Relationships In The Philippines: Part 3


In the first segment we coveredMarriage In the Philippinesand in the second article the subject ofMeeting Filipinas Online’.  Here we will cover relationships between Filipinas and Foreigners wherein you meet in person, here in the Philippines, face to face without any online, internet involvement.

In my home country of the U.S., despite our supposed ‘liberal’ views on marriage as portrayed in the media, the reality is that the majority of Americans still hold to the conservative idea where the age difference between a couple should be within an 8-year bracket before it becomes ‘questionable’.  Anything beyond that and suddenly the older woman is a ‘Cougar’ or the younger man is a ‘MILF’-seeker.  Most especially with men, if the man is older than his girlfriend by 12 years he’s practically considered a deviant and the younger woman is considered a greedy ‘gold-digger’ or a naïve, foolish girl.  Such are the sort of preconceptions I’ve discovered as I brought up the subject of age difference as it relates to relationships here in the Philippines.

Some people will even argue that such relationships just ‘cannot last’ because of several variables including changes in maturity over the years, different priorities and a lack of commonality in life experience.  These are all valid points to consider.  However, be prepared because here in the Philippines all those packaged preconceptions fall by the way-side and have resulted in many happy, sound and devoted long-term marriages between couples with as much as a 40-year age difference.  Yes, that is what I said.. a forty-year age difference.

As I mentioned before, there is a natural attraction between younger Filipina women seeking financial security or maturity from an older, foreign man.  Likewise, many retiredRelationships In The Philippines foreign men are seeking a young, beautiful woman in their later years after either divorce or being widowed.  Because it is nearly impossible for a foreigner to earn a living in the Philippines by just ‘getting a job’ locally, many of the ex-pats moving here do so relying upon their social security and pension or savings from their earlier career.  They arrive with plenty of time on their hands, single and open to the possibility of a new chapter in their life.  Meanwhile, young Filipinas see a chance for a better future for their children with a mature man of means.  With their beauty and devotion as their greatest asset, they tend to notice quickly when a new ‘kano’ moves into town frequenting perhaps the mall or local business where they work.

While Filipinas seem to move things along quickly when online, it is a much different dynamic in play when meeting a Filipina in person here in the Philippines.  For one thing, the average Filipina raised with conservative, Catholic values is NOT forward at all in person.  Times are changing with the internet and the younger generation is picking up on western practices, so a few here and there may show some initiative.  But by and large the culture here encourages women to be much more passive in regards to starting a relationship.  If you arrive and are waiting for a woman to just introduce herself and ‘ask you out’.. chances are she is either of a new, more liberal trend or.. propositioning a short-term relationship for just the afternoon.

I have seen this conservatism in Filipinas first-hand.  Filipinas may smile and look away all day long, and that is about as far as it will go.  They are waiting for you to initiate some conversation they can respond to.  If they do initiate conversation it is usually about something innocuous, such as whether you have enjoyed your move to the Philippines.  Ironically, it is the men (usually taxi or tricycle drivers) who are far more likely to get to the point and ask you, “Are you married?  You have girlfriend here?”.  If your answer is, “No.. none presently.”, then don’t be surprised if they immediately offer to invite you over to meet their sisters or nieces.  Here, any family member who marries a ‘rich’ foreigner is seen as not only a benefit to her, but to the whole family.  But the women themselves, they will play it very conservatively and coy.  They will find ways and glances to let you know they are interested, but they expect you as the man to initiate the encounter and to pursue them.

Now, just as not all American, Canadian or Australian women could ever be lumped into one definition, neither can the same be said of Filipinas.  Much of what I share here regarding their chastity, devotion and deep family values is simply the overall culture, more so in the provinces but also in the smaller cities.  Just like in any other culture you will come across the occasional ‘gold-digger‘, the ruthless woman out to gut a man like a fish of all his belongings.  But no more than you would in Sydney, Los Angeles or Vancouver.  If you come to the Philippines and you go looking for a Filipina wife in a bar, strip-club or high-end jewelry store at the mall.. your chances of meeting a sweet, devoted woman with you as her priority will diminish quickly.  However, if you make a point to get settled into the country first, get your bearings and make some friends.. suddenly recommendations regarding the hidden jewels from the provinces and smaller towns will come to you via people you know.  It may be their sister, cousin or neighbor.. but networking with locals to find the Filipina with high moral values will in the long run be your best bet in finding a good Filipina.

Because of the dynamics mentioned previously, age difference is not a factor.  Again, it is not a matter of ‘gold-digging’.  Their desire for a lifelong husband they can love and adore is sincere.  They simply do not see the age difference as an issue.  A 19 year old girl here can, and often does, marry a man in his late 60’s and together they start a family.  I know that comes as something of a shock to many of you, perhaps difficult to comprehend in any sense of what you usually define as ‘normal’.  But it simply is not a big deal here.  And not all relationships have that large a gap.  At times the woman may be in her late 20’s and the man in his early 60’s.  He does love her and she does love him.  It’s not solely about money any more than marriages anywhere else where a woman who chooses a husband her own age and takes that man’s job into account.  “Is he a doctor?  A lawyer?  What does he do for a living?” are questions very commonly asked in the United States by curious female BFF’s when their friend meets a new boyfriend.  Earning ability is a factor women take into account when meeting a man.  It’s a factor, but it’s not the only deciding factor for marriage.  (At least, it shouldn’t be, in my opinion.)  But here, age difference is not a factor.

It is so common here that I can safely say no more than two days go by without me seeing such a couple.  The elderly foreigner, his young Filipina wife and a few children.  As for the usual arguments about ‘commonality’ or changing rates of maturity.. there is a factor present here that I believe changes the whole game-plan for the better that is lacking in other more ‘liberated’ countries such as the U.S.  It is the conservative value of marriage which is highly engrained into the culture here.  The lack of ability to divorce legally here has not been contested enough to overturn it largely because in this very Catholic country.. divorce is not what they want as an option.  They don’t want it for the most part.  Marriage is considered a lifetime commitment here, as it should be really.  However, when a couple with a 30+ year age difference makes a go of it in another country.. at the first sign of trouble they simply stop living together or get a divorce if they are married.

