Dating Young Filipinas: The May-December Relationship

dating young filipinasToday I’m going to tackle a subject here that is intrinsic to a meeting of cultures here in the Philippines.  And that subject is the age-difference relationships between Foreign Men and Filipina Ladies.  Also known as the ‘May-December’ relationship.  Whether you are reading this as someone with interest in moving to the Philippines, or as a person curious about this sort of relationship, I think you will find yourself challenged to keep an open mind about this.  So, without any more pretense, let’s get into the thick of this.

philippines survival guide advice expats
In a previous article I touched on the existence of this sort of relationship as being part of what older men should expect here.  I won’t be revisiting those points here but you are free to review them at your leisure.

For the uninitiated, here is the situation.. here in the Philippines it is a very common sight to see a man in his sixties married to a young woman in her twenties with their child or two tagging along.  Personally, I live on the small island of Mactan and I see it at least every other day.  And if I go to the larger malls in Cebu, I see it several times a day all through the day.  What a rarely see, and by rare I mean perhaps three times in a four-month period.. is a Foreigner/Filipina couple who are both the same age.  It does happen, but here it is the exception, not the general rule.

Now, take just a moment to wrap your mind around this, because it will be the crux of what we are discussing here.  Chances are if you live in Europe this is not unfamiliar to you and you have seen this plenty of times.  Being an American myself, I have to say that in 49 years of living in the USA.. I probably only saw or knew someone in a May-December relationship perhaps a dozen times.  Here in the Philippines, it’s a dozen every week.  Husband is no doubt in his 60’s.. wife is in her 20’s and more often than not, very attractive.  Him.. about 5’10” and her.. about 5’0”.  I tell you, I’ve lost track how many times I’ve seen two or three young ladies walking by and at first glance I thought they were all schoolmates.  All the same height, same weight, same nice figure.. and it turns out one of them was the Mother.  That is the sort of situation that makes up the Philippines.  It’s not like in America where it’s pretty easy to tell the Mothers from the daughters.

I’m the kind of person that observes and asks a lot of direct questions from people in private.  I want answers.  I want to know people’s motives.  I want to know what makes their mind and heart ‘tick’.  So, I ask.  And from what I’ve observed of cultures outside the Philippines and within it here are some trends I have noticed.

In America, young girls are told from an early age, “You are an equal.  You can be anything you want to be.”.  That is great, and I raised my daughter along those lines.  But there’s another unspoken side effect to this individualistic, self-sufficient mantra and it echoes something like this when they are older, “You aren’t the boss of me.  I do what I want.  I don’t need you.  You’re lucky I even date you.”  The only part of American culture I’ve witnessed that contradicts this mentality is found among conservative religions such as Christianity, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh-Day Adventist and similar Bible based religions which still hold up the values of the Wife who is both a HelpMate to her Husband, yet submissive to his authority and leadership.  These days theProverbs 31Wife is practically spit upon by contemporary culture.  It is no longer esteemed as it once was even in America’s own history as recently as 75 years ago.  The very word ‘submissive’ is one that chokes in the throat of any woman who wants to be seen as ‘progressive’ among her peers.  Today’s American woman, for the most part, does not value or practice the age-old values of a ‘submissive wife who trusts in God’.  And this has everything to do with why the age-difference relationship is, to this very day, considered a pariah of society in America despite having such an open mind about interracial or same-sex relationships.

Two men can show up at a party as being openly Gay, living together as spouses and these days nobody dares speak a word against it.  That would be prejudicial.  That would be ‘hateful’.  Same for interracial relationships.  It’s been a long time since anyone batted an eye regarding a White and Black spouse being married or in a relationship.  (Maybe in the South some eye-batting still goes on.)  But people in America today are very accepting of both these relationship scenarios.  However.. if someone shows up at the family reunion or Christmas party and the age difference between spouses is anything more than 10 years.. people’s heads begin to turn.  Comments are made and if the age difference is 20 years or more.. slanders are uttered, accusations and judgments are made.

“She’s only with him for the money.. a gold-digger.”
“He’s old enough to be her father.. what a perv.”

These are, sadly, the sort of judgments.. and yes, they are judgments.. made upon anyone who dares to love or (gasp) marry someone with any noticeable age difference in America.  And I think there’s a reason for it.  Namely, what I just mentioned about how little girls are taught about self-sufficiency and independence.  People look at a younger woman and assume the ONLY reason she would ever marry him is because he is wealthy.  She shouldn’t be doing that.  She should be out there, in the world, making her own fortune and not relying on a man who has established some security he’s willing to share with her in marriage.  But that’s all assuming that ‘equality’ has anything to do with non-dependence.  It doesn’t.

In a same-age relationship, if the husband works and the wife doesn’t.. she’s not accused of being ‘dependent’ or a ‘gold-digger’.  So then why the stigma?  Why so much judgmentalism for one couple and not the other?

The answer is found in two things:  Differences in Culture and.. Ignorance.


Now.. let’s take a look at the Philippines.  Americans at times like to say that America is a ‘Christian Nation’.  America has a long-standing history of Christian roots, I’ll grant that.  Those roots are evidenced in both our national traditions and even our Constitution.  However.. America today is hardly a theocracy that looks to God for guidance either in its politics or its entertainment.  Let’s not kid ourselves.. Congressmen hardly kneel down in prayer before voting on new legislation in search of God’s guidance.  Hollywood is hardly turning down scripts that include graphic violence or envelope-pushing nudity.  Christianity is an ‘element’ of American life.. but it is not a driving force across the nation.  If anything, freedom for a multitude of religions is the core of America.. not Christianity as its sole backbone.

But not so here in the Philippines.  The first thing you have to understand about life here is, “It’s a whole other world.”  Here, Catholicism is not just one of a multitude of religions that coexist within it’s borders.  No.  It is much, much more than that.  It is not just a driving force in their past history either.  It is what shapes their laws, today.  It is what is taught in schools.  It is what is taught around the kitchen table at meal times.   Just one example; Adultery laws.  Here in the Philippines, Catholic culture is so embedded in the legislation that to commit Adultery is a legal crime.  People can be imprisoned from 2 to 6 years for cheating on their spouse.  Meanwhile, in America (the Christian Nation.. ahem).. no such law exists nor will it ever see the light of day.  Here, Catholic dogma is everything.  To the point that even contraception is still frowned upon to this day.  (I could get into a whole discussion on how I disagree with this, but I won’t get sidetracked.)  A person doesn’t have to live here long to see that laws such as ‘No Divorce’ end up doing more harm than good.  Catholicism is such a driving force here that marriage is seen as an unbreakable joining of God that no man can render separate.  You cannot get a divorce in the Philippines.  Period.  You can try to get an annulment, where the court says that no marriage ever should have occurred for a short list of reasons.  But not a divorce.

My whole point in bringing this up and why it relates to age-difference marriages is that here.. a whole other phenomena is occurring in the raising up of young girls.  Here, young girls ARE told to esteem the ‘Proverbs 31’ Wife model.  Here.. Mothers teach their daughters in all strictness that when the day comes that they marry a man, they are to love him faithfully.  They are to honor his authority in the family.  They are to be his Helpmate in life.  They are to be good Mothers to his children.  They are to assist him in providing for the family needs.

This is an extremely important difference in culture that makes for all the difference between a 19 year old Filipina and a 19 year old American Girl.

The two cannot even be compared.  The Filipina girl here at a younger age has a far different perspective on marriage than the American girl whose life is consumed with.. herself, her hair, her shoes, her wants, her.. her.. her.  I see and meet young Filipina women here all the time and I’m telling you, when it comes to having their head on straight, being mature, having right priorities.. as a whole, Filipina young ladies blow away most young American girls.  Sure, you’ll always find a few exceptions here and there.  Some Filipinas are selfish and some American girls are very mature.  But as a whole trend, Filipinas by age 17 already know how to keep a clean house, earn money, save money, help raise their baby siblings and have a much higher sense of respect for the authority of their parents.

philippines survival guide advice expats
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles.. if you expect to date a younger Filipina here, be prepared more often than not to meet with her parents on the first or second date.  They respect their parents that much, by and large.  Family and respect for authority, truly seeking their parent’s blessing and permission to date someone is not a formality here.  These girls truly are raised with a strong sense of Catholic tradition in their everyday life.


