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EXCEEDING the Expectations of a Filipino Family

A Filipino woman smiling shyly at the camera Dating a Filipina means being able to win over a Filipino family. | Photo by Roland Hechanova on Unsplash

One of the most underrated dangers of online dating is when you succeed. You meet a woman, hit it off, and then you do all the traditional things that couples do, like meeting each other’s families. The thing is that a Filipino family may be a little bit different from the types of family with which you may be acquainted.

Something that foreign men need to understand about Filipino women, and Filipino people in general, is just how close they are to their families. Many Filipinos will live with their parents well into adulthood and no one bats an eye at that because that is just how things are done in the Philippines.

Another thing any foreigner needs to understand about Filipino families is just how much everyone talks. Almost every member of the family is that deadly combination of being really nosey and really gossipy. As soon as someone knows something, it becomes a conversation topic, and then everyone in the family knows it, and then everyone’s best friend knows it, and so do the neighbors.

If that seems like an exaggeration, rest assured that it is not. Filipino families like to talk, and they especially enjoy talking smack about someone. So you’re going to want to be on your best behavior.

You know what? Scratch that. You’ll want to be on behavior that is better than best because one mistake can go through a bad game of telephone and you’ll end up with your potential partner’s distant relatives thinking that you’re some kind of uncouth monster.

Most dating sites don’t say anything about the culture that the women on those sites grew up in, and there aren’t that many online dating articles about the Filipino family. But knowing how to act around one is really helpful when it comes to finding love with women from the Philippines.

  1. Don’t dress up too much.
  2. The dress code in Philippine society is generally casual. Even formal events such as weddings and funerals are not that strict when it comes to what to wear as it’s not unusual to see people sporting jeans.

    If you show up to meet a Filipina woman’s family in a suit, chances are that they’re going to think that you’re a tool who is trying way too hard to impress them, and while some people can look at someone trying hard as endearing, many Filipino families are going to find it somewhat off-putting.

  3. Eat, eat, eat.
  4. Filipinas love to eat and will use any excuse that they can in order to throw a party together. It doesn’t matter if it’s a grandma’s second cousin’s birthday and the celebrant isn’t even there, they’ll happily throw a feast and dig in.

    If a guest shows up and doesn’t partake in the food or only nibbles at it, that’s going to offend someone. The family is going to think that you’re being uppity, and they’re not going to like that. So make sure to fill your plate a couple of times and eat heartily so you don’t become fodder for unflattering gossip.

  5. Respect the elders.
  6. Here’s the thing about Filipinos; they will almost always defer to the will of their elders. If her grandma doesn’t like you, then her parents aren’t going to like you, and even if she does like you, her opinion will change.

    Conversely, if her grandma likes you, then the rest of the family will follow suit or at least appear to in order to appease the matriarch. If you want to win over the family of your Filipina interest, whether you meet her on an online dating site or in person, you have to win over her grandparents. Win the grandparents, win the family.

    Also, don’t argue with any of the elders - that is an absolute taboo in Filipino society. If her great aunt doesn’t like you, she’ll pass along her dislike to her sister or sister-in-law, and before you know it, the whole family dislikes you.

  7. Participate.
  8. If you are at a Filipino gathering, nine times out of ten, there will come a time when someone will bring out a karaoke machine. Sometimes the karaoke machine is a microphone that is attached to a television set.

    When the karaoke machine is brought out, everyone is expected to belt out a tune, even if they’re tone deaf. Don’t demure from doing so due to a deficiency in vocal talent.

    Also, as a side note, do not sing any Frank Sinatra songs. People have been shot at for singing Frank Sinatra on karaoke. While you probably won’t get shot, there is a non-zero chance that you could get shot for butchering Frank Sinatra.

  9. Treat her right.
  10. Filipino families look out for themselves. If they get so much as an inkling that your behavior could be better or that your intentions are not exactly great, they will come at you, and they will do so with ferocity.

    If your intentions are to make her another notch on your bedpost or to string her along in a relationship that does not end with her walking down the aisle towards you whilst wearing a white dress, or if you’re still active on other online dating sites while you’re supposed to be exclusive, then you are not likely to have the best of times.

  11. Learn a few phrases.
  12. There’s no getting around it; while the Philippines has a long history of being colonized, with quite a few expats living in the country, the Filipino population is still pretty homogenous, so foreigners can be a bit alien to them.

    So there is a certain novelty, a bit of a comedic element, when a foreigner busts out the local language -- a lot of the locals get a kick out of it. Sure, you may feel a bit like a court jester, but if it helps you endear yourself to the people whose opinion your potential partner holds in the highest esteem, then it may be worth it to part with a small shred of dignity.

The hardest thing about dating a Filipina is probably going to be her family. A Filipino family will jealously guard its daughters, so any man that comes to take them away better be more than up to the task.

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