Here, “shacking up” is still a very new practice to the culture.  More and more the younger generation is embracing it because they have been raised with an exposure to other ideas via the Net.  They don’t want to be tied down to a marriage that they cannot divorce out of and increasingly are opting to just live together.  But socially, it is highly frowned upon by the older, far more conservative family.  It is not the right way for a man and woman to be together.  So, when an older man and younger woman marry there is a greater sense of commitment to the marriage and to work through it.  So, here.. it works despite the age difference or any issues that might come up.  Again, here such a woman is in a sense ‘marrying up’ when married to an older foreigner.  She is somewhat esteemed among her friends.  In the U.S. and many other countries, a 24 year-old woman in a relationship with a 62 year-old man is going to be ridiculed, somewhat ostracized and even discriminated against by the majority of society.  People tend to look down upon it and make judgments that “it can’t be for real” or that it is even somehow perverse in general principle.

Yet, historically, the older-man/younger-woman pairing has been around for centuries around the world.  European countries such as Italy and France have engaged in such relationships without any qualms at all.  “But what about security for the wife and children when the husband inevitably passes away prior to her?”  With U.S. social security, she and her children are his dependents and continue to receive his support even after he passes on.  What other woman in the Philippines can say she has such security from a younger man?  Not many if any at all.  A Filipina who can depend on her widowed husband’s pension or social security of even $1,500 per month is able to rely on 61,500 Pesos in a land where most families are getting by on 24,500 Pesos per month.  In addition to this she knows her children are (in the case of a U.S. husband) citizens of the U.S. and have that option available for their future.

It is a common misconception (bias?) that all Filipinas are looking to marry a foreigner just to “get a green card” to some other country.  Yet many Filipinas opt with their husbands to live here, in the Philippines where they have strong family ties and without the social stigma to deal with about their age difference they would face in another country.  If a Filipina wants to move abroad, many can do this without marriage by obtaining their Nursing degree locally since most countries give a Visa preference to trained medical applicants.  Marrying a foreigner is NOT a Filipinas only option for greater opportunity.


While age difference is a non-issue here, there is something else that has to be taken into account when marrying a Filipina.. her Family.  Some the more experienced foreigners who move to the Philippines will give the following advice, “Wherever your wife’s family lives.. live at least two islands away.”  Two islands is not a major trip, so it allows for family to come by and visit once in a while.  Your wife will have strong family ties and want to stay in contact with them on a regular basis.  However, if they live on the same island or the same city then you can expect to see a lot of them.  Much more than perhaps you’ll feel comfortable with.

I have gone through this in my previous marriage with a woman who was raised in Mexico.  Much like the Philippines, Mexican tradition is very steeped in strong family ties.  Much of her family had immigrated to the U.S. and chosen to live in the same city where my then-wife and I purchased a one-acre home.  Since we had the biggest yard and a pool our place immediately become the ‘go-to’ house that everyone defaulted to stop by at.  All the time.  Often I would come home on a standard Tuesday and find perhaps 20 family members visiting.  “Is it someone’s birthday?”, I would ask.  Nope.. just Tuesday and everyone decided to ‘stop by’.  This could happen any day, even Friday or Saturday nights I’d hoped to be alone with my wife.  Needless to say, family is fun and all but.. there’s a limit and then suddenly you realize you have zero expectation of privacy in your own home.

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Well, imagine that but multi-fold here in the Philippines.  If you have an expectation of knowing that people will call before deciding to pay you a visit for dinner.. live at least two islands away.  And they won’t call because it’s customary to give any advance notice of their arrival.  They will be calling because they want you to pick them up at the ferry dock.  Chances are that you will be perhaps the only foreigner in her immediate family and everyone wants to be at your place because it’s the most interesting.  That and the fact that you are ‘so rich’ (by comparison).. you are the go-to guy whenever anyone is in need of money.  And relatives are always in need of money.

Not just a few bucks here and there.  But hospital bills.  New business ventures.  Home repairs.  Home expansions.  Weddings, baptismos and birthdays.. you are the first person they think of.  In other countries the same dynamic comes into play when someone in the family “marries into money” and enjoys a luxurious lifestyle.  But it’s usually very low-key.  In most places people are a bit more shy about leaning on a rich relative for money.  However there is a ‘sharing’ concept in the Philippines where the family gladly shares what they have and help each other out in times of need.  Well, when everyone is equally poor it’s a great system for helping each other get through some of life’s difficulties.  But when you’re the only one perceived as being ‘rich’ it’s not going to be quite such an equitable system for you personally.

I don’t blame them for asking, it’s logical.  They are in need and you seem to have excess, of course you are the person they would ask.  They aren’t going to ask their equally poor uncle for money.. he doesn’t have any.  Which brings us to one of the perceptions you will just have to get used to as a foreigner in the Philippines.. you are ‘Rich’.

Now, never mind that you know you are just living on your social security.  Never mind that you don’t live in what you’d call a ‘lavish lifestyle’.  No matter how many times you explain it to others.. the perception is that you can make it rain money any time you want.  By comparison, in one sense you are rich.  You may have a three bedroom home just for your family while others may have an entire family of six in a ‘home’ that has a total of two rooms, a kitchen and small bathroom.  Who’s rich now?  You think nothing of taking the family to a Jollibee’s for lunch.  Meanwhile her family members may do that once a year on their kids’ birthday.  You have television.  You have internet.  With some families.. my goodness, you have electricity.  So the concept of ‘rich’ gets radically redefined here and don’t be surprised if that results in you, as the new addition to ‘the family’ being the one they turn to for every large financial issue that arises with her family.