There’s a reason I took the time to show the difference between Western and Philippine culture regarding this issue.  And it is this;  what applies and occurs in the West is NOT what applies and occurs here in the Philippines.  It is paramount you see this.

In the USA, the reasons a 19 year old, self-centered, insecure girl decides to run off in a relationship with a 59 year old man are usually pretty obvious.  Money or Defiance.  Either is bad news.  I can give a bit more lenience to college age girls who fall for their older, mentoring professor who is maybe 20 years their senior.  Once in a blue moon these sort of relationships work out in the US.  People do fall in love, despite differences in race, culture, wealth or age.  It’s not even worth pointing out the times it doesn’t work out because so many same-age relationships end up in divorce that one can’t make the argument that same-age relationships make for better, longer lasting marriages.. the statistics just don’t support that claim.

However, strangely enough, here in the Philippines.. not only are there a multitude of May-December relationships; they stay together and are happy together.  I have personally chatted with so many men this year who are just happy as can be with their younger, loving Filipina wife.  It is a dream come true for both of them.  She has the ‘old-school’ values of a loving wife and he is so amazed with her he practically falls over himself to make sure she is just as happy in return.  It is not a rare occurrence here to see older men happily married with much younger women.   Now, people are people and you’ll find some unhappy couples if you look around enough.  With no divorce available here, many married men give in to the plethora of available, more liberated Filipinas (who have adopted Western thinking, btw) and end up taking them up on an offer to have them as a mistress.

But by and large, the age difference here in the Philippines works.  And it works here because there is an incredibly huge difference in the mindset of Filipina women from American women.  It is old-school traditions versus new-age feminism.  And old-school is coming out ahead here.

So when I hear about men who come here in their later years, marry a young Filipina who is more than 30 years younger and return to the States only to face ridicule and stigma from American society.. I’m not surprised.  The assumption is that because it doesn’t work in the US, it must not be working anywhere else.  The assumption is that if American girls do it for insecurity or defiance.. all other women in the world must be doing it for the same reasons.  That is why I say that such condemnation is based upon an ignorance of the world around them.  Living with blinders on to what is going on in this big world.  Not realizing it is not limited to what they see only in their own country.


Really?  I’d like to challenge that.  For starters, let’s look at world history.  In most Latin, European and even North American countries, older men have been marrying younger wives for centuries right up to as recently as the late 1800’s in America.  During the Gold Rush era of the American frontiersmen in 1849.. men in their 40’s were commonly marrying girls as young as 14.  By age 16 most women back then were already having children.  My own Grandmother was married at 15 to my Grandfather who was 32.  Same in Italy, France and Spain.  It is not some new ‘fad’ produced by the modern world media.  It has been the status quo in history up until the Industrial Revolution required that we consider anyone under 18 years of age to be a ‘minor’, subject to certain protections to insure they neither worked nor entered into binding contracts until emancipated as a post-18 year old ‘adult’.  It was only recently that we began to get it into our heads that “18” was the magic number of years that confirmed a person as an adult.  Yet, for thousands of years it was 14 or 15.  On its face value, I think we can agree that there’s nothing magical occurring at age 18 for anyone, boy or girl.  Some people are very mature at age 18.. others don’t mature until their 30’s.  Recent scans on the brain show that the brain is still forming in vital ways until after age 25.

When a foreigner marries a young woman, unless he met her working in a bar or strip-club.. that older man will most likely find himself sitting in the living room of her parents asking for her hand in marriage from the parents.  And, again, the cultural difference is one where the parents are NOT reluctantly agreeing to something they can’t stop.  That is not the case at all.  Rather, seeing a mature, older foreigner asking for their daughter’s hand in marriage is what they’ve been hoping for since she was born.  The idea that such women are being exploited against their will or emotionally separated from their parents is pure, blind conspiracy and ignorance.  Here, so long as the parents are alive.. the entire dating and marriage relationship takes place with the knowledge and blessing of the parents.  Unlike in the US, where a young woman may not bring her boyfriend to meet her parents until after she’s been dating him for two years and living with him for another year and then.. they finally meet with the parents to announce their wedding plans.

From a legal standpoint, it’s not wrong.  Again, the law is the law.  Nobody is advocating marrying a 13 year old.  Filipinas here do not entertain a serious bid for marriage until they are 18, no different by and large from the rest of the world.  So, no argument can be made that it’s wrong based on any violation of law.

“But.. it’s not natural, it’s just wrong.”

Again.. really?  Based on what criteria?  Most opposition to age-gap relationships come from well-meaning, but misinformed, people with a conservative view on life.  So let’s take a look at the Bible for some absolute truth to shed on the matter.  Nothing.  Not one verse that can be pointed to where it could be said that an age-difference is a sin of any caliber or grade.   If anything, the inference can be argued that several relationships, such as that between Abraham and Sarah, David and Bathsheba (whom he later married and had Solomon as a child, btw) and even Joseph and Mary all may have involved an age difference of more than five years between them.  Aside from that, again.. there are plenty of direct, distinct instructions about marriage from the Bible and if age-difference was SO important.. somehow it just doesn’t come up in any verses.  So, before making the assumption that an age-difference relationship between two people of legal age who love each other is somehow wrong.. it’s best to get the facts straight.

“But.. the generation gap will cause nothing but problems.  They have nothing in common.”

Tell that to all the happily married men and women here in the Philippines.  There are plenty of successful, happy marriages with these age differences that can easily hold a candle to the stats of divorce among same-age couples married in the US or abroad.  Again, just because it doesn’t work for different reasons in the US is no reason to think it can’t work here.  The proof is in the pudding.  In addition, long before addressing this subject I’ve always challenged this notion that two people are most likely to succeed as a couple if they “have a lot in common”.  From what I have observed, there are only TWO things two people have to have in common to be married happily; (1)  The same definition of marriage/family and (2) The same Life/Religious direction for their future.

When two people have those two things in common.. the rest not only doesn’t matter, it makes for a more interesting relationship.  Different personalities, different cultures, different interests.. there’s a reason people have long said, “Opposites Attract”.  It’s because being with someone different makes for a continual adventure in learning that person.  Now, some people are just not the adventurous type.  They want sameness.  To them ‘sameness’ equates with compatibility.  Well, goody for them.. they can have all the sameness they want.  For me, and a lot of men, ‘differences’ equates to the exotic, the adventure and the constant re-discovering of your mate over the years.   To each their own.  But to say two people can only have commonality based on age is about as blind a statement as saying only people of the same race should marry within their own kind.  You love you who love.  It’s really not much more complicated than that.

But while we’re dancing around the issue of maturity differences, consider this.  When I first got married I was a 19 year old who married my 19 year old girlfriend.  Between the two of us, neither of us had any clue what we were doing.  Neither of us had any life experience.  By age 21 we were raising a family, again, just winging it with some advice here and there from family or friends.  Some of the advice was even good once in a while, much wasn’t.  Within 5 years of marriage, things were already shaky.  By the end of ten years, we divorced.

Now, look at a May-December relationship.  The Filipina is perhaps 19-23 years old.  Full of energy, hope, ambition and life.. ready to encourage her mate and taking joy in making him happy.  Only now, she’s marrying, not a 19 year old with no Life Experience.. but a man who has been around the block a few times.  A man who knows the dangers of credit card reliance.  A man who knows the importance of reading contracts, shopping for a bargain, buying a home, being patient with a woman’s monthly ‘visitor’, what to expect with a child, etc.  This woman is not entrusting her life and future into the hands of a 20 year old with no clue.  She’s entering into life with the advantage of an older man’s experience on her side.  So, is there a difference in maturity?  Yes.  And it’s a good, positive thing.. not a detriment.

