have thoughts of moving to the Philippines to meet and marry a lady, use the old street crossing motto “Stop, look and Listen”. Do not just meet a lady online, pack up and move here. There is no way to know who you have been chatting with and if she is for real.

I recently received and email. It was from someone who has a 70 year old friend who has had a stroke in the past and has some paralyzes. He lost most use of one hand and can only walk short distances. Online he met a 40 year old Filipina and now wants to sell everything and move here. He has not told the lady of his disabilities. I do not know what he has told her since I am relying on his friends email to me.

They ask me if this Filipina will accept a man in his conditions and will love and take care of him. There is no way I could honestly answer this question since I do not know the man or the lady.

Yes, Filipinos are a caring people and have no problems taking care of family even if it is part of the extended family. Is it love? If you look at olden time Europe and still in India there are/were arranged marriages. A father will arrange a marriage for a son or daughter. While thinking about this, I remember the song from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

In that movie Tevye the Milkman was talking to his wife and in a song asked his wife “Do you love me?” Each time he asked, she replied in song with that for 25 years she took care of him and listed how. He continued to ask and finally she answered “Do I love you? I guess I do.”

I feel in the beginning a woman looks at a foreigner man as a way to have a better and secure life. She will take care of his home, cook his meals, do his laundry, help him with life here and of course sleep with him and have sexual relations. Together she will learn his ways as a foreigner and she will teach him her way and the culture here. If all is well, in time real love will happen.

Now, I am not saying all women are good and want this, and I am not saying all women are out for a man’s money. There is no way of knowing. You need to take your time getting to know each other before making the decision.

As I have written in the past, Elena and I met online. We chatted and saw each other on cam. As we got to know each other better the frequency of meeting online increased. Eventually I wanted to meet her in person. I flew to Manila and flew here there too. We spent a week together. I then filed for a Fiancée Visa. Because of problems and delays it took time. I returned to the Philippines about a year later and visited her and her family for Christmas and New Years.

I returned again the following summer for 2 weeks and at that time Elena had her appointments in Manila for medical and visa interview. With the turn of the economy, I moved here before her visa was approved so we did not need it. During this time, Elena and I talked and saw each other every morning and evening every day online. We talked about our day, family and normal general things, so we got to know each other very well.

Even with all this contact, just as in any relationship, you never really know each other until you live together. There have been many learning experiences with Elena, our 3 nieces who live with us, their older brother and the rest of the family. There is the cultural difference, misunderstanding of common sayings and expressions and just habits.

When you first move here, with a tourist visa, you cannot open your own bank account. So what do you do? You open it in your ladies name. Do you want to put your money into an account of a lady you just met? A foreigner cannot own land. So maybe you want to buy a house. It has to be in her name. Do you want to put your life savings into a home that you can lose?

For anyone to meet someone online and develop a relationship, sell all their belongings and move to the Philippines, or anywhere in their country or around the world to me is totally crazy. What happens if you do this and it is a scam? You get off the plane and nobody is there to greet you. Or she walks off with your bank account or takes over your home. This can happen. In the Philippines, we are here with the permission of the Philippines. This permission can be easily taken away. Also if a Filipina wants to rip off a foreigner, who is there to help him? All a lady has to do is scream she was abused and she wins under the law protecting Women and Children. There are no laws to protect the foreigner. Many say there has never been a court case between a Filipino and a Foreigner and the Foreigner wins. I do not know that for a fact.

Back to the man I started this article about. He has some good friends in America that cares about him. I hope they help him understand the danger of his plans.

15 Responses to “Look before you Leap”

  1. jan says:

    Bruce,
    This is a very good post.

    I’m afraid that a lot of people are getting into big problems if they act like this man. Just meeting on the internet and chat a little is not enough to get to know eachother well enough.
    To know eachother well, people need to have physical contact for a longer time: to see eachother when they talk and to see their body talks as reaction. That way a person can get to know an other person.

    The man you’re writing about must be desparate to just sell everything and move to the Philippines and live with a Philipina (and her family). I think it is a foolish thing to do. I do not mean to say that the woman cannot be trusted, probably she can, but a man in his condition has so much to loose. He should be very careful.
    At his age, and with his disabilities, I’m affraid he will have a lot of problems here. Especially that he didn’t tell the lady of his problems. I’m not sure if the lady simply will accept it.

    • Bruce says:

      Jan,
      That was my point. With so much to lose and with his condition, he can lose it all and if he has no family or close friends in the US, he might not be able to return.
      Life here is different and takes time to learn. Knowing someone takes time too and not over a webcam.

  2. Ray says:

    Another thing about people that have never been to the Philippines is how do they know they will like it? I would not commit to move to another city with out visiting first let alone another country. There are many things different in the Philippines and it is OK for some and not OK for others. Just my 2 pesos worth 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      Ray,
      Thanks for the comment. That is another point. I have thought about writing more about how life is different here in the Philippines. There are thing we get used to here that we would not in the States.

  3. Alan says:

    Great article Bruce . Unfortunately the man in question is not approaching the possibility from the best view . Perhaps he should state upfront his medical issues and inquire as to whether there are those qualified as ” health care ” companions .

    After spending time here then perhaps he could seek out a more permanent companion but have a back up plan that would allow him to go back to his home country if necessary .

    My wife and the Ladies Charity organization she heads here in CDO went through hell when they assisted an American expat here who was hospitalized and eventually died . His case was complicated because he had a Filipino wife living in the US .