It is not greed, envy or laziness for the most part, although given human nature that is at times the motivating factor.  It is mostly perception.  Most family members mean you no harm and do not think their request will even make a dent in your budge.  You know it will.  But they don’t.  So you will have to find diplomatic ways to sort out which requests to say, ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to with your wife as your chief consultant on the matter in private.  The best and most honest response you can give is, “My wife and I make all budget decisions together.  I will discuss this with her and get back with you with an answer.”  The honest truth is that you most likely cannot just hemorrhage money out saying ‘yes’ to every request.

Some requests will be valid, such as medical or funeral issues.  My suggestion is to ask them to provide the name of the hospital and pay whatever you will pay directly to the hospital or mortician.  This removes any temptation for the money you give them to ‘evaporate’ for some other ‘semi-emergency’ and then they come back to you for more money on the same hospital bill.  Another thing is, they may say they are only asking for a ‘loan’.  You can nod your head but just tell yourself you’ll likely never see that money again.  Their situation isn’t going to change much next month or next year so repayment is not very likely.

One system that is in place here when helping family is much like the ‘pay it forward’ concept.  Here’s an example of how you can work this to your advantage;  Your wife’s nephew wants to work as a merchant seaman on the commercial barges (very common here).  But he has no money to get his classes and certification.  You sit down with him and say, “I will pay for your classes and certification.  And you do not need to pay me back.  However, I will hold you to a promise to help your younger sister with her desire for nursing school with the wages you get form this job. Can you promise me you will do this?”  Now you have put his honor on the line, while relieving him of the burden of directly paying you back.  Plus, when the younger sister gets older and needs money for nursing school.. you call in on that promise so that the nephew, now earning a regular wage, helps to provide for his sister as he promised.

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Even though you live two islands away, do not think it is to entirely insulate yourself from helping the in-laws.  It only gives you a ‘heads-up’ that they are on their way for a visit.  Do not make the mistake of trying to isolate your wife’s family from her, or do anything to make them feel unwelcome to keep them away.  Too many men have made this common mistake. It will only produce ill-will between you and the family and your wife will suffer asianwomen-150pxbeing caught in the middle.  Expect to handle such requests with both diplomacy and firm tact.  You cannot ignore the issue so it is best to deal with it in a productive manner.  Remember, “a happy wife makes for a happy life”.. but it’s also true that there’s no stress on a marriage like not having enough money.. especially if you gave it all away without regard to your own family first.

I wish you luck in this regard because.. from many of the ex-pats who have gone before me they tell me it’s not easy being perceived as ‘Rich’.  Add in to the culture almost a sense of ‘expectation’ that, depending on the family, can actually reach the reasoning of, “Well, you benefitted from us allowing you to marry my sister so.. now you help me.”  It’s a crazy logic to those of us who see individuals as the captain of our own decisions.  You see your wife as an individual.  They see her as an extension of the family they ‘shared’ with you.  No matter how you slice it, other ex-pats have their stories of how this gap in views has made for some very difficult situations.

It is best her family quickly understands they need to deal with you, the Husband, in regards to money matters.  Otherwise they can put so much pressure on your wife she may feel the need to secretly slip money to her family, and that causes problems.  But if her answer to them is consistently, “I have to speak with my husband first, he has the final decision.“, it takes the pressure off her.  Even so, expect there will likely be some resentment for a request that was denied.  But we, as men, should be up to the task of being ‘the bad guy‘ if that’s what it comes down to.  I tell you this ahead of time so you know what to expect.

I hope you find these glimpses into the local culture useful in your transition to a married life here in the Philippines.  It is truly a wonderful country filled with very happy, courteous people.  Despite the challenges you will find many, many ex-pats who have nothing but the highest praise for the love and devotion they have enjoyed with their Filippina wife.  Everyone has their own ‘horror stories’ about in-laws no matter what country they come from .  What I hope to convey here is a method of best dealing with it so that all goes as best it can.  You won’t be able to help everyone, but there is satisfaction in helping others when feasible.  In the meanwhile, you are enjoying life with a woman you can count on to ‘be there’ for you in every way.

Henry ‘Reekay’ V.


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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. Glad to do so. 🙂 It's good to know they're being read. My girlfriend and I are taking our time with the marriage thing.. at least a few years. No hurry. Meanwhile I'm learning alot about the culture and the sort of benefits as well as obstacles a person encounters here.

  1. Great article Henry, you have hit on some important issues regarding marriage to a younger Filipina which should be considered by older men contemplating marriage to a younger Filipina. Please allow me to briefly share my story with you.

    I am a 69 yr. old American, married to a 35 yr. young Filipina. We have been married for 12 years now and I could not be happier and I believe I can say the same for her.
    We have a home and small farm in Butuan City where we spend as much time as possible each year and look forward to moving there permanantly early next year. My wife’s many family members live a short distance [45 min.] from us. We decided to locate close to her family because of the strong family ties and devotion to family is one of the traits I admire in her. I might also add that her family has welcomed me from the beginning. They have never been a burden, in fact, quite the opposite.They have been a great help to us in so many ways, not the least of which is maintaining the farm while we are here in the U.S.

    We have from time to time experienced the type of attitude you referred to here in the U.S. from those who think that I am a “dirty old man” or that she is a “gold digger”. After all these years we don’t even notice it anymore, Or maybe we just tune it out. I will tell you that age difference has never been an issue for us, even though it may be for others.

    While we were courting I explained to my wife that I had grown children and that children for the two of us was probably not going to happen. Even though she very much wanted children of her own, she accepted my position on the matter. After 6 or 7 years of being married to this wonderful lady I, being an orphan, decided it would be a shame not to allow some child to to have her for a Mom. That decision has brought me more happiness than words can express as we now have a
    4 yr. old son who is the center of our lives.

    In closing let me say that marriage to a younger Filipina is definately a workable thing, even here in the U.S. and best of luck to any who decide to go that route.

