Making Friends in the Philippines

It’s been said, “You can never have too many friends.” Hmm, I’m not so sure of this. Years ago I was speaking with a co-worker late one evening on the night shift. I respected and admired him as a good friend for several years. It then occurred to me that I’d never been to his home. I told him we should plan on getting together for a bbq some weekend, have our families get to know one another. I was surprised by his answer, “Nothing personal, but I never, ever have company at the house. As it is, I barely tolerate having my wife’s relatives over every blue moon.”

Wow. I was kind of taken aback at first, but then curious. I asked him why this was, what were his so-many-smiling-faces1reasons for not entertaining company once in a while. He replied, “I’ve learned over the years it just gets too weird. Eventually there’s some unspoken or outright drama.. the wives get to gossiping, I end up in the middle. Or the family comes over and tears up my place with their uncontrolled kids, I get resentful and things go south. But mostly, I just barely have enough free time for my wife and kids to enjoy our home alone.. I don’t want to give any of that up to have other people over.”

I can respect that some people are very private people. Or very concerned with taking care of their home. But I thought his position was a bit on the extreme side, although justified since he was putting his own family first.

So now I find myself here, the Philippines.. one of the (if not THE) friendliest nations on the planet. In six weeks I’ve managed to go from not knowing a soul to now knowing about twenty people I see almost every other day, some of them every day. We’ve had lunch together, gone drinking together and one even confided some emotional pains they were going through in a relationship with me that they didn’t share with their closer friends. Recently I invited four of them to my little studio where I cooked up a nice, little dinner we had together. And it was that night, after all had gone home and I was laying there in my bed when my friend’s words came back to me out of the past.

With my friends in the U.S. we made something of a point to ‘keep things even’ whenever going out. I’d pay for dinner, they’d pay for movie tickets. They’d pay for gas, I’d pay for lunch. Back and forth we informally remained un-indebted to each other. With most my friends, we rarely talked about our private finances. And if we were having financial difficulty, we kept that to ourselves as well choosing to just solve our own money issues and move on to the next thing. I guess our American culture is more ‘private’ in general when it comes to money. My friends would confide in me about their wife, husband, new boyfriend or parental issues.. but money was rarely if ever brought up.

Not so here in the Philippines. As it’s been experienced by most any foreigner, whether as visiting tourist all expats have a money tree - wrongor permanent ex-pat, the pre-conceived notion among most Filipinos is that; ‘You are rich.’ It doesn’t matter if you’re living on $500 or $2,000 per month.. you are perceived as ‘rich’. You come from the land with golden streets where money falls from trees and all you normally do is lay beside a pool or drive your fancy sports car all day.. as you make even more money on the phone. People told me this before I got here and I was incredulous. “You can’t be serious.”, was my response. “C’mon.. I plan on living the starving writer’s life over there, nobody is going to mistake me for being rich.” Well, six weeks later and I have to admit.. they were right. And I got news for you, it’s not easy being ‘rich’.

Remember the many friends I’ve made since getting here? Out of the twenty I’d say I’ve given money to at least seven of them at one point or another. And this was going in, having been informed that the perception of many Filipinos was that it’s OK to ask for money from a foreigner because.. we have ‘so much’ of it. (Yah, right.) Now, nobody had a gun to my head. I know I made my own decisions to help them out here or there for this or that reason. I’ll accept my end of responsibility. However, what I thought was just a normal decision to pick up the tab for lunch soon turned into picking up the tab for three, then four then five persons.

I try to put myself in their shoes and think, well.. they must figure I can afford it ten times over and have much more money to spare. In their minds they aren’t inconveniencing me in any way. But then I got to thinking, well.. what if I DID have say, $7,000 per month to just squander? Would that change how I feel? And my answer was, “No.” It’s not about the money.

Back when I was taking Tae Kwon Do, I became friends with a man there who also happened to attend the same fitness club I belonged to. We began to do extra sparring after class together and one day he invited me to his cabin. We were out on the porch looking out into the forest when out of the silence he said, “You know.. you’re the first person I’ve met in about five years that hasn’t asked me for anything. You never ask me for anything.” It had never occurred to me to do that. He was a good friend, we shared an interest in martial arts and that was good enough for me. But he was a video and recording producer in Hollywood and had worked with celebrities and projects I’d seen on television, he’d even done several videos for Playboy, Inc. He said that eventually everyone he knew asked him to move their screenplay to the ‘right people’. Or they asked for a break on studio time and some free production/mixing time from him. They asked him for money. They asked to use his cabin when he wasn’t there. They all asked him for something eventually. It’s not that he couldn’t afford it. It’s that it made him realize those ‘friendships weren’t so much the ‘true’ kind of friendship we as humans want with each other. They only saw him as a means to get what they wanted.

