The best laid plans…

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The best laid plans sometimes don’t work out.  Even if you are vigilant about double checking your plans, following up to make sure that you are doing the right thing, etc, sometimes things just don’t work out.  I got an e-mail a few days ago from a regular LiP reader.  He asked me for advice based on his situation, which he spelled out to me.  Generally, I try to answer e-mails right away when I get them, but it took me about 2 days to get back to this fellow, because I honestly did not know what I could possibly say to him that would help him in any way.  In the end, I wrote back to him and told him that I could think of no good advice for him, but that my thoughts were with him, and I was here to support him morally as best I could.  I doubt this made him feel much better, but sometimes just having somebody pulling for you can be comforting, I guess.

Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

First, let me say that this gentleman (I am not going to give his name, because I don’t want to cause him more pain) told me that I had permission to publish his e-mail, so I am not writing this column behind his back.  It is my goal with this column to make everybody think about how a situation that you are counting on could possibly turn bad.  What would you do in this fellow’s shoes?  Honestly, for me, I still don’t know what I would do.

Here is a (slightly edited) copy of the e-mail I received:


Hi Bob,

Join Expat Island

How are you?

I have not been reading your blog for a while because I have been busy in a new job but I would like some advice from you as you are a pillar of Filipino wisdom!  You may remember me, I told you that I have a house, business and resort in the Philippines, I have a Filipina girlfriend for 12 years.  She claims to have been disabled for the last few years and has been encouraged by her doctors to visit the Philippines more often because of the climate.

I understood this and while she went there for months at a time every year, I would look after our children and her other 2 children who are not mine.

This has been going on for 4 years.

I suspected that she was sleeping with her nephew, as he was the one who looked after the resort while we were in UK. Every time I made my suspicions known I was made to look like I am sick and twisted for having such thoughts.

Truth is stranger than fiction though isn’t it!

Yesterday morning after months of arguing and hinting the truth came out. She has been sleeping with him and they  have made plans to rent the resort, sell my equipment (worth thousands) keep the money for themselves to start a new life while I am left in the cold and heavily in debt.

I cannot speak the language properly, and have been trying to get some phone numbers of their families to find out the truth. Today I took her cell phones and she called the police to say I attacked her. I did not attack her, she was desperate to keep her secrets to herself that she was selling my stuff, renting the place to some guy from Norway and were going to live in the Philippines together with my children.

The police even took my side and let me keep the childrens’ passports after I exposed her lies to them. Her family know and disapprove heavily for cheating on me but none of them have told me.

I’m such an idiot for trusting these 2 people for so long and not confronting them more when I suspected, they seem to know how to tell such good lies though.

Anyway, now I have nothing, all my dreams of retiring in the Philippines are shattered because of these 2 people. While I was out working my ass off for a better life and retirement for my family this is what I get.

You can use this message if you want, I am really hurting at the moment and I don’t know what to do. I would consider myself as an honest faithful decent person and everyone I know says the same about me, it doesn’t help at the moment because I feel like such a fool.

Thanks for reading

Wow.  How depressing.  I feel so sorry for this gentleman, but I don’t know how to help him.  We have a lot of readers on this site, and maybe some of you might have some ideas of what the next step would be for this fellow.

I have always felt very secure in buying land and assets here, having an 18 year + marriage.  However this fellow was with this lady for 12 years already, and still she has destroyed him.  To be honest, I am still 100% confident in Feyma, but something like this could hit almost anybody.

To my friend who sent this to me, I hope that you are able to get past this, and perhaps something good will still come from it.  Either way, as I told you in e-mail, you have my support and my thoughts are with you.  Be strong.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (328 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.


  1. Paul says

    Hi Bob – My heart goes out to your reader. All I can add is that every family has a "black sheep" or two – some better hidden from sight than others. Don't expect any "truth," "answers" or "information" from any family members or friends who may financially benefit from the "black sheep's" deceitfulness. Money (even very little money) buys a lot of silence in the Phils. :sad:

    On the positive side, the "white sheep" outnumber the "black sheep" in a family by a ratio of about 10:1. :smile:

  2. AmericanLola says

    My heart really goes out to this poor man. it is so hard to believe the worst about someone you love, even when your instincts say there is something wrong. This is so sad.

    To me, the red-flag word is 'girl-friend.' Twelve years, a business, large financial investments and children, with no marriage. In a relationship like this, neither partner has any legal rights, and in this situation, this man has the short end of the stick because of it. Granted, If they had married, all land would still have been in his wife's name, but there may have been some way to recoup some of the money by coming to the Philippines and finding a good lawyer.

  3. Dr. Sponk Long says

    Hi. Bob.


    For those that are considering a serious relationship, it's really worthwhile to know the other person's character. A foreigner should really have the upper hand on this because he or she can go the Philippines and investigate. A Filipino or Filipina can't do the other way around almost all of the times.

    Talk to the local priest. Talk to the barangay captain. Talk to the past teachers of the individual. These people are usually very honest in their assessment of a person's character. Inviting these people in a nice lunch or dinner in the local 'Inato Carenderia' is a very worthwhile very cheap expense.

  4. says

    Sad indeed, but this is not an isolated case. A similar situation here has happened in MDQ about 2 years ago. The man was from Europe and the wife is Filipina. They have a restaurant/resort business.also They have an 8 yr old girl. I thought they were happy, so I was surprise when they divorced. Since the business and property is in the woman's name, that poor 'KANO" got nothing. The next time, I heard he died with grief. Sad story, but it does happen!

  5. says

    Hi AmericanLola- I also felt concerned when I learned that it was a girlfriend rather than a wife. Perhaps that would not have made a difference, but also, perhaps she would have been more committed to the relationship if they had been married. Overall, I'd say, a relationship of 12 years should have been a marriage, IMHO.