Again, there are exceptions.. some caveats to be heeded.  As I just advised a young Filipina only two days ago, “If he’s a cranky, negative old man at 62.. don’t expect him to change much.  Find someone better.”

“But young women will grow, change and want to party.. seeking out younger men her age.”

Yes, they will.. if they were raised in American culture.  To take on this reasoning is to again ignore the important difference that culture has on a person’s decision making process.  We make decisions based on what we value.  In the US, we value independence and entertainment.  Here in the Philippines, young women value stability, security and most importantly.. faithfulness.   Faithfulness and loyalty are trademark here with most Filipinas.  Find me the Filipina bad apple and I can guarantee you that you’ve found the Filipina who has adopted an American viewpoint on life.

To wrap up.. there are no absolutes in life other than, as they say.. “death and taxes”.   All Americans are not ‘such and such’, nor are all Filipinas.. or Mexicans, or Whites or Asians for that matter.  But there are such things as trends.  Culture does produce an effect on how we make our decisions or live our lives.  People who are raised by racist parents tend to see the world through a racist lens.  People who are raised in a culture that esteems loyalty and faithfulness tend to be more loyal and faithful mates.  These are tendencies, not absolutes.  But, just as a casino makes money.. you operate with the odds in your favor and you’ll be okay.


On a personal note, I’ve done a lot of thinking now that I am single again and open to the idea of finding my mate in life.  I am not leaving myself open to just falling in love with the first Filipina who takes an interest in me.. I have some very specific criteria based on what I want in life.  One thing I want is to refrain from having any more children.  I’ve had all the children I intend to have and I want to do some travelling and business ventures with my future wife that will not be at the expense of time away from a new batch of kids.

Most ex-pats come here and are completely fine with raising a new family.  More power to them and God bless them.  I wish them all happiness.  But I choose to put my diaper-changing days behind me.  That decision reduces the number of women available to me because, let’s face it.. most women whether they admit it or not WANT to have at least one child in their life.  But some women are settled, as much as anyone can be I suppose, that they do not want children.  It’s a much smaller demographic, but it’s what I’ll have to work with.

What I have found is that, due to a social stigma to make use of contraceptives here in the Philippines.. most women I’ve met over the age of 25 already have a child or two from a previous boyfriend.  I understand, it happens.  If I hadn’t used condoms when I was a teen, it would have happened to me just as easily.  Many ex-pats are more than willing to love both the Filipina and her children as his own.  Again, they have my blessing because so many kids here are in need of a good Father who is patient and knows how to be a good parent.

But that leaves a logistical problem for me.  It means that if I want to date and marry a Filipina here who has no children.. my demographic is between ages roughly 18 to 23.  Any older than that and, as I said.. they have kids.  I’ve yet to meet one in my area that doesn’t.  So starting a few weeks ago I had to seriously ask myself, “Am I really willing to be open-minded to the possibility of dating someone that young?”  If reaching my goals to travel and be unencumbered with toddlers is my goal then the only logical answer had to be, ‘Yes.’.

And so I launched into doing something I hadn’t done in 31 years.. go on a date with an 18 year old.

Now, again.. it’s nothing like dating in the United States.  Back then I dated my girlfriend who was 18 and we didn’t ask her parents if they liked it or not because I already knew.. they hated me.  Despite having a 3.8 GPA, Editor of the school paper, in Drama and chosen as California Boy’s State.. I was Hispanic and their daughter wasn’t so.. asking for their blessing didn’t fit into our itinerary.

But here, the first young Filipina that I dated was Sarah, age 18.  She did volunteer work in the community teaching disadvantaged kids guitar and the importance of staying in school.  In her spare time, she helped raise her siblings and assisted with her parent’s coconut stand in town when needed.  A very responsible young lady who insisted I get her family’s clearance before we dated.  When I met her for our first date I already knew we’d not be alone.  Her Aunt and Cousin were present at the table with us the whole time and walked with us as we strolled the mall.  There was no touching, no goodbye hug.. just some time to meet and greet.  On our second date, I was to meet her parents to get their permission to date her.  Her parents had to work late so as we spent time with her Aunt instead.  She vouched for me to the parents and finally Sarah and I had dinner at my place, during the day, and I had to have her home before dark.  It was only then that she expressed she wanted to have children in a few years and I told her that was what we in America call a ‘Deal-Breaker’.  We stayed friends though and still text every so often, but that was the end of that dating adventure.  I was to find that things go much faster here in the Philippines.  No time wasted with months of dating before discussing the ‘big issues’.  Those are discussed by the 3rd date, sometimes the first date.  (Did I mention that Sarah was 18, but still in high school?)

Next came Anna, also 18 and a student in vocational school to become a Medical Assistant in Elderly Care.  Also very beautiful and goal oriented.  My first date with her we met at her apartment.. which she shared with five cousins also in school who were present the entire time.  After 30 minutes there, we then walked to her parent’s home so I could meet them and get their blessing on dating their daughter.  We had dinner once her Father came home from work and afterward we had a one-hour ‘chat’ as to my intentions and answering all they wanted to know about me, my past, how I got to the Philippines.. but age never came up.  Even before the interview was over the Mom was already whispering to her husband that I was a good man and that they should consent, which they did.  A few days after that Anna and I had our first ‘official’ date.. again to have lunch at her apartment (and again with all her cousins present).  We went through all this formality just so we could have a semi-private conversation.  During which she then stated she intended to move to Canada upon graduating to take a job and wanted to know if I’d either follow her or have a long-distance relationship until she returned two years later.  Another deal-breaker.  We ended on good terms.  I returned once to visit with her cousin during a birthday party for Anna’s Mom, but later decided pursuing Anna’s cousin may not be a good idea and left that alone.   (A shame, her cousin Hannah is just wonderful.)

To be honest, after that I dated so many that it got to be a blur.  All were ages from 18 to 20 with no kids.. but each one dropping out due to the no-baby clause I’m sticking to for the future.  Not all required the whole process that Sarah and Anna had meeting the folks.  But they all involved having either a friend or relative present during the date.

The second to last date I’ve been on was with a girl who said she’d meet me in a public place (SM Mall in Cebu) for lunch.  We had lunch and she too dropped out when she said she hoped to have at least 2 children.. SOON.  As if that wasn’t enough, she let it slip that she wasn’t exactly going to be 18 for another three months.  “Check Please!”.  I walked with her as far as the main lobby of the mall and stayed inside while she caught a taxi home.  I wanted myself on the mall security video that I did NOT go anywhere with her.   It pays to be cautious.

All this dating at the surface level may sound intriguing and fun, which it kinda was I will admit.. but it was also very draining emotionally.  Not because they were young.  But because anyone who has dated a lot knows.. it just sucks to keep your hopes in check and then still manage to be disappointed at the end of the day anyway.. over and over.  As if all this weren’t discouraging enough, the whole time I was trying to erase my feelings for the one 20 year old that I do have feelings for but, also happens to be the one Filipina not looking for a relationship.  Such is life, win a few.. lose a lot.

Even as I was returning home from this worst of the dates (thus far).. I was getting text messages from a young woman named Michelle.  I had chatted with her in passing at the mall, where she works, but just 10 seconds here and there until one night she and three friends of hers invited me to a dance-club with them about a week ago.  We had a fun time.  Nobody got drunk.  We danced a lot and everybody went home separately, Michelle and her best friend at her side she shares an apartment with kept each other accountable.  So now I was getting texts and next thing I knew I’d asked her out for lunch the next day.  So.. we went to lunch and talked for hours.

At this point, that’s as far as it’s gone.  She’s 18, beautiful, sweet and doesn’t want kids.  She lives three blocks from my place and I can visit her at the deli in the mall anytime.  Seeing someone local is also part of my ‘list’.  I’ve done one or two long-distance relationships in the past and don’t want to ever repeat that.  So, with Michelle being local and all for the no-kids rule.. she’s the best candidate so far.  I’ll still have to give it time to see how it goes so.. stay tuned for further developments.


