Why are we judged by the actions of others?

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If you are a foreigner living in the Philippines, if you have been here for any length of time, it is obvious to you that as a foreigner, there are pre-conceived notions of who you are, what you are all about, what kind of person you are, and such.  Unfortunately, the actions of other expats will have a huge impact on the way people think about you.

Unfortunately, when an expat goes out in public and they behave in a good way, basically, nobody notices that.  But, when an expat goes out in public and makes a fool of himself, dozens, even hundreds of Filipinos notice it, and take a note of it.  “Oh, another American being disrespectful” is something that a lot of Filipinos must think.

Fair or not, Americans and other foreigners (basically here, if you are a foreigner, you are called an American in most cases), through their actions, impact the way that the local people think of us.  No matter how good of a person you are, how good your intentions are, you have to overcome the bad taste left by other foreigners over the years.


Honestly, I feel that most foreigners living in the Philippines are good, well behaved people.  But, as the old saying goes, it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch.  I mean, the negative actions of one single expat can make local people think that every foreigner is an unfriendly (or worse) person.

49 Ways to make a living

Sometimes, I admit, I find it very frustrating when I see other expats acting in a way that is not only embarrassing, but also unproductive and downright disrespectful.

The other day, I was browsing the Internet, and I looked at a Blog that is published by an Australian fellow (I am not going to use his name, but most readers would probably know who he is) who used to live in the Philippines.  He is still quite active in the Philippines on the Internet.  He writes a number of eBooks, like I do, and writes blogs about living in the Philippines, even though he no longer lives here.

Well, when I came upon his site, he was announcing a new site on the Internet (I am not sure if that other site also belongs to this fellow or to somebody else).  This new site is a “Classified Ads” site where people in the Philippines can buy and sell things to each other online.  Well, the way that this fellow announced it was downright rude, in my opinion, he said:

There is a new classified ad site for all things Philippines. Philippine Finder is the place to go for real estate, cars, Filipinas and anything that is up for sale for the expat or retiree.

UPDATE: I am happy to report that the wording on the site in question has been changed, and is now much more appropriate.  Thanks to Perry for making the change.

So, according to him, Filipinas are up for sale to the expat or retiree?  This kind of attitude makes me sick, frankly.  And, I know that this fellow is married to a Filipina and has a long term marriage, I believe.  Does he really look upon his wife as a piece of property that he can literally put up for sale?

When Filipinos see this, I am sure they are very angry.  Heck, I am very angry myself.  But, many Filipinos will see this and think that “all expats are like that.”  It simply is not true.  I know that I am not, and others too.  I would venture to say that the vast majority of readers on this site are not like that, at least those who are active here.  But, there is a part of the expat population who has no respect for the people here, no respect for the culture, not a bit of care for the feelings of others.

It is not just this one fellow, either.  Right here in Davao there is a group of expats.  On several occasions in the past, including once very recently, they have approached me asking me to join the group and attend their meetings and other activities.  There are a number of people in the group whom I consider friends, and they are nice people.  However, in addition to other rules that I disagree with, the group has one rule which absolutely makes me reject joining them.  Filipinos are not allowed to attend their meetings.  You are not allowed to bring your wife in to the meetings.  When I have talked to Filipinos about this, they are absolutely appalled when they talk about this.  This is a rule that simply takes away all interest that I would ever have in joining this group.

So, why are some expats like that?  If they don’t want to associate with Filipinos, why would they decide to live in the Philippines?  If they consider Filipinos as something that can be bought or sold, why would they even have a desire to live in the country?

If you are an expat who does not go for this kind of attitude, how do you disassociate yourself from this kind of thinking?  For me, when I see things like this, I speak up and let my feelings be known.  I suppose that is the best way to step away from such behavior from other expats.

How about you?

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. John Rodgers says

    I don't know this man, but it seems you at least know of him. Was his remark something we all do. Say something, and it comes out wrong, or do you think he is really selling Filipinas?

    As for the groups excluding the wives. Are they excluding women, or women who happen to be Filipina? This too may be a gray area? Are they excluding Filipino men too?

    I myself would much rather avoid an all men's club. I find much pleasure being with the person I asked to marry me. Her company is why I asked her to marry me. I had my fill of hanging out with the fellas in my early 20's………i2f

  2. says


    One thing really strikes me when reading your comments. I think that you forgot something…..YOU ARE A GUEST IN THE PHILIPPINES! Living there as an expat does not make you Pinoy. You are there on their terms and because they allow you to – so maybe it’s about time you learn to show some respect.

    I for one does not say that everything about the Philippines is good. I have issues like lazyness (which in reality probably is the loss of hope in disquise but thats another story), the influence of the church, the bad quality of education etc. that I do not like about the country – as I have issues with my own home country. I do not think there’s anywhere in the world that is perfect – and that’s good because it would be a very boreing world if there was.

    [QUOTE: "Bob there are so many things wrong with this country but we decide to make our beds here for whatever reason and that is our right"]

    Bill…I dont know you but your choise of words does not give me an impression of someone having respect for your host country. You act as if it’d your right to live anywhere in the world you so desire because you are the rich and powerfull kano. But quite frankly that’s not true at all. You are living as a guest in the Philippines because they allow you to. Be gratefull for that – because event hough you have a lot of issues I’m sure something holds you there.

    I dont say shut up, because I dont say that you should not state your opinion – I also have discussions with pinoys about mindset and ways to do things but sine you’re there you should accept that you have to put up with basic things like “roosters, horns, out of stock”. But if a rooster in your neigbours backyard is something you need to tolerate – maybe you should’ve made your bed in Chicago!

    What comes to pinoys takeing advantage of us as if we’re stupid – that’s because we has taught them that we are. Ugly fat men flashing money in a bar in the Philippines with a 14 year old girl on one leg and an 18 year old on the other does not exactly give an impression of the white man as someone with brain, and integrity and as such we lie in our beds as we’ve made it. Hopefully in time we can reverse this image by educateing the like of you and them.

  3. Bill Matters says

    This is a very touchy subject. I have friends that are both within this classification as you call it and those that are more in your line of thinking. Now Bob hopefully we can have a frank and open discussion about all this.

    The man you speak of I thinks takes a very pragmatic view of this country as it applies to foreigners that is why the stuff he markets is Street Wise oriented. Another popular site does not tolerate any critisism of the Philippines and that is their right but very unralistic. This is what makes the world go around. I for one want all the information possible both good and bad about this country. Your site also rarely allows any controversial or negative discussion and everything seems to be so pro and rah rah. Hey that is your right. But, the reality is just because I live here doesn't mean I have to like everything about it anymore than I did back home. At least the USA is a true democracy. And what is so wrong about complaining. It relieves stress and is this so different than back in the states where everyone whines and complains. So your life is a bowl of cherries. Good for you.

    Bob there are so many things wrong with this country but we decide to make our beds here for whatever reason and that is our right!
    You are always protecting the people here and especially the Filipina with the notion that they are being taken advantage of and abused by the evil white man. Come on Bob that is ridiculous. It works both ways. Yea and its really true love between the 70 year old man and the 21 year old Filipina. The point is everyome is being used for soemething here and so what. That is life

    2. I also think it is wrong for you to take the atititude that we have to adhere to some behavior expectations here. We are here to live. We have our cultural values as well thats need to be respected. That is our pride. It is really us that are being treated like 2nd class citizens by filipinos that are jealous of us and don't like if we critize. They try to take advantage of us every time they can like we are idiots. You yourself are concerned that you are not a filipino citizen so you can be deported as well so you of course need to take the high road. That is not reality that is downright lousy. You know Bob as you said yourself no one even gives a hoot about you and all your love for this country. There is no appreciation of you except by foreignrs who come to this blog. Filipinos would sooner boot you out of here as anyone else if someone didn't like you and then decided to have you arrested for some fabrication. pretty scary stuff.

    I'm rambling now but I disagree with your Disney World notion of the Philippines and Filipinos like we Expats have some obligation to behave in some way to make a good impression. I think that is lousy and infringes on freedoms.

  4. says

    Maayong Buntag Bob
    Interesting article and you make some good points. You are right that the filipinos will judge you by the conduct of all expats but I have found it helps to speak even a little of the local language. Even when you only use simple greetings in there language you will almost always get a smile. To me it is a way of showing respect for there local customs when you try to use there language.

  5. says

    You do make some good points but I need to disagree with you on showing respect to the locals. If the only reason you moved to the RP was for cheap living I can see you point. For me I like the culture and since we are the foreigners we should be the one adapting to there culture. It frustrates me when people come to the US and refuse to learn the language so I can understand when filipinos get angry at the foreigners that expect filipinos to do every thing there way.

  6. Ron LaFleur says

    Bob a very interesting and thought provoking article. We are judged by the company we keep and in some case the company we don't keep. What I found interesting are the comments by the reader named Bill Matters. He says that your site always promotes the positive of the Philippines. I have to disagree. I just looked at John's comments about PAL, Rusty's articles,other writers and your own archives. You and they have written about many aspects of life there that you felt are not just or fair. I think Bill should read the entire content of whats on your site and he will see articles and comments that are not all flattering to the Philippines. Ron

  7. Paul says

    Hi Bob – Here in the "Far North," the number of "putis" (whites) is growing, but they are certainly an international bunch. When I first started "showing my skin" around here, I was asked if I was German or British as those were the only nationalities represented at the time. There had been an USAF base about 16km away atop a mountain years ago, but no one stayed to retire.

    When I told them I was American, they said they noticed a difference from the others. The others were mean, stingy, angry men who lock themselves up in their compounds and don't leave unless their heavily tinted window SUVs took them to the capital. Seems they never stopped in our town – only went to the capital.

    This time around, I'm getting smiles and chit-chat from everyone. It's great. The British fellow has his compound up for sale and doesn't want to live here anymore. The German fellow remains hidden. A few Aussies and a few more Americans have found there way up here. I hope they are benefiting from any good that I may have done. Last thing I need is an "Ugly _(fill-in the blank)_ or ten roaming about my paradise! ;)

  8. Bill Matters says

    Hi Larry

    Many do of course come for the low cost of living and many others for the opportunity to find happiness in a loving relationship. And for others it is drowning themselves in many bottles of beer. I just happen to feel that none of them have to live up to conducts of behavior JUST in order to please their Filipino hosts. I have to tolerate roosters, horns, out of stock, their not letting me have a chance to get out of the elevator and many many other aggravating cultural aspect of life here so Larry, I think they can put up with a few of ours. Coming from a predominantly spanish speaking part of the USA I understand the frustration with many not speaking english. But that's life and it works two ways. I'm just not into this whole love affair Bob has with the Philippines. I don't see it nor do I feel it. I love it and hate it at the same time.