  6. says

    Hi Dr. Sponk Long- I think that in a relationship, a person really in love, a person can be reluctant to do some kind of investigation. It might seem to be outside the norm for a relationship of love. But, I certainly understand what you are saying, and there is some good sense being doled out there.

  7. says

    Hi David B Katague- Under laws in most countries, this could not happen. Each partner, regardless of citizenship would end up with equal protection under the law. This is one area where I think that the Philippines needs to be more proactive. The law is basically rewarding the perpetrator in this case.

  8. John says

    I feel sorry for the individual, but there is nothing Philippine about the story.
    Cheating and taking advantage of other people, in a variety of slightly different settings happens every day, in every country of the world. Things exactly like this have happened from the beginning of time, and will continue until the end. It is a part of reality that is hard to believe one could be a victim, instead of the other guy.

  9. Larry says

    Maayong Buntag Bob
    I have heard of instances like this often in the Philippines. Many times it is relatives of the wife taking advantage of the Filipina married to the Kano. It is especially sad when it is your girl friend or wife that you find out is cheating on you. But I will agree with the ratio of for every bad Filipina or Filipino you will find 10 good people. I have made my share of mistakes but one we must all try to avoid is putting all our eggs in one basket. If you are planning on moving to the RP do your best to have multiple sources of income. If you are planning on income from a business you should have your business diversified or have multiple businesses. I know this is difficult to do while following a dream like retiring in the RP it is just I have read and heard of to many times that the plans did not work out andor people have been scammed.

  10. Neal in RI says

    Bob, I will keep it clean as you requested in the past.

    Speaking my Mind. You Guys that are commenting here are holding back. Think about if it was you that took it up the ___ like this guy did.

    After this guy gets over his heart being ripped out, how could he hold back his rage. Extreme acts of Violence can be had on the cheap in the RP , not that it would fix anything but some times you have to snap just to get it out.

    This is one Sad story of this Guy.

  11. says

    Hi John- I disagree. There is a reason why this is more of a problem in the Philippines. Under Philippine law, the foreign partner cannot legally own real property like the house or the resort, even the business. In almost every other country, the man could have held all or part of these assets in his name, and thus could have held them after this unfortunate incident. Yes, cheating happens everywhere, but at least the cheater is not handed the property due to the laws of the country where the cheater is from. If this same thing happened to a Filipina who went abroad with a foreign husband, there would be a huge reaction of outrage here.

  12. says

    Hi Neal in RI- Thanks for your comment. You know, I have been close to a certain situation here where somebody close to me was deeply hurt by another person. It was a very ugly thing that was done, even worse than this situation in my article today. At that time, I admit, the thought did cross my mind that for a few thousand Pesos, I could make sure that this person could never heart anybody else again. In the end, though, I decided that paying somebody to do something bad like that would only make me the same as the bad guy in this case. I know how tempting it could be in this case, but, in the end it is something that would weigh heavy on a person's conscience.

  13. Kevin K. says

    Hi Bob,

    This speaks loads as a very real warning.
    My girlfriend in Cebu has several female acquaintances who have charted out a path to financial freedom that will destroy a western man in the process. One just recently finished a whirlwind "romantic" week-long visit from a Canadian man. The end result: she is going to get a fiancee visa to Canada. But once there, she will "play" the man; she already has her sights set on her next victim: an American in Chicago.
    A member of her health club is essentially doing the same thing. The surprising thing to me is they seem to have no moral qualms about the emotional and financial havoc they will wreak on these men.
    Finally, a few days ago one of my best friends here in the states borrowed money and gave the last of his savings to his Filipina wife, and saw her off at the airport so she could attend to some family emergency in the Philippines. When he didn't hear from her he checked with her family and he found out that there wasn't any family emergency. Yesterday he learned she took his money to Texas where she is now living with another man. For now.

    There is a sea of beautiful filipinas out there, but, it would seem, it is a shark infested sea.

  14. says

    Hi Kevin K.- I do believe that there are sharks in the waters. I can't even say that "I believe" because we all know that it is true. However, I think that the sharks are few compared to the school of fish as a whole. Certainly, though, any swimmers should use caution as much as possible.

  15. Tom Ramberg says


    Such a sad story! I have seen evidence that similar situations are routinely occuring. It is not a testament to the Filipina nature; but more a testament to the trusting nature of the man. I think that regardless of where you are in the world this story has played out time and again. I just hope that this man"s shattered dreams can be mended. I have seen victims on both sides so far and it is truly heartbreaking. We were fortunate enough to be able to help a Filipina friend start a better life here in the US after she was taken advantage of by an American dare I say man. If it is of consolation to the victim it is safe to say that love has made many of us victims at one time or another. The hindsight of a relationship sometimes leaves us scratching our heads and wondering what was I thinking! Our best wishes go to this man.

  16. says

    Hi Tom Ramberg- I can't help but back up your sentiments. I also put out my best wishes to this fellow. Best wishes won't get his resort or house back, but at least it's support that can help him through this stage of life.

  17. Gary says

    Very Scary..,
    I am now in a commited relationship with a beautifu girl from Bohol. She has a cousin who is now married to a western man. They have been in a more or less, serious relationship from what I gather since 2004/05, got married in December 2007. He has just found out that she has not been true to him and their vows.
    Like the gentleman that wrote this letter to you, 4 plus years or 12 plus years and not being married or together, i think can be a contributing cause to the "infidelity." That being said, I love my fiancee very much, I will not though take for granted just feelings from the heart, actions mean a lot also if that makes sense. In a long distance relationship we should get to know the community, circle of friends and others that will help in our convictions to continue with what we belive in the relationship, good or otherwise.

  18. Mark C. says

    Hi Bob,
    My "shark" was my ex-wife (Thai). But you can not totally blame the women. In most cases the man gives the Money, etc. to the girl out of "Love". I have learned that there has to be a separation of business and love. If your wife or girlfriend equates not giving her the "keys" to your kingdom with not loving her, maybe you should re-think the whole relationship.
    It is not underhanded or sneaky to keep control of the money You earn.