    Looking forward to reading more of your insightful articles.


    1. I’m always glad to hear of real accounts, from those who have lived and experienced the things related to life in the Philippines. I applaud the fact that the two of you have stayed together while dealing with the somewhat ‘limited perceptions’ of our Western regard towards marriages with an age difference. I am 49 and my g/f is 36. Only the first week when I learned her age did it give me a moment’s pause, but since then it’s not even been an issue. I love her and she’s a fun, yet mature and energetic woman I know I can count on. (More so than some of the flaky, older women I’ve dated over the years in the States. ha!)

      As you’ve already seen, when you are living here in the Philippines, not only is the age difference not an issue.. it’s respected as a good match. Youth and wisdom. My g/f already has a child and we’ve decided to not have children so as to enjoy our retirement years traveling to Italy and Asia, God willing.

      Thanks for joining the site and I wish your family safe travels back here when the time is right.

  2. Great Article I have read this with great anticipation after reading some articles on the web today and over the past few weeks I sometimes get depressed with comments about the relationships over there. My brother is living there and he loves it, I have had a friend there for 7 months and I believe she is true as she asked me for money at all never, I read today a bloke called markus said watch out for any women that wants to call you hon she may have a boyfriend?? Well that did not go down to well but I do trust her although she works strange hours compared to us in Aussie Land.
    She has only missed an appointment twice in 7 months online due to rain??

    1. Hola Philip. As I’ve written, it means at least ‘something’ when you can converse with a Filipina for about six months without her asking for money. The women who are in it for the money usually get to the point within a few weeks, maximum, because that is their priority. So it sounds like you may have a ‘good’ one on your hands, but wait until you’ve spent some time to meet her in person and get to know her full situation before making any commitments. I’m all for using technology, especially Skype since it allows you to ‘see’ them on live-video for building a relationship. However, to me, the meat of the relationship occurs when physically together. Just my opinion.

      As for the horror-stories you’ll hear from others.. I take it with a grain of salt. It doesn’t matter if one is dating online, overseas, in one’s home country, in person.. EVERYBODY has some horror story about blondes, brunettes, Latinas, Italians, older women, younger women. When it comes right down to it.. there is no blanket rule that applies to all women from any group or country. Each person is an individual and just because some guy was dumb enough to send money overseas to a woman he only knew two weeks on the internet is more telling of how gullible HE is.. not how conniving she was. There’s always a ‘bad apple’ in the bunch. That’s why I believe knowing someone in-person is when the real relationship begins. It’s easy to get along with someone online in short bursts of time.

      The great news is that the odds are in your favor. Let’s just say you make the move and get yourself situated here in the Philippines and.. after a few months of dating in person you decide this particular Filipina is not a good match for the long term. There are MILLIONS of other ones to choose from! If she IS the one for you.. then make your long-term commitments. So, fear not and take your time. 🙂

  3. One of the most balanced perspective about Filipinas(and FIlipinos in general) as compared what you can typically read about in the internet.

    However, I would like to comment a bit on the “age difference”. It may seem not a big deal to many Filipinos simply because Filipinos do not generally want to offend and are not straightforward but oftentimes, such affairs are a “feast” when the couple are nowhere in sight.

    1. No not really it only happens if it is the female that is older than the male. My dad is 40 and my mom 19 (both filipino) when they got married It is really accepted in our culture.

  4. I’m not really sure how to approach this but it seems that some foreigners are overly optimistic about may-december being accepted in the Philippines.

    I guess it depends on the “social status”. Among the middle and upper class in the Philippines, getting in such marriage is deemed “desperate”. I’m not saying all are desperate, just saying what typically people think. In the Philippines there is even the 4M joke which stands for “Matandang Mayaman Madaling Mamatay” which means “rich old man, soon to die”.

    I think one reason why there aren’t much comment upfront is that generally, Filipinos do not want to offend and are not “direct people”. But a lot of these are talked about when not in front of foreigners or the couple.

    The Philippine society in general is not accepting to these relationships contrary to some foreigners make it out to be. It may seem accepted among those in lower strata due to financial reason but as you go up the “ladder”, the more people are wary of such. I assure you that once the Philippine middle working class grow, the number of these relationships (may december) will significantly drop.

    1. Good observation. And I don’t deny the obvious that were it not for the financial situations involved many of these May-December relationships wouldn’t even happen. After all, they aren’t happening in the US where girls have more opportunity, public welfare, college grants, etc. (options in life) But, on a grand scale, I still see it as a good thing, beneficial to both parties. Each getting something out of the marriage. Some marriages are happy, others are not. But that’s true in Fil/Fil, Fil/Am, Old/Young.. any combination we can think of.. some percentage is successful while other marriages are a complete disaster. I know of some Fil/Fil marriages that are a living hell for the woman as her man walks down the block to the apartment he keeps his mistress and other child. In the end, any two people have to work to have a ‘good’ marriage, no matter what the ages or countries their are from.

    2. I agree on this. I am a Filipino and from Luzon. I find it completely different when i see the thoughts of foreign men (in general) about may-december affair not being frowned upon in Philippines. I am in early 30s and if I will compare my experience with a Filipina with the experience of a foreign man is completely different. Basically because of the social status. Me and most of my friends (or all of them) are never willing to have a relationship with a teenage girl as a first choice. Maybe because you’ll get to be the joke of the group. Or maybe you can’t really walk in the mall with your young girlfriend without having the eyes of people staring at you. But of course if you are a foreigner with a young girlfriend, it is most definitely common (still not accepted but Filipinos aren’t surprised as it is common and understood). I have many of my girlfriends in college and in work that are not interested in having a foreign boyfriend. One of the reasons i think is that having a foreign boyfriend is commonly compared to a bargirl or an escort girl. Which is true and always being a subject of a joke. I am not sure if it is just my group of friends but it is an irony. If a Filipino guy has a foreign girlfriend, he gets an applause but if a Filipina girl has a foreign boyfriend especially an older guy, she gets all the frown.