My goal here is to lay out an examination on the topic of relationships with large age gap differences.  I really don’t expect someone who hasn’t seen it first-hand to fully be comfortable with it.  It’s a challenging concept to the Western mindset.  My hope is that a person can be open-minded enough to see that culture not only makes for differences, but it makes for possibilities that sometimes works better than what we’re accustomed to back in the States.

I don’t think a May-December relationship is for everyone, any more than I think an interracial relationship is for everyone.  Some people love long-distance relationships, or big families.  That’s ok.  Some people choose same-sex mates in life.  It’s not for me, but that’s their choice for their life.  But it does kinda break my heart a little when I hear of ex-pats who find the Filipina they love, enjoy a wonderful marriage with their wife who is perhaps 35 years younger and only encounter bigotry when visiting their family abroad.  They say they feel so much more at home here in the Philippines where others see them together and just accept it as a part of everyday life.  No judgments.  No hatred.  Just an acknowledgment that people of consenting age should be free to marry the one they love.

As for me.. I have my work cut out for me.  If I were willing to crank out more babies or take on existing ones I’d have more marriage candidates than I could handle in five lifetimes.  I’m serious.  But because I have certain parameters I want to stick to.. she’s going to be harder to find.  But, who knows.  I may just fall in love with a woman with two kids and toss my parameters to the wayside.  You just can’t always help who you fall in love with.


philippines survival guide advice expats

Author: Reekay V.

Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat and spent 1999 living in Vietnam.

Share with me my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Hopefully you find my observations helpful in your own adventures.
— Reekay


  1. Congratulations Henry. First, you’ve taken your own advice and decided what you want. I personally know its a hard with so many near perfect choices. Probably 98% of the girls you date between 18 – 23 will want children because, after all, it is a Catholic nation. If not now, within the next 5 years. That is also one of the reasons Western men are so attracted to Filipinas. Whether its white collar or blue, men love to come home to a woman that adores and respects him. Men in the U.S. are not use to this and we don’t want to leave. As a whole, they are decent Godly, hard working young ladies and beautiful ladies that lean on, and fight for their man. You’ve already found out about the jealousy. But a little jealousy is a good thing because she does have some ownership. In a country were men’s role has gone from “Ward Clever to “Al Bundy, a respectful loving woman will make you do nearly anything. Including go halfway around the world.

    Second, you’re realizing you’ve been AMERICANIZED. The ideas that made this nation great have been traded for material possessions and compromised principles. The only place you’ll see trust in God is on our currency. We’ve taken God and National loyalty out of our schools and our government and wonder why we’ve lost our way. When an american first arrives we are suspicious of everyone because we dont believe people can be that nice / friendly for no reason. All you need is a camera or laptop and people will smile. But they are genuine,because they will remember you. I look forward to being with my fiance, but almost dread bringing her here, if only for 3 years. I enjoy being there because of the people as well as my family but that primarily because they still live by our 1950s morals, minus the drama of racism. Dating there as you stated is different because they date / marry who they love without the constraint of age or race or class…usually. The parents just want to know they’re giving their daughter to a good man. And you Henry, are a good man. She’s out there. Just take your time and your own advice….You just can’t always help who you fall in love with.

    1. Thank you, Vernon. Your comment is especially encouraging because of all the articles I’ve done so far, this is one I kept telling myself I shouldn’t write. I take writing seriously and my goal was to share not only what I see here, but my honest thoughts and experiences. I know that writing this article may cost me some friends, I know I’m sticking my neck out. But there is a phenomena occurring here that is too easily judged on a superficial level. It’s too easy for some people to think it’s just about sex when the reality is that people here actually do ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to respect for parents, being faithful in marriage and loving their neighbor.

      As you noted, in America we’ve gotten to thinking that you only get what you want by demanding it. We’ve lost sight as a culture that, in marriage, each person is there to serve the other. Yes the wife is to be submissive to her husband and be a good parent to their children.. but the husband is also to be a kind servant to his wife and family Not abusing his authority but rather seeing himself as the protector and provider to meet the needs of those who depend on him. And Foreign men from not just America but Australia, Gerrnany, Japan, Korea, Canada and other countries are coming here literally by the planeload to find out for themselves the happiness their friends have found with a wife raised in the Filipina culture. Some men abuse that privilege and do not return the love they are given. That is their own shame upon themselves. But most men, when treated like a King by their loving Filipina wife suddenly find themselves wanting to be a better Man.

      1. Your observations are pretty much on the money. I am amazed at how quickly you have worked out and summed up your observations, for most people it takes years to reach this level of understanding, if they ever do.
        People in the west have advanced to a point where it is hard for them to know where to they need to go. Too much crappy music that influences their feeble minds. The infrastucture of the wealthy countries are beautiful but some of the people are becoming ugly. A thousand horses would never never ever draw me back to any Australian, English or American women. If I was going to be punished, I would spend my life with a Pinay Bar Girl rather than the garbage in the west. Oh by the way the later generation of men are not much better than their female counterparts.

        1. I suppose I am in my perfect element here. I love to observe and analyze new information. I watch everything, talk to lots of people and try to get to the meat of the matter. I love it here. I feel as you do, my life in the US is over as far as I’m concerned. The ONLY reason I will return for a short vacation of 2 months is to see my grown children and Mother. I miss them. But the whole rat-race that everyone is aware of but does nothing to escape on any level is one that I just can’t return to. I was raised being told the US had the biggest buildings, best lifestyle, etc. Geez, Dubai is a place that just doesn’t come up on the American radar. They are building structures that seem straight out of sci-fi. And the whole ‘more is more’ mentality of materialism.. it’s just not working. I could see that for years. I read a book titled, “The Millionaire Next Door” and it opened my eyes to the difference between ‘having stuff’ and being truly wealthy. Most Americans have a lot of ‘stuff’.. but it’s not paid for. That brings stress in on so many levels, no wonder we’re cracking under the pressure.

          Here, in the Philippines, okay.. it’s a banana-republic/3rd-world situation. No middle-class to speak of, poor infrastructure and some problems here and there. But overall, people here are much happier. Poor, yet happy. They are survivors emotionally. Life is more than the stuff we own and it’s great to be in a country that actually lives this reality every day.

          1. Henry, upon further observance you will discover that there is a large Filipino middle class. It is a totally different scale of wealth that is based more on mindset and values as compared with material possessions in the western world. You are on to it, just keep on analyzing and you will see it more clearly. You have already touched upon topics in many of your writings that define this middle class. Sometimes It is just not that clear to us westerners, but it is there. Remember you said there was a “difference between having stuff and being wealthy.” That is the basic premise for the middle class in the Philippines. Learning by living there has a similarity with going to military boot camp. You must be torn down before you can be changed. I’m sure you can attest that things become clearer with every passing day.

      2. Hi Ree-Kay.

        It being now late August 2015, I’ve obviously arrived at this conversation more than a little late. But I only discovered your site by accident a few days back.

        Nevertheless, while I find your views totally in sync with my own — being 68 that’s perhaps not such a surprise — I also have some questions pertaining to them that have emerged from my own experience.

        First of all, though I have never been anywhere in the Phils except for Manila once or twice on work (I am a journalist/editor who has spent about 20 years in Asia, based in Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong) I could write a book, and some say I should, on my experiences in that part of the world, in general and as regards the women there. But I’ll keep this bare bones for now.

        About 20 years ago, when I was living in Japan and truly a regional ‘newbie’, I got involved with a very young Thai dancer. As all old hands know, that was a major mistake. But there was a baby involved (now 22) and later his sister (now 18). And I can only say that regardless of the 50 miles of hard road that was, and remains, their mother, these two gave my life joy and dimension throughout most of their lives. And even now, tho they are venturing out and have no particular interest in hanging out with their dear old dad, they are a source of pride and satisfaction for me.