  9. Jody says

    Interesting subject.

    The Philippines has huge problems and it is certainly not paradise by a long shot.

    This guy seems to be marketing the Philippines to a cetain group of men ; most of them have little money, and the vast majority seem to want to find a younger woman in the Philippines, along with a much cheaper standard of living.
    I find it a little strange to find 60 to 70 year old men with women aged twenty five to thirty five but I view this as a business arrangement. I see men who have huge health issues (such as obesity and alcoholism) with these younger women and I find it truly remarkable when they maintain that they have found the love of their lives. Having said that we are all capable of self delusion and if it works for these people I say ,leave them alone.

    I guess this guy Perry is simply facilitating the desire of young women in the Philippines looking for a little financial security and older men from the west, with small pensions (by western standards) looking for a little companionship in the sunset of their lives.

    Many many group of men gather throughout the world for companionship and exclude women or children ect. I myself was refused membership of a group in the Philippines as they were British and they maintained only British people could join. I am quite sure Bob that groups of women meet every day of the week in Davao and you would not be allowed join their associations.

    I find the Angeles City Bar scene to be quite nasty but then again you will find the same scene in Amsterdam or Hamburg; the only difference is that the girls and booze are more expensive.

    I say go with the flow. People are going to judge you one way or the other. Our only responsibility is to live good and to be charitable to our neighbors. I would think Bob that you would make an interesting and good neighbor and I am quite sure your neighbors in Davao feel the same way about you.



  10. John Miele says


    In part, I think it has much to do with the fact that we tend to stick out quite a bit here. It is unfortunate that those who perpetuate the stereotypes tend to be the most obvious, loud, obnoxious and visible. Those who blend in or simply live their lives here do not command such attention. In reality, it is a form of racism. In a way, it is not that different than the way Filipinos are regarded in other parts of the world… They are judged based on stereotypes just as we are when we are here. When Rebecca and I were in Abu Dhabi, the Arabs generally regarded Filipinos (and Americans, for that matter) as marginally better than animals. There were many times that Rebecca heard snide remarks coming from others there… Her answer was to respond to them in Arabic, at which point there was usually much apologizing and confusion (Why does this Filipino speak Arabic?)

    I have very strong views when I see my countrymen making asses of themselves. Sometimes I speak up, but other times I follow that old cliche, "Don't waste your time talking to an idiot." I try to adapt as best I can here and I regard myself as a guest in this country. Like it or not, my actions shape how others view my country, so I try to keep that in mind. Is it fair? Well, no, but life is not fair. It is how it is and every expat will have to deal with it.

    Areas like Angeles still, to this day, bear the scars of the American bases and the huge cultural changes brought by the actions of American soldiers and by them simply BEING there. Add in the sex tourists, old goats marrying young girls, those who come and exclaim how cheap everything is to the waiter earning 200p per day, and the others who tend to completely disregard every cultural norm or have no appreciation whatsoever of the fact that the people here were mistreated and abused for over 400 years of Spanish and American colonialism, and I can understand how people could stereotype.

    • Arab-Filipino says


      there is great offense taken to your comments that “Arabs” consider Filipinos less than animals. You obviously are trying to propagate American propaganda here trying to pit Arabs against Filipinos. There is an ancient history of trade between Arab nations and South East Asia with a small % of Filipinos even having Arab ancestry of ancient Arabs settling into the region along with Indians, Chinese, long before United States itself even came into existence.

      There are lots of Christian and Muslim arabs married to Christian and Muslim Filipinos, they don’t consider their wives as “inferior”, or “less than animals”, on the contrary its your countrymen that consider Arabs and Filipinos and Africans less than animals from what most of us feel.

      Apologies, but you need to hear other people’s point of view.

      I am half Arab Half Filipino, and I find great offense to your comments. What some spoilt gulf Arabs do, there are racists in all societies, including yours John. Abraham Lincoln’s life is a legacy of that.

  11. says

    Hi Bill – Let me just ask the obvious… are you stupid? Do you know how to read? It would seem that you do, based on the fact that you can write, but I guess you have no comprehension of what you read. I write plenty of negative things about the Philippines. My previous article to this one was about the poor customer service. I have written many articles about lots of problems in the Philippines.

    In the end, though, I try to have a positive outlook on things. Even about you, as hard as it is for me. :lol:

  12. says

    Hi John – I love the part about Rebecca responding in Arabic when people spoke badly about her. I can really appreciate that, because I have done the same here, except in Bisaya.

  13. says

    Hi John – indeed, there are good things and bad things about the Philippines, and they are all covered here on LiP. I think that Bill has a memory problem and can't remember what he read, or possibly he doesn't know how to read at all. Maybe his wife reads the articles to him, and if she is Filipina, of course she skips over the bad articles. :grin:

  14. says

    Hi John – I agree with you, in order to properly learn the language, you need to have some time when you will be able to stay here for a while. Also, enough time to prioritize it as well. And, finally, you need a good linguist who can teach you. It will happen!

  15. says

    I have known some Foreigners that were not rude, but loud and in-your-face type of person. He would say something he thought as funny and then laugh. I tried to make him understand, being a foreigner makes a Filipino shy at first. Then by getting in their face and laughing might make the Filipino think he was laughing at him.

    About the Foreigner group. I used to be associated with the group but have disassociated myself from them for personal reasons. But the reason the Filipinas are not included is because it is a forum for Foreigners to be able to discuss problems they have living here. At times a foreigner will complain about something minor and a Filipino might feel insulted.

    There is now a new group where wives, children and everyone is allowed to join and come to the meetings. The only rule is respect the presenter and to speak english in the meetings.

  16. Mita says

    Since this is on the subject of rudeness, here's an opinion from one sensitive Filipina married to an American. Please don't call your wives or fiancees, "your Filipina". I've seen this online quite often. I find it rude. Perhaps I'm too sensitive, but calling your wife or fiancee by her nationality is almost like calling a pet by their breed.

    I'm so glad Dave has never, ever called me his Filipina. To him, I'm just his wife.

  17. AmericanLola says

    Yes, we often get painted with the same brush, but people here know the difference between nice foreigners and those who are not really very nice. There are 'users' everywhere. Both Filipinos and foreigners have had bitter experiences with 'users', especially in the context of having some sort of expectations from the relationship.

    A missionary friend (24 years in the Phiippines) of ours was in a mall coffee shop the other day and was approached by a foreigner who invited him to sit and have coffee with other some other foreign men. He said all of them felt that they had been ripped off, but were afraid to take their girls to the US for fear that they would skip out. So they opted to live here, being treated like kings… He got that much from less than ten minutes at the table and then just sort of excused himself.

    I have come to believe there are a lot of nice guys who marry Filipinas and make them happy and have a good life, either here or in their home countries. There are also others who had bad track records elswhere and take advantge of the desperation of women here produced by poverty and hoplessness. Women are willing to put up with a lot to have some sort of security and the ability to help their families. The losers become winners, but they still bring with them all the characteristics that gave them problems elsewhere; laziness, insensitivity to others, jealous, quick anger, self-justification, drinking problems, porn addictions, poor hygiene, general boorishness and who knows what else.

    So my point is, people are people. There are good and nice people everywhere, and there are bad and obnoxious people everywhere. We need to ralize we will be misjudged because of the bad ones, but as people get to know the good and the bad, they will know the difference. This is true no matter what our nationality.

  18. Mita says

    On the subject of foreigners' behavior while living in the Philippines. I have to say, many were the times when family members, friends or even new acquaintances told me they appreciated my husband's efforts to understand Filipino culture. I tell him this right away because I think he needs to know. As much as bad behavior is frowned on, good is also praised…like anywhere in the rest of the world. Sometimes he gets pissed at bad behavior and there's nothing you can really do about it..so we talk.

    Filipino and foreigners are equally capable of behaving badly, it's the attitude of the individual towards others that really counts in the end.

  19. says

    Hi AmericanLola – I fully agree that people are people, and we all have our own individual personalities and such. But, for a Filipino viewing a foreigner from a distance – across the mall, the next table in a restaurant, etc – where they don't have personal communication, we tend to get judged based on what we are, not who we are.

  20. says

    Hi Bob, you really struck anerve on this one. Although I will agree with you that most foreigners are decent, upstanding people, I will say this (based on fact). There are a lot of ner-do-well foreigners living here (a huge number dodging US child support judgments).

    There are also a number of foreign men attrcated to the Philippines by the idea of finding women they can dominate, and even mentally abd physically abuse … since the domestic relationj laws here are enforced in a very one-sided, male dominated manner.

    A great many foreigners turn me off from day one, talking about 'my Filipina' as if they are bragging about their dogs. (You mean she doesn't even have a name?) It really, really turns me off …they sound like the old ranchers I used to drink coffee with every morning in Colorado, arguing the merits of different breeds of cattle.

    Quite frankly, I think the Philippines is far, far too lenient on their visitor and immigration criteria. That group in Davao that you mentioned is appalling, just one more reason I find I have to be very careful what foreigners I associate with.

  21. Randall Jessup says

    Hi Bob,

    Interesting point you make and totally true. I've found in life that there are intelligent people amd there are stupid people. They come in all races and nationalities. I'd much rather spend my time with an intelligent Filipino than a stupid Westerner any day!

    BTW Bob, did you know you were mentioned in the latest edition of Lonely Planet's Philippines travel guide?

  22. Bob New York says

    I have occasionally had the impression that some who have moved to The Philippines have done so on a whim or jumping on an imaginary bandwagon " Oh yeah, lets move to The Philippines because it is a cost effective place to live and we can live the life of a millionaire on the money we already have " without spending enough time to really learn more about the place. Then after they get there and find unexpected differences that may turn into disapointments compared to their country of origin take on an entirely different attitude. Sometimes no matter how much research and time you put into learning about a foriegn country this can still happen although the more you know before you go it many times can make these differences easier to deal with.

