James (from Davao City)
I had no knowledge of Davao girls when I set up a 30 day subscription to a dating site, and no initial intention of getting romantically involved with a foreign lady. The site that I joined promised that they would send suitable candidates on a daily basis, and the next day I received the first batch.
There was one woman that caught my eye, she was not like the others, for a start she was a Filipina lady with a slightly Chinese appearance. It was after checking her profile, I discovered that she was working abroad in the middle-east, at that point I had no idea where. I also noticed her profile was not completed in perfect English, but it was close, and this made me even more intrigued.
I selected her and asked the first lot of questions (I found we had to communicate for a month, by question and answer sessions, before we could correspond properly). Anyway, I sent off my questions and waited for a reply, the days turned into a week and still no answer, and in the meantime the site was still sending what they deemed as suitable candidates all of which I basically ignored. To make matters worse I was not able to find the Filipina lady’s profile for a few days, and I was feeling slightly gutted at the time, and what If I was not able to make contact again?
I needn’t have been concerned, just under two weeks later I received a message from Lillie (the Filipina), she had replied to my questions. I read all her answers and then answered the questions she asked of me, this went on for the remainder of the first month, each time we got to learn a little more about each other… but it was very limiting. Finally the time came when we could converse by normal means, so we exchanged details, Skype, Yahoo, Messenger etc., and I cancelled my subscription to the dating site before the second payment was due.
Once we had started to talk on a regular basis, and I mean every single night, Lillie told me where she was working and all about her hometown of Davao City and how Davao girls are warm, caring, and quiet compared to a lot of girls in the Philippines. Lillie explained the reason for this; Davao is not a globalized major tourist spot (at the moment), it is traditional and conservative, and a major agricultural centre.
Lillie enlightened me on the love of singing for most Davao girls, as it is the one pastime which is easy for them to enjoy in one of the local Karaoke bars, no matter what time of day, and she herself is quite a decent singer I must add.
After a while of communicating, I mentioned about visiting her in Dubai for a holiday, Lillie thought it was strange why I wanted to meet her so soon, but to me it just seemed the right thing to do. A month later I had my ticket and my holiday booked from work.
My bags were packed and I was off to meet Lillie in Dubai, the plane touched down and mobile phones could be turned on. From then every 2 minutes I received a text, “where are you,” this carried on until I finally cleared immigration and entered the airport proper.
I still remember Lillie pinching me as if I was not real, and I had the thought of WOW, she has big eyes. Even before that moment, I for one felt like we had transcended past boyfriend and girlfriend and all that, Davao girls are quick to work their way into a man's affections! She showed me around a lot of the sights in Dubai and it was a fantastic time, it felt like it was much more than a holiday, it was just another step towards our life together.
It may seem quick to a lot of people, but times are changing and I asked Lillie to marry me, as you may realise the answer was yes. So, after getting an engagement ring, it was soon time for me to leave for the UK, and Lillie was actually leaving too to head back home to the Philippines once her contract had finished.
As I had previously been married there were things I needed to do, banns had to be posted and proof of divorce etc. was required, meanwhile Lillie had to do something similar in the Philippines. She had to attend a seminar in Cebu and had to attend a personal interview, the Philippines is very protective of their female citizens, too many times they have been taken advantage of.
After 6 months in the UK I arrived in Manila where Lillie was waiting for me; we had an appointment with the British Embassy to get clearance for getting married, and then the following day we could make the short trip to south to Davao City.
Davao is very relaxed and quiet, but there is still more than enough to do and occupy your time, especially if you travel out of town and head into the hills. We met a few friends over the next few days, and I even had some Davao Girls asking if I had any friends back in England as they were single, most of which they followed with a little giggle (and to this day, many Davao girls still ask the same question).
We finalized plans for what I thought was a wonderful idea at the time, of getting married on a beach. The best area for this was “The Garden City of Samal”, an island 15 or 20 minutes from Davao City by ferry. Samal doesn’t have the same buzz of city life, it is very relaxed and home to some of the most exclusive resorts you could hope to find, Pearl Farm being a prime example and one that is quite often frequented by foreign men with their new brides.
Even though things did not go quite as planned, we were married, and I was the happiest man on the planet, so much so I cried. After another week or so of seeing the sights and sampling some more of the delights of Davao with friends and family, it was once again time for me think about heading off back to England.
This time it was difficult for both of us, newlyweds being separated after just a couple of weeks together. I returned to England and the humdrum of what should be a 9-5 job, but no longer was my heart in it. All I could think about was Lillie and how we would proceed from that point forward.
Between the two of us, we hatched a plan, Lillie's family had an area of land that could be used for growing bananas and coconuts etc. We had decided to invest in the growing of Bananas, and Lillie had done all the groundwork and had organized for the land to be cleared and planted.
It was 12 months before I was able to visit the Philippines again, but when I finally arrived I was greeted by smiling faces from lots of Davao girls, and some new department store developments.
Lillie and I arranged to go and visit our Banana growing area, it was a complete family affair, as are most things with a Filipino family. All of us piled into the back of a 4x4 pickup, trundling off for about 30km into the mountain regions, and it was a wonderful sight, even though the whole area looked like it was straight out of Jurassic Park. We passed many small villages, with kids running around in bare feet, it was just like something you only see on TV.
After a progress update we were informed that it would soon be time to harvest, unfortunately, I would once again be back in the UK at that time. So, after a week, it was once again time for me to head off back to England, and hopefully this time, it would be the last time.
Things did not go well with our Banana enterprise, the whole crop was ruined due to ‘Panama virus’ a fungus that destroys bananas… Luckily, Lillie had a separate income source from a laundry business that was sufficient to live off.
Back in the UK I was ready, I had squared everything up and had nothing that was going to be a problem once I had left England. I was off, no more jet-setting backwards and forwards, I felt like I was coming home for good. That was late in 2012 and I have been in Davao since that time.
Lillie has become the love of my life, and my best friend, there is nothing we don’t share together. We have a few bad days and many good days, but our relationship just goes from strength to strength. I have the best wife in the world, even though she still makes fun of my accent, but I find that all the more amusing.
While out and about we notice the number of foreigners with Davao girls is steadily increasing, there are all age groups, there are even younger foreign men with Davao girls, rather than just the older generations you would be led to believe. No matter what age-group they are, they all seem happy. It is easy for me to understand why Davao is becoming more popular, the cost of living is generally quite cheap, and there is an abundance of fruits all year round, some of which are not grown in other regions. Davao has pretty decent weather and it is typhoon free; it is not overcrowded or over commercialized and apart from the traffic during rush hour, moving about the city is quite relaxed.
The Philippines is a wonderful country if you embrace its culture and its people. I’ve found that Davao girls in particular are warm and welcoming, and I am happy to have made a new life together with Lillie.
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