        However, when they were very young, the fallout of the Asian Economic Crisis of 1998 or thereabouts meant an end to jobs for a freelancer like me. And not having a ton of dough, I reckoned the only way I could keep to commitment I had made to be there for them, regardless, I took them back to my hometown of Vancouver in Canada. Because I’d even then been away for quite awhile there was only a trickle of work; and Vancouver was even then an expensive place to live. But there were good schools available for free. So I set the three of them up in a modest house (rented) and then answered a work call in Hong Kong. And for the next bit I used the good money I was once again making to, first, support the kids and their mother at home, while I lived very modestly in a place where it is hard to do that. Luckily I am also a musician, and through that eventually got to know some fine Filippino musicians, eventually jamming with them, then becoming a regular/irregular part of their musical family.

        In the course of that I met, after quite a time, a 37-year-old Filippina helper who had been in Hong Kong working, seemingly happily, with a very successful Chinese insurance CEO (and a gentleman, unlike many of his type I hasten to add); she was beautiful, had PhD skills in home and young child management, great personal charm, on and on. So he favoured her, fell in love with her in fact — tho never trying to pressure her. But it’s not surprising that eventually his young wife, who was/is a typical HK ‘tai tai’ (read: mall trawler) started to get jealous; so there was pressure.

        In any event, meeting an older foreigner like me (age 54 at the time), who played full on with the Filippino bands etc, was something she’d never experienced. As she put it to me, growing up she saw only three places; her school, the church and her home, where not surprisingly she had many suitors coming to visit.

        Then one day her father, back from Saudi Arabia where he was a driver, was drinking with his friends. She came back from a late afternoon fiesta. He thought she was playing around, beat her up. And immediately after that she started pressuring her various admirers to actually marry her. These apparently included a young student architect, lawyer etc etc; but also one illiterate farm lad from a land-owning but ‘way out there’ rural family. All the lads with futures, declined. But the farm boy gathered his ‘barricadas’ and basically stole her from school and frog-marched her to the family stronghold. There his relatives scared her into marrying him. And babies followed every couple/three years thereafter to number four.

        Which is when Mt Pinatobo blew up. All was buried in ash and lahar. They were stuck in a re-settlement area, where she apparently was a stalwart of the struggling new community. But she was being beaten up by the mother-in-law, the husband wouldn’t work. Etc. So she went to HK.

        Needless to say, with someone not only as physically attractive as she was/is, but also with as many skills and such charm of personality, I was delighted to ‘sign her contract’ and live with her, very happily for a couple of years before bringing her back to Canada with me. Thereafter, tho we had considerably less disposable income, all was happy for another few years…so much so that I said, hey, you’ve done such a great job with me and my kids, why don’t we bring yours up here. She was hesitant at first, probably not believing I would do such a thing. But we did and it seemed like a perfect answer.

        In fact it was a perfect disaster. Her kids, two boys, one girl, ranged from 24 down to 16. They were trouble from the git go; but she wouldn’t stand up to them and within maybe 3 years, she was basically living with them and out of our lives.

        Moreover, then the legal folks got a hold of her and suddenly she wanted money, despite her and her kids having run up about $25,000 US in debt, via CCs, credit lines etc, all unknown to me. So the house we’d bought, we her proudly on the title, became all the collections types could attack.

        Eventually I cleared it all off. But it left my kids scarred and cynical, perhaps for good; it destroyed me financially, at least for more than five years. And now, ironically, I find myself at this age researching a return to Asia; not for a relaxed retirement, but to work — which happily colleagues of mine assure me is still possible. But the damage was total; and it was not as a result of a typical bar-girl/older guy type of con.

        Of course along the way, I came to learn a lot more about people from that country; and there is a lot of violence, for example the young beautiful girlfriend of a much younger IT colleague of mine doing biz in Manila got shot to death in his office in broad daylight. Why? Because his girlfriend actually had a young Phil lover and she, idiotically, believed he had life insurance so with him out of the way, happy trails for her and her real boyfriend.

        There are far too many more vagaries one hears of, the most common being the ‘husband’ figure charmed and cheated for life savings, then dumped as the circus moves on.

        Just curious if you have a reaction to this, even though it is not the happy/wholesome portrait you present; and btw, I’m not in any way suggesting your views, experiences are untrue. Just that there is often much more to the portrait.

        If I ever get there, tho, would love to meet you.



        1. thanks for your detailed account. i’m not surprised such a thing would happen. i get variations of this sort of think every week.
          which is why i began doing more video (on youtube) of the different types of scams to be aware of and how to avoid them. i try to take a more balanced view of the PH and share that on video where i can reach an even wider audience.

          but yes, too often expats rush into relationships, or feel sorry for the wrong person, or are driven by their desire to be the “white knight”, only to find out in the end the ‘damsel’ was the enemy the whole time. life in the PH will test a man’s discernment, that is for sure.

          the videos can be searched by topic here;

    2. Thanks so much for all your videos and writings. I am 42 and was introduced to a very nice 35 year old filipena by an old friend. She was never married and has no kids. I was amazed by how hard working she is. I guess she is rare.

      1. many filipinas are amazingly great partners in life. not the online dating site ones, but the ones you meet when you’re here, offline.

        1. Last month travelled to the Philippines my first time. Dumaguete, Cebu, and Siquiror. Such an amazing country and people. I felt at home in Siquior and can’t wait to return. My fiancée is so respectful Nd caring. Totally opposite of US ex-wife. Thanks for your website it helped prepare for the trip

  2. Henry

    First let me commend you on one of the best researched, heartfelt and written blog articles I have ever read. You are right on the money with almost everything. I could write pages also concerning this topic however you have put it so perfect. Also I would like to talk to you about some of your topics but not in a public forum. Wow I am blown away by this article. Well done!

    1. Hi Roxas Ron, coming from you that is such compliment. Feel free to contact me via private email anytime, I’ll send you an email now. — Henry.

  3. Hi Henry,

    Very good article. I left the US (California & Texas) about 6 months ago but instead of the Philippines i went to New Zealand instead. The Philippines would have probably been a lot better for me and sounds like i would have had a lot more fun there. I do not like New Zealand, but it is better than the US anyway. A long time ago I was watching an interview of Woody Allen who had married a much younger woman named Soon-Yi Previn, and when asked about the marriage which was generally regarded by most of american society as ‘not respectable’ he commented with something like: “a person cannot live his life or make decisions based on the opinions of society at large.” I agree completely with him. I thought it was a good move on his part to marry that girl. They are still married as far as i know.

    I agree with you about the US and if i have to leave New Zealand, i will probably try to move to the Philippines. So many weather related events are now happening that i am worried that severe food shortages (world wide) may develop in a couple of years or more. So, my thinking was that New Zealand is a better place to be than the Philippines if the world food supply starts diminishing substantially (especially the rice harvest). If i am wrong and the problem does not get worse soon, then the Philippines is probably a lot better than New Zealand. Mexico seems like it would be a good place to go, but as far as i can tell – too many severe problems including severe drought conditions just like Texas, plus i do not know how i could stay there long term without getting into trouble. My brother says he is going to Mexico when he gets his social security check. Mexico would be a lot better than New Zealand if Mexico did have so many problems related to the US plus the drought problem. I could write a lot more, but it would just be confirmation of what you have already said. Have Fun. Messtime

  4. I remember the Woody Allen issue. The other factor, aside from the age difference, was that the girl he married (Soon-Yi) had previously been the adopted daughter of his girlfriend, Mia Farrow. But Soon-Yi was not adopted by Woody Allen nor raised by him. And she was 21, with Allen in his mid-50’s when they came out publicly and got married.

    Interestingly enough.. it’s now been 20 years and, they are still together. A lot of same-age marriages can’t say the same. Just saying.