    When I first came across Bob Martins websites a few years ago, at first, and I emphasize the point " at first " to me, it did seem like a website that heavily promoted the many good points of The Philippines and maybe to some extent a bit of so called " sugar Coating ". Sometimes you have to re-read things to separate fact, opinion, enthusiasm and dissapointment. After reading Bob Martins websites and in particular this one for several years there is in my opinion a balance of positive and not so positive information about many aspects of The Philippines represented here. So much of the information conveyed here makes for a " good read " and is verifyable if you continue to web search on any given topic.

    Did I feel stereotyped on my visits to The Philippines ? Sure, at times I did but I expected situations like this to happen as I am familiar with how many times foriegn visitors in the USA can be easily stereotyped. It did kind of surprise me of how many thought the primary reason for my visit was to find a Filipina for myself to try to bring home or eventually live with in The Philippines. Hey, I must admit there certainly are lots of nice ones there and a lot of nice ones already here in the USA. What really attracted my attention in visiting began with a lot of pictures I had found on the internet descriptive of some tourist sites and many pictures of things that appeared to be everyday living and those are what really got my attention. Not that our way is better or theirs, just the many differences. There are many details that can be derived from other peoples pictures that often go unnoticed until you take a real close and critical look.

    I took it as a compliment when at times people I came into contact with in The Philippines commented " you don't seem like the typical American Tourist ". Although I do not consider myself as a world traveler, I do keep it in mind that in many ways we are all representitives of our home country when we are in a foriegn land and that many times the rest of our country could easily be judged or misjudged by our own individual actions and behavior when in another part of the world. Many times I silently had to remind myself of this when I encountered things that were different.

    Many websites, hard copy books and other sources of information all point out many of the same things about The Philippines both the desireable and things that maybe deserve a bit of thought or concern and about cultural differences that can be expected. Maybe not everyone has the time or the desire to learn some of these things before embarking on a visit or a move to another part of the world. To me this can make or break either of those events.

  23. Bill Matters says

    See there you go being all personal and defensive having to insult me. I have many friends who can actually judge me with objectivity. You are not one of them. It is so apparent that anyone that goes against your line of thinking here is an idiot and stupid and I am sure they get blackballed from your site as no doubt I will be. I read your site all the time and find many of your articles interesting at best. I honestly prefer the other writers you have such as John, Gene and Rusty. The fact is you sugar coat things plain and simple. Accept it or don't. Honestly I really don't care one way or the other. I am not stuck in the Philippines as perhaps you are and the fact is, I can live anywhere I choose to in the world if I so desire. I live here because right now this is a good place for me despite the things I don't like about it. For one I like the way children grow up here and that is good for my daughter. Secondly I like spending more time with my family due to availibiity here of wonderful compassionate domestic help that would be a stretch to find elsewhere.

  24. John says

    I have read the comments with great interest. I don't agree with Mr. "Matters" in almost all areas BUT I am amused at some of the comments from you the blog authors – Answer me why is every man in the Philippines that has a younger wife a "dirty old man?" I have been in the Philippines a lot longer than most of you (since 1994 continuous) and I have a wonderful wife who is 30 years my junior. We have never had a problem in our marriage (I don't drink or smoke – have NEVER been in a bar once since moving here-my wife and I met through business friends) and we have five wonderful children.My wife and I married for LOVE =- nothing else. We are not rich and live a very frugal life. You guys need to be careful. As you defend your high standards you tend to set yourselves up as "judge and jury." I do take it as offensive the statements that were made. I have always believe that love conquers all and it within that it conquers age. Be more careful when you are judging as there are ALWAYS exceptions to your rules which means don't judge at all.

    Enough said.

    I still believe that this is a great blog and I believe that subject matter is handled fairly in most cases.

    Mr. "Matters" I strongly suggest that you start your own blog and then we will see later (after a year) how many people are viewing your postings.


  25. says


    In general you are right! Unfortunately something that keeps striking me when I'm in the Philippines is my in laws and their familly telling me how diffrent I am from their general impression of the white man. Unfortunately we created the image we have ourselfs, or the men who arrived before us did it for us. One thing you should keep in mind Bob is that in some places (especially in Mindanao) they see a white man maybe 3 times in a month so if one of us makes a bad impression, they dont just walk across the street and get a new impression because the next guy is nice. That makes the image of the bad guy grow stronger in the back of their minds.

    I most deffinately agree that this is bad development but I guess that all we can do is to try and change our image by example. However on two accounts I do not agree with you. For one – the website, the text looks like an obvious missprint and I think that I would've contacted the guy asking him what he means before I got all angry and upset. If he gives a disrespectfull answer then it's time to get angry – in my mind.

    The other one being the expats club. I see no problem in pinays and pinoys not being allowed in the expats club. That's why they have an expats club because they need to be with people of their own kind once in a while. Even my boyfriend has a group of pinay/oy friends though living in Europe – and sometimes they dont want me or the other husbands with them, because sometimes they need to feel filippino….and it's okay for me – it's at least their roots!

  26. Malcolm says

    Hi Bob
    How are you doing? These kind of remarks and this kind of attitude says more about the person then about their subject. Words like racist, chauvanist and inferioty complex spring to mind.They are people to be ostracised and avoided, their small mindedness is indicative of what is wrong with society in many countries.This person looks down on others when in fact he is the one that is to be pitied
    Keep up the good work, all the best

  27. brian says

    First: John M. your "thank God he's not eighty" comment had me laughing so hard my morning coffee was coming out my nose ( kinda tasty too) :) !!

    In regards to Bills posts, I can understand his position in some ways but have to disagree overall. The RP is more embracing of expats than most other asian country I have been to. Think its bad in the RP Bill try living in Thailand..hey its cheaper in IMHO, better run in many ways but don't think you will get more repect…you are tolerated ..thats about as best it will get. Japan? Expensive and expect racism…"what do yo mean Japaneese ONLY?
    Every culture every country has its own code of conduct. Treating people with respect and humulity seems to be one of the universal codes and should be easily applied.
    When I bring a pal with me to the RP I show them the good bad and ugly , from the luxury hotels, resorts, slums to the girly bars in Manila. I tell them to treat EVERYONE with repect, see the bellboy at the hotel? 12 hour days often 6 days a week..treat him with respect.
    The GRO? Its the ugly side of poverty, most are here to feed their familys, treat her with respect. Be kind , but be assertive…and they will not view it as a weakness (veteran's will understand this better).
    Happiness is a mind set, not a destination, I think Bill needs to realize this.

  28. Jack says

    Bob. This is a touchy subject for me. Juramie has a sister who also has an American boyfriend. We are compared with everything we do. He is rude and has insulted my girlfriend on several occasions. He has told me lies abour her with the hope that I would breakup with Juramie (sadly, it almost worked.) This guy calls Juramie sister every 2 hours because he doesn't trust her and he forbid her to go to her home fiesta. It takes great effort on my part to undo the damage with friends and family from her barangay. I am always smiling when on cam. I talk to her relatives on Skype and try to be respectful at all times. I accept the fact that I will be compared with this individual. I hope that they can see me as a good person who wants to be their friend.

    I was sitting next to a Canadian on my second visit to the Philippines. He told me that he was visiting a filipina but he also had the phone numbers of 30 other filipina if things didn't work out. Luckily, the flight attendant moved me to a seat with more leg room before I would have punched the guy out. I felt bad for his filipina nobya because I knew he would be abandoning her quickly on the visit.

    Thanks for the post. We need discussions like this.

  29. says

    Hi Ron – Interesting thoughts, thank you for sharing. I have also thought about racism, bias and prejudice, and how it affects or enters the life of my kids. So far, I do not see that in them at all. They don’t seem to differentiate between people based on race at all, which is something I enjoy seeing.

  30. Jack says

    John. I had a similar comment from Kient’s 1st grade teacher when I visited his school in Tagbubunga. Mrs. Relon was surprised that I wasn’t older. I had a great time visiting the school and I read 2 books to his class. It was an amazing experience.

  31. deryl says

    This whole "you are a guest in there country" is just so wrong, yes its there country, but if you decide to live there it then becomes your country, and criticisms are allowed, just try to show a bit of class about it !

  32. John Rodgers says

    I went home giving this some thought. Melanie has been here since Oct. 02. A phrase comes to mind. BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER. Melanie has sought out Filipino company from day one. Our house is used as a HOUSE CHURCH. The pastor is Filipino, and everyone in it is too, except for a couple of American husbands. I attended once , so I could grill for them as they held their meeting. You guessed it the American husbands were outside with me discussing my technique…..lol

    I think it is natural to want to be with your own kind. The humor is understood. One can best express themselves in their own language. I use to attend the Filipino parties. I have to admit I was a complete outsider at these parties. The conversation was in their language. English coming into to play now, and then. They talked about home, and family. I see nothing wrong with this at all.

    The only reason I quit going was there were a couple of gossipers, and troublemakers. I don't want to have to pretend to be nice to them, so I just quit going.

    I know when foreigners move here. I want them to hold their traditions close to their hearts. I want them to be able to celebrate their holidays. I also want them to acclimate to my country. To learn the language, and not let their way intrude with what is American. As several have typed it is respect to do so.

    I will not have the same problems as most of you have making the transition to the Phils. I have been there, and I have traveled in small communities in what is considered third world countries for years. While I am in the Phils quite often Filipinos will talk to me in their language. I smile, and wait for them to finish. When they are done I ask them in English. How's your day going? The surprise on their face is priceless.

    As far Filipinos being excluded. I think that is wrong. I would like to see them allowed, but they would need to understand it is a culture meeting. If it is a meeting of complaints then these people should just go home. Michael is so very correct. We as foreigners are guest, and should give respect to the county we are in. I know this is what I expect of people coming into my country to live.

    I personally see nothing wrong with the phrase of my Filipina. I am sure Filipinos point out all the time that she is married to an American. If you are proud of who you are. Then what shame is there in it being pointed out what you are? I do not use the phrase, because I say my l'il brown love. I think these phrases are terms of endearment, and nothing else. This is my wife, this is my husband, this is my pet, this is my house. Can some one explain the difference to me?

    We can all see the rainbow, but no two of us see the same rainbow. It is different because of your point of viewing the rainbow. Same as in life. I think the most important interaction with another human is giving respect. Because our cultures are different at time there will be misunderstandings. In one culture what is thought respectful is not thought that way at all in another.

    Take the child placing the back of an older persons hand to their forehead. Many in America might think it is being submissive, and shameful. Something as simple, and elegant as this act that is beautiful will be found ugly in the eye of others.