And that’s how I got to feeling that night. Were they my friends because they are friendly? Or because “they ate and were filled”, to quote a famous line. Because I brought in lunch. I picked up the bar tab. I helped them with their transportation money home.

So.. I made a conscious decision to start holding back. My budget needed a break that much was for sure. I personally couldn’t justify working to earn money that I’d be giving that much away every month. This wasn’t like with my friends back home where we reciprocated back and forth. None of the new friends I have here have any money to reciprocate with.

It’s been a mixed bag of results. Some of them asked me, “Are you OK, sir? Have I upset you in some way?” I responded, “No, I’m fine.. I just came by to visit for a few minutes before doing some writing.” (sans lunch) Then one of them asked me, “How about we go out dancing again tonight? Have some fun!” I responded, “No.. I’m still recuperating. Actually, my wallet is still recuperating. No money for drinking tonight.” And I actually got that, “You are kidding me, right?” look from several of them. The idea that I might actually have a budget to stick to simply did not compute into their perception of me being an American.

This was over the last few days. Today two of the people I met with at the mall were asking me all kinds of questions about Southern California, since that is where I lived all my life. Finally, one of them asked, “Is it really true that there are poor people in United States?” It took a bit of emphasis from me to make the point that, yes.. there really are poor people in America. They really, really do exist. Bigfoot, I’m not so sure about. But poor people, most definitely. I’m still not sure he believed me though. I guess it’s sort of like when I hear about people who live beyond their means in Beverley Hills. Part of me thinks, “How does anyone have that much money and not know how to stick to a budget?” But then I see a commercial for that ‘Desperate Housewives’ show and am reminded just how vapid and self-absorbed some people can be.

Out on the street, or people I meet through my girlfriend, my neighbors and others.. I meet plenty of very nice people everywhere I go that don’t ask me for a thing. There’s a guy (Caesario) I keep running into at the cockfights and we sit together, he tells me the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the rules, answers my questions, he’s a real cockfighting fan and is there every week. I kept waiting for it. The moment he will say, “I need some money to make a bet..”. And it never happens. He’s just happy to be the one guy talking to the only American at the cockfights and share a joy for it. So, I like the guy. There still are good, decent people who ‘spread the joy’ as it were, asking for nothing in return but perhaps some conversation. I love the Philippines, I really do. I love the courteous and polite society they adhere to. But I suppose with so many friendly people comes the responsibility on my part to discern which of the few are perhaps not as genuine as the majority. Are they still friends if there’s nothing in it for them? Are they content purely with my friendship and company?

My experiences here so far have been a little of both. Some Filipino people here have opened up their home to me, cooking up a lavish meal that I know was of expense to them and not an easy task in the little kitchen they have. And all they wanted was my company and some good conversation. Friends have something in common as well. So at some point I have to ask myself when evaluating those who call me ‘friend’ here.. what is our point of commonality? Is it our perceptions of family values? Our desire to foster international friendship? Is it people we know in common or a subject we both have an interest in? People we both care about in common? At some point every friendship has an element of commonality to it.

My girlfriend, when I told her I’d made dinner for a group I know from the mall said, “Well.. now they’ll be back and you’ll never know when.” That hasn’t happened. Yet. But I don’t regret making myself available. I suppose I’d rather err on the side of being too friendly, maybe even taken advantage of to some degree, rather than close off my life to new friends and new experiences. I’m usually out walking the street after midnight to get some exercise or just observe the people who come out late at night. So regarding both these issues I guess I’d advise new visitors to do the opposite of what I do. Don’t walk the streets late at night, and be a bit reserved about making friendships too quickly. “Do as I say and not as I do.”, I guess you could say. I can only take chances for myself, I can’t recommend anyone else take those same chances. But if you do decide to open up your life to every new friendship that crosses your path here.. and there will be many, just know that many of them are truly genuine.

