Filipina Mirage – 5 Years Later
I recently read the story “Tag and Release” and was impressed with the writer's analysis of how bargirls think and act. The term used by Filipina friends of my wife is “investment” and it is the same thing. They are not bar girls but they invest their time and sensuality with western men in the hope of getting a permanent relationship either in the Philippines or a western country. A major web site for Philippines girls is named is named after the city of Cebu and presents itself as a dating site of vetted girls who are interested in and worthy of marriage. I am sure that is true in many cases, but I have seen some of these same girls in the two main freelancer nightclubs in Cebu. Let the buyer beware!
On July 18 2006 Stickman published a piece titled “Filipina Mirage” which chronicles my unhappy experience of bringing a Filipina to the USA for marriage. It is now five years later and I am a contented expat living large in the Philippines with a beautiful young Filipina wife who cares for me and takes care of me to the point of pampering. Recently I witnessed an event here in the central Philippines city where I live that brought to mind my first experience with a Filipina.
My wife and I were eating at our favorite restaurant and beside us there was a lady we know very slightly and her 60 something boyfriend from England. She is a local bank teller and very attractive in her mid 20’s. They were both very well dressed and eating dinner along with her two girlfriends. I noticed that he was surprised by the bill but when I later saw the 2 girls carry out several bags of leftovers I could understand his surprise. The Englishman and the bank teller soon leave and we overhear the name of the nearby hotel where they are staying. The 2 girls remain and chat and soon a young man joins them. He asks where his girlfriend is and they tell him the name of the hotel. He shrugs and leaves with the two girlfriends and several bags of leftovers. I suspect both the Englishman and the young Filipino boyfriend were eating well about 30 minutes after leaving the restaurant.
This is all taking place in the Filipino language and my wife relays all this to me and it reminds me of the similar scam played on me 5 years ago. The Englishman likely thinks he is bringing home a “good girl” because she is not a bargirl, but my take on it is that she is scamming him. I speculate that he may bring her to England because she is a stunner and showing him love and respect, putty in her hands.
I have lived in the Philippines now for over 2 years, first year in Cebu and now probably permanently relocated to a small city on an island south of Cebu. There are things I love about the Philippines and things I don’t much like but overall I am satisfied to be an expat resident of the Philippines. But it is not easy to relocate thousands of miles from one's native country.
I was a typical monger my 2 trips to Thailand and several 3-week trips to the Philippines before I met my wife. She was simply one of my friends for a long time and over time we grew to care for each other. We have had our share of fights and some problems caused by language and culture but we are both willing to make some compromises.
What follows is my non scientific observations of long term living in the Philippines. There are some real negatives that I won’t ignore but I am committed to living here now.
I chose the Philippines because of the girls. No big surprise there. I enjoyed Thailand a lot but the Filipinas are my ideal. I retired over 4 years ago and for a long time was a visitor in Asia and dated many different girls. It is no problem meeting and dating here for a man of any age and description. When I was not visiting the Philippines I would stay at home in Fairfax, Virginia where I co-own a condo with my grown son. It is a nice life there – library, restaurants, television, drinking beer and many other activities. But, no 20-year old Filipinas smiling at me in the mall or slipping me their phone numbers! So I made the decision to move to the Philippines permanently after my son got married. It is a choice and of course there are trade-offs.
I am no basher of western women. The apartment complex where I lived in Virginia has several ladies of my age and I believe that one of them would share her life with me if I was so inclined. A golf condo in Florida is one option that I considered years ago but Asia spoiled me!
I likely would be safer living in Fairfax county, Virginia, than I am here. This is just something I need to be aware of and compensate for as best I can. There is lots of crime here, home robberies, scams, fraud, you name it and it is present. The official crime statistics for the Philippines are worthless as much crime is never reported. I am cautious when we go out and have secured my apartment with dead bolts and other security.
The medical system in the Philippines is probably not as good as Virginia, USA. I compensate as best I can by having one of the best doctors in town for my primary care doctor and I take good care of my health. Realistically, my chances of surviving a heart attack or stroke are better in Virginia than here in the Philippines and that is one trade-off that I have made in order to live here.
It has taken me a while to learn to love the food here. I missed western food for a while especially western quality beef which is only available frozen here. I am lucky that my wife is a great cook and we mostly eat at home so I have a pretty good variety of great meals. Restaurants here are not world class and the food situation in Thailand is better than the Philippines in my opinion.