    GREAT thought provoking thread, and a lot to learn for all of us. Including Mr. Matters too. Many times when we are uncomfortable, and unhappy we stay put. Always, because there is something stronger holding us there. I would be curious to know what holds Mr. Matters there if the Phils makes him so disgruntled?

    As far as the age difference. I am 22 years older than Melanie. I was looking for a lady closer to my age. Melanie approached me, and I told her to go away. I told her I have a child older than her. She explained her mother married 18 years difference, and her sister married 15 years difference. Both happy while her, and her other sister were miserable trying to raise a boy into a man, and found nothing but grief. So she had decided to look for an older man. The weak human I am I chose to find this reasoning perfectly acceptable….lol. She also said although she was willing to leave the Phils. She also wanted to return home to be with family.

    I am going to depart for now, but this thread will definately be on my mind………i2f

  33. Ron LaFleur says

    I have found the comments written about this topic extremely interesting. I personally have no desire to judge anyone based on perceptions. My wife is 40 I am 54 so I am not sure if the old geezer younger Filipina fits for me. When we married I took on the responsibility of her two sons and I have grown to love them as my own. My wife has also blessed me with a beautiful daughter that has totally changed my life for the better. When my wife got here to the states she felt some prejudice from people here. We discussed it and I told her that some women here were just jealous of her beauty and style. I would also say that certain Filipino stereo types have helped her. She is an RN and was offered a position at a hospital here based in part on the tremendous reputation of the Filipino nurses that work or have worked in that hospital. Being a Filipino she trully appreciates the opportunity that is presented to her here and she treats her employment accordingly. Americans (some, not all) treat their lives likes its one big entitlement with not much accountability. I teach school as you know and my class rooms are full of different cultures. I find it interesting that young children are not (yet) influenced by racial bias or prejudice. They accept each other as friend or not based on how they treat each other. Its a pretty cool mosaic to watch every day. What I know is that I appreciate Filipino culture and I look forward to the day that I can live there at least on a part time basis. In the end we are all just trying to get along and enjoy what our lives provide us. So smile and be happy. Its all we have.

  34. roy says

    Hello John Rodgers,
    You wrote:
    I personally see nothing wrong with the phrase of my Filipina. I am sure Filipinos point out all the time that she is married to an American…..This is my wife, this is my husband, this is my pet, this is my house. Can some one explain the difference to me?

    It may not be apparent to you but there is difference actually. From your example alone, you can spot the difference, i.e. MY Filipina vs AN American. The first one uses the possessive pronoun which is MY. & the other one is the indefinite article of AN. The possessive pronoun denotes, well, possession. You cannot possess a Filipino/a. I don't know why–but you just cannot. One might argue though like you that you can or cannot possess a husband or wife.

    But more than the grammatical difference, the use of the word Filipina as qualified or preceded by any possessive pronouns takes its early uproar when Europeans started to refer their very efficient domestics, nanny, caregivers as simply Filipina, example " Where did you get your Filipina?", "Thank God I have a Filipina at home", 'Please help me find a Filipina who can clean the house and take care of the kids as well".

  35. John Rodgers says


    That's very strange, because I just got off the phone with Melanie. I asked her if she would be offended by me using this term. She told me no, and I explained why I asked, and she laughed.

    There is a reason why they have a tape measure at the door of 7/11 stores. No 2 people are going to give the exact same description of what the robber looked like. At least they will be close on the heigth……lolololol

    As far as MY & AN. I am not a booksmart kind of guy. I do realise though that the description is coming from 2 different relationships. I am not trying to be difficult, but I see the term as a term of endearment. As I typed before is there shame in being called what you are?

    I guess it's okay for every Filipino to call out to an American Hey Joe? My name is not Joe it's John. Calling me Joe will not offend me, because I know it is a term for an American, or another person mistaken for an American. You can't have it both ways. I take Joe as a term of endearment also. Someone is trying to get that person's attention for many different reasons. Basically they wish somehow to communicate with them.

    When walking through Davao, and Hey Joe is called out. Every Filipino who hears the cry out loud knows the conversation is not directed to them.

    As far as owning. Melanie owns my heart, and dedication to her. In a sense she owns me, because my heart is who I am , and gives me life. I think of it as rather romantic for my wife to own me. She doesn't own me like a title to a car to be traded, or sold, but she does own me. Possibly this way of thinking scares some. To me it gives me pride to think that I, my heart, & my soul belong to Melanie.

    As I typed before 2 people standing side by side look at the same rainbow, but actually see slightly different rainbows, because of their viewpoint. You, and I simply see 2 different rainbows, and I agree to disagree…….BEST WISHES……..i2f

  36. John Rodgers says

    Has anyone given it any thought that when someone says MY. That it is said in pride. We all know the Filipino people have many wonderful qualities besides being attractive people. Once again 2 diffferent rainbows…….i2f

  37. says

    Interesting and provocative discussions. Although I completely disagree with "Bill Matters" point of view, we still need an opinion like his to stimulate discussions of the realities of life. There are always two sides of the coin and that there are people who have different views of living in the Philippines. Perhaps, there is "no real" Bill Matters, he just commented to attract attention in this web magazine. Calling your Filipina wife, my little brown girl, although meant as a term of endearnment is still offensive to me. How would you feel if your Filipina wife calls you in public, my big white old man and sugar Daddy?

  38. Paul Thompson says

    Hi Bob;
    I was telling Dave Starr about the “Ugly American” who lived up the road from me. He built a nice house, and quickly became a hermit. He spent his days fighting with his neighbors, and telling me how messed up this country is, (He used a different word) as I told Dave, I was tired of the purok coming to me to tell me about his latest BS. After three years here last month he packed it in and returned to the States. The day after he took off we threw a party.
    I’ll repeat here what I said to Dave on his blog: Two years ago I tried to help him adjust to living here in paradise, I explained that he was a guest in the Philippines, and like a guest in their house you are welcome to sit anywhere, but you can’t re-arrange the furniture. Living in someone’s country is the same as visiting their house, show respect!

  39. John Rodgers says


    First of all I don't say my li'l brown girl. I call her my li'l brown love. Big difference IMHO. Second she would never call me white guy, because I can pass for a relative of yours. Although I am big. I am more Hawaiian than anything else, and when I visit the Phils. People speak to me in their native tongue, so I guess that kind of shoots that remark down.

    If I was white, green, black, or any description you come up with. I would be proud of who I am. As I typed before my wife laughed when I asked for her response if I was to address her as my Filipina. She found nothing offensive at all in the remark. She knows she's Filipina, and very proud of it. When we sail into other countries we fly the flag of the Philippines as well as the American flag.

    You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. This thing being politically correct has gone wild……..i2f

  40. Jay McDowall says

    Yeah alot of my wife's acquaintances heard that she had a Kano suitor. So when they met me, they were shocked. I am only in my 30's and look like a mestizo. But as it pertains to the OA, the same thing happens here in Hawaii. People from the mainland come and try to change Hawaii, or grumble about how bad it is here. They never realize that the culture here is real different. Then the locals here start to judge every puti the same way. So even the good putis, like my dad, have to deal with the idea that all putis are bad. On the bright side, being Filipino here is no problem. My wife says it is just like PI here.

  41. says

    Hi Jody – I agree with you 100%. I also understand, though, that others feel differently about this "my" thing, and I suppose it is up to the couple to decide. It makes me bristle, though.

  42. Anthony says

    Hi Bob- personally I have not heard the term "my Filipina", and it is probably because I tend to avoid mixing with kanos married to Filipinos, both in the R.P and here in Aus. Unfortunately most of the kanos Ive met are very disrespectful to their wifes and the Philippine culture in general (whether they realise it or not), which is why I enjoy your site so much as I think most of your readers are genuine decent people who can respect other cultures.

  43. John Rodgers says

    A reminder I don't use the term my Filipina. I just don't see the negative in it's use. I am sure most here refer to a doctor as my doctor, my mechanic, my lawyer, etc. etc. We all know we are not trying to say we own them. It is an expression………i2f

  44. Randall Jessup says

    Hi Bob,

    You're mentioned on the bottom of page 362 in the Lonely Planet Philippines guidebook as having one of the top 5 websites about Mindanao which they identify as Mindanao.com .

    It goes on to say, " Long-time American ex-pat and Mindanao resident, Bob Martin's site has links to island-related news, blogs and up-dated sections devoted to the security situation in different provinces of Mindanao. "

    On page 383 they have a humorous comment about the Davao durian.
    It says, " The Davao durian is definitely an acquired taste which during its acquisition you may lose your interest in acquiring it !"

  45. ted says

    If I lived in Ph. and met a group of expats I'd be afraid to speak freely if local people are around. It might be reported… and I could be deported… for saying something wrong. In Thailand one can end up in jail just saying that a kingdom is something that might be out of style in modern times. Regarding citizenship – I waited just 3
    years to get Canadian. I don't know how many years and what would it take to get Ph. citizenship.
    People are 'reporting' on others everywhere. I once flipped my seat back in my company vehicle just to streach out my sore back for a minute and next day my supervisor is asking me why I am sleeping in company vehicle when I'm supposed to work. Co-worker reported… Lies, but still got me in trouble. There is no perfect Country and people are probably same everywhere. Just different cultures. But good and bad people everywhere. Ph. have a long way to go before one feels that is welcomed. I've been 3 times and was taken advantage off and robbed once in day light. Stll am not rejecting it as a place of retirement totally, but it's a long shot with all I know already…

  46. Paul says

    Hi Bob – What did you open up? As far as I can tell, the only way you can re-can all of the worms is to get a bigger can. :lol:

  47. John says

    Well why don't you jump on these age discrimatory comments like you did on Perry X's comments? Personally I sick to death of the smug arrogance of some of the people like John writing with comments like "old goats" etc marrying younger women. Who made these people judge and jury of our intentions and our worth because of age?

  48. John says

    John you said "Who am I to judge? It impacts me not one whit."
    Your ignorant discrimatory comments may not impact you but they offend me.
    Who are you to judge? Keep your ignorant arrogant holier than thou comments about others' lives to yourself in future.

  49. John S says

    I am calm but you can't be serious.
    Jody said "I find it a little strange to find 60 to 70 year old men with women aged twenty five to thirty five but I view this as a business arrangement."
    You tell me what else this means.
    In enlightened countries this sort of statement would attract attention under antidiscrimination laws.

