It seems that Filipina girls are the most popular alternative to Thai girls for western men seeking either casual or serious romance in South East Asia. Many first-time visitors to the region, who first arrive on Thai shores, choose to stick with Thailand as their only destination, but the Philippines is usually second on their list of places to visit. This is particularly true of the middle-aged, single men, who travel to this part of the world in search of fun times…
A quick note about terms and approach: Filipina is the term for a lady from the Philippines, and Pinay means the same thing but is a little less formal. For men the corresponding terms are Filipino and Pinoy. When approaching Filipina girls with romantic intent, their Christian values generally lead them to value true-love very highly in a relationship. They are not quite as practical as Thai girls and financial objectives are less likely to be at the forefront their minds when engaging with western men. Most expats agree that flattery is a more effective tool in winning the hearts of Filipinas compared to Thais.
I think that I should make an important point here; the online expat community (or at least the majority of online writers that contribute their stories and opinions) is disproportionately made up of guys that have had broken marriages in Thailand, usually due to making some of the errors that my site will help you to avoid making. The silent majority of guys who are in successful relationships with Thai girls contribute fewer discussions or thoughts on the matter, and so their views are often overlooked.
The consensus of opinion amongst the online expat community seems to be
that if you are looking for a successful long-term relationship with an
Asian lady, Filipina girls are a better option than Thais. On the other
hand, if short-term fun is your goal, Thai girls reign supreme. Even so, there’s plenty of fun to be had in the Philippines…
It is significantly easier to find long-term romantic success with Filipina women because there is a much smaller culture gap to breach, and because English is more widely spoken. Whereas English in Thailand is only spoken by a relatively small proportion of regular girls, almost all Filipina girls speak it well. That fact alone is going to make it simpler to find non-bar girls and communicate with them.
Another factor that you should consider when thinking about relationship success rates is that the naughty scene in the Philippines is much smaller than in Thailand. In the Philippines the P4P scene is still widely available, especially in Angeles City, but nothing compares to Thailand in this regard. The point is that there is almost certainly a larger proportion of marriages in Thailand that are formed for all the wrong reasons in the first place, with obvious impacts on the marriage failure rate.
By the way, despite all this, don’t go thinking that marriage success rates in Thailand are rock bottom low – they aren’t. The figures that I’ve seen quoted suggest that marriage survival rates between western men and Thai girls is actually better than all-western marriages!
One thing that you shouldn’t do when judging long-term romantic success rates with Filipina girls, compared to girls in other countries, is look at the divorce rate there. Divorce is virtually non-existent, but that has got a lot to do with the very powerful Catholic Church in the Philippines which makes marriage annulment almost impossible.
If that worries you, then you should know that the effects of Catholicism do not end there. It is illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion in the Philippines under any circumstances (on this issue it is even stricter than Thailand), and the penalty for doing so is severe. Even a pregnancy that resulted from a rape is ineligible for abortion and, just as abhorrent in my view – whilst contraceptives are supposed to be freely available by law, the Catholic Church has been successful in side-stepping the law and making them largely unavailable to many Filipina girls.
The result is a large number of teenage single mothers who might well be looking for a wealthy benefactor to solve all sorts of serious financial problems. As for the church, a cynic might argue that its opposition to contraception reflects a potential loss of income from fewer baptisms if birth rates were reduced. How does all this affect you – make 100% certain that you pack your own condoms if you go to the Philippines, and never fail to use them!
Most of the cultural aspects of dating Filipina girls are somewhat similar to what I’ve written for Thai girls (see the ‘Culture Gap’ section for details). The role of Mum and Dad, the need to look after the parents, marriage dowry and so on all apply. The differences are more to do with the different religion since the Philippines is predominantly Christian rather than Buddhist.
One aspect of Philippine culture that must not be underestimated is the need to maintain face. I’ve written about ‘losing-face’ in Thai culture; in the Philippines it is at least as important and possibly even more so. By way of example I’m reminded of a TV documentary I watched a few years back. It was about a British man who had gone on holiday to the Philippines with his Filipina wife and a British friend. The friend was a heavy cannabis user and had smuggled a large quantity into the country.
The authorities caught wind of the smuggling operation and both British men were found and arrested. Unfortunately, the identities of the two Brits were confused by a simple clerical error on the part of a Filipino police officer i.e. the passport numbers of the two men got mixed up and so their identities were mixed up. The horror story that unfolded on account of that simple error was sickening…
In short, the innocent man went to prison for 14 years because the Filipino policeman was unable to accept the loss of face that owning up to his error would have caused him; it was better in his eyes to destroy the life of an innocent man. In fairness to the man’s Filipina wife, she stuck by him for many years but in the end the separation was too much and she left him for another man.
This is obviously the most extreme of extreme examples, and I’m not suggesting that the average Filipino would go to the same lengths to avoid loss of face, but it still highlights just how seriously the whole ‘face’ thing is in the region - disrespect it at your own peril!
In terms of physical appearance, Filipina girls come in many varieties. The country itself is diverse and, if you are a discerning gentlemen who is only interested in the most beautiful ladies, you’ll have to look around a little to find them. It is well worth the search though; there are some Filipinas that are true stunners.
Probably the most popular region is Luzon in the north; the girls there tend to have tanned skin, more curvy figures than Thais and… well, larger breasts. They are regarded as being amongst the most beautiful Filipina ladies of all, at least in western eyes. Local Asian men seem to prefer the fairer skinned girls just as local men in Thailand do. The capital city, Manila, and the popular naughty boy destination Angeles City, are both located in Luzon.
Visayan women, in the central area of the Philippines, often travel to the main tourist areas in the north, so you will see plenty of them too. They are amongst the poorest people in the country and they tend to have paler skin and more slender bodies.
