Living, working or studying in the Philippines has its fair share of ups and downs. Here at myphilippinedreams, we put a good amount of effort into showing both sides – the good AND the bad – so that our viewers can get a better feel for what life here really is like.
One of the upsides of living here that people will often note (sometimes exclusively) is the ease in which a foreigner can enter into a relationship with a young and lovely Filipina. They will also usually go on to say that the women that are available in the Philippines would be “out of their league” back in the West, and there is certainly a lot of truth to this. I mean, even with my own relationship, I am under no delusions as to that – I seriously doubt that I could or would be in a steady, long term relationship with a drop-dead gorgeous 28 year old who is also college educated, sweet, kind and pretty much amazing in every detail.
So, this begs the question: Why is it so easy for old or older foreigners to be in relationships with younger, stunningly beautiful Filipinas?
In moving to an answer to that query, we’ll have to take a look now at what I like to call (trumpet fanfare) “The Mythic Allure of Westerners in the Philippines.” And in doing so, we are going to try to separate some facts from fiction.
Please note that we are generalizing here – all relationships are somewhat unique, and there are a number of factors usually in play that contribute to why people are together. That’s a disclaimer, so try not to get your feathers to ruffled if you take exception to some of this.
So, with that noted, let’s get into it!
1. Money, money, money – This is the big one, and the rationalization that we are going to spend the most time on, probably dedicating this entire blog entry to it.
It’s pretty much a given that money makes the world go around, and – as such – it’s always going to be an integral part of any relationship. In order to maintain some level of security and stability, you’ve got to have money, and here in the Philippines (and many, many other nations across the globe) money is in short supply for the vast majority of Filipinos. If you’ve never seen or experienced it, extreme poverty and the abject desperation that it creates is difficult to fully appreciate. Compared to the average Filipino, foreigners coming into the country as seen as wealthy, regardless of whether you actually are or not. Many of the people coming to the Philippines are going there to squeeze the most they can out of their limited Social Security or small state pension programs, taking advantage of strong dollars against weaker pesos. Many of those folks wouldn’t consider themselves wealthy by any means, but in the eyes of the poor, they indubitably are.
Building on this assumption of wealth (and rumors of “money trees” growing in the West), you might hear Filipinos or Filipinas referring to foreigners in the Philippines as UPS’s (Unlimited Peso Supply) or ATM’s (Automated Tubig Machine). Other terms that get bandied around are OWM (Old Western Men or Old Wealthy Men). These everyday acronyms should give some indication of the differences between reality and perception when it comes to foreigners in the Philippines – the reality of each individual Western who comes to the Philippines to live, work or study and his or her respective financial means (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with the actual perception of limitless wealth that most Filipinos and Filipinas seem to have in regards to the foreign population.
Money represents the ability to maintain some level of stability and security, something that is oftentimes not a luxury to be found in many poorer nations where folks are usually most concerned about where they are getting their next meal. And since foreigners do tend to have more money and/or income than their respective Philippine counterparts, we can never overlook the fact that money is always a part of the equation – more so than it is in Western nations do to the level of poverty that is exists in the Philippines and in other developing nations like it.
Also keep in mind, that in many cases, the young, lovely Filipina will be expecting some assistance when it comes to her family – the pressures placed on young women (especially the oldest daughter in the family) can sometimes be quite severe, and securing a foreign boyfriend or husband can be just as lucrative as sending children to work overseas as OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and subsisting off of their remittances.
Another common acronym that is used in the Philippines in reference to obtaining a rich foreign boyfriend or husband is “4M” – Matandang (Old), Mayamang(Rich) Madaling Mamatay (Someone who is about to die). And I agree with Ned – a lot of Filipinas are with foreigners because they have (or they think they have!) lot’s of money. It’s not really a bad thing in and of itself – but when it is the only reason, that’s where the sadness and the tragedy exists.
Ned Follows Up
I really don’t think that Michell is with me because of my money. I am not stupid enough to think that if I was dirt poor and had no resources or prospects for a better life for myself (and her) that she wouldn’t be rethinking the idea of being with me, but I don’t think it’s the only reason. How do I know this, you might ask? Well, it’s pretty simple – I have never given her an allowance like a lot of other expats do and I expect her to pay a percentage into our bills when she is working. I also live a pretty simple lifestyle and am pretty frugal in my spending. With those three things in mind – and with her looks, intelligence and charm – she wouldn’t have much difficulty in finding a rich foreigner who would give her a substantial allowance and shower her with new clothes and gadgets on a daily basic.
So, that’s gotta count for something, right?
So there it is. When it comes to the “mythic allure of Westerners” in the Philippines, one has to always keep money in mind. And when it comes to a foreigners justifying or rationalizing why there is a beautiful young Filipina by his said, not only is he being surprisingly objective, he’s also right on the mark.
In our next blog entry, we’ll take a look at some other justifications that foreigners utilize in explaining their lovely better halves and try to separate fact from fiction.
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