  50. Dave K says

    Bob, took me twice as long to read the comments as the original article! Wow! I doubt you were counting on this article going in so many different directions.
    Do you seem to be wearing slightly rose colored glasses sometimes when referring to your adoptive counrty…..yes, a little, but Thanks, keep it that way. We need to be reminded to look at life in a positive way every day. Seems that there are enough people out there wanting to denegrate the Philippines, and argue with every one. Another forum that I automatically get postings from everyday has become a battleground of know-it-all experts, and seems to have hardly any meaningful purpose at all anymore. I would hate to see this site go the same way.
    Concerning age differences, lil brown comments etc…..it all depends upon the attitude of the person involved. As I sit typing, my 25 year younger than me wife is sitting on the bed with her feet upon my leg, reading over my shoulder. She has never seen age as an important factor in our marriage. We married each other for who that person is, deep down inside. I had no interest, or intention of marrying a foreigner of any kind, but six years ago, she contacted me through a website my sister signed me up for as a prank. Some prank! I ended up with a fantastic, loving wife, and three children that I am so thankfully blessed with.
    For 45 years and through a painful childhood, I endured stupid jokes and comments about the length of my nose. My wife almost worships my long nose! Again a cultural thing here. If not for the love that I know fills her heart towards me, I could find some of that attention towards my beak insulting and hurtful. But I know that it not her intent.
    Bottom line, it all depends upon the individuals involved, and the real intentions of their heart.
    Folks, be secure in your own situation, don't be so easily fired up by other posters words. I really doubt if that poster wants to belittle or upset you, and if he does…..well, like the old saying goes….sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Enjoy life, tolerate gracefully the negatives around us, and direct our love and passion towards that one person that God has made our better half, whether she be white, brown, black, or purple with pink polka dots. You will be a much happier man.

  51. Jody says

    Hello All.

    I am quite sorry if my post ofended anyone and I would like to apologise for my shrill and strident tone.

    I can assure everyone that I will not post again in this manner. I did not mean to give offence.

    I am an Irishman who has lived most of his life outside my native country. I have developed insights over the years into what it means to live life as an outsider. It is my view, that all immigrants are outsiders to some degree or other, no matter how hard they try and assimilate. I also have many failings and so I try to take those famous words from Matthew to heart, "Judge not and be not Judged".

    I enjoy this blog a great deal and I like Bob's way of handling matters.

    I wish all of you without exception, happiness and success.



  52. wildcat75 says

    For me constrcutive criticism about my country is fine for me as long as foreigners will not degrading our people coz as JOHN MIELE said Phils suffered so much already from the invaders, i know my country is not perfect and for me every nationalities are welcome to stay or visit the country specially if they are married to our own people, i don't think you're filipino family will put you in any danger or something, just respect our culture and try to blend in and for those who are afraid to address some issues regarding my country or my people, just do it in a more diplomatic way and i don't see anything wrong w/ that. it may serve also as an eye opener for those who are in office to try to change our way of life into better situation, this is the reason why i became a regular reader of your site BOB.

  53. says

    Bob, the person you wouldn't name, yet then went ahead and gave the link to my website is of course me, Perry Gamsby. I find your comments perplexing to say the least and wonder why you felt justified in making them. But then that is your bent as already mentioned by others, ie; that you don't permit anything other than the most positive of views about the Philippines and I agree, that is your right. As it is mine to offer a differing, more pragmatic view. I can see where, coming from your perspective, my remarks might be taken to include Filipinas as being amongst those things for sale, however of course that is not what was intended when I wrote them. For the record, that site; http://www.philippinesfinder.com is not mine but one produced by my marketing partner, I was merely advertising it on my Streetwise Philippines blog site. There is a Personals section on the page, that doesn't suggest advertisers there are selling themselves but then that is a matter of opinion, no doubt. I am sure you have read my eBooks, before writing yours, and you would therefore know my attitude to Filipinas and penpals and all of that, as well as my stand against the term, 'Mail Order Bride'. So I am not sure why you then went ahead to write as you did and cast sly and backhanded dispersions on my name, character and work. Anyway, as my Granny once told me; "Those what mind dunna matter and those that matter dunna mind." Congratulations on a well laid out web site, by the way, the layout, if not necessarily the content and tone, is a benchmark for others to chase. Cheers Perry Gamsby, MA(Writing), author of 'Philippine Dreams', 'Filipina 101', Filipina 202', Filipina Dreams', 'Making A Living In The Philippines', 'Philippines Property Primer', 'Philippines Survival Handbook' and several more, all available at that web site mentioned in the blog, http://streetwisephilippines.biz

  54. says

    To all,

    I am the creator of the new site Philippines Finder.

    There is a Personals Section which includes a Personal section which is a common feature of most other classified sites you will find on the internet.

    At first I thought the issue was with this site but now I see it is really in just how it was announced on the Streetwise Philippines blog. I was not the author and had not read the announcement up until now.

    I can see the point Bob is making but think it a bit of a storm in a tea cup but a valid point none the less.

    I think the inclusion of the word “Filipina” next to obvious commodities is unfortunate and would like to see it replaced with the term Personals.

    If you take a look at the Personals section you will see that it includes Activity Partners, Friends Only, Missing Persons, Public Notices as well as the relationship/dating orientated categories.

    The Personals section is actually empty right now but we do have entries in most other categories.

  55. says

    No Problem, Perry. I don't think we met before. I think you may be remembering meeting my good friend, Gene. He met you up in Cebu in 2002 or so. But, I was up in Cebu in 2001, and never went back until earlier this year.

    No problem on your rebuttal – I pretty much welcome all opinions here, as long as they don't start going personal and attacking others. But, as long as we are just talking issues, all views are welcome.

  56. Dr. Sponk Long says

    Hi Bob,

    I was in Eastern Kentucky (Appalachia) one day
    and heard this song: "My Filipino Baby".

    Researching on it…I conclude that this was probably a hit in the 1940's up to the closing of U.S. Military bases in 1990's.

    I can't figure it out who the original author/singer was: Ernest Tubb or Hank Locklin?

    If one one wants to hear it, go to youtube and search "My Little Filipina Baby".

    Here's the Lyrics:

    When the warship left Manila sailing proudly o'er the sea
    Many sailors hearts were filled with sad regret
    Looking backward to this Island where they spent such happy hours
    Making love to every pretty gal they've met
    Well up stopped a little sailor with his bright eyes all aglow
    Saying take a look my gal's photograph
    Then the sailors gathered round him just to look upon her face
    And he said I love my Filipino baby
    She's my Filipino baby she's my treasure and my pet
    Her teeth are bright and pearly and her hair is black as jet
    Her lips are sweet as honey and her heart is true I know
    And I love my little Filipino baby
    [ guitar ]
    In a little rustic cottage in the Port of Philippines
    Dwells a pretty little maiden all alone
    And she's thinking of her true love though he's far off cross the sea
    And her heart beats true for him and him alone
    Then one day he whispered darling I've come back from Caroline
    I've come back to claim the only girl I love
    And that night there was a wedding while the ships crew gathered round
    And he wed his little Filipino baby
    She's my Filipino baby…

  57. Jack says

    I agree with the comments about "my filipina." I will never refer to Juramie that way. It makes her sound like an object and not a person. We have been together for almost 2 years and I rather call her my asawa and she calls me her bana.

  58. says

    Bob, you really struck a nerve and backed yourself into a corner with this one! 137 comments and counting.

    One of these gentlemen, and I use the word loosely, need to be led back behind the wood shed and worked over with a stout piece of hickory firewood.

    Put his brain on a sharp edge of a razor blade and it would look like a grape rolling down a four lane highway.

  59. says

    Hi Rich – Ha ha.. I don't feel that I backed myself in a corner at all. I stand behind everything I wrote, and really, as far as I can tell only one person has really challenged what I wrote. I think we are talking about the same guy! :wink:

  60. Neil Alvarez says

    Hi there, Bob! Interesting article here (and so are the comments). Haha!
    Well, I myself wouldn't blame solely those people who advertise girls in the net coz those girls per se permitted that kind of activity to sell themselves. Let's just call Perry the "middleman". But frankly, I hate both parties (for the unthinking filipinas) to degrade themselves and (for the middlemen) to take advantage of the said filipinas' deficiencies.
    Secondly, clash between cultures are unavoidable both in language and action. They just have to understand and enlighten one another.
    And to those who hated Bob for his "sugar-coating": it might be that Bob understood the Philippines, the Filipinos, and its culture more fully than you.

    Best regards to you and your family!

  61. Neil Alvarez says

    To John S:
    Philippines don't have antidiscrimination laws BECAUSE WE ARE NOT A DISCRIMINATING AND RACIST country unlike those "enlightened" (really??? kuno???) countries.

    PS: Philippines is a free country. You can speak out your minds and nobody will deport you or put you to jail. But, of course, unless you're an illegal alien or a terrorist.

  62. Robert says

    Just want to say this is a good website. There are some statements from some on here that I do not agree with. My wife is Filipina and we have been married for 40 yrs. OCT 18. We were married here in the Philippines. My son and daughter are Filipino and American. Why do some catagorize by race. Get tired of that. Your personal business is between you and GOD and not others. Being a Christian I find no where in the BIBLE about that it is wrong for a older man to marry a younger woman. That is not my business. The way we treat people is GODS business. BOB has let me voice my opinion even about GOD. That will get you kicked off some websites. We should all treat the FIlipinoes and each other with respect. I do not catorize people by race. All Filipinoes are not the same. Neither are all Americans. We should treat others how we want to be treated. Beloved, if GOD so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 1 John 4:11

  63. says

    Hi Robert – Thank you, and congrats on a marriage lasting 40 years! That is a great accomplishment.

    I don't expect for you or anybody else to agree with 100% of what I write, something would be wrong if you did! But, we can enjoy a good discussion, and perhaps one of us or the other can reach a change of mind. Or, we can agree to disagree! Nothing wrong with that!

  64. says

    Bob I enjoy your site enormously and I've learned a lot from you and the other posters. But this comments thread and some others in the past illustrate the reasons I stay well clear of other kanos when I am in the Philippines and will continue to do so when I live there permanently (on an SRRV visa).

    As an Australian I have always been ashamed of the way many of my fellow citizens have treated immigrants, even though our government actively encourages them to come and live in the country. Now I cringe when I read kanos boast about rorting tourist visas to migrate to Phils via the back door, and then complain now they 'live' here that things aren't to their satisfaction, as if it's still a US colony to be run for the benefit of superior Westerners.