    In your friends case, he could have used a third party to control his assets and kept his relationship and business separate. There should be a way to establish a business in the Philippines with you as the majority stock holder; to get around not owning the property out right. I am no expert, but it would make sense.
    Just my two cents worth of Hindsight,

  19. says

    My heart goes out and my thoughts are with tis fellow too … and his children. that's by far the saddest thibg in any of these cases, the partners are wrapped up in 'hiya' issues … she wronged me, he wronged me … and financial issues but the children are buffeted like a tiny rowboat in a storm, and it's so much harder to deal with for them.

    Dave's thoughts: yes the property and investment laws here are atrociously bad. I strongly advise againts any significant investments here, especially in this guy's case. Even if he did own the real property he'd still be ripped off the same … the place has been stripped and good luck on recovering the non-real property.

    People's living arrangements are their own business, but at the risk of being an old fuddy-duddy, living together for 12 years indicates a lack of trust on both parties part (or an inability of one or the other to marry legally). even though a foreigner can't own property outright his name can go on the title (if matrrried) and property owned jointly when the marriage takes place can be documented in the marriage contract. No marriage, no contract, no way to prevetn a 'he said" "she said".

    Finally, free advice to husbands/partners. Instead of working your *ss off for years and years, pay closer attention to your partner's needs and feelings. Even this man said he had strong suspicions years ago. She was sending signals, he was receiving them, and ignoring them, making the conscious choice of working to earn money.

    Maybe she wanted 'him' and not his money. As men, we tend to think our highest and best propose in life is to make money for our future. From personal (sad) experience, I know this may not be the case.

  20. Gary says

    Reply to Mark C..,

    I am in the process of filing my I-129F petition for my fiancee. I have a strong desire to start a business in the RP, but have had reservations regarding control of assets, rights etc..,
    Your "two cents" has equipped me on how to step cautiously with this endeavor to seperate our business venture from our relationship. My fiancee, knowing her as I do…:)…, will understand… ;}
    I do empathy, much empathy for this man, but again, I think he should have married her, to make her feel more confident in the relationship… Thats what I think anyway….

  21. JohnM says

    Bob: If he knew someone for 12 years, this sounds like a relationship that grew apart or there are bits of information missing. If she were originally out to scam him, then why wait so long? Additionally, fooling around with the nephew is vindictive and mean-spirited… She was trying to hurt him. The laws here can make that very easy to do. My only suggestion is that if any of the resort or real property is mortgaged that he contact the banks holding the notes… it is likely the notes were based on his credit worthiness, rather than hers, and they may be able to "assert" any rights he has, as it protects their security (Worth a shot). As to marriage changing things, the property laws in the RP mean he has the same rights as any other foreign investor… officially…. but good luck trying to collect on any money. If he were married, it effectively means heading overseas to divorce and any property in the RP is as good as gone, anyway.

    The real damage is emotional… Investing the time and energy into a relationship and having it trashed. That means that the best he can do is move on and start over. Easier said than done, especially with children, but time really does heal wounds. He should also get his embassy involved to "reconfirm" his children's citizenship rights so that he has some official backing to remain part of their lives. Sometimes, that alone may be enough so that she doesn't try to use the kids against him.

  22. says

    Hi Gary- I agree, it is a good idea to not let your heart take over tasks that your mind can do better. I hope that all goes well for you!

  23. says

    Hi Mark C.- Haven't heard from you for a little while! Nice to see your name pop up again.

    Under Philippine law, a foreigner can own a maximum of 40% of a business. Yeah, there are ways to have shills take part of it, and such, but they are illegal, and can be defeated. It's a tough thing, for a foreigner to own a business here.

  24. says

    Hi Dave- I would tend to agree that men can sometimes ignore the things that are the most important, while focusing in on making money to provide for the family. Of course, providing is essential, but need not be the sole focus of an individual. Good thought there, Dave.

  25. says

    Hi Gary- I agree, the best thing this guy could have done is committing to marriage. However, we should all keep in mind that we don't know the story back that far. Maybe it was the lady who had reasons that she didn't want to marry. It was said that the lady had kids from a previous relationship. Maybe she was previously married, and was unable to attain an annulment under Philippine law. There are so many possibilities. Another thing we all need to keep in mind is that all of our talk regarding marriage is monday morning quarterbacking. Sure, it would have been better to marry, but that is all water under the bridge, and he can't go back and change that now.

  26. says

    Hi JohnM- My feeling is that she was not originally out to scam him, but the opportunity presented itself later on in the relationship, and she went for it. Who knows, though.

    Good idea on involving the mortgage holder, if there is one. That could be a good thing to do.

    I agree, finances can be recovered through hard work. Emotionally, this can be hard to overcome.

  27. Dave says

    Hi there, a very compelling story. Before i met my fiance' Jing,I had a 2 year relationship with a lady from Bacolod City who was living in the USA. We had plans of retiring in the Philippines and I invested heavly in remodeling her house with the goal of also doing business in both Bacolod and Ilo Ilo. She ended up having a few other guys on the string and all my investment was for only a good lesson. I know my finance is a good person and this won't happen a 2nd time to me. All i can say is that this can happen anywhere, not just in the Philippines. Putting your heart on the line can indeed be a gamble. Sometimes the rewards are great, sometimes one comes up empty. It all works out in the end. After all, I have finally found the one I was meant to be with… peace and smiles

  28. brian says

    Feel for you guy,just be glad it wasn't 20 rys. , get away…have a few beers with your mates, buy a ticket to the RP and find a girl just to hang with for a short while…the best cure I know of to get over a girl is another girl and remember , life is short dont waste it on selfpity & hurt, put it behind you and begin the journey back to happiness.

