Filipino-Foreigner Marriages – a personal perspective

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This was my response to a post from an American who claimed that Philippine women are “better” than American Women:  Let me offer my perspective.  Please feel free to disagree!

I’ve only been married to one American woman and one Filipina but, like everyone else, have observed many other relationships.  I don’t think it’s a question of which are “better” women.  My American wife was wonderful, as is my Filipina wife.

To me, the major difference is that with many American marriages there is a constant, sometime simmering, sometimes overt, power battle.  The American wife is determined to be an equal partner and have an equal voice in each and every decision and aspect of the couple’s shared life.  The Filipina, at least the traditional one, definitely wants equality and even dominance, but only in certain areas.  She is content to let the husband do what he wants, to feel that he has control in many areas.  This vastly reduced turf battle is what makes marriage to a Filipina such a relief for so many men.

The husband must provide for the family, must not womanize or gamble away too much money .  He must work and support the family.  He must treat his wife and her family with respect, especially in public. He should let his wife run the household.  If he does what is expected, he will in turn receive respect, affection and considerable freedom.

I suppose that attitudes are changing, but only slowly.  I don’t know who ever described Filipinas as submissive.  The Ilonggas of Iloilo are formidable, tough-minded ladies.  Cross them at your peril.  But, at the root, most marriages still seem pretty traditional.  Filipinas are not unaware of how foreign marriages work — maybe that’s why they are content not to emulate them.  The very matriarchal Filipino model can work pretty well for women.  She runs the things she cares about, but makes the husband feel submitted to.  Its the domestic exemplification of the benefits of diplomacy over aggression.

If you are coming to the Philippines to find a wife, I found this article pretty much spot on:

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    It all started back in 2006, about February when I went into a dating Website and found what I will call Miss X, from Davao City in the Philippines . She came across as welcoming and sincere, telling me that she was only poor but wanted happiness for her and her baby (That she admitted that she had tried to abort). Both my Father and daughter from my first marriage actually pleaded with me to let it go and not visit Miss X, which I intended to do in June of that year. During the time we first met on the Internet until much later on in our relationship I sent her money, clothing, magazines on a weekly basis and even a camera!

    In June of that year I went to Davao City , and on arrival was greeted at the Airport by Miss X, her Mother and a number of relatives. We all went out to lunch which I paid for and I should have realized at the time that something was wrong when her Uncle said had I got an International Credit Card. For these two weeks we stayed in a large apartment, and so did half of Miss X and her relatives, with me paying for everything. Even one morning another relative pleaded for PHP8,000 which I stupidly gave as he claimed his sons were ill and needed medical attention. (Later I found out this was a lie).

    I got engaged to Miss X during these two weeks. We had a small party in the apartment, against the wishes of Miss X’s Mother who would have rather had a party fit for Imelda Marcus and her cronies!! During this period arrangements were made for Miss X and Her Mother to take an apartment at Landmark Three in Sasa, which I would pay for, as I decided to return to Cairns , Australia , resign my job at the Shangri-la Hotel and return to Davao . We chose a modern apartment that my Mother in Law of the future said was PHP5,000 per month which I later found out was a thousand less per month. The scamming had begun.

    I returned to Australia and came back to Miss X in Davao . During this time up until the marriage at the Halls of Justice on May 12th , there were a lot of warning signs that I chose to ignore, partly to prove to my daughter and Father that I was right and they were wrong, but as you will see from this story how wrong I was !!

    Miss X started to steal money from me that I left around, relatives were invited to stay at my expense and I paid for a nanny for Miss X’s baby girl. This in itself was a mistake as this gave Miss X freedom, like one night late telling me she was going to church (Midnight) but I saw a bottle of Vodka sticking out of her handbag!! Later I was advised she often met other “Boys” to have a good time
    We ahd some good times flying together to places such as Manila, Leyte, Negros and other parts of the Philippines staying in good hotels. Bought a second hand car that my Mother in Law later stole and sold.

    I blundered on ignoring the warning signs and got married hoping that Miss X would become more responsible as she matured. But I was wrong and things only got worse. The Marriage day was very disappointing for me, and one of the saddest days of my life. My daughter flew in from Australia , but that was all – even Mrs Dagger Mother in law boycotted the wedding after I refused to pay for a lavish affair befitting a Prince and Princess.

    As my employment meant a lot of traveling to places in Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, Vietnam, Mauritius and Maldives I was away a great deal and as they say whilst the Cat is Away, the Mice do Play”, and Mrs Dagger got up to.all sorts of adulterous mischief. I did take her to Thailand and the Maldives , where in the latter location she enjoyed her days swimming and drinking “Sex on the Beach” Cocktails. During this time I received emails from her boyfriends telling me to leave her, as she and her Mother only wanted money from me and nothing else.

    Mrs Dagger then returned to Davao and I remained on another working project in Bangkok. She advised me that her Mother had stolen/taken everything from the Apartment, back to their farm/home in Padada. When I returned to Davao I got some of the items back, but I had to also spend thousands more replacing items. Depression set in and I knew that the end was coming and I went to Cebu leaving my wife and her baby,

    In Cebu I made many friends, many of which I still have. I went downhill with depression, attempted suicide and had to con my Father on many occasions to
    get money from him to survive and I slid into drinking very heavily.