But sometimes, it’s about the perception of who is the richest guy at the table. And if you can’t spot who that is, guess what? It’s you.

Henry ‘Reekay’
www.LifeBeyondTheSea.com

 


Author: Reekay

After 49 years living in Southern California, USA, I decided to move to the Philippines despite never having been here before. In July, 2012, I took a leap of faith and transplanted myself to the amazing Philippines. I am a single man taking an honest look at all that the islands here have to offer, one day at a time. I hope you find my LBTSea site informative, entertaining and hopefully a bit of each. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Forum and other parts of what the site has to offer. Browse around and be sure to sign up for updates via email. Enjoy!
— Reekay

21 comments

  1. Get rid of the flowered shirts, start wearing T's, cutoffs and flipflops. The more holes in your clothes the better. Start eating more fish and rice with bagoong.

    Become a "Dong", instead of a Banker.

  2. Hi Henry.

    Nice article! I am very fortunate that I have friends beyond counting here. In the US I had many people that I considered friends but never had time to do anything with them. Here I am a member of a motorcycle group for more than three years. We go touring all over the place and sometimes do community service. Since I am the VP I explained to my Filipino brothers that if we do something good we must be a little bad to restore the balance. So there has been a bit of drunkeness on occasion. I am not obliged to pick up any tabs since a requirement for our group is that all members must be employed. I am happy to be eye to eye with these guys. I have no doubt that they have my back and I have theirs.

    Since my wife is a Kapitan in our place I have met governers and several mayors. I have attended many social events albiet kicking and screaming. I finally put my foot down that I will never wear a barong again. They are itchy and make me feel like a fool. I explained to my wife that if she insists that I wear one again I will but without an inner shirt and I will not go light on the body glitter.

    I have one group of friends that I stop to see on occasion around beer o clock. They have businesses so if I stop by after five I ask if it is beer o clock yet. We usually end up dinking a few beers and sharing some kind of polutan. sp.?

    I am also very happy that I have a friend that is my agri-barkada. He is well schooled in many facets of agriculture and routinely hosts seminars at his farm for the university. We like to share ideas and are very supportive of each other when the wives are not. I also count among my friends some of my brother in laws and some of my carpenters. There are also many people in the city and in our barrio that I have befriended. I actually get discounts at many businesses because of my friendships.

    Only a few times I was asked for money. Once during beer o clock at my friends place. It was from a friend of my friend. He asked me to sponsor his daughter’s college. I explained that as a businessman I never make any commitments while drinking but he is welcome to come and talk to my wife and myself over coffee. Never saw him again.

    I NEVER give money to street beggars. It is actually illegal in my place. One time I gave my wife 100 pesos to give to a lady with a hydrosyphallic child. I explained that I gave money to her before because I see that her need is legitimate. My wife said I was sweet when she returned but after my explaination she said I was bad. I explained that I pay 35 pesos for a haircut and the child is in desperate need of a haircut but maybe they will have to pay triple because of the giant head. Just keeping the balance.

  3. Haha I can really relate to that!I’m a Filipina married to a foreigner (a French) and we got married in the Philippines.I came from a big family from my mother side to my father side so lots of cousins, uncles etc.So for the wedding, it’s a lot of guests, in all 150.We had our wedding ceremony at the church and yes, the invited guest (family, friends and relatives) were there.After the church, we then went to the reception and I was really surprised when the manager of the catering service told me that there are 227 guests!I was worried because normally, there will be no enough food for everyone, have to make an additional pay for the unexpected guest and how will I explain that to my husband etc…well I can explain it but I was ashame- it’s just a shame that these “x” people came just to eat…I really wondered where were these people came from?I then understand that it’s beacause my invited friends and or relatives some of them have also invited their friends or neighbors, or the others just heard that there’s a wedding and brought themselves to the reception!The catering service assured me though, that there will be enough food because they always anticipate this kind of situation.It’s not the first time and it often happens.I’ve learnt a lesson that we should have organized it better like giving each of our invited guest an entry card and at the reception have their list of the invited guest.I think it’s also an advise that I can give to the future couples who want to celebrate their wedding in the Philippines.Now, I just smile when I think of it but at that time that really stressed me!I was really surprised because I’m also a Filipina and I never went to any occasions without being invited!