    I cannot think of another country in the world that is more tolerant of visitors who stay indefinitely. The notion that people on tourist visas have no resident rights whatsoever is clearly one that sticks in the craw of many people, but that does not make it any less true.

  65. says

    Hi Ken – Thanks for sharing your views, and I am happy that you enjoy the site. I hope you can participate in the discussion more!

    You know… even though they may be vocal, these complainers are really in the minority. They bitch and moan, but in the end they stay here! Somehow, they must not be as unhappy as they make you believe!

    I live here permanently on a 13(g) Immigrant Visa, and I agree with you that the Philippines is very tolerant, letting people live here on a tourist visa for up to 16 months, then just a quick trip out of the country and it restarts the clock for another 16 months! The US would never even consider such a thing!

  66. says

    Hi Bob, I meant no offence to people who live here on tourist visas; only to point out that a few confuse their status with that of the people who own the place.

    The attitudes I find most objectionable are the "if you don't like the girl send her back and find another one" variety. Yes I know again it's a minority but I prefer not to risk having to deal with them at all.

    I don't consciously avoid other kanos but I never see any here in Navotas (well except for an occasional missionary and I do avoid them :p) and I don't have any inclination to go looking for them.

  67. Janice Reynes says


    This is such an enlightening exchange of opinions especially for someone from the other side of the fence, me being Filipino. This time, I have more reason to do good at teaching my pupils about life and culture.

    Thank you for always trying to be fair in dealing with everybody's opinion, Bob!

    I look forward to learning new perspective everytime I visit any of your sites.

    May everyone find some good reason to visit and/or stay in the Philippines. Enjoy!

  68. Jon says

    I already hermitize in my rural setting here in the USA, tinkering with my rain barrels, "75 Unimog, home maintenance, and researching the micro-hydro power system I dream of building to power my simple retirement home in the Philippines. I figure I can hermitize in a rural provincial part of the Philippines just the same :) Ironically, I'm more at ease and social with the Filipinos I meet in my travels than I am back in USA, and I definitely smile more in the Philippines.

    When I show up for a month in the Philippines I have only a medium-sized daypack on my back. I'm probably anticipating simpler accommodations than the average visitor. Just reading this thread caused me to realize how completely absent was any urge to find "my kind" during my trips. The thought to meet expats or other American tourists in a social setting has never entered my mind. I'll hope this is a good indication I'm a prime expat candidate. Hope so.

    As for the possessive phrase "my filipina". That has always bothered me… Actually, I don't say "She's a filipina". I don't know why but instead of "filipina" I naturally say "she's from the Philippines." And again, this thread caused me to realize this for the first time. Must be some subconscious reason I don't naturally use "filipina", but I have no idea what it is.


  69. John says

    Bob ,
    I just finished reading all the post and it is sad that people are worried about what we call our wife.I don't care what she calls me as long as she doesn't call me late for dinner.

  70. says

    Roy – I am sorry, but you are incorrect. Foreigners do not have the right of free speech in the Philippines and can be jailed or deported for saying things against the government. Just marching in anti-GMA marches has gotten foreigners deported from here.

    I wrote an article about this in 2005, which you can read here. I quoted a story in the Inquirer in which the Commission on Human Rights declared that foreigners had no right to free speech here. Unfortunately, the story is no longer on the Inquirer website, but I have parts of the story quoted.

  71. Neil Alvarez says

    Roy, you may be wrong. The term I used was in itself illegal. So by definition and intention in itself is illegal and unlawful. We know we can't argue with that term because it's "illegal", right?
    And what I meant with free speech is voicing "one's opinion" just about anything and everything under the sun. Yes, anything and everything! Your statement, "One has to stand by the statements made, & defend it in a court of law" is by all means ridiculous and shallow. What is this, martial law??? I wonder how many protesters were jailed because they implecably shouted, painted, wrote, printed, advertised, blogged their concerns and accusations against, for example, the present government? 100%? 90%? 80%? 70% of them? No, Roy. Voicing out one's opinion, particularly in our country, is a gauge, a sign of a healthy and strong democracy.

  72. paul portem says

    Nice article Bob. God bless. Do be careful as just knowing you live in Mindanao sends shiver to my spine. I grew up in PI unti l twelve then move to CA. Have seen an uncle go insane PTSD after his tour in Mindanao. He was in the PI army. The story was that he was one of three who survived the Massacre of Moslem Insurgents of his company or platoon. Sorry for the gory detail. TC.

    • says

      There is no reason to shiver at the thought of Mindanao. Perhaps there was a day for that, Paul, but for the most part Mindanao is peaceful these days. Yes, there are isolated areas of trouble, but the majority of the island is quiet and beautiful.

  73. AmericanLola says

    Yes, it make me bristle when I heaar that! I do not think you are over sensitive at all! But look at those websites… advertising Filipinas like a comodity. No surprise that those who 'buy' should view what they got by the name it was called.

  74. says

    oh, thank you, mita. i also wince when i see that term used. i am so glad that a filipina like you finally pointed that out.

    bob – well said. you pointed things out perfectly. i don't assume that all cultures are perfect. i have been critical of mine as well. there is truth to how there is some unfair perception on foreigners(for the lack of a better term) being created due to some quite visible bad apples (and just to be fair, some bad habits from a few on my own side when overseas as well.

    i have witnesses many locals complain about what you wrote & i am just glad that there are sources like this site that dispells the caricature of a foreigner that is easy to assume.

    to be frank, one of the last things we need to see is a commodifying of a person then having the practice defended by any commenter.

    it simply does not behoove someone to sell a "filipina" like cars & real estate, or exclude a certain group of people in your group based on their ethnicity.

    that expat group might as well expand as a golf club & it will fit in easily to a certain painful past in US history. that type of exclusion is one psychological step away from separate drinking fountains… in our country of birth.

    sorry, bill m. & whoever might think any criticism of this practice is an affront to their personal freedom.

    this site has developed a good enough reputation of pointing out the good & bad things of living in the philippines, as well as respecting dissenting opinions (like i sometimes do). there is mutual respect & yet no sugar coating here.

    this is why i continue to frequent this site. because if it were not fair to anyone's background or heritage (yours or mine), trust me, this is one filipino who would have left this site long ago.

  75. pete says

    I metmy maganda lady in Iraq 5 years ago. I never knew this !! I have been on other sites and asked whether I should refer to her as pinay or filipina and have been told than pinay could be considered rude—I don't think they put together that I was wanting to refer to her as my Filipina or pinay GF….And it never crossed my mind that it might be considered bad or rude.

    Thinking over all our chats and letters, I wanna believe outside of calling her my lady, hon, sweety, mahal etc, I have not actually referred to her nationality.

    Thanks for educating me!

  76. says

    Hi John – I can't say for sure what he meant, but can only take the words in black and white. If he spoke wrongly, he should come back and correct the error.

    As for the group – women are allowed! As long as they are not Filipina women. Filipinos are not allowed – men or women.

  77. John Miele says

    Bill: I can tell you that I try to write about both good and bad things here… The purpose of this site is to help expats who wish to move here. Sugar coating things does not make anything honest, and I try to keep a balanced perspective. I can also tell you that Bob has never edited so much as a single word of anything I have written, and I can safely assume that this applies to the other writers on this site. This site is truly one of the few resources on the Net where an expat can get real information.

  78. says

    I do love the Philippines, Bill, warts and all. No place on the earth is perfect. One of the biggest let downs about the Philippines is having to deal with people like you!

  79. Gale says


    I am a Filipina. This is my country and despite of the flaws of this country – I love the Philippines – it is my birthplace. Now, if you are not happy here – get your butt out of here! Go back to the US where you belong. Besides, don’t complain about the people and the culture here, be thankful instead that the Filipinos welcome you to this country – beggars can't be choosy – you are here for the cheap cost of living so live with it or get your A** out of my country!

  80. says

    Hi Ron – Don't worry much about Bill… he is only trolling here, trying to spark some reaction. As a matter of fact, Bill is not even his real name. He claims to hate this site, but he can't stay away from it! Ha ha.. oh well…

    I agree with you, who we hang out with, and who we don't gives a big indication of who we are!

  81. Bill Matters says

    Ron you are correct I did say the site when I meant to say specifically Bob's articles. I do enjoy the candour and objectivty of those other writers you speak of or I would not be visiting here.

  82. says

    Hi Paul – Yep, the reputation of Americans is formed by those who came before we did. Dark windows on our SUV's, locked in compounds, etc… it's all part of the folklore!

  83. says

    Hi Jody – Oh, you must have mis-read my column. I did not say women are not allowed to join this group! I said that Filipinos are not allowed to join. If you are a non-Filipino woman, you are free to join. I just don't think it's right that here in the Philippines they form a group that Filipinos cannot attend.

  84. John says

    Jody you are an ignorant cow. Your statement "I find it a little strange to find 60 to 70 year old men with women aged twenty five to thirty five but I view this as a business arrangement" is an arrogant low life piece of judgementalism by someone who is obviously a LOSER in life.
    Have a look at yourself before you start making these broad ranging judgemental statements about others. You are a disgrace!
    I take offense for my wife and don't consider we should be labelled as such because I am 60 and she is 35.
    Bob if this is the sort of rubbish you allow on your site you should have a loook at your own standards in running the site.
    Not happy.

  85. John Miele says


    It truly was priceless, and the few times I saw it happen, I really was proud of her!

    As to my language skills, the best I've been able to accomplish so far is to learn a few words… Traipsing around all over the world has really proven a hinderance in this regard. I've somewhat resigned myself that until I can sit still here for a while, learning the language will be difficult (Though the few words I have managed to learn have occasionally been beneficial).

  86. Jody says

    Yikes Bob, I did indeed misread what you wrote.I understood what you wrote as women being not allowed join the social group.

    Personally I would not want to join any group or association in the Philippines who excluded Filippinos. I find this kind of behaviour bizarre to put it mildly. I assume the members of the group are westeners like myself.

    Personally I like the Philippines because of the people. I am reasonably comfortable and I believe I could retire anywhere in the world and not sweat it. I have found the scenery in many other locales to be much more spectacular. I have found many more locations to be less polluted. I have found many other locations to have much better drinking water, beer, food and wine. I have found many other countries to have better roads, trains ect. I have found countries that have much better medical systems; and the list goes on and on. Do not get me started on the postal system.