    My ex-wife, a wonderful woman, was born and raised in Mexico so I made lots of visits there during our 10-year marriage. Personally, I’d never live there.. especially if I had any money. The difference between Mexico and the Philippines is that the poor in Mexico have picked up some cruel habits from living in the shadow of the vicious drug cartels. In Mexico, if you have money you are a target for either home invasion, kidnapping or extortion. To me, it just doesn’t pay to be the ‘big fish’ in Mexico.. only a crazy person would make that choice. That’s only my opinion, but it’s based on what I’ve seen first-hand. My uncle was also an Immigration officer there for 12 years and later was DEA and he confirmed it’s a bad choice for retiring ex-pats.

    As for food shortages, I’m thinking much of the world’s rice comes from India and Asia. I eat rice EVERY day here so, maybe it’s a good idea to be where the rice is. Just a guess. 🙂 I don’t know anything about the cost of living in New Zealand, but I do know that living here in the Philippines is about 1/3 or less of that of living in California, where I’m from. (SoCal) Geez, $105 for my own studio? $60 for utilities.. all of them? Grab a meal for less than $3?? Can’t beat that with a dead cat anywhere in the US.

  5. Thank you Henry for your very interesting comments.

    The cost of living in New Zealand is high, perhaps to some people very high. New Zealand is kinda like California, and boy do they copy/imitate the US and California.

    That’s a shame about Mexico. I did not realize it has gotten that bad, but i believe it.

    Never occurred to me that rice is produced over such a large geographic area that changing weather patterns may not have as drastic affect on the over-all production levels. Time will tell i guess.

    Well, things will probably work out for you just fine with finding a mate. ~messtime

    1. May I comment ,, Mexico it’s little ugly yes but it depends on what part of Mexico you want to go, it is save if you stay away from cartel places like Tamaulipas mex n USA border, michoacan, Sinaloa you have 20 states to choose, if you can afford with around at least 1000 a month you will be happy, if you are sick you get cover from a USA insurance just save your receipts I done it many times, it’s worth to look into, on mafia cartels they catching most of them now with this new president cause the other presidents from the other party. Call Pan, we’re paying to them to act blind, n this new government it’s from Pri they won’t take bribes as the previous 2 presidents n there corrupt helpers , believe me I’m Mexicano n been there n live there ,, take care

  6. Thanks Henry. So glad I stumbled upon your blog and particularly this posting. This is a core issue for me and frankly even on forums devoted to the Philippines many people still rail against the May-December relationships, and in a very disrespectful way.

    What you wrote is a fantastic distillation of the views I have come to over the last year. I only have two nits with your analysis.

    First, apparently I like my women older than you do, since my gf is 24 (I am 59). I could not quite find the 18-20 year olds working for me 🙂

    Secondly, I do not find FIlipinas to be particularly submissive. They are respectful of their man and supportive and loving like no others, but they have quite a backbone in my modest experience.

    I eagerly look forward to reading more of your blog. BTW, I too am a writer wannabe!


    1. Thanks for the good words Dave. 🙂 Yah, the range from 18 years on up is for each man to decide for himself. Pros and Cons come with each. I want someone with no kids and finding one older than 23 has been a complete challenge. Just texted with another girl today, 18 and already has a baby. On the other hand, women in their 20’s are slightly more mature, slightly. With a 35 year gap in your current relationship, Philippines is the place to be. I know if I were doing that in the States I’d be expecting some family member to come after me. Here, I’m losing faith in the 18 year olds.. fun, pretty and can be mentored into the type of relationship I prefer but.. also flakey, indecisive and unreliable. But very devoted and huge romantics. It’s Ying/Yang and the thing is to find balance.

      As for submissive, you’re right.. they can be real ‘tigers’ when they want to be. Not in a disrespectful way, but in jealousy. Wow. I’m still trying to get used to that. ha! As for writing.. when I tell people I’ve been a writer for years they ask, “Oh! What have you gotten published?”. I tell them, “I said I’m a writer.. I didn’t say I ever got paid for it.” haha!!

      1. Henry, Filipinas age very well. Why don’t you consider a somewhat older Filipina whose children are older and ready to move out of the nest? There are plenty of Filipinas in their late 30s to early 40s with a couple of older/adult children who are beautiful and look very young. I know this for a fact as my Asawa is 37.:-)
        I really liked your article!

  7. Henry, great blog and excellent writing. I’m seriously considering getting a Filipina wife. Would you suggest one of those “romance tours”, or just going over there on you own? If I went on my own, how would I go about meeting women. I’m in my early fifties.



    1. Personally, I would -not- suggest a romance-tour, cruise or turnaround of any kind. The absolute best thing to do is move here.. get settled in and believe me, there are SO many of them here you’ll be dating prospects as fast as you can schedule them. I’m a big believer in knowing them in person. As to the Filipina Dating sites, wait until you are here to use one. This way you don’t get strung along by some scammer online. Instead, you can simply ask for their text number (once you are here) and in a couple hours be sitting across the table from them in person.

  8. Interesting views on May December relationships, as well as the extended rationalization about how cross cultural and cross generational romantic relationships are different in the Philippines. Yes, I have no doubt that the typical 18 year old Filipina is quite different from her American counterpart. Given the expectations and upbringing of women in the Philippines, I can see how a romantic relationship would more easily thrive over there than here in the States.

    Still, while I recognize that love and respect can cross both generational and cultural lines and pass through romance into a convivial, adult relationship, I still feel that…often…and maybe not always…the younger Filipina is trading her youthful allure for a strong measure of financial and social security from their foreign husband.

    Many young Filipinas might be desperate financially, and the tradeoff for a marriage to an older foreigner is that financial security that a native husband might not as easily provide. It doesn't negate the fact that love could develop, I suppose, but still–if I had my preferences as a single foreigner in the Philippines, I certainly wouldn't be interested in any woman under the age of 40. I simply can't imagine what commonalities I could share with a woman who was born when I was 20 years old. Just sayin'.

    1. I agree. And I believe that all women, from every country, to some degree choose the man they will marry with security as a major deciding factor. Every woman wants a husband she is proud of and few women want a man who can’t provide her with some sort of security either financial or emotional. Here in the PH, it’s obvious to any young girl what life without security is.. she sees it every day growing up. So I don’t blame them one bit for choosing a ‘rich’ foreigner over a younger, maybe even more handsome Filipino man who has empty pockets and no opportunities. Or as it is stated colloquially; “No money, no honey.”

      And a much younger woman is not for everyone. It comes with challenges of it’s own. I was dating a wonderful Filipina and one day I asked her, “Instead of meeting all the wrong women in my life, why couldn’t I have just met you as soon as I got out of high school?” She said, “Because I was only 4 years old.” haha! So I told her, “Well, I still could have taken you to the zoo or gotten you an ice cream.” But I do believe there is someone for everyone.. it’s just a matter of finding them amidst all the choices.

    1. One girl works in a mall, another is just beginning her college and the other is in nursing school so, none of them are ‘farm girls’. I also made it clear to each right away that I was not moving back to the US and I’m not ‘rich’ (maybe to them, but not by American standards).. so they knew that there was no green card or trip to the US involved. I hate to tell you but, your stereotypes just don’t match.

  9. I like the way you answer some of your readers comments . I enjoy reading your daily yourny in living in the myself have a wonderful filipino wife and live here for 3 years already. I am a dutch man that came down from south africa and love it here .hope you will finde wat you looking fore.

    1. I try to keep up, lots and lots of comments via the site here, the youtube channel and the facebook page. I learn from people’s comments the experiences they’ve had here as well that it’s best to take things slow here. I really like this woman, but I’m just not ready to settle-down and she needs some time as well to sort out her feelings. At 37 she’s not in a big hurry like the younger girls. I like that. We’re spending time just doing simple stuff, hanging out letting things fall in place.

      1. Enrique. It’s Don R here. I have read that in order to get a US visa for my Filipina, I must “show” an income of 18k per year. Can you tell me how to find out the ways that I can show this income? Is it done by tax filings, bank deposits, or what?

