Struggles Only Filipinos Who Date Foreigners Will Understand

'mnez5' photo courtesy of zandroj, used under a Creative Commons licence
'mnez5' photo courtesy of zandroj, used under a Creative Commons licence
‘mnez5’ Photo courtesy of zandroj, used under a Creative Commons license

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, 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 eat a family-sized pizza in one sitting the way Italians do.

2. Learning each other’s language might not be a big issue when you’re still dating, but it will be important when you meet his family who speak only Italian, or Chinese, or Hungarian. You wouldn’t want to be the only one in the dinner table who’s always wondering if they have already sold you to the highest bidder. They say that lovers only need the language of love to understand each other. Whoever said this must’ve been on crack, because unless both of you can understand each other over at least one language (for example, English), the so-called language of love would be nothing more than gibberish.

Image courtesy of Gio Campecino and Mr. & Mrs. Perrett
Image courtesy of Gio Campecino and Mr. & Mrs. Perrett

3. White people usually have a very big personal bubble, and we Filipinos have very little to none. They like a lot of space in everything they do, while Filipinos don’t need as much. So don’t be surprised that he might not be very receptive to the idea of hitting the mall (or anywhere else) with your tribe, or be very receptive to being sandwiched between your uncle Daboy and cousin Caloy.

4. I’m not sure if it’s a warped sense of colonial mentality, but every time a Filipino sees a fellow Filipino with a foreigner, they immediately think that the Filipino half has hit a gold mine. It can be difficult to convince someone that unless these white people came to the Philippines in a yacht or a private plane, chances are, they are not rich, and their struggles to get through life are just as real as everyone else’s.

5. For ladies who are wondering, it’s true what you’ve heard: most white men are uncut down there. The uncut version of a penis might come as a shock, so for those who have made it to third base, don’t be surprised when he pulls it out and it looks like an unpeeled banana – that’s just how it is. Don’t worry, the extra layer of skin doesn’t take away anything from the performance.

Image courtesy of Gio Campecino and Mr. & Mrs. Perrett

6. Not all white men are old and creepy. I know this stereotype is pretty hard to break considering the myriad of really old white men going around with women who are young enough to be their granddaughter. While this May-December affair is certainly none of my business, it certainly doesn’t help me and those who have partners who are only four or five years older. But the next time you see an old man with a woman who looks young enough to be his granddaughter, also consider the possibility that she might be a colleague or a friend, or, you know, actually his granddaughter.

7. It’s a struggle to break through the misconception that I, a Filipina, is only after a foreign passport as a means to a better life. Some Filipinos are definitely guilty of this, but I am not one of them. A green, red, blue or off-white passport holds no appeal to me, at all.

What are your struggles as a Caucasian-dating Pinay?

About Joanne Derecho

Joanne is a freelance writer for She spent nearly a decade of her life working aboard cruise ships, seeing the world. She has now hung her life jacket for good and lives in Italy with her white husband and daughter. Check her article at