      1. Yep.. I can see that. But at the end of the day, the way us Westerners look at is, “You sleep in your own bed.” It doesn’t matter to us what people think. Screw ’em, they don’t pay my bills, they aren’t my boss and they sure aren’t our judge or jury. That’s how we look at it. Now, in Filipino culture, what the society nearby thinks is of more concern. So it brings up different dynamics for a Filipino when considering a May-December relationship.

        1. In the Filipino Context, you can’t really avoid to consider people around you because you just don’t dress for yourself. You dress to be seen by other people and that introduce an impression. When you dress something unacceptable to the eyes,you are putting your family’s reputation in shame. We were always told “nakakahiya ka!” or “bigyan mo ng kahihiyan ang pamilya natin,baka sabihin ng iba hindi ka namin pinalaki ng maayos.” (shame on you. give this family some respect. Our neighbors will tell us we didn’t raise you well.”) It is within our culture to always consider the people you go with,the way you dress,the way you act because unlike in the US or other western countries, you will always have a definition to your neighbors and it is inevitable. It will always matter. You are a part of a community. You are known to be the son of this,or the daughter of that. There is always association. This is part of the culture of “pakikisama”.

  5. Henry. This a very good article. There is something you left out that men should know however. For your wife to be eligible for social security benefits, she will be required to have lived in the US for at least 5 years. This is what they told me when I asked about it.

    1. I’m glad you brought that up. I haven’t looked so much into those requirements (yet) as I’m still single. Definitely something a married Fil-Am couple should take into consideration for the long term plan.

  6. Henry, Your wife’s support regarding money issues with her extended family is critical. My wife is direct and frugal. Also never-ever set up a scheduled payment plan. This is a burden you will never shake. Both of you should display a frugal mentality as my wife and I do. The pay direct option is a great idea, Henry. I like it! I don’t believe in saying no to money requests, but I believe in “not now”. Somehow the couple needs to create a buffer that makes money requests a tough but not impossible task for the family-or it will get out of hand quick!
    I love the Philippines (am Caucasian Amer mid 50’s). I love many aspects of the culture. I love my wife very much (she is early 40’s) and I believe if all cards are played right this can be the happiest time in men (such as ours) lives since most of us have been through the “mill” in one form or another. Retirement will be in the Philippines and we will build on land she already owns. My hobby (dream) will be to grow the widest variety of fruit bearing trees possible in a 2 acre area with a walk through tour.

    1. Yes, I agree. Getting money should not be a simple matter of “shaking the money tree” and letting the goodness rain down. “No” has to be a real expectation. Or less than they asked for. Or, not now but at the end of the month. Your own finances and family come first. Then the parents. Anyone besides that is on a case by case basis.

      1. Agree…I call her my asawa already Henry even though wedding is still 2 months off-it’s a thing we have lol…

  7. Hello Henry,

    To say that this is a very interesting article would be an understatement. You’ve touched on issues and explained them with such great clarity that even a native born would probably question why they do the things that they do as it has no logic- but can be simply justified as being cultural. It requires no logic whatsoever and it is plain excusable. I am a Filipina born but partially grew up here in the US. I still have some of the values and beliefs I grew up with but some I’ve lost along the way. Values and beliefs I viewed that benefits my personal growth I chose to keep. My daughter is half (Filipino and half caucasian). Her dad and I are no longer together but I’ve often contemplated which culture would she benefit from the most. I realized raising a child that is a descendant of two cultures will constantly bring up questions/inquiries why certain things are done the way the are and why and how it came about. I think people have to realize just because something has been a tradition for centuries does NOT make it right. Does anyone ever question if they traditions that they practice has ever paved the way for their progression. If not, then why keep it in place. Having my daughter has made me evaluate which values and beliefs would allow her to grow to be the best person she could be to other people and to the whole world.
    I agree with you on most of the things that you’ve mentioned here but I also have to agree that though people over there may not say it to your face about the age difference, I will bet you with my life that they think and breath it. I’m glad that judgmental thoughts like this can be brushed off by easily foreigners asit shows great individualism.Something that will be hard for filipinos to do as image is everything to them. I’m the same way I don’t wish to conform just to be accepted. I’ve realized overtime one of the qualities I don’t like with most filipinos is they are extremely judgmental. I know every group in every culture possesses this to varying degrees but this has become so apparent to me in the last few years. It seems like they value the following and you could switch this in order of importance . You either have to be really pretty (light skinned), really rich, and or extremely highly educated to be of some worth over there. This light skinned thing has really annoyed me for years. Actually, I’m light skinned but don’t really see this bearing any importance. It is just so vain.
    When other filipinos see my daughter (she’s tan), they always comment on how pretty she is and that she should go back home to be an actress. But I would like my daughter to be recognized for her character rather than her looks or other materialistic stuff. I like your paying direct to the servicer/provider idea. It makes pure sense to me.I send some money to some people I know there when they need it but it seems like their circumstances gets crazier and crazier weirder. I’m not sure if the whole idea behind it is that the craziest stories will yield a more “padala”. And when I start to question this within myself I feel really horrible. My goal is to one day to go back and own land for the purpose of growing herbs and fruits. We have such fertile land and people don’t appreciate it. My grandparents owned land and they were just sold to had bldgs built in there. I know the floods,monsoons make it hard to take care of. But like you said about you piggy farm. They don’t practice budgeting…its just crazy.
    The Philippines is indeed a beautiful place. We just need to respect the land and what it can offer not trash it. It is a sad truth that Filipinos try to conform with the Western trends of life. If they look hard enough, they’ll realize they’ve got it good on most things…family, peace, love, spirituality……with ofcourse the exception of government but that around the globe.