  29. Michael says

    Hi Bob,
    Apart from the broken heart the legal issues are at the core of this guy's problems. While the Philippines has what I consider to be a racially based legal framework heavily biased against non filipinos …. harsh but true under close analysis, it behoves non filipinos not to purchase property or invest there.
    If it is Ok for western countries to allow non citizens to own property I can't see why the RP won't allow it. It is counterproductive to the RP economy preventing badly needed investment. BTW it is not confined to the RP … most asian countries have the same.
    I can imagine the racist claims that would be made against Australia if we enacted laws preventing filipinos from owning property here and allowed the filipina wives to be ripped off in this manner by Australian husbands.

    Just my thoughts …

  30. says

    Hi Dave- Indeed, these things can happen anywhere, but the Philippine legal system and land ownership laws complicate the matter here.

    I hope that your reward is secure, and will come soon! Not like what happened last time.

  31. says

    Hi Bob,

    I feel terrible for your friend. My first thought is to contact the grandparents of his girlfriend's children or any members of her own family that he knows well or have a respectable relationship with. They may be able to testify on her character, or at least help him convince his girlfriend to be fair with him, on his hard earned investment. I'd say, ask, plea to them if need be. They need to be aware how the situation would affect the children, too. He should let her family think that he wants it to be a win-win no matter how much it hurts him. But emotions will not help solve this problem, I don't think.

    Had he thought of selling the property to them? In cash? Just a thought…


  32. says

    Hi Michael- When it comes to issuing visas for residency or for visitors, the Philippines like many countries uses a reciprocity policy. Based on how hard it is for a Filipino to get an Australian visa, that is the level of difficulty they give to an Australian wanting to reside here, etc. I believe that Western countries should use a similar formula when deciding if foreigners can own land. If the Philippines doesn't allow an Aussie to own a piece of land, the Australian government should not allow a Filipino to own land in Australia. It's only fair!

  33. Michael says

    Just to support my views there is an article in today's Manila Times ( the ripping off of foreign investors in Boracy by the RP government and the increasing use of violence and thuggery to force people out of their properties.

  34. says

    Hi Michael- I have been eyeing the situation in Boracay with the land there myself. It really reminds me of the situation with the airport – NAIA3 – a few years ago when the Government just took over the terminal from the German group who were building it.

  35. dans says

    hi bob,

    that is a very sad story, i can feel your friend's feeling as it also happened to me, i was working my ass off for 10 years and came home just to find out that my "strange" wife is cheating on me and left me with nothing, the good thing though is i am not married to her, although having a children with her does not hold me back from finding a better and honest wife, I pull myself together after a few months and i keep telling myself that my dreams and my life cannot be ruined by someone who is not worth to have. 6 years later, here i am, a happy husband with a loving wife and daughter. this kind of situation should not be a reason not to pursue your happiness and dream, a cheating wife or husband is not the end of everything. so if you think that this only happens with kano-filipina, it can also happen with pinay-pinoy.

  36. james says

    Hi Bob
    That is truly a heartbroken story, and i know americans working in the middle East that have gone through simaler experiance, and i pray I wont be one of them
    as I got older my taste in women have changed somewhat, I was no longer
    looking for a gorgues women, a cute women with a good personality, family values and a great heart, I think I have found her and we have been maried 1 year
    and she comes from a good family, but i know it can still happen to anyone.

    Thanks James

  37. says

    Hi dans- Congratulations to you on overcoming a bad situation! No, I don't think this happens only in Kano-Filipina relations, it certainly happens the world over. What this lady did makes no impression on other Filipinas, we are all individual.

  38. Teng says

    Maayong adlaw Bob,
    The man’s message is indeed quite alarming. As much as I would like to show my sympathy it also pops up in my mind that this is his version of the story. If only we could hear the girlfriend’s version of this issue we would be able to come up with favorable views. I also believe there is a lot of information missing in the story and that makes our minds roll into different assumptions. It foretells me that their relationships have several complications and those are the reasons why they remain boyfriend/girlfriend relationships after all these years. I supposed right now her girlfriend is still in the UK with their children. In my view, the lady had been married before with another British man – that’s what brought her to the UK and now she’s a British citizen as she was able to claim disabled status as per the message. Whatever the reasons (death of the former husband, divorced, etc.) for her to become single parent at that time, we don’t know. According to him, her girlfriend is planning to move to the Philippines together with the children and that he reported this to the police (UK police I suppose) where they (the police) favored his story and held the passport of the children. If this is the only way to stop the lady from her plans, then he just did the right thing. He is now holding the key in order for him to claim the proceeds of the properties that he claims he fully owns. But then again this is his version of the story. As I've mentioned earlier there are complications, and they are not bestowed on this message. This is just also a vague analyis of mine. Cheers:)

  39. Jim says

    Hi Bob- This mans story is truly tragic as it appears he has worked hard and invested heavily to make a secure life for himself and family in the Philippines.
    Maybe the fact that his efforts to improve their lives and retire to the Philippines has been one sided and his partner has been the one who has benifited without contributing to the same extent he has. I can only theorise but it looks like his parner has had it handed on a plate without appreciating the hard work and effort that has gone into financing the resort project. Apart from salvaging what he can in a material sense there is not much else he can do apart from start again and make a life for himself and his children and I'm sure if he has done it once he can do it again. Lets wish him all the very best and hope that in time and with faith in himself he can survive this dreadful setback in his life.
    Kind regards.

  40. says

    Hi Teng- Similar thoughts came to my mind as well. However, I have known this fellow for quite a while, and he has always been honest to me. I decided to respond to what he said as if it was 100% correct. I do believe that what he said was true to him. All events in life are shaded by our individual impressions, and even the girlfriend may believe herself to be in the right.