    About the mentality that Filipino people see foreigners as “rich” is true!I mean in general, even if they have jobs in the Philippines they literally think that “a foreigner have more money than them”.Even me my friends tell me that I’m rich now because I’m in France!I really explained to them and try to break that mentality by telling them that there are rich people in every country but not everyone is rich and most people have ordinary lives!We work and have bills to pay and can’t really compare because the cost of living is different etc..Sometimes I cant really blame them because as we know there are millions of Filipinos working overseas.Sad to say that when they come back to the Philippines in general or many of them, the money that they gained let’s say within 8 months will be spent for a week!They don’t think to put in the bank so that later they can put up a business, for that they don’t need to go back working abroad and be no longer far from their love ones.So spending their money for a very short period of time is like living like a one day millionaire! Some are showing off and some are just maybe they want to make their families happy because they missed them so much.So when their neighbors or other Filipinos see that they really think that it’s very easy to gain money in other countries!Many don’t share their hardships to their family maybe not worry them or some just want to pretend that they’re having a very good life in other country, so people think that they became successful etc…So imagine you’re an American, Australian, Canadian or from European countries, you’re born “rich” because even a Filipino who just went in your country “working hard” within 8 months only have already lots of money!Well, I think part of it explains why Filipinos think that “Foreigners are rich!”

  4. My wife and I have been married almost 5 yrs now. I AM lucky because we have only needed to send money to her family once in that period of time. The reason for that was her mother was sick and the money covered the doctor, hospital and medicine here mom needed. My wife also has a sister in Australia who share the cost without question. Having said that my wife also has a few small properties that are rented out and that money goes to her mom on a monthly basis. Was everyone lives so close together her family often eat together and I am sure share what money comes from rent in some form or fashion. I stay out of that part of it and only comment when direct requests are ask of us. My wife again only speaks to me about it if she is ready to give money. He handles the rejected requests on here own but I know she gets tired of it because it’s endless. Not just from family members but from others who know her. From what I see she is doing a great job and doesn’t need any help from me.

    I have stated several time when I have a bright idea hey why don’t we set up this person or that in this business or help them get going on this and she quickly tells me I don’t want to do that or bad idea 🙂 . It will just be trouble or not a good idea and I see the light so to speak. I am always thinking how I would do it if given an opportunity but fail to realize most lack the discipline or knowledge to keep an enterprise self sustaining. I guess similar to the one day millionaire mentality previously mentioned, of spend it as you get it and not look towards the future.. Grasshopper / Ant kind of thing if you know the story.

    So bottom line is I let her deal with most of it and only deal with the more serious problems when she brings them to my attention.

    1. I couldn’t say with any certainty, I’m sure that some of the Filipino men (statistically) must be supporting their parents. But in a year and a half, all I have seen are the women who help support their parents with wages from their jobs or with help from their expat husband. Of the filipino men that I have known who worked as merchant seamen, the few I knew of barely supported their own family and squandered most of their earnings partying while away and coming home with no savings at the end of their contract. In addition, it is not uncommon for the filipino man to simply ‘disappear’ once he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. The number of single-mother filipinas I’ve met is staggering.

    2. No, it’s not only women but men too.I have a brother, men friends working abroad or not they do support their parents too and even sometimes younger sister or brother too.I think it’s the upbringing were taught to help each other and it’s part of the culture.Of course, we help if we can it’s not really an obligation.As children we have this gratitude too towards our parents.Most of them are really struggling to send their children to school or universities but despite their financial difficulties they still do everything for their children to have a better life in the future.Mostly parents don’t have retirement pensions except if they’ve been working in a public sector.I have a cousin that her parents have good jobs and now retired with great pensions.She have a brother and both have good jobs too but still, her parents help her for her kids.So it really depends on the situation too.
      I have a Filipina friend too who had a great job in the Philippines before, now she’s married to a foreigner and have a kid.She didn’t find a job for some reasons the language barrier, economic crisis of the country & etc..So it’s only her husband who bring money to the table.Maybe they help sometimes when they can..So it’s more her brother who support the parents.
      I think also that statistically there are more women than men in the Philippines and obviously, more filipina women who married to foreigners than filipino men- so I guess that’s why men foreigners heard more about women sending money to their parents.