    However I have to say that I have never met the likes of the Filippino people anywhere else in the world.

    I am an old Irishman and I have to confess that I felt intensely angry when this particular association in the Philippines told me that I had to have a British Passport in order to join. Perhaps long dormant tribal emotions were stirred up.

    After a little reflection however, I realised how silly these people were and how hugely small minded and petty. Some of the foreigners I meet in the Philippines make me cringe with embarrassment but such is life.

    I am quite content when I am in the Philippines to have only Filippinos as company. I certainly do not go out of my way looking for expats.

    Best to all


    PS: Pardon all the typos; it has been a long day.

  87. says

    Hi Bruce – regarding the foreigner group… I understand their reason for the policy, I simply think it is wrong. If they have problems with the Philippines, a sympathetic group of Filipinos would best be able to help them! I don't think a Filipino would have a problem going to a group where a foreigner is saying something like "I really need help, because I am having a hard time understanding why or how things work here." I feel that Filipinos are the type of people who would go out of their way to help. Now, if that same foreigner were just complaining and bitching about Filipinos, then a Filipino would justifiably get upset! As would I.

  88. says

    Hi Mita – Like I just replied to AmericanLola, yes, praise comes in too. But, I guess the judgment that I am talking about is from people who don't know us, and don't have interaction with us. People across the room, or who we pass on the streets. They think we are "like all the others," if you know what I mean.

  89. roy says

    Hello Dave, so do you think then that being deported or being blacklisted is "more imagined than real" for most foreigners? Some writers here remind other foreigners on how easy it is easy to be deported. Do you think foreigners here are being arbitrarily deported?

  90. says

    Hi Randall – I'm mentioned in the latest Lonely Planet Philippine Guide? No, I didn't know anything about it! What did they say about me, if you don't mind my asking… I hope it wasn't bad! :wink:

  91. roy says

    Hi Bob, that is why I invest my time in your site and Rusty's site as well. I feel that a foreigner who comes to the Phil is vulnerable to things you do not want to happen when you're having a holiday. Or staying there for quite sometime. ( It was John's G that got me interested, BTW) And going back to the point of your article, I feel bad if another Filipino does the foreigner a bad thing. I feel ashamed too and feel for the foreigner who has nobody there. So I try to give an insider's view on what not to be upset, what to watch out for. Like this dude in another site who claims Filipinos are racists bec he's always called "hey joe" and that he is assumed immediately as american when he's not. Sorry off topic.

  92. says

    I agree with you mostly. But as you know, I like and respect Filipinos but sometimes a foreigner will say something innocently, or in a joke that the Filipino does not understand and will take it as an insult. I see it at home. I might say something with no malice intent and Elena feels I have insulted her. Sometimes it takes days to clear the air. Another problem I have seen at meetings or even a few couples get together, where as someone is speaking, the Filipinas start talking in bisaya and not respecting the speaker.
    I do prefer to have Elena with me most everywhere but at times have to reminder someone, or even I am speaking.

  93. says

    Hi John – Let me just point out that I have never, ever said anything about people's ages in relationships. Feyma and I are only 6 to 7 years difference. But, I don't personally care if a couple is 50 years apart, if they are both happy with that. It makes no difference to me. You don't specifically say in your comment that my stand is against it, but you say the "blog authors" are against such age differences, and I have simply never said that.

  94. John Miele says


    If you misread my comment, then I apologize for it. Hey, if you and your wife are happy, then great! Who am I to judge? It impacts me not one whit.

    However, I do want to relay this story to you about when I first met Rebecca's family. I arrived at the house, and the first thing her older brother said, even before "Hello", was, "Thank God he's not eighty!" Now, for him to say that, never having met me, indicates that the situation other people have commented on most certainly exists here. Their town gets virtually no outside visitors, yet he had heard enough to make that judgement about me before he had ever met me or knew who I was.

    Bob's topic was related to why expats are judged by the actions of others. The bottom line is that the Philippines has developed a reputation as a destination for those seeking wives and for sex tourism. This doesn't apply to everyone who chooses to live here, yet we are all often painted with the same brush, regardless of the circumstances. (Hell! Rebecca is a few years older than me… When we were dating, I returned to the States and received a "mail order bride" comment from a relative.)Realistically, there are a lot of women here that enter into relationships for money, rather than love. In the forum, there is a thread about visit visas for Filipinos to the States. My wife and I are legally married, and adopted a son here, and I'm based here, paying US taxes, yet it is very difficult for me to get her a visa to visit my family. Why? It is, in part, due to the perceptions and reputation the Philippines has, real or imagined.

    Let's face it… I'm betting that if there is a 30 year difference in age between you and your wife, you even heard remarks about it in the States. I'm also guessing that you anticipated running into these perceptions before you even married.

    Again, I'm sorry if I offended you… That was not my intention to paint everyone with a broad brush stroke, but the fact of this perception is here, like it or not.

  95. says

    Hi Michel – Firstly, I am not angry or upset at Perry. I am simply pointing out something that I observed. And also, I am using what Perry said as an example of something I see in person regularly. If Perry made a mistake, so be it. However, he leaves no means of contacting him – comments are not allowed on his site, and there is no link to contact him. The only links there are for buying products. So, let me just emphasize that I am not angry at Perry, I simply disagree with what he said.

    As for the expat club, if they want to have such a policy, that is their business. But, as I said in my article, I choose not to participate, and it is specifically because of that policy. Let's put it like this… Feyma is a US Citizen. She is not a Philippine Citizen. She lived in the States for 10 years. She thinks like an American nearly 100% of the time. But, she is not welcome to go there with me. Thus, I choose not to attend either. It's that simple. I am not angry, I don't pace the floor for hours thinking about it. I just don't participate, and I chose to make it part of my column today. Doesn't mean that I am all rabid about it, though.

  96. says

    Hi mike – I don’t think that being referred to as a guest means anything about money. The fact is that you are indeed a guest if you come and live here. The only way you could change that is if you become a citizen.

  97. says

    i am proud and fortunate to be born a say i am an american no offense but why would i want to be a Filipino citizen ,all the Filipinos i know that move to the usa become american citizens .

  98. says

    but it is a big game i notice with Filipinos they become citizens of america then they apply for dual citizenship and recovery there Philippine citizenship back so do they really have respect for being an american or are they just opportunists and taking advantage of america , similarly like americans take advantage of the Philippines !

  99. says

    i wish i had a dollar for every time my wife misunderstands my language Filipinos don't understand sarcasm ! they take things very literally ! and get upset at real silly nonsense type things ! from being on this site and reading about all the negative things!i think i have come to a conclusion i am not moving to the Philippines anymore ! I definitely don't like being reminded that i am a guest,(in another words we will tolerate you until your money runs out ) the difference between the USA and P.I. is that people come from all over the world to make money in the USA but in P.I. people just go there to save there money!

  100. says

    Hi Bruce – For Filipinos to start talking in Bisaya (or Tagalog) is not something I consider disrespectful, it is their language after all! I can assure you that there are plenty of Filipinos who think it is disrespectful for a foreigner to live here permanently and not make an effort to learn the language. Now, if you mean that somebody is in the middle of speaking, and then they are ignored and a Bisaya conversation breaks out while they in mid sentence, well then I agree that it is disrespectful.

  101. Jody says

    Hi John

    I have lived in many places over the years including some years in Nigeria, West Africa. It was quite common for white men to say casually to each other such things like "I will tell my boy to wash the car" or "I will tell my boy to go to the market".

    I do not wish to provoke anyone but I do believe 'my Filippina" is very similar to "my Boy". Both of these terms clearly imply possession. It is simply not possible to own a Hausa or a Filippina. I would not appreciate my wife saying this is "My Irishman". I do not belong to my wife. LOL

    Language is very difficult and can mean different things to different people. We have to be very cautious vis a vis language.



  102. Jody says


    I believe I have been shrill and I apologise. It is not my form. At the end of the day what I call someone in the family unit, or how I address them is the family's business.

    You seem to be a real gentleman and I applaud you for your cool and reserved responses.

    This blog is by far the best I have seen to do with the Philippines and this is in large part due to the measured and thoughful posts and replys given by its diverse readership.

    My 'shrillness' has no place in this blog and once again my apologies.

    I believe there is an old Ilocano saying that goes something like this in the English translation' 'the fish always get caught by the mouth". LOL

    I will do better in the future.



  103. Paul Thompson says

    My buddy whose name is Joe, brags to everybody, that he’s the most well known Kano in Luzon. He never gets offended. He might be right, only a very few holler "Hey Paul!"

  104. roy says

    Hi John R., But you ignored my last paragraph on why MY Filipina is offensive to some and not offensive to some like your Melanie. :-) By itself, MY Fil is not offensive. But then there's the social context w/c makes some pinoys/ays cringe when they hear that. They must have read or must have known about the uproar among Filipinos in Europe. Aside from the examples I gave you, there was a time also that Filipina meant "domestics" in some European dictionary. Filipinos do not like the phrase "MY Filipina" bec that's a throwback to the time when MY Filipina meant MY domestic helper.

    By all means, you can refer to each other any way you want ( I'm sure Manong Paul here has been referred to as "lakay ko" by his ilocano wife w/c means literally My Old Man) but do understand why some people do not like the " MY Fil" expression. They must have known its social context. People who do not take offense over that probably do no know the controversy then. Personally though, I will not take it against people who would use that term esp if they do not know about there was a time that Filipinos and its govt protested about that.

  105. says

    Hi brian – Nice to hear from you. Yeah, I agree, try to respect everybody, that will go a long way toward being better respected yourself. I do my best, sometimes it is hard. :wink:

  106. says

    Hi John – I agree with you that expats should be able to have a meeting with each other, and that Filipinos should not be excluded, but should also understand that it is an expat meeting being held. Respect should go each way. But, with this group I mention, that is not the case. If a Filipino attends, they must go wait in a different room. I don't go for that.

  107. pete says

    I strongly agree with your 7th para about the use of the term Filipina. I have always thought of the term in an endearing way. But realizing that not all do, I have decided I will be careful in how I use it.

  108. pete says

    My Mom was 32 and my Dad 70 when I was born. Love is love; age differences play a part for sure, but is usually not a major variable.

  109. says

    I do agree this is their country and Tagalog is the national language and depending where you live there is a local dialect or language. But, with the PRRA program, they advertise English is spoken here.