  10. Henry i was wanting to come over to PHP to see how life is for a couple of months before moving over. who can i talk with to give me advice on Accommodation Filipino Customs and expectations Dating Girlfriends and Committed relationships > please Thanks.

    1. You can get a lot of information on many topics of living in the PH from the members here on the Forum (link here). If you wanted official information, I’d say contact the nearest PH Consulate or if it’s even more specific, an Immigration Attorney. But the Forum here should be able to get you much of the general information you need from guys who have been living here for years. Link..

  11. Greetings Henry,
    Thank you for taking the time to do what you do. You have me laughing out loud sometimes. More importantly, I have gotten a better sense of the culture and have been surprised at some of my incorrect assumptions.
    I will be coming to visit this fall for a few months with the intent of finding a place to settle down. My only concern is lack of Mexican food…..I didn’t see that coming!
    Thank you Sir.

  12. Henry, I'm an American man and I visited a OFW in Hong Kong and we spent two week together in the PI. I am 51 and she is 37. She had no kids and never married…..It did not work out because she is not what I am looking for. She was actually defiant with me on some issues and I've had enough of that with American women. I wanted to marry her, met her parents, asked their permission etc….. I can't wait to go back and meet the right one ! ! ! Filipinas are great. I'm a subscriber and maybe I will meet you some day and buy you lunch and some beers ! Cheers friend !

  13. Hi all,

    WOW is this a loaded subject, in so many ways.
    Henry I generally agree with much of what you say. And there are no reasons that your posting would change that.

    I would add a few thoughts of my own. The first is the “The grass is always greener” syndrome. This is a hard one for many western men to deal with if they have never experienced what is easily found waiting for them here. As you and many others have said there are 1,000s of attractive and available women here, even after you subtract the undesirable ones. If you are a 40+ year old man how do you say “no” to a stunning 20ish woman who seems intent on making your life a living paradise. And as soon as you turn your head there is another and another, etc., etc.

    As soon as you focus on one, there are 20 more in the background clamoring for your attention. Henry you know what you want. This I think is something that many men think about only in a vague way before they get here. So I am breaking things down in generalities.

    If you are under 40 and do want children, the Fils may be your paradise with women in the 20ish age range.

    If you are older than 40 and do not want children because you already have your own back home or simply do not want children then the 20ish option is pretty much not available. Because even if the young woman says I do not want children their biological clock is still ticking. Therefore somewhere around the age of 30 that will likely turn into a demanding yes. I now want at least one child of my own. If you have been together with the woman by that time for over say, five years what are you going to do? Walk away? If the relationship is otherwise excellent, leaving it would be very hard to do.

    If you over 60 then the whole subject may become much more demanding and sooner than you think. You may even really want to start another family or perhaps it is your first family. And here comes the big but. It is not fair to the prospective offspring. Because the likelihood is that you will be dead before the child finishes high school, which currently in the Fils ends at grade 10. This is not a financial matter which can be taken care of in many ways. This is a matter of doing the right thing for your children.

    As an example look at the number of women here who have one or more children and no committed husband or father to provide a positive masculine influence for their children. This is true not only here in the Fils but also in the US where many children do not know who their father is and are living with only a mother’s influence in their lives. Sometimes these children’s lives turn out OK but I think that is the exception rather than the rule.

    The problem is the “grass”. And it is always there. It surrounds you. I fills you. And all the other stuff Yoda talks about regarding the influence of the “Force”.

    If you are 40~55 it may be OK to start a family. Of course you could be squashed by a bus the next day but generally speaking you will be around until the child reaches the age of 20.You may even last long enough for the younger siblings to make it to 18~20.

    If you are more than 55 I think it is not a responsible thing to do. But that damn grass is so green that it takes your breath away. So if you want children, looking for an older woman who already was one or more of her own would be an ideal situation. That way you get to bypass the stinky stage say with children less than two years old. And you can start to have fun with your kids right away. Unless you are one of those who think “your” children have to be of “your” blood.

    If you are up in my age range(65) a woman who is 40 or more could be the ideal match. As many have said Filipinas generally age well. And by that age usually the youngsters are teenagers or nearly so. But of course there is still that “grass syndrome” tugging at your groin.

    So you decide, of course, big head or little. Only remember, your children will pay the price for better or worse.

    One other point that I have not run across in the discussions I have read is the genes thing. Many Filipinas want to have a child with a foreigner because they believe the blend of the genes produces prettier children. And this is often the case. Just look at that beautiful smiling face sitting next to you, she is most likely a blend of one or more different ethnical ancestors.

    Unfortunately many of the younger less educated women do not understand that half the genetic make up of a child comes from the mother. And some of the most desirable genetic traits are recessive. That is why you do not see blue eyed, blond haired mixed children.

    As for the “May-December” thing I say get over it people. There are far more pressing matters with which to occupy your life and time.

    Take care,

  14. I’m 62, my fiancé is 22. 18’s too young, Henry. They have no CLUE about much of anything Can’t have, really, not enough time to find out about stuff. You left out a major, major problem. NO divorce, and yiou’re 80 and's 40, you’re in a wheelchair and a diaper, hanging on for another 10 years, ruining her life. she’s then 50, and what left for her?

  15. my lady and I have an understanding. She’s coming here, I’m training her to be rich, safe, successful, and in 10 years, or a bit less, she finds another guy. In fact, I’ll help her find and train him, after 6-7 years of her being here. She deserves to have her kid, and I’m Sterile (and much too old to be able to help her with the child when she’ll need it the most.)

  16. Actually even the religions many of the religions you mentioned are affected by that same "You are lucky to date me" mentality and it's slowly creeping to other country through TV and the Internet. I think the Philippines is the last hold out. Many of the western women in those religions just do their best not to act that way or say they feel sometimes say they agree with the old school Biblical type principles but really their actions prove different and they treat men like it's a privilege to even look in their general direction. Notice I didn't say they were all like that but many are. I think finding a girl with good Bible based values in the Philippines is better because they really believe those values and don't just claim to.

  17. ah, a single, middle-aged man moving to the philippines… why pretend? we all know what you’re there for. (otherwise you would’ve become a buddhist monk in tibet.) not saying it’s a bad thing. just saying be honest.

    anyway, the reason why americans have been conditioned to frown upon older men dating much younger women is simple. american women hate this behavior and have done everything in their power to discourage it. while dating much younger women is not illegal, at least american women managed to create a stigma associated with it.

  18. Hi Henry. I’ve been debating this issue of great age difference with myself for a while. I am 74 but look younger, in good health with a family history of longevity. If I marry a woman of 55 and I die after 20 years, she will be 75, probably not attractive, and alone. Isn’t that worse than marrying a 25 year old who after 20 years would still be attractive enough to find another husband? I don’t agree with you about buying a house because a house is an expense, even without a mortgage. The same goes for children, another huge expense. I hope you see this posting and reply, because I’d like your opinion of my point. (Actually I would hope your opinion would be supportive of my thoughts.) Nikov

  19. beggars belief about the over 40 stance. Have you ever considered that a woman over 40 from any country is set in her ways and that problems with a filipino woman would be more likely simply because she cannot adapt to lots of everyday things unlike her under 20 counterpart will adapt. yep that my under 30 wife I married 10 years ago and me now nearly 60

  20. I try not to t to judge the May December rltnshps at all, but being Amurrican, I can’t help but notice and…really find myself curious about it all.

    Different strokes and all. I’ve retired to the Philippines with my wife born in the Philippines and we lived together before returning here for 33 years in the USA. Two kids, so my perspective is very different, I suppose.

    For me, a decided ‘rice king’, the Filipinas I see every day are gorgeous and all, but for ME, dating a woman 40 years or so my junior, well…besides the cultural divide, the generational one I feel would prove too wide. I could be wrong, but bully for any couple that finds happiness together despite their age difference.