  5. Hi, Mr. Henry/Reekay:

    I’m not yet done watching all of your informative, thought-provoking, and candid youtube channel videos, and now I’ve started reading your online blogs/journals. It’s like reading and watching a zen philosopher selflessly expounding his views and insights, not only about the country where I was born, but about life’s essential meaning, one’s profound connection with nature and with his own past, present, and future (“one becomes happy when immersed in the present”), and that practical, streetwise approach to living in a new, strange, sometimes menacing, oftentimes bewildering place (“jungle”). I must confess that I’m now bingeing on your blogs and videos, and I reap from this experience so much more joy than I got bingeing on Netflix’s Breaking Bad and PBS’ Downton Abbey. I’m now seeing my Philippines from your eyes, from a very different perspective, so much more so because I’ve been here in the States for far too long. You said you almost felt that you’ve just been there for a short time, although you’ve spent more than a year over there, and from that statement and from the sheer joy emanating from your comments and demeanor, I gleaned a pure, unalloyed excitement that’s almost child-like… well, something one expects from you who had avidly read those jungle-themed books American kids and teens fell in love with.

    I hope that someday, when I visit Cebu and Bohol, my favorite provinces really (I vacationed there in 1978, 1980, and 1983, although I hailed from Sariaya, Quezon Province), I could meet you in person for a lively chat. You also mentioned that you were a Riverside County resident (I went to CSU Fullerton and UC Riverside for my grad studies, so I’d seen Hemet). Again, thank you so much for your inspiring, constructive, helpful, and zen-like presence online, hopefully a lasting and pervasive presence for years to come.

    1. I’m glad my hours on the keyboard have been of some enjoyment and/or use to you and others. There is still so very much of the PH that I have yet to experience, not just in locales.. but in daily moments that challenge every paradigm I’ve grown comfortable with during my life in the West. Even today I had a very positive, moving experience with some street kids that still has me mentally stopped in my tracks. It may sound cliche’ to say that “every day is an adventure”, but it is so true.. no matter where we live. It’s all out there, right outside our front door. Human souls who are just as bewildered and/or damaged as they pretend not to be. All in a swarm of daily survival to fill not just the hunger in their belly but the ache in their heart. All over this planet, there is adventure occurring. The only real question that remains is, how far into the unknown are we willing to venture?

  6. From my years of experience of living in the Philippines, your financial status will dictate what type of friends you will have. Like you said, Henry, it is always the well-off guy who is assumed each time to pay for the meals when dealing with the masses. But if you are out with well-to-do friends, the guy who pays is negotiable; and it is always the guy who grabs the tab first and beat his or her friends to pay for the meal who is talked about later on in a positive light, and would be gladly be invited over-and-over again to dine out because of his or her unconditional generosity. I am not saying this person will be expected to pay each time by his or her friends, but it is always good to know that you are in the company of such generously and reliable spender. To repeat, your financial status will dictate what type of friends you will have.

  7. Hi Henry, i've been meeting phils online and through phone for several months, just meeting learning, preparing, educating myself even through your experiences.that being said I have learned that out of 20 people I met, have all eventually asked me for money (help).im from usa.I have helped all that asked but now find myself reserved also.but heres my thoughts and maybe you could give me your thoughts.here is my perception,,,, there in phils the ,,,,economy is limited so I dont mind being somewhat giving knowing I cant help everyone.I beleive that there the filipinos arent so much lazy beggers or such.its just a matter of unfortunate circumstances, here in the usa you know that many not all but many are lazy unappreciative and expect handouts from those who work.I hope im not offending anyone but its my opinion from my experience here.I have worked since I was 12.we must take care of ourselves first before we can help others, but being the way the phils are I would definately not judge anyone who asked me for money or help,id almost feel obligated to some degree just for there sincere kindness and friendliness worthy of a lil help if I could.the phils seeem to be amazing people even under there circumstances.so if me you can help ..why not? Also I like to help it makes me happy, im sure your that way also.thanks for sharing your experiences there.im enjoying from afar for now.baracay seems like a place to visit with company rather then a single man.I think you agree..lol…my first stop was going to be baracay but after learning from your videos I believe as a single man myself ill plan to visit other parts of phils first 🙂

  8. Hi, after years of visiting Philippines I recently married my long term girlfriend and have been living full time in PI now for 18 months.(first in Leyte now Bohol)
    Unfortunately it is true that most of the people here believe all foreigners are rich.
    My worst experiences has been when people have befriended my wife simply because they feel they will be able to borrow money through her.
    My suspicious nature has enabled me to avoid people like this and my wife now tells people very early on that her husband is a Cheap Charlie and never ever lends money to anyone.
    However not everyone is like this. People will either accept you in time as being who you are or not. The ones who are still around even after they learn that they will never make money from you are the ones to befriend
    I have two long term good friends now who are both poor Philippine guys and they are really good people.
    Philippines are great company, so natural and fun loving.
    I recommend as you would in many countries take your time learning who is genuine before becoming proper friends.

