Dating In The Philippines. What An Expat Thinks.

Making love out of nothing at all.

They say that love makes the world go around. But in this modern age of shiny distractions, how do Filipinos keep the romance strong with so few outlets to show that affection?  Let’s talk about dating in the Philippines.

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The immortal John Lennon once sang that money can’t buy me love. The idealist in me would love to believe that…truly. However, the realist in me sees the world as a vastly different place than it was so many years ago. In this day and age of being so “connected” with social media, it’s hard to picture any romance that doesn’t involve the routine distraction of dates as a tool to build and maintain the relationship.

Without going into the psychology of who needs dates more, and in what organic mix a relationship may be, it’s a general rule that people have come to depend on dating as a means to validate the relationship and what the other feels for you. So, with that in mind, how does dating compare between two different worlds?

“What is love, anyway?”

Before we can begin to understand the differences between the two worlds, we first have to understand the two worlds. Before we do this, we have to exclude one important aspect, that being two people who have a PROFOUND common interest that draws them together. Passions such as exercise, photography, scuba diving, etc can all be classified as passionate hobbies that can be dates unto themselves. Two people brought together by such a passion typically prefer to do such hobbies together over any typical date.

We can exclude this because it’s a universal feature found everywhere in the world and does a fine job of promoting the relationship all by itself. What we want to address is the more common “I like them, I hope they like me, so let’s go on a date to find out more”, or the “We’re a serious item now, but how do we keep the love alive?”

One rule that’s been given as advice time and time again for any long term relationship is to do your best to continue to treat it as wooing as long as you can. Find time to go out on dates as a couple, even if it means a sitter for he kids. Try to be together as a couple without the kids being the only topic you talk about. Long term relationships have a very marked improvement in their longevity when following that simple bit of advice.

“Sowing the seeds of love”

So here it is…your first date. They said “yes”!!! To be honest, most people haven’t thought past this point, and so now it’s time to scramble. Where to go? What to do? The first date is one of the most crucial points because it says so much about who you are, right? Too much, and you seem desperate and clingy. Too little, and you seem distant and uncommitted. You have to find that sweet spot that’s just right.

So you frantically think about where to go and what to do that will show that new and interesting prospect the kind of person that you are and “lock them in”. Well, this is where the difference between the two worlds kicks in. Let’s first explore the Western side of it.

“East End Boys and West End Girls”

So, how does dating in the West go? Well, that’s fairly broad, with a lot of options, but we’ll just stick to the general ones between people who don’t know each other too well, so they pick from a general list of options based on their impression of the person they’re interested in.

Perhaps topping this list would be a simple coffee date. It’s simple, with a high trust factor. With others around, people feel safer and more at ease. It’s conversation time, so it’s important to bring your “A” game. For these dates, you need to either be very interesting or be a good listener. Ultimately, you want to be a bit of both.

For the more advanced, there’s physical activities such as bowling or mini-golf. Again, these carry the safety and security of a public place with people around you at all times, but it also carries the risk of showing either just how bad you are at these kinds of things, or how overwhelmingly good you are at them. It’s a fine balance you have to find. After all, it won’t be a good time if either you or them feel abysmally incompetent.

Some choose the more party-centric approach in their date choices. This could be a club or a party at a friend’s house. While inherently not bad, these options are more difficult to have a conversation at, and so there’s little in the way of verbal connection. Such things are all about the physical. Dancing, music, possibly alcohol. For the more outgoing, this has a benefit of not taking the first date seriously and just having FUN. However, unless both people are of that mind, these dates don’t always work out in the best way.

“Don’t know what to say”

Veering away from the novel that can be written about Western dating, we get closer to the heart of this article; dating in the Philippines. With this, there’s a stark difference that’s not entirely based on the people, but more on the circumstances they have adjusted to.

In the Philippines, there’s a lot of catching up they have to do in the dating outlets department. For starters, Filipinos are more…shall we say…financially conservative? On average, they tend to focus on less extravagant dates either out of necessity or culture (you pick). Dates typically consist of walks through the mall, eating at a small resto or bar with friends, or the occasional movie. There are, of course, the exceptions such as clubs and concerts when they’re available.

The good news here is that it’s universally acceptable to Filipinos to have this level of dating. Whereas some in the West might even feel a bit jilted at simply being taken to a mall to window shop, Filipinos simply aren’t bothered by that. The fact that you want to spend that amount of time with them alone can often be meaningful to them.

The takeaway

For the foreigner either visiting or moving to the Philippines, this is something you need to adjust to. You don’t have to make grand gestures and blow a lot of money to impress your special someone in the Philippines. The very fact that you’re here, spending time with them, is what matters.

Filipinos WANT you to see their world. They want to teach you the ways of the Philippines, help you learn about their culture and lifestyle. If you want to impress a Filipino, let them impress you!

Always refrain from judging anything you see or experience in the Philippines. That’s the downer. Smile, and let it soak in. That balut may look hideous, but they really want you to give it a try…so try it! You may find that you’re more Filipino than you ever knew. You’ll definitely make more smiles, at least.

To be continued…

This article is part of a new addition to TheRealPinas.com called “Growing Articles”, which means to say that this article will be updated quite a bit, and more frequently than other articles. Please check back often to see new editions as they appear.

Also, don’t forget to comment below! Do you agree with me? Disagree? I’d love to have a conversation about these things, so don’t be shy…speak your mind! And as always…be awesome.

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