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Struggles Only Filipinos Who Date Foreigners Will Understand



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by Joanne Derecho | 10:09 a.m. | May 28th 2015

'mnez5' photo courtesy of zandroj, used under a Creative Commons licence
The Filipino-foreigner pairing is really nothing new. The Philippine shores have always played host to a wide array of foreigners throughout history – Chinese, Malays, Indonesians, Spanish, Japanese, and Americans. These people were so enthralled by the beauty of the Philippines and its peoples that they found themselves wanting to stay and conquer more than just farmlands, spices and pearls.

If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is drop by one of the foreigner-frequented Starbucks in the upscale Greenbelt mall and watch interracial couples pass by the dozen. Some of them look like typical couples while some have crossed that line into the unconventional. But, truth be told, these Filipino-foreigner couples always get a second glance from the gossips who delight in speculating about strangers' romantic lives.

Despite the occasional jeers, perhaps some of these gossip girls and folks just want a Caucasian man (or woman) to call their own. We all know someone who knows somebody who knows a foreigner. Talk to any relative of yours who has a co-worker whose cousin's brother-in-law's friend knows some Irish man who's looking for a Filipina date. It's a long shot, but let them set you up on a blind date and see where it goes. If that doesn't work, there's always online dating.

 

Foreign Affairs

At first glance, a Filipino dating a foreigner seems strange. Some Filipinos would either consider you lucky or odd if you're dating a white, black or Latin man. Others would even see striking similarities between going out with a Caucasian and winning the lottery, but that perception couldn’t be any farther from the truth. As someone who went a step further and actually married an Italian man, I can tell you that it’s just like a walk in the park – the Jurassic Park.

So that you don't go around cultivating strange (and false) ideas, let me enlighten you to some struggles and misconceptions that only a Filipina dating or marrying a foreigner will understand:

1. Food is such a big deal to us Filipinos that it sometimes seems as if we're always so consumed by thoughts of what to eat and where. If you find yourself scoffing at this, get back to me when you're actually living with your white loverboy, eating salad instead of lechon kawali (crispy pork fried to arteries-clogging perfection) for breakfast. All is well when you're on a date with your Italian lover or Arabian amour, and he takes you to fancy restaurants to impress you. That is, until you actually live with him and find out that all he wants to have for breakfast is a shot of espresso. You, on the other hand, want to wolf down a plate of tapsilog (sliced beef over rice, with fried egg) which, in turn, makes him nauseous just looking at it.

I have always considered myself well-adjusted having spent ten or so years working in a cruise ship surrounded by a lot of different nationalities, but still, this experience did little to dampen the shock I experienced when I first moved to Italy. I love Pizza Hut as much as the next Filipino, but I can't down a family-sized pizza in one sitting the way Italians do.