  41. Jim says

    Hi Bob- Yes I did thanks and now researching you advice I most likely will come back for more assistance as I'm no expert.
    Kind regards.

  42. brian says

    "Australian government should not allow a Filipino to own land in Australia. It’s only fair!"


    "the Government just took over the terminal from the German group who were building it."


  43. Teng says

    I think Mr. Brian's comment above is unfair when he stated that the government stole it. He should know that it was a long court proceeding before the government took over the terminal. They didn't just grab it without justication.

  44. says

    Hi Teng- I may be mistaken, Teng, but I believe that the government did just grab it. After the fact, they have been fighting in the world court for years, and I believe that full resolution still has not been achieved. It is possible that I may have missed something, but this is my understanding, and also I have had discussions with many other people, and we have all had this understanding. If I am wrong, please point me to some sources where I can verify that something other than this happened.

  45. Atong Estrada says

    Frankly, this story is getting happens everyday and on both sides of the equation.

    Its a big ocean out there and indeed its a shark infested water. BEWARE of the PROFESSIONAL FILIPINA BRIDES (same goes to the real Filipina brides)….they will take you to the cleaners…How can you tell if she's real or not…watch out for these lines:

    1. Please let me borrow/send some money, my mother/father/any relitives/family dog/neighbor's dog is sick.
    2. Please give me money I want to finish my studies.
    3. Let's start a business send me money.

    and the list goes on…this is just a caution to the wannabe boyriends/grooms/husbands. I hate seeing a foreigner failing in the Philippines particulary on this subject. It always brougth a little joy finding someone from another place looking at my country in search of happiness. I support them.

    There is a guy here in Texas who had a habit of bringing in wives from different countries….1st wife an eastern european committed suicide, second wife a korean committed suicide, 3rd wife a Filipina, she vanishes and her remains found. He has a good scheme until it stenched. Unfortunately, it took another death for the authorities to find out. The husband took life insurances on his wives and staged their deaths to collect payment.

    Bob, I think your friend's story cannot beat this…LOL…Please tell him to charge it to experience, move on and dont cry over spilt milk. The ocean awaits……or lets roll the dice one more time….life is a gamble…or as Forrest Gump puts it, "life is a box of chocolates, you never know whatchu gonna get"

    Michael on November 11th, 2008 11:39 am Hi Bob,
    Apart from the broken heart the legal issues are at the core of this guy’s problems. While the Philippines has what I consider to be a racially based legal framework heavily biased against non filipinos …. harsh but true under close analysis, it behoves non filipinos not to purchase property or invest there.
    If it is Ok for western countries to allow non citizens to own property I can’t see why the RP won’t allow it. It is counterproductive to the RP economy preventing badly needed investment. BTW it is not confined to the RP … most asian countries have the same.
    I can imagine the racist claims that would be made against Australia if we enacted laws preventing filipinos from owning property here and allowed the filipina wives to be ripped off in this manner by Australian husbands.

    Just my thoughts …


    I find the above comment a little ignorant…


    That law was put in placed not to be racially biased against anyone but to protect the country from foreign ownership, LITERALLY!!! Philippines being a small country in terms of land area and real estate properties being dirt cheap compared to the west or other countries in Asia, if its not for this law, foreigners have owned the whole archipelago a long time ago.

    Not my thoughts, but the truth……


  46. David S. says

    I'm curious Bob, are you aware of any foreigners who made an arrangement with the local church to purchase property for them and lease it back with the understanding that when the lease expires the property will belong to the church? It seems like a win win situation. The church will have little incentive to cheat their benefactor and it will come out ahead in the long run.

  47. says

    Hi Atong Estrada- Michael's comment is not ignorant. No reason for you to attack people because of their ideas. Frankly, the Philippine law on land ownership is holding the country down, keeping it a third world country.

    Calling somebody ignorant, and then signing off with "Peace…" frankly, it's insulting.

  48. Ron LaFleur says

    Bob not a happy story. I am glad you printed this. Marlou has a friend there in Davao that has been going to nursing school. Her American boyfriend has been paying for it, paying for her support, etc… She will marry him soon to get the visa and once established in the U.S. it is her plan to leave him. She speaks openly of this with the group of friends there. My only wish is that I knew how to contact this boyfriend of hers and tell him the truth. Meeting your wife/girl friend through the internet can work or it can be totally a scam. I do not have any answers or suggestions other than to not jump into anything and to let time show the sincere side of the woman. Again, a good article and an important one. Ron

  49. says

    Ten years is too long. Especially if the lady is young. Remember how long a year felt when you were in your early twenties? If you are in your forties or fifties your sense of time is completely different..
    Don't let romance get in the way of logic, say sorry love but i must talk with you about this. Talk until you are satisfied as to her character And expectations of your money and time.
    To Bob and Atong, you both have a point, already so few Filipino are able to own their own place and most of these are bought by Balik Bayan. Open slather foriegn ownership would ruin their chances even further. Yet without foriegn business investment the country will be slowed.

    I read recently a

  50. says

    oops! I recently read that the National Government had a clear majority vote to change the constitution with regards to land ownership by Kano. I read that it will have to be written up and approved by the people in a referendum at the next election. Many I have spoken to here say the public will not pass such a change.

  51. says

    David, be sure if you follow this idea up; that the church you work with is bona fide independent. and that you personally know the congregational leader and likely successors. I think this would be more difficult than trusting a woman you are planning to marry.

  52. says

    Hi Ron LaFleur- Often times Filipinas will talk openly with Feyma like this too, thinking that she is just "playing the game" too. What a shame!