  9. Hi Henry, now in my 7th year in the Philippines living near to Tagaytay. Excellent site you have here and thank you for sharing your experiences. There are so many aspects to living here and ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome is a part of many peoples disappointment when they live here, but if you looked into life back in our own countries, it would reveal so many unhappy people, forever complaining about this and that. It is human nature for so many people. IF you do adopt a more positive outlook and surround yourself with similarly happy and positive people then the ‘bubble’ can indeed be a utopia. I ticked some boxes once I had found the supply of certain home comfort foods I was missing. More boxes got ticked once you get to know some nice people. More boxes when you acclimatise to the psychology of the Filipinos. It is a constant adjustment of perceptions for a few years at least…..then you are on the homeward run and things just settle into place. There will be hiccups from time to time, but that is life anywhere on the planet and just a temporary test of your ability to adapt to new circumstances. Life would be boring if these little challenges didn’t come along from time to time. And you have plenty of time on your hands to resolve it all!

    The cost of living is a great boost of course, as is the generally great weather. Let’s face it..almost every country on the plant gets bad weather at some point. The sun doesn’t always shine….but then where on earth does it shine all the time….a desert…but you wouldn’t want to live there anyway. I drive a Jeepney as my only transport. The locals love it. Brings great connection with them and they treat me almost like a Filipino because of it. The odd thing is that when we visit my wife’s relatives in the province, she almost wants to apologise for me as I dress in shorts and flip-flops just like them. I jump on any passing carabao and go riding off into the farms for fun. The locals love it. My wife expects me to behave above them and dress like I have more money than I actually do….not a chance. I don’t care whether they have any pre-concieved idea of what a foreigner should dress like or act like. They are soooo status conscious. The first thing they do is have a house they cannot afford or drive a car they cannot afford to have, just so it looks like they have more money than they really do. Secretly they are stressed by not being able to afford it…but it is about image for so many of them. The complexities of life!.

  10. Nice website you have here. Technically the Philippines was under Spain from 1521 to 1898, (and under the US from 1898 to 1946). Practically, the Philippines was administered from Mexico (at that time New Spain) from the beginning until 1821 when Mexico got independence. So most of the Hispanics in the Philippines who settled in the Philippines during that time were actually from what is now Mexico, including the Conquistadores, Miguel Legaspi and Juan de Salcedo (who was born in Mexico City). The society during that time was divided among the Peninsulares (Hispanics from Spain), Americanos (Hispanics from New Spain/Mexico), Mestizos (Hispanics and Chinese and natives mixed up), Chinos (Chinese), and Indios (Natives). Got to hand it to the Spaniards. Wherever they went, they called the natives Indians. That’s why you can blend in. Foodwise, Chicharon is a favorite snack in the Philippines, I believe that came from Mexico. Also, corn (mais). Clotheswise, the Barong Tagalog has a Mexican counterpart. I don’t know if it originated in Mexico and came to the Philippines or vice-versa, but its the same thing. During the Galleon Trade (Manila to Acapulco and back), there was a lot of movement of people between the two colonies. Looking at the geography, Spain was too far from the Philippines to govern it effectively. Thus the Philippines was administered almost as a province of New Spain/Mexico. Remember, the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal had not yet been built. It’s definitely a fascinating country. You should look up Velez in the phone books there. You might have some long lost relatives there.

  11. Hello there ! I’m a filipina and i like how you candidly share your views about our country, it’s people and its culture. I viewed several of your videos on you tube too.