    1. As a person with one foot in each culture, I’m glad to hear your thoughts. Yes, we westerners as a whole pretty much chart out own path with not much regard to whether others give their approval or not. We do what we do and if someone (or society) doesn’t like it.. so what? Now, some take that to the extreme and, I think, even go out of their way to be ‘bizarre’ or obnoxious just to prove their individualism. But the sad truth is, bizarre and obnoxious people are not unique.. you can find them anywhere. True individualism is both unique and productive. It takes zero talent to be an idiot.

      But, I will say that on the converse view.. the appearance of morality in public society is generally higher in the PH than the States, in my opinion. People here are friendly, even if it is sometimes just to get your business. ha! There are far more conservative women here than in the US. I know women in their 30’s who have much higher standards for themselves than most 20 or 30 year old women in California. Again, just my own thoughts on it.

  8. Well, I make my own rules and my own laws. Sure anyone can create Cultural bullshit, that's nothing new. Her family is her family, and if I choose not to deal with them, it is my decision. Just like I would never force her to deal with my family just because she's married to me. I say it like this, when I make money I had to work hard for it. These people aren't so hard up that they can't learn like everyone else in the world to understand that you can't just come up to people, ask for money and expect to get it. I could end up divorcing and leaving their daughter for a girl who has less of a family, and then they will have to deal with the burden of a sad broken heart daughter all because they were nagging me for money all the time. I've never been poor, but I've lived off my mother for most of my life, it took forever for me to find a job. And I can tell you this. I felt like a real and I mean REAL burden on my mom, like a true failure. All I wanted to do was help her, make up for all the money she gave me for school, medical, dental bills, etc. And she never expected any of this in return from me. But I felt bad regardless. This isn't an American thing either. I don't mind helping people, but my role in life is not to try to save the world from it's problems. Think of all the hungry and starving children in the world with nothing, yet you have relatives of a woman your married to asking you for cash as if their the only mutha fucking poor people in existence.

    1. Yah, everyone is free to take whatever position they want with it. For me, it’s best to look at all that before deciding to get married. See what the family is like, what they’re expectations are, how well you can set boundaries. Do all that before getting married, not marry just leave them with “a broken hearted daughter”. Marriage should be entered into after spending a year or more getting to know all these things. Divorce/Separation causes pain no matter how it’s done so.. best to take one’s time before making that commitment.

  9. The best solution is don’t get married diba? Why get married? As long as you both will love and take of each other, why get stuck with a life long contract? The only difference I see between having a long term relationship and marriage is a freaking contract. If what you say Henry is true that that contract includes her family, forget it.

  10. Seems like a few sour grapes on the Filipino side of things. Maybe a bit of resentment for foreigners coming and “taking our women”. Same thing happens in the black community. My late wife was Mexican 100% but she did look white. We went to the US for a visit and black women would give her evil looks and not talk to her. Then I would make a comment like “Yeah this is my wife’s first time to the States, she is Mexican.” then all of a sudden she was a minority like “us” and they were all talky and friendly with her. Sad really.

  11. Very well written article. Since I am here for several years and have friends from many class distinctions I will point something out. The upper middle class and higher are ashamed if their children marry a foriegner. Filipinos will also look and shake their head at March /December relationships. They are discreet though and it appears that they are just smiling. Sometimes the smile is just a stifled laugh.

  12. Some well written & intelligent comments, thank you.
    My pet peeve re the March/December relationships is a lot of the guys involved are on a state pensions which stops when they die. The girls all want at least one child & most of these guys oblige so when he dies ( most guys think they’ll live forever ) the wife & child are left destitute.

  13. True about the SS eligibility. Also, just because an American creates babies, this doesn't make them "automatic" citizens when born on "other" soil.

  14. A lot of inaccurate generalizations. You don't have to be Filipinas to be devoted to your husband. Any woman who trim

  15. Christine… Agree completely. Rebecca is a little older than me, actually, and she hears the same comments from time to time: Simply because I am a Kano. Unfortunately, a lot of the guys who come here and act the way they do color us all with the same brush. I could care less what someone does with their personal life, but I get pissed when their actions make my life more difficult. That is why I tend to ignore a lot of the other Kanos here… Just don't want to hear all the BS any more.

  16. You are pretty much right and have lived here longer than I, but it seems to be just a little more complicated culturally. IMO, humble as it may be and possibly inaccurate as well, it just seems as if the eldest daughter is EXPECTED TO BE THE CAREGIVER (including financially)when her parents are elderly and no longer able to care for themselves or if there is a TRUE family Emergency.

  17. Retired in Samar Again you are correct and my point is that many, many different things should be considered when one is considering a long and happy life with a filipina. I am participating in a May _ December relationship my self. I am 69 and she is 23 but we have been together for nearly 4 years now, have had our share of "discussions" but understand and accept one thing–We love GOD, then each others, then family in THAT ORDER!
    BTW, she is originally from a small island off of the coast of Western Samar.

  18. By the way, we are also aware of the Social Security restrictions and so have started building an On-Line business that will support her AND her family (if she so wishes) after I’m gone.

  19. I do not consider myself an 'old timer' (I'm only 56), but I have been around the Filipino community for a very long time. I've been married to the same Filipina now for over 34 years. I get along great with her family and extended family. I wanted to get that info in there then give my opinion of the older/younger relationships. I don't know how everyone views such a thing, but my 22 year old niece is engaged to a 54 year old Aussie. They get along great and her family likes him very much. IMO she got lucky to find someone that is willing to give her the security and also be a swell guy. Most of the people that complain about the older/younger thing seem to be western women. They don't get it and with the differences in the societies, they probably never will. Sure there are young ladies that want the older man, because he has the money, but most of are not stupid and know that. Some older guys don't mind paying a little for their own form of security, a younger, loving woman that will take care of you as you get older. Kind of like a health care plan. Of course there are the desperate old timers that will latch onto the first thing that puts her hand down the front of his pants. Those are the ones that need to be careful and hopefully get a little advice from others that have 'been there and done that'. People should be allowed to do what they want without having to worry about what others 'think'. Just try to guide them in the right direction, but once they make their decision, others should not judge. Soap box destroyed.