  53. chasdv says

    Hi Bob,Sad story indeed and the guy has my sympathy.I just wonder how long the nephew hangs around when the money is gone and he has 4 kids to support.A problem many of us westerner's have, we tend to get on that materialistic treadmill at the expense of our relationships,we only have to look at our divorce rates.I have been there with my exwife (british) we were both so career driven and materialistic,we woke up one day to find we had very little in common as we had been going in different directions,the time we spent together had been like ships passing in the night.After an expensive divorce i went "walk about" all over the UK for 2yrs,working wherever i found work then moving on.When i again settled,i changed my outlook on life,i had jumped off the materialistic treadmill.I took a less qualified job which gave me more leisure time,learned to economise and enjoy life.I may not have all the latest gadgets,or the flashiest of cars,but i'm comfortable,happy and contented,its all a matter of achieving balance in life.Exacting revenge as Neal in RI suggests could backfire,if that person gets caught they could easily implicate you to save their own skin,that then brings BIG trouble,regards Chas.

  54. chasdv says

    Hi Bob,Something readers with Filipina g/f may be interested to know.Before i met my better half,i chatted to many filipina's on the net.When i mentioned that once i had found the right person i had no intention of bringing them to the UK (wasn't true) but i would live in Phils many dissapeared and lost interest in chatting to me.There intentions were pretty obvious to me then,regards Chas.

  55. says

    Hi Bob, I'm no expert and I can see your point. There must be some legislative framework which can give foreigners some security in investing here without making Filipinos have to compete with these for home ownership. Perhaps opening a percentage of each Barangay to such? This would create it's own problems of course. I think it is a dilemma which is not easily solved. For instance at my local beach, Pundakit; 95% of properties are untitled, rights only lots with no tax declaration. This keeps prices very low and affordable for the very poor Fishermen who live there; yet precludes even Filipino Balik Bayan from purchasing these, as the only way to be certain of maintaining the rights is to be there occupying the land. Those who buy rights then go to survey and tax declaration become very unpopular with their neighbors who feel this will pressure them into having to register and pay tax they may not be able to afford. Much thought will have to go into these issues before they are resolved for the RP's benefit as well as the ordinary Filipino's.

  56. Teng says

    Hi Bob, A little bit delayed reply to your input here; it’s the time difference between PI and KSA. Honestly, I can’t recall all the details about NAIA Terminal 3 issues as the controversy happened almost a decade now but I have still a little recollection about the matter. At certain point, there was a controversy before the completion of the project in which the government found out that the contract with PIATCO and its partner FRAPORT was burdensome to the government. It was the main reason why the government had conducted a thorough evaluation of the contract even if they had agreed to buy out Fraport for $4M in which the German company agreed to this. To buy out FRAPORT was a decision made based on the original contract that the contractor should operate the airport for several years after its completion and before handing it over to the government. When the controversy was brought out, PIATCO and FRAPORT had instituted arbitration proceedings with two international bodies, PIATCO-Singapore and FRAPORT-Washington D.C. to have an amicable settlement. The case filed in Washington was decided in favor of the Philippine Government while the case in Singapore continues to be under litigation up to present time I guess. Sometime in 2004, the Philippine Government impounded the terminal project from PIATCO through an order from the court, however, the court only allowed the Philippine Government to take over the terminal upon payment of an initial amount of 3 billion pesos to PIATCO. Eventually, the Philippine Government paid PIATCO the mentioned amount. As far as I know the opening of NAIA-3 has certain provisions that are based on decisions of the Supreme Court and its applicable BOT laws. So, to state that the government ‘stole’ it, is a little bit unpleasant sound to my ears. It’s probably just me…hehehe!

  57. says

    Hi Chris- Even just the ability of a foreign husband, like me (who likely paid is money for the land) to inherit the land in the event of his wife's death? How about some protection for the foreigner like the guy in this article who was apparently thrown on the trash pile by his wife cheating? But, under the law he would get nothing, and the cheating wife gets everything.

  58. says

    Hi Teng- I did some research on this last night after your comment. There was never any buy out for $4M, that was between $300 and $400 Million! And, the government has not paid for the terminal yet! They have not even agreed on how much the payment should be. The matter has not yet been settled in the World Court.

  59. says

    Very sad story. But then there is always two sides of the story…But these girls who treated the men badly and ripped them off,karma is coming. what comes round, goes round..ang gaba,di magsaba……

  60. says

    Hi Berlin Austin- Indeed, we only know one side of this story, so that is all we have to go on. And, surely Karma will be there for the person in the wrong. :grin:

  61. Teng says

    Hi Bob, I think you're right. The $4M buy out in which FRAPORT also agreed (as far as I know of) was not pushed through so far and still not paid upto present time. That was when the goverment found out some anomalies of the PIATCO contract. It's for that, until its present time the litigation is still going on. As I've mentioned in my previous post, the NAIA Terminal 3 operation is following certain provisions as per the court's decisions in line with the BOT laws. I'll try to find out what are those provisions.

  62. says

    Hi Teng- No biggie, so you don't need to spend too much time researching it. I just felt that it was a situation which was poorly handled by the Philippine govt.

  63. says

    Yes Bob, on that I agree 100%! I have heard that if accurate records are kept and a good lawyer engaged there is a fair chance this poor fellow would get at least some justice. You would know better than I if this is likely? I did not mean to sound calloused in my posts on this matter.
    My brothers father in law fell for a similar scammer Filipina; lost his life savings then walked out in front of a truck and died; two weeks later. I have had a hell of a time explaining to my family that there are 80,000,000 Filipino and they should give my wife and me the benefit of the doubt.
    Personally, I would not choose to get involved with a 'single mother', as I have done so before and it came to a terrible conclusion.
    I agree with previous posters here that this fellow should just get on with life; he sounds like a really nice, genuine guy; who will find the right lady if he can learn the lesson and be cautious next time.
    Intimate relationships are the most challenging and rewarding thing in life; as I am sure you are aware Bob. Time is so precious. We all need to be careful with our investment.
    I am sure your friend is glad to feel so many people can relate as well as give some words of encouragment on your wonderful site. I pray he does an excellent job as a father and has a beautiful life; as he so much deserves …

  64. says

    Hi Chris- I know of no way that the guy can be compensated for the resort, house and such. He cannot legally own them, so they belong to her already, even though he paid for them. The guy is out all of this, left penniless, and broken hearted. This is what I am saying. The Philippine justice system leaves no room for this guy to get anything back for his losses.