    I decided to give it one more go – Me and Mrs Dagger! Stayed in a hotel in Digos near Padada, and then It was suggested I go and live on their farm. Lefty an outstanding Hotel Account with my Passport as security until my Mother In Law,
    Paid the Account. Never seen my Passport since! Life on the farm was good at first as I was negotiating an overseas working contract, and that meant money. Once that fell through both Mrs Dagger and her evil Mother wanted me out and openly encouraged me to commit suicide. Saw some of my stolen property on the Farm and witnessed them tampering with Electric cables/Meters to reduce their Electricity Bill, and they admitted that they never paid any taxes whatsoever for farm produce sold, they motor repair shop or Sari Sari store. They felt they were above the law!!

    I had to run from Padada and returned to Davao where I ran into more trouble, staying with people who did not like Mrs Dagger, but were passing back information about me to her and her Mother. Stayed here and there as now was getting Death Threats, and even stayed with another person who took me off the street, whom I later found out was a convicted Killer. My health was going downhill rapidly with Pneumonia, Electrolyte In balance and Kidney problems and I spent many nights in SPMC Hospital .

    Then it was to Co Su Guin – Home for the Aged. A good modern Establishment, but lacking any form of real security or confidentiality of the patients. The management was weak and some of the male staff negligent in their duty.
    There were two occasions where the breach of Confidentiality could have resulted in harm to me or death and that is no exaggeration. The one saving grace in that establishment was the female head nurse that was magnificent.

    Then I thought I was saved again being taken out of that place, but alas it was out of the Lions Den and into the Lions mouth, and for many reasons I was soon on the run again after another Death Threat. I wandered the streets, spent one night in hospital again, another night in protective custody at a Police Station, where they gave me accommodation and food. Then as I was sitting beside Laurel Avenue on the steps of a derelict building a good Samaritan saw me, and took me in into their home where I am now. Other people have helped me and one in particular who I will call “Hot Potato”.

    Immigration do not want to deport me, but eventually I should get out on an “Indigency Plan back to Australia I hope. But I need Justice as my scheming, adulterous, defrauding, thieving and fiendish wife has Bankrupted me, and basically just wants me to pass away. The PHP2,5 million I have spent on her has gone and she is now moving from foreigner to foreigner doing the same old thing, grabbing money with the help of her Mother. She ahs just had a Baby with her Japanese boyfriend, so all I can say she is proud of what she is doing and will continue to do so until the law decides to do something about her and her mother. Finally I still love the Philippines .

    Richard H Dagger
    Secret Location.
    Republic of Philippines


  2. Angel,

    Thanks for your great comments. Maybe you’re right that my Filipina wife takes care of me like another kid — ouch!

    I know there are foreigners who feel they must be the boss. Some feel this is so for supposedly Biblical reasons, some are self-important, authoritarian types or bullies or blow-hards. We just don’t have any of these in our circle of friends because such guys would just be generally obnoxious to us, but certainly we know of them. Often the Filipina wife has really tamed the guy, but he still feels it necessary to bugle his superiority in public. Remember too that some Filipinas want their man to be a man, not under the saya — at least in public.

    Many foreigners in the Philippines don’t want to take their Filipina wives to the US where they can get citizenship and maybe divorce their husbands. The power balance shifts dramatically once the Filipina is in the US and they both know it. Most of the guys who come to the Philippines to live have been through a costly, painful divorce in the US or elsewhere. They can come to the Philippines and have a relationship or marriage to a pretty younger woman without fear that they’ll be divorced again. Spoken or unspoken, the guy has the advantage.

    There are some really cold-hearted Filipinas out there. We have a friend who married a Filipina, brought her to the US. They had a beautiful daughter. The Filipina started trolling for boyfriends almost immediately, referring to her husband as “baboy”. Her husband got sick, seriously ill. She abandoned him and her young daughter and has had two kids with her new boyfriend. He struggles with his health problems and raising his daughter by himself.

    As far as pampering goes, don’t be so annoyed with it. My wife does pamper me because she knows I appreciate it. I go out of my way to pamper her too. My friends kid me about being under the saya. I don’t make her do any of these things and she doesn’t make me do mine. Married six years, we love each other and that’s one way we express our love.



  3. Filipinas not submissive? You should come here this side of North America, but to be fair, most of these “husbands or b.f.’s” were not informed or probably something got lost in translation about how it is to marry a Filipina or they just marry the wrong guy. Believe me I’m like a one -person-ammo whenever I read a post or an ad about dating “normal” Filipinas or whatever. They find it strange to find a spunky short women(their words, not mine) these days because they are so used to submissive Asian women or Orientals (sheesh…I hate that word, Oriental) that just say yes to whatever. Anyway I think you are more of an open minded person as oppose to some here that has never been anywhere, and the idea of going abroad is either to go east or south of the border. And do Filipino women make better wives? I guess yes, because no matter how a-hole the husband is, as long as there are kids and as long as she can endure the suffering, she will stick to this jerk just so the family is a whole. Half of my cousins are married to Americans and Canadians ,surely the marriages work because they serve the husbands hand and foot,pampering and stuff like that, it is like you got an extra kid. I am not saying this is a bad thing but to me, who wouldn’t like it,really? I mean if I’m a (esp. white)guy, I meet a nice Filipina thru a website, mail order bride,dating service or a friend of a friend, and a little spark ignites and knowing that she is very willing to lean towards my idea and treats me like a king, why not? Maybe that is why Filipinas make better wives to some who gets tired of long…long…long…power battle and admits (maybe) defeat.

    Just my thought, I am not a xenophobic Pinay, because if I am, then I just literally bash myself.


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