    1. My gf, 21, has been ‘indirectly’ asking for ‘help’ in the form of western union $200 monthly. Is this normal or is it a red flag? She says she is ashamed about it but that she gets pressure as Kanos are usually expected to help. Any thoughts? Weve been dating for 2.5 years and i have met her at leat 6 times pluss all the family.

  20. Its an Asian thing mate, anyone younger than you is regarded as a Boy or a Girl and is referred to as a Boy or a Girl.
    This holds true from my experience for Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Thais, Burmese, Indians and Filipinos.

  21. It was a very good article! I’m a filipina and I’m beyond flattered on what i have read at some point. Some foreigners think indifferently to some filipinas as ‘gold digger’ and this article would be a great eye opener to them. I can’t add any thing more. I wish i can read many of your articles sometimes. More power !!

  22. My gf, 21, has been ‘indirectly’ asking for ‘help’ in the form of western union $200 monthly. Is this normal or is it a red flag? She says she is ashamed about it but that she gets pressure as Kanos are usually expected to help. Any thoughts? Weve been dating for 2.5 years and i have met her at leat 6 times pluss all the family.


    1. Well. I just want to say that be careful . Perhaps there are a lot of reasons why she’s asking for your help. But don’t forget to limit yourself even if you love the person you have to be mindful in every decisions you make. My fiancee is 52 and I am 23 years old a filipina. I work hard for help my family even though my fiancee help me in every times. But I want also to provide something for my family and not just depending for my fiancee . But don’t get me wrong my fiancee is a generous person , he has a big heart and very loving to my family, plus a good looking man. In your case It’s okay to help your gf and her family in times of crisis but it doesn’t mean that you are going to help in every times because there will be a tendency that the whole family will depend on you.

  23. This May-December relationship perception may be more uncomfortable for the man than for the woman.

    I am a woman born and bred in the Philippines. But I was sent to college in Upstate NY where I met my American ex-husband, who was a classmate. And although I am a year older than him (our birthdays are only 5 days apart), he easily looked 15 to 20 years older than me.

    Maybe it is because I’m short — 5 ft on a good day. And he is tall and lost all his hair before he was 19 years old. Being seen together was sometimes deeply embarrassing for him.

    My brother-in-law, who was Polish American, also felt the same way about my sister. He is only two years older than her. But he would often remark how much he hated walking out with her and the kids because strangers would look at him as though he was dating the baby-sitter.

    To be honest, I don’t like dating younger men. And when I discover that I am older than the man I’m with, I would bring the relationship quickly to a close. It’s bad enough when I have to tell them I have undergraduate degrees in Engineering and a graduate degree in Mathematics. But they go into shock when they learn I am ten years, sometimes fifteen years older than they are.

    So it is entirely possible, an older-looking gentleman may not really be that old. And a younger-looking Filipina may not really be that young. I had this problem with my mother when men my age would buy her drinks and entirely ignore me.

    1. In western countries, it is still considered highly unacceptable for an older man to date/marry a younger woman. People have so many preconceived notions about it and most of them are outright rude and offensive. It’s much more acceptable in the PH, an age-gap relationship.

  24. Thank you for this enlightening article, I am 70 this year and am in a relationship with a 28 yr old Filipina as in a Lesbian attachment , she isn’t at all worried about the age difference but I have taken awhile to get to the position of not worrying about it , also am looking at marriage end of next year when my divorce is through

  25. By now the statistics should be clear that men and women evolved to use each other in a dual reproductive strategy. 70% of marriages go sexless with the woman feeling entitled to close up shop (only financial co-dependency seems to prevent that). Marital failure rates are through the roof. Business and government are dependent upon the transfer of wealth from frugal men to high spending women and costs of child rearing. This exchange is worldwide, but in your face in the Fil-West relationship where a man is viewed solely for his utility. It’s prostitution dressed up as love be it with a bar girl or a bride. Men do receive emotional fulfillment in the sexual union, an “eternal itch” with deep attachment. Women have this only temporarily when testosterone rises during the capture phase which elevates dopamine. So, her emotional love connection is only temporary. The obvious way to avoid emotional and financial ruin is to just live together with contraception until the woman’s passion evaporates like her love hormones will (if there ever were any). The problem is, finding a live-in without drama is essentially impossible. Not everyone has years to spend online finding that unicorn girl, or in real life. Sadly, it’s ether brides (for the long-term leeching transaction) or bar-girls (for a short-time leeching transaction). I’ve not met ANY man in the Philippines who isn’t paying for it (unless he’s a young Filipino stud or bad-boy). So, what’s in your wallet, and how soon do you want it emptied? I believe the intermediate term lover (months to years live-in) is just not possible unless heavily financed and usually with woman who is a single parent with many mouths to feed.

    1. I’m fascinated by what Bob was saying. Having lived in Japan for 16 years, I discovered from the majority of Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, South Africans, and a few Europeans that Japanese women stop having sex as soon as children are born. I thought it was because they were exhausted from raising children, except that Japanese women don’t have the added burden of working outside the home as most Western women usually do. Anyway, I ended up marrying a 33-year-old ethnic Korean from China when I was a 32-year-old Canadian who had not been sowing his wild oats because of conservative religious beliefs. My soon-to-be-wife and I rushed to city hall after only one single date and two group dates before that because I couldn’t live another day of abstinence/celibacy. Well, it turned out that my wife adopted Japanese attitudes and refrained from engaging in sex after the birth of children. We’ve been living as housemates in separate bedrooms for 20 years (as of next month), and I’m finally accepting this prolonged lack of sex, even though I didn’t get to enjoy any before marriage. I keep hoping to outlive my wife, but I’m thinking lately about finally considering divorce before I reach 60 (in the next 7 years), by which time my daughters should all be living away from home, and marrying a loving LDS Filipina. In the meantime, I’m learning Tagalog. I’ve mastered highly technical Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, so Tagalog has been a fascinating addition. My wife is still highly influenced by her communist upbringing, ridiculing my religious beliefs, so I hope to have a Filipina wife (ideally half my age plus 7, according to the “Malcolm X” formula) who loves the Lord and doesn’t hate me. I’d even live without sex if I could have that kind of loving relationship.