Driving in the Philippines is a nightmare but part of life. We recently bought a small car and I sent my wife to driver education training and she has become a very good and careful driver. I also have a designated driver now for whenever we go out and have some drinks. Drunk driving is common here and there seems to be no law enforcement policing the roads.
Philippines is Philippines and America is America – this is a refrain my wife tells me when I get aggravated at small things. An example, the Washington Post newspaper delivery motto is “by 6 a.m. or it’s free” and here the motto seems to be “by noon if you’re lucky”. I recently cancelled newspaper delivery as I just don’t want a newspaper after noon; I want it with my breakfast.
I was angry about little things many times in early living here and I have just learned to roll with the punches. I ordered a martini one time at a fancy restaurant and got gin and water, mostly water and no olives but it was in a chilled martini glass! I only order mixed drinks now when I am at the bar and can walk the server through preparing the drink. So many little aggravations in daily life here, people cutting in lines, invading my space, poor service, deceptive commercial practices, ordering a meal in a restaurant that describes in detail or pictures a delicious entrée and what is served bears little resemblance to what was featured on the menu and on and on.
There are also many good things to offset the negative things. I spent my 60th birthday at Boracay, a great white beach resort here in central Philippines. My day began with a morning run on the white sand beach and a chartered fishing trip in the afternoon and a great dinner (poor martini) with my then fiancé. I have a picture of us in that fishing boat with her in a purple bikini that I will treasure for a lifetime, just a great way to celebrate 60.
I have never been a cold weather fan and of course Philippines has great weather. We are near to the ocean and there is a half mile boardwalk that many walk and run on in the morning here. My wife took an aerobics class on the boardwalk and made many friends that way when we first moved here.
Retirement can be boring anywhere but I find that I do more here in the Philippines than I was doing in Virginia. It is of course more fun to enjoy life with a partner and I have lucked into a good one. We will be staying here in the Philippines as I have no plans or intention to bring my much younger wife to USA. The relationship we have works in the Philippines. I have no doubt that it would be severely stressed in USA.
I have seen so many tragic stories in Stickman submissions over the years and in person here in the Philippines and I have found the solution. Grow a set of balls. I set a budget for us each month and share with my wife discretionary spending. She gives some to her family and invests some. She has livestock and a rice futures business in her home province and using an installment payment plan we are buying 5 hectares of farmland in her name in her province near her family farm. She knows how to manage money and that is a rarity among the Asian women I have previously been with.
I “paid in advance” with Filipina Mirage five years ago and it was a mistake. I sent her money and she and her boyfriend had a great time with my money. I will not forget that I was a fool with her but I have learned my lessons. My wife and I are building her security one month at a time. My pension dies with me so my wife and I both know that she needs to build some security for her and I want to do this with her and for her and we are doing this one month at a time.
The Philippines is much like America 100 years ago. After I retired I reread many classics I read in college. “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair chronicles a worker in the meat packing industry in about 1904 Chicago. The safety standards in the Philippines are as lax today as they were over a century ago in America. Men working construction jobs in the Philippines wear flip flops and are shoveling gravel and cement on the roadway. I watched a man climb 30 feet to the top of a mango tree and trim it with a machete. He had no safety line and was barefoot. He cut about half of a mature tree to make room for a house under construction.
Having a Filipina wife is a wonderful thing and there are so many positives to being married to one. Filipinas are very hospitable so when westerners date them they often end up in the hospital. If I were not married, I would likely be spending 6 months of each year in Philippines and 6 months in the USA but now that I have made a commitment to a woman and this country it is mine now and I will stay. I enjoy my life here in Philippines more than in USA.
One final story – there is short term rental available at the complex where I live. There is an American, about 40, in love with a Filipina in her late 20’s who has a child from a previous marriage and a new baby that is the American's. He is trying to bring her to America and it is frustrating as annulment is needed and hard to get here, costly and time consuming. The reason for telling this story is that when this American visits the Philippines and stays here for 2 or 3 weeks the love of his life still has to work. A co-worker picks her up 6 days a week on his motorcycle and brings her home in the evening. It’s the least a Filipino husband can do for his wife! Yes, she has a job and it is scamming this American into bringing her to America! As I said years ago in my first submission, the ethics here are situational at best and “the end justifies the means”.
I enjoy your website, Stick, and wish you and all my fellow expats continued success in Asia. I wish there was a counterpart to you for the Philippines, but, there is only one Stickman in this world.
The consensus from a lot of guys I know who have spent time in both countries is that Filipinas might actually make better wives. True or not, I have no idea, but many tell me that Thailand is better for fun, and the Philippines for marriage.