    You have addressed some important issues which i know foreigners would be facing should they date or marry a filipino woman. It’s really true that when a pinay hooks up with a foreigner there is this common notion that the foreigner is “rich” . I guess because some pinays also tend to flaunt that this guy gave like this or that. Some wants to “show off” in our language its ” magyabang” or maybe the relatives are the ones spreading the “news”.This is typically seen especially if you live in the provinces. Even if you’re not an expat but a filipino working outside the country same notion applies; your kababayan think that you’re already rich and i know that for sure because i’m one of the millions of filipinos who seek a better opportunity outside my country so that i can raise my family. Having said that , it’s not really that bad. You just have to set some boundaries and put some limitations to what you can give should that kind of occasion arises otherwise you will surely be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people. You’ll still get to meet people who would want your friendship not your money.

    With regards to having women friends like let say a platonic, genuine man -woman friendship you’ve mentioned on your video, it also happens but it’s really difficult for filipinos to believe especially if the guy is foreigner :). I guess it’s just an ingrained mentality that cannot just be changed suddenly. Unless you had this kind of friend from way back let’s say high school then people would not question it. But if a guy and a woman became friends just recently expect your family, your friends , your neighbors to speculate that you are dating or whatever even if both of you know the real score. It’s just the way it is for most of us haha.

  12. Interesting. We’ve been here retired now for about three months, my wife born here but both married in Japan and late of NOrthern CA for the past 30+ years. Moving here, we plan to build our retirement home but in the meantime live in a nice townhouse…on a budget. We have an entire circle of my wife’s cousins almost all of whom are happily married and middle class Filipinos, some with 2nd homes or plans for 2nd homes out in the boondocks.

    Point is, there are a couple of family cousins who are pretty poor, supported by the other family members, or supported by OFW children. We’ve lent money to a tita and another cousin but while it was a ‘loan’, we don’t expect to ever see that money again. Not that its an issue, but there is the reflection that we are loaded and can afford it. A culture of how can i say it…entitlement from the rich foreign relatives.

    We’ve lent money to some of our household help and given extensions on pay with no problem. One household helper asked for a loan cuz they hadn’t gotten paid yet by their bosses who were on a trip overseas. Of course we helped her. I expect she will pay us back.

    BUt you’re right…we are the RICH WHITE RELATIVES (my wife ain’t white but…)…

  13. I was smiling while reading your post, it was a really good post btw. You got a taste of Philippine culture wherein there is still a big influence of colonial mentality here. Filipinos have a mindset that we ‘admire’ white people a lot and with the admiration comes the notion that they are rich. You have to understand that the Philippines was under a the Spanish rule for a long time and the common livelihood of the locals are employed in a farm and the bosses (Spanish) ruled as Hacienderos and sort of waiting for the produce and the locals just earn a meager income while doing all the work.

    But history aside, in modern Manila, I think what you are experiencing is a case of being friends with the “wrong” people? You have to be careful sometimes with people who are very friendly because they are very friendly for a reason, you know what I mean?It goes not just for Filipinos but people in general. And I think it is because you are friends with people who are unemployed or are not having enough (see our minimum wage here?).

    Some areas they really “look” up to the rich people like me I am a Filipino and we are more privilege than most in our province and when I go there for a vacation some people ask money from me. 🙂 I don’t like it of course and know what I do? I don’t give to those who ask for it but just give all sorts of excuses. But I do give to others who have been with our family a long time and don’t ask money from me.

    My post is really getting long and i need to go somewhere now …lol…but before I end this…I think what you can do about the bill is let’s say there are 4 of you in a group and the bill is 1,000 pesos instead of footing the bill you can do something like here’s 500 you can just share for the remaining. I know it is still not equally divided by I guess that’s a good start and will not make you feel like ‘used’ and being there for your company. That will also ‘weed’ out your ‘friends’ in the process.

    Also something to think about, here it is common for one person to foot the bill. Let’s say we eat out the whole family (Philippine definition of family, uncles, cousins etc) the richest person is usually expected to pay. It is not common for people to chip-in because there are cases where in the richest person is offended when others chip-in because because it makes him/her not feel so rich you know what I mean? 🙂

    But normally we chip in anyway now esp. if there are so many…so just to give you an insight…

    But keep enjoying the Philippines because we really are a friendly bunch and love for Foreigners to be here in our country.

  14. Hi reekay. I absolutely love your you tube videos and blog. Very informative and funny at times. I’m planning a trip with my filipino girlfriend to pangasinan..which is where she’s from. She has a house that she had built but I also wanted to do some sight seeing and check out hundred islands. I’m going to soak up as much knowledge as possible before leaving. Looking forward to connecting with you in regards to the Philippines.

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