      Anyway, I wanted to ask whether Filipina/Pinay also resist sex for months or years at a time as East Asians do after about age 30. Besides Japanese women’s disinterest in sex, I’ll also mention that there are tens of thousands of Chinese wives or concubines living here in Metro Vancouver and are quite satisfied to see their husbands or sugar daddies (all living in China) only once or twice a year as long as they continue to send the huge sums of cash to them and the children here in Canada. Therefore, Chinese women similarly can similarly live without sex for decades after their 20s or very early 30s.

      1. Andrew I know it’s been 2 years brother but when I saw no one had ever answered your question I felt compelled to write! I feel for your situation. Hopefully you’ve found your answer by now. In my experience that just shouldn’t be an issue! I wish you the best!

        1. Well, I finally ended up on my own after 10 months of homelessness (living in my car in –8°C winters (not nearly as cold as my home province) and 40°C interior temperatures during the hot summer. I’d foolishly sent 3 years of my savings to a sister in the Philippines over a period of only three months. I still feel that I wasn’t being scammed even though it sounds so obvious that I must have been from an objective perspective. I communicated with three different members of my church in the Philippines, one after another, around the time I posted my previous response. Now, I’m living indoors, and each of those three Filipina sisters is married to British, Australian, and American members of my church—all in their 70s, compared to my 54 and the Filipina sisters’ ages of 32, 45, and 37.

          I studied Tagalog quite intensively and found the grammar to be quite fascinating, but I’ve been cured of my Filipina attractions as well as any hope or even willingness to live in the Philippines anymore. Before I finally got living indoors again, my interests turned to Peru, and I realized that Spanish is incredibly easy, possibly because of all of my French study in my youth. Now, though, I’m just thinking I’ll give up hope of remarriage and will live out the rest of my years in celibacy. One Filipina I met online very coincidentally has close friends with Filipinos in my congregation, despite being from such a remote area of the very populous Philippines. The church members are teasing the 45-year-old woman, trying to get us together, but that loss of money (to the 37-year-old in medical expenses and business investments, all verified) just somehow sours me on anything related to the Philippines. The brutality of homelessness just wasn’t worth the excitement of feeling hope for a few months.

          1. I’m a bit confused by your response….. A couple of years back you were asking about sex, which generally speaking shouldn’t be a problem.

            I’d written quite a long reply, but this isn’t the place, so I deleted it and I will make a suggestion instead. Go sign up for MeWe ( If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an alternative to Facebook. Join Henry’s group “Reekay’s LifeBeyondTheSea”. Then look for me and we’ll chat. I know we don’t know each other but I feel for what you’ve been through. Hopefully, I can offer a bit of perspective. If not then what have you lost? I’ve lived in both Japan and the Philippines, and as a former Sunday School teacher (everyone gasps :)) possibly I might understand more than you would expect.

            Take a chance and have faith! If you’re undecided go read Jeremiah 29:11. Hope to chat with you, but if I don’t hear from you I wish you the best!

          2. Hi Andrew, I never noticed you comment until now. We can’t reform biology, but we can understand it. There are just two metrics of romantic love, namely: Passion (raw physical attraction) and Intimacy (like mindedness on many topics, like a lock and key). But, humans are very unique among mammals with women having a hidden ovulation so men will chase them and provide for them continuously.

            Women seek young handsome Alpha bad-boys when they ovulate (gene grab) and Beta provider simps the rest of their cycle. If you’re the typical man who isn’t in top 10% of the Pareto distribution (most of us aren’t) than you’re either involuntarily celibate or paying for sex. Short-time, long-time or marriage-time, it’s all the same. You can hide it behind labels and excuses. I know a Japanese woman who is hot to trot all the time for her husband, but he remained cut and fit and would not be her provider man / chump. She earns more than he does. See how that equation fits in? Never be the provider man, unless it’s just short-time entertainment money to get your rocks off.

            Poor girls in poorer countries where there’s no big daddy government and divorce rape, have wives giving sex to their husbands much like happened a century ago in the West. The many could just walk away and the wife feared that. So, it was her duty to have sex for the sake of the family. Frankly, it’s easier for her to let her husband put the canoe in water for 10 minutes once a week than cleaning the oven. Today, the women are laughing at us men being so entitled. The narcissism stratospheric. Just don’t do it. Notice the smart guys, like Reekay, learn the game and how to play it. Live together and be snipped (protects you from most low class women who won’t use birth control). Hope you and all of us can find some solace.

  26. Reekay, I’m enjoying your articles immensely. As an American from Detroit married to a Filipina (2 years older than me believe it or not), and someone who has been to the Philippines 7 times (including Angeles twice), I can relate to what you write. However, when it comes to in-laws I will tell you that I love mine to death, and am glad they live one street over. (with the exception of a sister-in-law, and a nephew who live in our house in Iloilo). My nephew that stays in our house, and I are extremely close. Our 2 houses might as well be connected as much as we go back and forth to each one, but I love it. What helps is my wife is not timid like most Filipinas. She is out-spoken, and insures that no gold-digging takes place, yet she is extremely generous, and I love her for it. We are kind of exceptions to some things you write about, but I’ve seen it all first-hand too., the culture of what you speak of. Fortunately, my wife’s family has enough balikbayans to where all the financial help for the family doesn’t fall on us.

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