  65. says

    OK, Bob, I take your word for it; that is tragic.
    Perhaps RP needs to enact some kind of recognition for defacto couples?
    I have family here who have been married and separated within a couple of years, yet have no hope of ever marrying their partners who have been with them for a decade. On Halloween we went to visit the grave of my wife's grandfather, I was shocked to find he was buried with a woman he had separated from 20 years before his death! His unofficial second wife (and love of his life) will be buried somewhere else, miles away. When I asked my wife about it, she said "That's the way it is here, the legal wife has the right."

  66. Teng says

    Hi Bob, Now I agree with what you've said. It's actually the government who mishandled the NAIA 3 projects via the BOT laws. Anyways, I just want to clarify that neither the government and its contractor that I was reacting all about. It was simply the word 'stole' posted by one of the posters that wasn't so nice to hear from my own perspective. Cheers:)

  67. Atong Estrada says

    Hi Atong Estrada- Michael’s comment is not ignorant. No reason for you to attack people because of their ideas. Frankly, the Philippine law on land ownership is holding the country down, keeping it a third world country.

    Calling somebody ignorant, and then signing off with “Peace…” frankly, it’s insulting.
    Hi Bob, I didn't call him ignorant, pls check my comment. Calling somebody's comment ignorant is the same as calling a person ignorant?

    But, please tell me if this comment is not ignorant?

    "Philippines has what I consider to be a racially based legal framework heavily biased against non filipinos "

    What is his basis of making this assumption? Because foreigners cannot buy properties straight up and that makes Philippine legal sytem racist? This kind of comments only fosters hatred and stereotyping.

    If a foreigner renounced his country of birth and took Philippines citizenship he could buy properties under his name. So, how is Philippine law on land ownership is racially biased?

    Lastly, what makes you think the Philippine law on land ownership is holding the country down and keeping it a third world country? LOL….your comment also borderlines it….This is not even a factor why Philippines is a third world country. In fact, Philippines is not a third world country anymore, its between 2 and 2.9..if there such a thing…hehe

    But dont you think its much better for you guys for Philippines to remain a third wolrd country? No pun intended…


  68. Atong Estrada says

    I wish every Filipinas are like her..unlike the one in the article…
    Monessa Catuncan
    UNITED States Air Force F-16 fighter pilot Monessa Catuncan doesn’t just maneuver an aircraft whenever she’s on air—she also carries the Philippine flag and the pride of the country it represents and the people in it.

    The F-16 Fighting Falcon or most commonly known as the “Viper” is a state-of-the-art fighter aircraft. It has been a high-performance weapon system for the US and allied nations for it has been used in numerous air-to-air combats. This specific aircraft has exceeded all the potential threat fighter aircrafts. Its feature as an offense-defense weapon is very precise that it can perform on any weather condition. This kind of plane is a complicated device meant to be handled by highly qualified pilots. The F-16 or the Viper has played vital roles in most of America’s wars with the most recent being in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. An F-16 fighter plane is what Monessa Catuncan navigates.

    But before Monessa even set foot to the elite US Air Force, this humble Pinay, like almost everybody else earned her way to success.

    The twenty-six-year-old Monessa is the youngest daughter of Ramons and Teody Catuncan of Mesquite, Texas. She graduated in 2000 as a Valedictorian in a class of 693 in Mesquite High School. She was then accepted to the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, that same year. While at USAFA, Monessa, aside from pursuing her desired career as part of the US Air Force, served as a Squadron Commander, a Division-1 tennis player, a Glider Instructor Pilot, and a member of the Glider Acrobatic Team, among other essential positions. In 2004, Monessa graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering from the USAFA.

    Like all of her colleagues, Monessa went through an Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) before becoming a fighter pilot. However, she didn’t just pass her UPT – she excelled in it.

    She then started her pilot career flying a T-6 Texan at the Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia. This aircraft is the basic trainer for every Air Force aspiring pilots. After this training, students will then choose whether to fly fighter/bomber aircrafts or cargo/refueling aircrafts. Most of the time, only top students in the class are given the option to fly fighter/bomber aircrafts.

    Monessa proved herself, and finished the course as one of the top student-pilots in her class. She was then chosen to fly either a fighter or a bomber aircraft. After her course at Moody Air Force, she went to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas and Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls to fly the T-38. In her training there, Monessa learned the basics of formation flying, offensive and defensive fighter maneuvering, and surface attack bombing techniques. Monessa went through intense studying and was put in a variety of stressful situations in order to pass this training.

    From flying T- 38, she had an option of choosing from different aircrafts like the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Warthog, B-52 Stratofortress, and F/A-22 Raptor, and T-6 or T-38 are also options. After her T-38 course, Monessa requested to fly an F-16 Falcon, and she got what she wanted.

    Monessa went through with her training to hone her skill at maneuvering fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona where she learned how to control and apply tactics of the F-16 Fighter Falcon, or Viper. Monessa finished her course at Luke Air Force Base with flying colors and was part of the “Lucky number 13” graduate from class 2007. She was the only woman in her group, not to mention the only Filipino to pass the much-coveted pilot course.

    Monessa, who just recently pinned on Captain, is now assigned to 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, Utah. She and her squadron just recently came back from Iraq where they served and supported the Army Troops on the ground through a variety of close air support missions.

    The US Air Force is an elite organization and to a pilot, an F-16 fighter plane is a prized possession. Monessa, through her perseverance and hard work, has earned not only the fly the F-16, but also the pride and honor of defending the United States, as well as making the Filipinos proud.

