Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Older - Foreigner- Younger - Filipina Myth

A friend of mine once said if I didn't wear glasses (which I sometimes don't -- out of vanity), people would think me a prostitute with a foreigner. Perhaps because I like to dress sexy or I just am (LOL! Did I tell you humility was never one of my better assets?), I just do not look nerdy without glasses.

It is not uncommon (especially on weekends when I am wearing just jeans and a shirt) when I am with my Asawa that I get "THE LOOK". You know? The LOOK of disgust and indignation from people you hardly know. People who do not even know that you have two times the education they have; from people who do not know that you graduated from one of the best universities of the country. At that particular instance, I restrain myself from brandishing my Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID.

Two incidents that come to mind with such clarity are: (1) when my Asawa and I took a cab to our hotel and (2) when we took the MRT one time.

In the first incident the taxi driver infuriated me with a comment to the effect that I should "share" the wealth with him by allowing him to overcharge the foreigner. I was so indignant I told him point blank and in English so that my husband can hear what he just insinuated, that I would have his license revoked by reporting him to the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC)/Land Transportation Office (LTO)(incidentally I have a friend from lawschool who works at DOTC and my Auntie-Lawyer is a Regional Director at LTO).

The second incident was on an MRT ride to Makati from Quezon City, when an elderly woman gave me THE LOOK. It didn't bother me because I actually wasn't looking, but my husband was, and it got him so upset, he bugged the woman by saying "Jesus Loves You"! And he wasn't being nice about it... he was being sarcastic even. But I told him to let her go; we were in the portion of the MRT where both men and women occupied the train, I certainly didn't want him to get mobbed by the men.

At any rate, it doesn't bother me in the sense that no matter what they think, I know better who I am.

I certainly do not judge the other filipinas even if they were prostitutes or household helps in the past before they married foreigners. Their past in itself is not a measure of their character. We all have to make our own different choices based on the cards we are dealt. Also, only she knows what her intentions are and only time can tell how true her heart is for the man she married.

I just hope that someday people will stop judging other people based on unfounded generalizations and myths that are antiquated. Most filipina who marry foreigners are not even former prostitutes or household helps. A great majority of them are the educated filipina who through the advent of the internet have come to realize that "the market" is no longer limited to just filipinos, but to foreign men as well.

Someday maybe ... until that time I just have to remind myself that I do not belong to that myth.


  1. Very amusing post and accurate. I am not in the same situation as myself and my wife are of the same age--though I do share the Foreigner , Filipina part of your narrative. I believe this blog is going to mature and be so very human. The Taxi Driver asking you to share your good fortune was absolutely priceless.

    May I ask why you call the Blog "Living in Paradise". I have lived in many places but I have met very few who considered where ever they were living to be paradise. One guy was an ex NYPD detective who considered South Florida to be paradise. I did not agree but whatever floated his boat. LOL I guess he figured hell to be NYC.

    Anyway I will continue to check in


  2. Hi Joseph! I am so glad you liked the post. :)

    Well as for Manila being paradise, it really isn't the place itself. For me it really is any place I share with my Asawa. :x

  3. I have been noted many times for saying, "Don't think you are coming to Paradise" when talking about living here in the Philippines ... but on the other hand, you have it exactly right in the sense, that paradise really is all about who you are with.

    My wife and I are heading to the US for acouple weeks visit in just two days. I was really excited about the trip for a while. Now, just before I sat down to write these words, I found myself going over in my mind how it's going to feel when we get back to our little slice of paradise here in Bulacan.

    Haven't even left yet (for the first trip "home" in more than three years, and here I am longing for the return flight.

    I hate the "look" too. I've seen it plenty ... I was no cradle robber but my asawa is 18 years my junior. I know that she has heard and seen much more thna I have as well, and it really detracts a bit from the joy of going places.

    There's nothing to be done about it, really, but it ceertainly is one of those factors people need to consider as part of the overall expereince.

    By the way, thanks for the sidebar link to PhilFAQS, and for your continued readership and support.

  4. When it comes to a relationship between a foreign man and a Filipina then I think my situation is totally different than anyone else I've ever met because I'm more than 18 years younger than my Filipina wife who is 50 years old and I'm only 32. I met her in NYC when I was only 24 years old while she was 42, and since they we are happily married. I cannot speak for anyone else except for me, so far as I'm concerned then I have not seen the situation other way around. Otherwise, I've seen people by my own eyes wherein foreign men were in their mid 80s and even in 90s and their Filipina wife were in early 20s.

    One good thing about my relationship with my wife is that nobody ever thought anything odd about our relationship because my wife still looks as if she is a teenager even though she is 5'7" in height. To me, it's all about the love that I have for her. She is the BEST female I've EVER made in my entire life, and believe me I've had kissed many "fish" before I met my wife. :)

    And I personally don't think Manila to be a paradise because Manila is very polluted, traffic congestion, expensive and many more obstacles. There is nothing much to see and do unless going to mall for everything is the "attraction" for someone. lols. I just got back home in NYC from my first trip to PH. I stayed in Lucena city and went from there to Pagbilow, Lucban and Laguna which were much nicer than Manila. I had a great time there. But since my wife already has houses in Lucena, we are planning on buying a condo in Manila if we could which why I was staying in Manila for a month. I think living in Makati is very expensive as I ended up paying more than $5k just for a month over there which I've no plan spending anymore. That's why hunt for the place is going on....

  5. A friend just emailed a link to this post. My beautiful asawa and I moved to the Philippines last year. When we go shopping in nearby Iloilo City she constantly gets that "look." My wife likes to dress up when she goes out, like yourself. She worked almost ten years as a domestic helper in Singapore and Taiwan before we were married. She sometimes will return the look with a "glare", and I know it really bothers her. She does not tell me all the time when she gets one, because she knows I will say something to that person. Your post was a great commentary on this stupid reaction of some people. I would love to put a link to this post on my blog and mention this article.

  6. @ Kano, yes, it could really be irritating. :) But tell her to walk with her chin up high and don't let them bother her.

    As to providing a link to your post, I don't mind and in fact I would be honored. :) Thank you.

  7. Thanks for the reply. I'm featuring a link to your story in my blog post for tomorrow. Thanks again. Dave the Kano