What You Should Know About Dating a Filipina | Pinay
Once, when my husband had revealed to his Vietnamese barber that he’s married to a Filipina, the excited barber exclaimed, “You married Asian, now you sit back and relax.” My husband almost fell off his chair. It was the furthest from the truth. When he married me he had these illusions of coming home to a Filipino feast every day. And in the mornings, his clothes would be laid out ready for him, ironed and starched. That was the dream. The reality is, he irons my clothes for me (I hardly ever did it for myself before I met him) and every now and then, I’d serve him something burnt.
Many like him are disillusioned by the stereotype of Filipino women. Even Filipino men have this absurd idea of what a Pinay is—docile, submissive but perfect homemakers. You gasp, I’m sure. I’m sorry to break the dream. If you are courting or marrying a Pinay, here are a few things you might want to know.
We do mean forever. Although many of us believe that divorce should be legalized in the Philippines, we’re still not used to the idea of breaking what God has unified. So when we marry, we expect to be with you for the long haul. We’ve been raised seeing our parents and grandparents celebrating golden wedding anniversaries and growing old together. We hope the same for us too.
We don’t want your money. We’re not marrying you for your money or for a green card. Admittedly some of us imagine a better life abroad and consider marrying a foreigner as a ticket to that goal, but we’re not just about to marry anyone. We want love, friendship and a lifetime of togetherness. Everything else are added perks. But if you’re looking at a mail-order bride, we’re not making guarantees.
Actually, we do want your money. While we can pay for our way, we still appreciate a man who takes the tab. We like a man who can take care of us, although we can take care of ourselves.
Beware of the silent treatment. If we’re not getting the attention and appreciation that we deserve, we don’t just shrug our shoulders, we give you the cold shoulder. Our tampo—the silent treatment—is an invitation to be wooed. Thaw out the icy treatment by buying us flowers, cooking for us, and most importantly, by listening to our woes.
Don’t expect us to stay home. A few years back, women were marrying in their early twenties. Decades before that, Filipinas were getting tied in their teens. Today, many of us are single—mostly by choice—in our thirties. You see, marriage is no longer the only goal. We want to be wives and mothers but we also want to be impassioned and empowered career women. Motherhood is a noble vocation, but we know that there is so much more we can do. So don’t always expect a warm meal waiting for you at home. We have to work too.
We’re not made to be maids. if you want somebody to clean and cook, hire a helper. Don’t marry one. Sure we’ve been trained by our mother to be good homemakers. We do take pride in a clean and beautiful home, but that’s not all that we do. And, please remember, that not all the Filipinas you see in Hong Kong or Dubai are domestic helpers. And even if they are, some of them are probably earning more than you do.
We are feisty fighters. Our sweet and shy demeanor doesn’t mean we’re submissive. We can put up a fight and stand up for ourselves. If you want us to be submissive, then submit yourself fully to us too. Commitment is all about respect and obedience, and we expect the same from you.
You’re also marrying our mother. Did I say father, grandmother, and the rest of the clan, too? See, you may not have to chop wood to prove your sincerity but you will still have to win our family’s heart. Also expect to spend a lot of time with the tribe for parties and outings. We love to eat and we love to break bread together. Oh, and when our mother is old and gray, she’s living with us.
We still expect to be courted. Of course, we’ve moved with the times but in many ways we are still conservative. So if you want to take us out on a date, you’re gonna have to win that privilege first. Courtship is a must. And so is opening doors for us.
(Originally published Feb 11, 2015)