To the south is the predominantly Muslim region Mindanao; you’ll probably have less contact with these ladies… some countries advise against travel to this region on safety grounds. Kidnappings have been known to occur and general law & order is not regarded as being the best.
Compared to Thailand, the Philippines is a little further to the south which means that it is closer to the equator and the climate is a little hotter. The heat may not be too much of a worry for most western men but I can assure you that you won’t like the humidity there. Even in Thailand it can be stifling; I’ve stepped out of the shower before into an air-conditioned room, dried myself completely and sprayed on liberal amounts of antiperspirant, put on some clean loose fitting shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops, and within 15 minutes of stepping outside I’ve found myself sweating badly enough for my clothes to stick to me!
You do get used to the humidity, but it isn’t nice. Happily, if you can find a lady in the Philippine city of Baguio, you’ll find that the climate there is much nicer due to the higher altitude. Like Chiang Mai in Thailand, Baguio is set in a mountainous region and it comes with some scenic beauty that adds a nice romantic backdrop to your amorous intentions.
When it comes to the food that Filipina girls are likely to rustle up for you, there’s some bad news, it is salty, greasy and not at all good. Philippine food is widely regarded by expats as rating somewhere in the range of unpalatable and inedible. Your lady won’t see things this way, of course, they hold their national cuisine in some esteem.
I imagine that this is a common phenomenon across the world; English food doesn’t exactly draw the highest acclaim from experts in the international culinary community, but I think that most Englishmen quite like it. In any case, if the way to a man’s heart is via is stomach, I’m afraid that Filipina girls are at a distinct disadvantage…
One of the first things that western visitors notice with Thai girls is the endless smiles that you get wherever you go. Things are not so outwardly friendly with Filipina girls but you shouldn’t be discouraged, smiles and friendliness are not the same. The Philippines has a different culture and is more western in this regard, they might not be so outwardly approachable, but they are just as friendly in their own way, and perhaps even more so if you are looking for a real quality friendship rather than something short-term and superficial.
The strong Catholic influence in the Philippines stems from the Spanish rule of the islands which spanned over 330 years and started in the 16th century i.e. just after the worst period of persecution by the Spanish inquisition. So I guess it goes without saying that Catholicism was taken very seriously at the time. It was, and it spread quickly.
Now, given that most Filipina girls are still devout Catholics to this day, you might expect that Christian values such as the sanctity of marriage, monogamy and so on would all feature prominently in their minds. The truth is that the realities and necessities of life in a poor country have somewhat compromised these values, just as in other poor countries.
Care needs to be taken when choosing who to get seriously involved with. All of the dangers that exist with Thai girls in terms of getting stuck with a gold-digger are just as real in the Philippines. Filipina girls might not be as practical as Thai women when combining matters of the heart with matters of financial necessity, but the poverty level here is even higher, and getting married to a westerner is the only feasible way out of it for many girls.
Jealousy and temper tantrums can also be an issue if your girl thinks that you have amorous intentions towards another girl – and other girls will make opportunities for you by slipping you their phone numbers and so on. If you are intending short-term fun then read my page about Filipina bar girls; for serious romance you should take plenty of time to get to know your girl before committing to anything serious.
Due to the better English language skills, and relatively similar culture, you should have reasonably good instincts as to the virtue of a Filipina woman if you give yourself time to get to know her. In that regard there is extra safety in relationships with these girls, but only if you have the strength to act on your instincts rather than the words (possible lies) that you will hear.
Generally speaking, the cost of living in the Philippines is something like 25% lower than in Thailand, but that does not mean that the cost of holidaying there is any cheaper. In actual fact, it appears that the comparable cost of hotel accommodation is actually more expensive, and depending on your departure point I’m fairly certain that your flights won’t be any cheaper. Some of your other costs will be significantly lower though; according to my research the cost of a beer is not much more than half what it is in Thailand. Naughty boy expenses relating to Filipina women also appear to be marginally lower.
If a long-term visit is in your plans then rented accommodation is cheaper, but the lower cost of living does come with other concerns that you might not have thought about. Infrastructure, healthcare and education (for those planning a family) are all well below the standards that you’ll find in Thailand. The pollution level in Manila is sky-high and air quality there is a concern; however, if Baguio is your preferred location then things are a little better there. Corruption and general safety is another concern and, in the Philippines, you will need to be a little more sensible than you would be in other parts of Asia. One piece of good news is that it is a very simple affair to arrange a long-stay visa.
First, virtually all of the same dangers that apply with Thai ladies apply here with regard to falling into the hands of a gold-digging trickster. Generally speaking, if you can find yourself a well-educated girl, from a slightly better off family, then you will have a much better chance of finding a girl that is interested in you rather than just your money.
Second, online opportunities are abundant. Filipino men hardly ever use online services for finding girls, so the Filipina girls that are online are usually interested in foreign men, and western men are very much in favour!
If life in the Philippines does not appeal to you on a permanent basis, another piece of good news is that Filipina girls tend to be much more predisposed than other Asian girls to want to live in a foreign land. So, taking a lady back to your own country is an option that you might want to explore.
Filipina bar girls - After Thailand itself, the Philippines is next on the naughty boy list of places to visit, so I’ve provided details on the sort of options that you can find in the nightlife hotspots. You’ll be happy to know that there are some quality experiences to be had, and some lower prices too.
Manila escorts - The Filipina escort scene is dominated by the action in the big city, other locations seem to have much less to offer if you like outcall options for meeting Filipina girls. The prices involved tend to be high, especially compared to the bar scene in Angeles City, and services are not so well defined.
Filipino ladyboys - Outside of Thailand the options to meet an Asian ladyboy are much more restricted but, in the Philippines, there are at least some opportunities. There are also some physical differences to be aware of, so I’ve explained some of the local differences that you’ll notice.
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