Welcome back, loyal readers! In this second part of our two part examination of the “mythic allure of Westerners in the Philippines,” we are going to look at some more justifications and rationalizations that we use to explain why us foreigners have a lovely young Filipina by our side. This one has caused quite a stir in the comments section of our You Tube channel, and some of them have gotten pretty heated with some folks thinking that they’ve got it all figured out. I would add a tad of caution to any such conclusions as Filipino culture and society is very complex and there is also the matter of the individual to keep in mind – generalizing with broad strokes of the paint brush can bring up all kinds of problems.
So let’s continue doing just that.
Even though I have only been in the Philippines for a year and a half, I have heard a number of guys come up with all kind of reasons for the “Mythic Allure of Westerners in the Philippines,” some of them pretty insightful and apt and a few others a bit less so. In the first part of the blog, we looked at the influence that money has on the equation, with foreigners perceived as being inherently wealthy and a means to the end of lifting others out of the poverty cycle. This seems to be a major part of the allure, and even though the financial situation might apply also in the West, the influence it has in the more cash-strapped Philippines is significantly magnified. There is a great amount of truth to this one IMHO, and it’s something to always keep in mind.
Now, let us take a look at some other reasons why Westerners are so “alluring.”
- White Skin – Even for us Old Wrinkly Men (of which I am one), the simple color (or lack thereof) is often used as a rationalization for the mythic allure. And in talking to a number of Filipinas, there seems to be some truth to this. As in many other areas of SE Asia, white skin is a held in high regard by Filipinos. One doesn’t have to look far for the reasons for this – lighter skin was historically associated with the wealthy upper class, while darker skin was reserved for the poorer classes who labored for hours under the sun. Add to this the lighter skinned Filipinos of Spanish descent who were once the apex of the social hierarchy versus the darker skinned Malay population who were usually the field workers and one starts to see some of the reasons for this fixation on whitening products, parasols and sunscreen. This obsession with white skin is reinforced daily by the light skinned newcasters, entertainers, celebrties and high-level beauty pageant winners who look more like brunette westerners than true representatives of the more darker-skinned Philippine population. As a result of all this, white foreigners of the Caucasian persuasion are seen as an efficacious means of having offspring with “beautiful” light-colored skin. As I note in the video, white westerners can therefore be seen as “breeding stock.” But as one subscriber noted, there are probably worse fates in life….
- Westerners are more faithful – You’ll hear this one bandied about quite a bit by Westerners trying to justify why Filipinas prefer their company to that of the native Pinoys. I have some serious reservations about this one but having talked to NUMEROUS Westerners and Filipinos, I can’t really come up with a definitive conclusion. Even so and with that said, I have my doubts. Westerners (and some Filipinas) will note that “we” are more faithful and loyal while young Pinoys are chickboys and players and more concerned with “iring-iring” (affairs) than staying in committed relationships. Again, I don’t have the answer to this (and would take anyone else’s definitive answer with a grain of salt), but as a lovely Pinay noted today at the gym, it pretty much has to do with the individual in question. Thanks, lovely Pinay (you know who you are) for simplifying what had become a most vexatious question for me.
- Filipinas want our wisdom and guidance – I can’t help but giggle at this one even as I type it out. The vast majority of the guys that I have talked to who are either married to a Pinay or in a long-term relationship with one will say that this is pretty much nonsense and only goes to perpetuate the myth of the submissive Filipina. I’ll even go as far as to counter that premise with this: Filipinos and Filipinas are pretty frikken stubborn and prefer doing things their way. A quick and easy way to do this is to buy your Filipina a clothes washing machine and see how much use it actually gets. You’ll also hear foreigners extend this myth to the level of Filipinas wanting to be trained. Yeah, good luck with that one, brother….
- Westerners are taller and bigger – Again with the “breeding stock” theme. I think there is generally some truth to this one as height is another quality that is prized in Filipino culture. You can see evidence of this in the number of “heightening” products that are touted in the country – usually in the form of pills. Some even come with “US FDA approval,” usually with a phony FDA certificate. Add the chance of lighter eye and hair color (and longer nose length) and you can once again see why genetics can actually add some credence to the mythic allure of foreigners in the Philippines.
- Westerners are more stable and secure – With planeloads of foreigners arriving daily with pensions and retirement accounts, money once again enters the equation. But more than just money, some Westerners will go on to say that Filipinas prefer their company over that of the Pinoy as a result of them being more grounded (stable) and productive. Usually by this point, the foreigner will start up with the “listless and lazy” Kipling descriptor of the lackadaisical “istambay” (bum) Filipinos who like to drink tuba coconut wine and laze about all day. From there, it can get pretty ugly and just goes to show that we’ll go to any length to rationalize why these pretty Pinays on our arms.
- Westerners are a social upgrade – Citing the historical importance of social class in the Philippines, you might occasionally here a Westerner say that his personal Filipina is probably with him because he comes from a “higher class,” and by being with him, not only is the Filipina’s class level elevated, but so is that of her entire family who can now brag of having a foreigner in their clan. Considering that a number of Filipinos actually look down upon us wrinkly foreigners with their lovely young Filinas, I can’t really credit this one with a whole lot of substantive value. But hey, Your Mileage Might Vary…
So, there we have it – seven factors that contribute to the vaunted “Mythic Allure of the Westerner in the Philippines.” Please keep in mind that these are all just rationalizations that we as foreigner use to explain why Filipinas are attracted to us and not actual concrete facts as to why they are. Because in the end, every individual’s situation is different and oftentimes there are a number of factors at work.
Sometimes there’s even actually love…
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