  21. I love your series and have been reading a lot from you because I am starting an adventure of my own.
    As the father of 3 daughters, I have found the prejudice of the age gap to be ridiculous. I have seen my daughters date young guys who treat them like crap, are incredibly self-centered, pressure them to have sex, have no possible future other than working at minimum wage jobs, tell all their friends every possible secret they may have and then cheat on them and call her a B*tch all over social media for leaving him. And the American reaction to that is "Aren't they a cute couple."

    But if they were to date a 40-something guy, he would be attentive, patient, listen to her, dote on her, never cheat on her lest he lost his young girlfriend. He would know how to treat her, never rush her sexually, and put her pleasure over his. And the American reaction to this is "He's a pervert and he's taking advantage of her."

    Americans are not very smart, are they? My youngest has learned from the mistakes of her sisters. She is 17 and looking for an older guy.

  22. Henry,
    I am very glad to see this – the best article on this specific aspect of relationship, as you called a May-Dec relationship.

    I have spent many, many hours researching Filipino-Western, and May-Dec relationships – on the internet to try to prepare myself to marry a young Ilocano woman. (I am 53 she was 24.) Sadly her allegiance to her family, her inability to openly communicate on our serious shared issues and something her father did, caused me to stop our plans just a month ago. Was regretting it very much today !!! (she does have many fine qualities) but I know my decision was needed.

    I still feel I want to find another young Filipino to marry eventually, had doubts but leaning that way.

    Reading this pushes me right to wanting it and feeling it would be an excellent decision!!! Of course if I can go through a sufficient process and we get to know each other well enough.

    My trouble is I live in France….(American) soon divorced, and have an 11 year old daughter here – not sure how I will get sufficiently acquainted but I sure hope the Lord will help me have the joy of sharing life with a young Filipina one day, I will be hoping.

    One of my girlfriend’s friends and I are trying to get acquainted. As she saw my explanation of the problems she was so disappointed, and wished it had her on the receiving ned of so much trust and affection.

    At first I mistook it as if she was ready for me! 🙂 But she quickly told me she wants time to get to know each other better, a good sign!

    Okay, be well and all the best to you,


  23. Very inspirational article! I myself am 44 years of age,born and raised in Canada of Middle Eastern origin,now divorced and looking to visit the PI with the hopes of finding a nice young girl and a new part-time life overseas.Your story gives me hope and it’s a welcome change from all the other rubbish sites that promote P4P and travelling to SEA simply to “rack up a notchcount”.I just stumbled across your site today and I will be joining your mailing list and following the blogs. 🙂

  24. that's untrue. my first filipina g/f is a very wealthy woman. very wealthy. she owns ten properties in the PH, including several 4-story homes in nice subdivisions, a mercedes and 5 bedroom home in the usa and prominent in cebu society. she's beautiful as well as kind. and yet she and i dated for over 4 years.

    so when you say something like, "rich girls wont consider oldies", you don't know what you're talking about. more likely you are just jealous no expat has taken any interest in you.

  25. Sir, I haven’t read every other reply. I’m age 65, a life long natural healer, and in quite good physical condition. Young women are somewhat shocked that I’m physically fit. Every time I go to a market to buy vegetables I get smiles and flirtation. Yes, they are quite young and have babies. That’s life these days. These girls interested in “a foreigner” meet too many men who think life is a pornographic movie! These men don’t know that here women should be treated as LADIES. The girls are disgusted and the men are rejected. For you, 2-questions to think through. (1) Why not connect with a woman with one or two children age 3 or older? She’s going to raise them her way, anyway. You can go abroad for business and return home. (2) What do you insist you must be married? Have a “civil union” or just tell the world “This is my wife” or let them chatter to one another in Cebuano/Visaya and pay no attention to whatever they think. Most of them them think the girl is fortunate to have you in her life. If she has kids they think you sit at the right hand of God! If you want Young, Beautiful, Childless, a bit of a swinger, go to Ukraine or Maldova. If you want a good “Home Maker” forget the labels and just settle with a good one with kids,about age 23 – 28 and enjoy what happens. I suspect what will happen will make you extremely happy for the rest of our years. Best regards, Stephen:

  26. Hi Henry. Just like you, I picked up and moved from North Carolina over to South East Asia. I’ve been here for a long time and I really enjoy it. I’m settled now and have a younger girlfriend so I really enjoyed the read as I can relate to a lot of it. To me, it’s all about masculine and feminine balance. Also, after a nasty divorce I’m enjoying the cheap costs. I really like Thailand more than the Philippines to be honest but they’re both paradise! Keep up the blog man I’m loving your work. I just wrote an article about the same topic talking about how these relationships are all about having your needs met while meeting your partner’s needs. Check it out and tell me what you think. Also, you can shoot me an email through the site or through the email here. I’d love to connect!

  27. I am an american that spent four years in the phillipines. I find the attitude of the women refreshing. Im 63 and had a 37 year old girlfriend. I am back in the states now and would find it difficult to ever date an american women again.

    Unfortunately i did find it extremely stressful to try to work at my own business as an expat in Manila, I found life in manila extremely stressful .and it took a toll on the relationship. On the other hand if you go over there with your finances in tact and dont have to work and can live in the province you will have a totally different experience. Im in great shape, very healthy and look 15 years younger than my age. Im planning on saving a lot of money over the next 5 years and along with my social security, plan to go back and probably date a much much younger women. The women there are more loving, loyal, and less demanding than most women in the states. There was seldom any power struggle. And the women in general in the phillipines are much much better looking than the women in the states.

  28. i didnt read all the comments but was thinking about the age difference and if the marriage works long term, you mentioned that they work well there

    But from my research and personal experience what works well there doesnt work well in america, i brought my young bride there and got 4 good years of marriage and one year of hell then divorce, i am living full time in cebu now will see how it goes off shore

    But what i read is once you bring them to the united states you fall into standard ratios of failed marriages

  29. Even handed reporting here on your part. While I mostly experience Filipina/Expat relationships of a similar age here on Negros (wife was born here and we met in the States 35 years ago), the May December thing I have seen no shortage of, as well.

    I admit to some prejudice toward these relationships, though I understand the dynamic of trading love, sex, and companionship for security. I ‘get it’, and I figure I would even encourage a long time US bachelor pal to come here and find a nice Filipina to marry. He’s 64 and a good egg, so if I can be sanguine about him pulling a may December, why not some strangers? I still struggle with it, but figure that if I were suddenly available as a single here were my wife to pass or some crazy thing, I can’t imagine mySELF anyway, hooking up with some 25-year-old. Too old to be a daddy again, don’t wanna be. But still…other than the comeliest aspects of a youthful Filipina when the lights are low, I still would prefer someone older and experienced. That’s just me.

    1. yes. it’s really a preference issue at the core. and not for everybody. the only issue that really should be of concern is that both parties are of legal age. beyond that, whether they are the same age, same sex, transgender, whatever.. it’s a matter of preference. i don’t find a love-relationship with another man to be my thing, but i can grasp and understand that others would prefer that.

      most of the prejudice against age-gap relationship comes from people who think that “their way” is the “only way”. all i can say to that is it must be hard to realize most of the world is going to do what they want anyway. 🙂

  30. I predict when the day comes that the average Filipina (and Filipino) got the same standard of living as the average USA citizen, the interest among young girls to marry old wrinkled grandpas will decrease very much. These men are exploiting poor girls, but they are always trying to rationalize it, saying that it is about love. But when Filipinas become rich, that love ends fairly quickly and they chose a younger man, which is natural, everywhere in the world. To call colonial exploitation for culture is just such a rationalisation.

    1. you need to get out more. beyond some bitter old guys huddled around a bar. i know plenty of happily married guys with younger filipinas and they have happier marriages for years than most any guy i know in the states. really, you need to get out more. your outlook on life is simplistic and cynical. maybe because you’ve never been able to connect on a real level with women other than opening your wallet.

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