    Even though all donations for the expat were above board and recorded her organization was accused of everything from soliciting money to inadequate record keeping to butting into a Filipino families business . 🙂 As you say as a foreigner you have very few ” legal ” rights despite what attorneys will tell you so best to look before you leap . 🙂

    PS – There is a case of an Expat having won his case at the appeals court level involving his deceased wife’s family from here in CDO . Remains to be seen whether it will get to the Philippie Supreme Court .

    • Bruce says:

      Alan,
      I agree. I get many emails and hear stories of Forigners who canot find their internet girlfriend and others who have gone broke supporting their filipinas family.
      Comming here with no real plan or understanding life here is a fool. Even though I visited a few times and read all I could, I am still learning.
      I think this guy in my article is a fool, but as the saying goes; fools rush in …….

  4. maria says:

    bruce
    sounds like his brain has paralyzes too. he must be ready to kick the bucket but doesnt have the courage to admit that fact to himself and those near to him now. so its better to let someone else and in his agenda, a filipina be the scapegoat for his exit from this life.
    i didnt read he had money, LOTS OF IT, ha, ha, ha. because if he has, this fact changes alot of variables. maybe this filipina will be accepting of him and take good care of him due to that knowledge and if he tells her he will be leaving her with a healthty bank account.
    to start a relationship with deceit of his physical abilities, to just show up surprizing a woman like that. he is out of his cotton picking mind expecting her to welcome him with open arms and be his caregiver.

    • Bruce says:

      Maria,
      Just because he had a stroke does not mean he is dying. There are many that live a long time after a stroke. Also it sounds like his money is not large, not all Americans are rich, look at me.
      There could be deceit on both sides, we do not know.
      The point is moving here to be with a lady he never met in person in a country he really does not know is past foolish.

  5. Bruce enjoy the article and the You Tube video. Cheers! David

  6. Matt Niedz says:

    my Girl Friend (met in Subic on diving trip 3/08) wants to move with me to New York where I live and work……find a job…and be productive she says. Of course, she will send money back to “the family”….that is her right what to do with her earned dollars. She will be required to chip in for food and rent too. Next March will be 2 years staying in touch. I’m just nervous about our age difference of 25 years and her lack of determination in maintaining employment, she also stated she wants a baby by age 25!!! I told her I’m not into kids, but she said that will be her pride and joy. I never married and no kids. Just a HS grad, she has only had 2-3 waitress jobs since leaving High School! I have been sending her $100 every 2 months to help her out. We both love each other, but am I robbing this girl of a more lucrative life experience with someone closer to her age? What insight, guidence, advise, anything can you offer me. Visiting Coron, Palawan this November for some diving and yes, making the decision “to be, or not to be” that is the question???? Matt, Long Island, NY

    • Bruce says:

      Matt,
      To bring her to America you need either a fiancee visa, spousal visa if you marry her here or a job contract. All 3 are expensive and takes time.
      Also you only met her one time on vacation. Spent a week, 2 or maybe even a month together. I do not think you really know her. Even if you spend your next vacation with her, she will be your everything.
      If you decide to bring her to the US to marry her. Make sure your finances are secure. I have heard many stories of foreign ladies, not just Filipinas marrying for green card and then leaving and getting a divorce.
      That happened to me with my first wife. She was in the US illegally with her mom, dad and siblings. Two years after she received her card, she packed up, walked out and filed for divorce.
      To many Filipinas a foreigner is a way out of the Philippines and/or security if he moves here.
      Without knowing her and her family, there is no way I can advise. About a kid, get a vasectomy and tell her it was done before you met her.
      Best of luck with what ever your choice.

  7. Per says:

    Good post!

  8. Christine says:

    Hi Bruce, a very thought provoking post. While I agree with some of your bloggers that this man is a bit “loose in the head” for planning something like this, I can, on the other hand understand his motives. Loneliness is very real in the west, especially amongst the elderly. As a Nurse, I have heard the aged person say, waiting for death (especially in a nursing home) is like waiting for your bus to come along. Very sad. It really amazes me that some of my patients have 5 or more children, and yet not one can take care of him or her. I was familiar with the case of the elderly American in CDO this year. I followed it in LIP. James Mussellwhite (LIP blogger) actually wrote a very honest, no nonsense comment about that case. Like you, I donot know this person or the lady he was chatting with. But I believed that the reason why he is concealing his disability is because he is terrified that she will reject him. I think he might be hoping that once they actually meet, he can persuade her to accept him, with some “sweeteners” perhaps? But it is a big gamble, just like every other foreigner who met their ladies on line and deciding to settle there.

    Bruce, in this post you commented “if all is well, in time real love will happen”. Really? I kinda have some reservations about this statement. If that were true, then why do foreign spouses continue to do the required period of stay in the marriage (in the case of Oz, it is 2 years and 2 months) then leave once they get the permanent residency? Others can’t even wait for the 2 year requirement and leave anyway. (I’m saying spouses because this applies to men here as well, albeit a minority).

    As for the lady in question in this case, at aged 40, with children, she really does not have a great prospect in the Phil. unless she comes from a wealthy family and has an established career. I would guess not, for why else would she be chatting with an elderly gentleman on line. She may be genuine and will appreciate the change in life (hoping for a better one) with this elderly gentleman, and would accept being the carer and spouse as well. She might also accept him in the beginning. But what would happen if she would get tired of caring for him? And there is always that possibility that she is just a scammer. There is really no way of knowing. I hope he will make a wiser decicion and good luck to him. Just my 2 bob’s worth, Bruce. Have a nice day.

    • Bruce says:

      Christine,
      About love, even in arranged marriages with a good relationship, love can develop. Not all men want a young 18-29 year old. For me, I wanted a lady with experience in life and maturity. I did not want a lady I had to decide everything and end up having a daughter as a wife. Everyone is different and makes their own choices.

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