  69. says

    Hi Atong Estrada- I concede… what you say is true. What I still disagree on is about the law here. Not racially based, but anti-foreigner. Filipinos can buy property in most countries, no need to renounce their citizenship, etc. Foreigners should be able to do the same here, IMHO.

  70. says

    Hi Bob,

    I just had the time to visit and read your website again. I felt like crying when I read your article. It's too terrible for one person to go through such a thing…

    It reminded me of another incident in Guadalupe Village a few days ago wherein the ex-Filipina gilrfriend together with her friends and relatives killed a foreigner and burried him in the frontyard. It is so disgusting but obviously people would go to any extent for money or for reasons we do not know.

    It is is so sad that there's this small number of Filipinas who scam for money and in so doing, disgrace the good women in the Philippines.

    I'm just thinking, God sees everything. I am sure that He'll do something about that in His time. I'm just hoping that your friend will be able to recover soon and be happy again in the near future.

    RE: their property, if the girl has conscience, she should pay him back for his share. He can't run after her in court because I'm sure it's in her name….

    I always tell my clients: if they're not married yet, buy a condo in his name instead. That's to ensure that his investment isn't gone even if they break up. But if he still wants to buy a house for his girlfriend, then consider it a gift. Because you cannot recover it anymore. The title will be in the girl's name, single, of legal age, etc. We all know that the money came from the foreigner but the document will speak for itself. Hence, the foreigner does not have a choice but to let go of the said "GIFT".

    Had a client living in an exclusive subdivision who was thrown out by the wife because the title was in her maiden name. I asked him how did that happen when they're already married. He said, he couldn't understand the dialect and couldn't understand much english. :(

    This is just my opinion and it may not be much but I guess a foreigner should:

    A) know the background of the girl they're marrying / living. Ask the neighbors,etc.
    credentials in: high school / college. Check out where she hangs out, etc.
    These will help you in getting to know the girlfriend.

    B) Learn the local dialect. This will help you understand your surroundings better.
    And the people around you better.

    C) If possible, don't pick up helpers from the malls. I had a client who got victimized by the "so-called maid's group.". He got robbed and lost a lot.

    Sorry if this is too long Bob. Thank you again.


  71. says

    Hi Lea C. Walker- It is always good to hear from you, don't worry if it goes long, you always provide valuable information. Your advice as far as the ownership of property is so spot on! For those who read your comment and don't realize – Lea is a real estate broker, and a very good one at that. It will pay everybody good to listen to what Lea says carefully.

    By the way, Lea, Bebe told me that you and John showed her the photos of her kids on my blog when she came to give John language lessons. I hope that John is doing well with his learning, and I hope that he is happy with Bebe. For me, Bebe is the best – my life would be a lot different if not for her!

  72. says

    Hi again Bob,

    Thank you.

    Bebe is wonderful! John is learning a lot from her. I prepared an index card for John with the Bisaya word in one side and the english , the other side.

    We play with it during the week. :) John's taking his lessons very seriously.

    Thank you for recommending Bebe Bob.


  73. says

    Hi Lea C. Walker- I am glad that John is enjoying his lessons. Even though sometimes the work is not easy, having my lesson is always a highlight of my week.

  74. Trevor Davies says

    Hi Bob – It's been awhile since I've had a chance to visit your website as I've been on the, as Chasdv put it, materialistic treadmill here in Canada trying o gain a foothold on my future retirement plans.
    What a bloody tragedy to happen to a decent man. I can only imagine the heartache he must be going through, especially with children involved. My thoughts go out to him. I'm sure you would agree though, that a person has to proceed with caution when entering into any kind of transaction involving money with your other half, despite your heart is telling you that you can trust him/her.

    A good friend of mine that I had worked with on and off over the years was married to a Filipina woman, who he trusted implicitly, and we used to banter back and forth good-naturedly about retiring in the Phils. as opposed to Thailand, which was my choice at the time. He was a good and happy man, looking forward to his retirement. Often, he would tease me about how he was going to be getting over there before me, and 2 years ago, he did just that. A few months back, Bob's body washed up on shore, his retirement in the Philippines ensured, and permanent. The authorities have ruled it a homicide, with his wife being the prime suspect. A startling and sad conclusion to the life of one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.
    Could things have turned out differently, had he made other choices? Probably, but I doubt that he would have been as happy as he was the day he took off his hardhat for the last time and said his goodbyes to everyone. I don't judge the Phils. in regard to this tragedy, similar things happen all over the world. I would, however, say to your friend that wrote you Bob, that despite what has happened to you, things could have been much worse. I wish you all the best!

  75. says

    Hi Trevor Davies- I would agree that when entering a relationship, caution should be used. But, after 12 years in the relationship, one's guard would likely go down.

    Sad news about your friend!

  76. Philip says

    Hi Bob very sad story and one which all people will have firmly entrenched in their minds. 12 years is a long time to do all this in a relationship and you would wonder why the knot wasn’t tied a lot ealier in the relationship. As for your friend Bob 12 years is a long time but try 30 years of dedication to only have it ripped from you only this was a western marriage and I can count 21 western marriages some friends some relatives that have ended in seperation or divorce.
    So I am saying that it is does not matter what race or nationality people come from relationships can end up like your friends. I am in a relationship with a wonderful lady from your place of residence Bob and as you know I have been concerned with various things about her, but she never has asked for money in 7 months of us meeting which seems pretty good to me as far as honesty goes? Take Care and I hope your friends heart repairs quickly it certainly hurts like I say 30 years of dedication for me for nothing, as they say life goes on and their is plenty of fish in the sea providing they don’t have sharp teeth whatever nationality.

    • MindanaoBob says

      It is a very sad situation, no doubt, and as you said it can happen with any relationship. Best thing we can do is be vigelent and watch for warning signs.

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