    That was my point with cross talk.If you remember the meetings you sometimes attended, while someone was speaking, there is a buzz of the Filipinas attending talking to each other.

    At the first meeting of a new group, there were two woman towards the back of our meeting room, one was a companion of one of the foreigners. At the beginning of the meeting everyone was told to respect the speaker. I guess they were too busy talking to hear that.

    For most of the meeting, these two women talked nonstop. The foreigner companion eventually moved away from their table to hear better. I asked him if they would be talking the whole time. They eventually stopped when we all turned to look at them, but that was in the closing remarks of the speaker.

  110. says

    Hi Anthony – I hear that "my filipina" online all the time, and I just don't care for it. Of course, each couple can say what they want, it just doesn't sound good to me. I know that I would never say that.

    I'm glad that you enjoy this site and it's visitors and participants!

  111. says

    Hi Deryl,

    Yes critisim is allowed – even though you are a guest in their country – but only if stated with respect! and the one stated in the above example that I commented was not respectfull. Also if you move you should 90% try to adapt to their culture instead of trying to change it – if the last is what you want you should stay at home!

  112. Ken from SC says

    Hey Bob –

    I respect you a lot because you do allow dissenting posts on your blog.

    I wonder if Bill is a troll looking for a fight?


  113. says

    Hi ted – If you lived in the Philippines and had things to say that were that bad, if you were sincere and trying to improve things, I think that your words would be accepted without giving you trouble. If you were just wanting to bitch and complain without being sincere about making changes, then perhaps it would be better for you not to live here anyway. Just an observation.

  114. says

    Hi Ken from SC – This fellow "Bill" is not really who he says he is anyway. I know him, I know his name, and I've even met him in person before (unfortunately). He is indeed a troll. He has used 15 or 20 different names on this site in the past trying to stir trouble. I thought he was already gone, and have loosened up on him a bit. But, his latest rantings are actually quite mild compared to some things he has done in the past. He has actually even gone on other websites bad mouthing my kids! Can you imagine, a grown man doing that?

    Anyway, I have no problem with dissenting opinions. My problem is when people start making it a personal vendetta – that goes too far.

  115. pete says

    Maybe, a lot are like me; I honestly did not know this until tonight–call me ignorant and clueless…but, even though you bristle, I hope you will please not hold it against someone when you here this. Instead educate as you have done here. Do not ladies there ever refer to their gentlemen as their Kano hubbies or BFs?

    Thanks, Bob. I really enjoy this site. Due to circumstances in my honey's and my life, I don't know with a 100% certainty we will ever be "together"…..but I always like planning and preparing and being knowledgeable in the event blessings occur.

  116. pete says

    Just more misunderstanding in language useage I believe–so is best to avoid the use of "my".

    I would think that talking in a nice way about "my Filipina" demonstrates how blessed and glad that one is to have her in his life and is his rather than a different man's…he cherishes her…

    …see …I think the way many of us have used it is meant as endearin and a positive…

    …we didn't understand it could be taken in a different meaning.

  117. says

    John – If you have a second look at the comments, you will see that he apologized for some of his statements. He was simply stating his personal opinion, and you, John, are also free to give your opinion.

  118. says

    Hi John – You seem a tad bit touchy. As I have stated on this thread and many other times on this site, I personally have no problem with two adults of any age entering into marriage, as long as they are both happy, more power to them. If you have a problem with what John said, perhaps you should address him, instead of me who really has no problem with the age thing.

  119. says

    John – you are free to express your opinion, as John is. However, you are getting personal with several of your comments. And, you have no right to tell others to keep their opinions and comments to themselves. Tone it down, or I will be forced to moderate your comments.

  120. JohnM says


    I really could care less about you and your wife's ages. If you are both happy, then fine. It really makes no difference to me… My life goes on nonetheless.

    Again, this article was about "Why are foreigners treated differently based on the actions of others", and, like it or not, the very large number of couples here with far older men marrying young girls impacts the perception of all foreigners. That statement is fact… and my example is a perfect illustration of that.

    There were no personal attacks in any statement I have made and I didn't talk down to either you or your spouse. I would suggest that if you are so offended by the term "old goats" then you take a look inward and think about "why?", rather than simply lashing out. Regardless of your response, I still stand by my assertion. Indeed, take a look at the original web site Bob referenced above and all of the content about "mail order brides" and "Filipinas prefer older, fatter men" and so on. Look at who this web site is targeting and why? As long as the Philippines has this reputation, foreigners will be treated differently here. If you are offended, once again, I'm sorry, but the facts are undeniable… Your personal situation contributes to the perception of foreigners, as does all of our situations. Sticking your head in the sand will never benefit you. The sheer number of marriages in this country between old foreigners and very young women still changes local perception, and that perception impacts how all foreigners are viewed.

  121. John says

    Bob there is a double standard here. You condemn Perry for his comments about filipinas for sale but you allow to pass unchallenged ignorant judgemental comments about filipinas marrying someone older as essentially prostituting themselves or in a business transaction. I take this as a tacit acceptance of this rubbish on your site.
    If I appear a bit p….d off about it it is because I am sick of these smart a… comments from people who on the other hand portray themselves as such fairminded educated people.

  122. says

    John – I have been clear that I have no problem with marriages with an age difference. Nobody here has said anything about anybody prostituting themselves, or anything even close to that.

    There is no double standard. Everybody is free to share their opinion, as long as they don't get personal, and remain calm about it.

  123. says

    Dave K – What you have said in your comment reflects all of the things in my mind, to a tee. Very well thought out, very well stated too.

    Fact is, I have been refraining from commenting too much, or getting into it too deeply, because I am pretty sick right now and have been for a few days. My throat is so sore that I cannot talk, eat or drink! Yesterday I thought I was starting to feel better, but today it is much worse. So, because of this, I have been a little quieter than I normally would want to be on this.

    I have always said that I prefer to look at the positive side of things. I do point out problems here, but when I do go into the downsides, I still try to look for a positive note about it. There are tons of sites about the Philippines that are 100% negative, but not many (maybe no others??) that really try to focus on the plus side. I don't apologize for that (not saying that you asked me to, but others act like it is a sin). I think that being positive in our outlook is important, and I try to live that way. I don't always succeed, but I succeed a lot more now than I did back when I focused on the negatives!

    Thanks for helping me out by summing up my feelings about this whole comment thread, at a time when I don't feel too much like doing it myself. :grin:

  124. says

    Hi Jody – I personally think that you handled yourself well in your interaction here. For those offended, you apologized (twice now). Your original comment was stated in a way that was not personal, although clearly some were offended.

    I hope you will continue to participate in the site.

  125. Jody says

    Hi Bob

    Thank you. I will of course continue to participate in this wonderful forum that you have organized.

    I came across the Blog in an article in the Financial Times of all places and I have enjoyed reading it since that time. The FT was discussing Mindinao, and its huge mineral resources; the writer maintained that many people associated terrorism with the Southern Philippines and that these perceptions were inaccurate. Your blog was briefly mentioned; the context being that Western expats were living in the Davao region. The article basically gave a favorable slant on the prospects of the Mining industry in Mindinao.

    I believe you are living in an area (Mindinao) that is going to experience massive growth over the next twenty years or so and if I was thirty years younger I would head to such a place and take my chances. Commodities are going to get scarcer going forward and I would imagine there will be enormous opportunities for people willing to take a chance.

    I thought to myself that I should read this Blog and with the help of a Google search —well here I am.



  126. says

    Hi Jody – Indeed, Davao is on the brink of big expansion, I believe. We are already starting to see that, and it scares me! Development in the City is so rapid that the infrastructure cannot keep up. Hopefully, this will be addressed as the City continues to grow.

  127. says

    Hi Philippine Finder – I was actually making a bigger point, not just writing about the announcement of your site, but using it as an example of the point which I was talking about, which is the insensitive way that some foreigners speak or do things here, which affects how all foreigners are looked upon.

    Anyway, I am glad that you addressed the issue here. I have no problem with the site, rather just a slight issue with how it was announced. I did go over and check out the site, and I hope that you make a success of it.

    Good luck!

  128. says

    Hi Perry – I chose not to use your name, because I did not want to point to you as the author of the article. At the time I did not realize that your name was shown on the site that I linked to.

    Actually, if you read my site, you would realize that your evaluation is wrong. I personally write plenty of articles about things that are negative here in the Philippines and should be improved. I do love the place, and I like most of what I find here, so more articles are positive than negative. But to say that I "don't permit anything other than the most positive views of the Philippines" is simply untrue, my friend.

    Truth is, Perry, I have never read any of your eBooks. If you check your sales records, you will not find my name among your customers, so no, I have not read them. I have talked to people who read them, and most reviews were positive, but I have not read any myself.

    If you felt that I "cast sly and backhanded dispersions" on you personally, I am sorry you think that. That was not my intention. What I pointed out in my article was simply one thing that you wrote, not a comment about the entirety of your work. Overall, Perry, I have a generally positive feeling about you, although we have never met (we do have mutual friends, though). I don't think I said anything personally about you in my article, only commented on that one line in your article. I do feel that the specific statement was a bit out of bounds, and should probably be changed. Based upon the comment left by your "marketing partner" I suppose he feels the same, as he said he wished it were changed to "Personals" instead of "Filipinas" which I also feel would be more appropriate.

    However, the way you said it is certainly your right, and I don't dispute that. I also have a right to comment what I think about it. And, such comment is not a personal comment about you, nor was intended as such.

    Take care.

  129. says

    Fair enough then, Bob, we'll leave it there. I did agree the wording could be taken the way you and no doubt others did, reminder to me to be less in a hurry in future when posting to the web! I think we did meet once, in 2002 in Cebu but I could very much be mistaken. Thank you for posting my rebuttal. Cheers Perry

  130. Michael says

    Hi John,
    I must say I am surprised and disappointed by a number of the comments on this topic. As someone you most probably would classify as an "old goat" because I am on the wrong side of 55 married to a younger filipina, I don't understand some of the points you are making.
    I also don't see why Jody would need to classify such marriages as financial arrangements. I don't want to read those sort of comments here because I find them insulting as I am sure a lot of other "old goats" would who visit this site.
    I don't see my happy loving marriage as creating an unfavourable perception there so what would I and other old goats be "hiding our heads in the sand" about? Should we fess up that we are all just dirty old men, accept that our wives just married us for our money and beg forgiveness?
    My experience tells me that older people are respected in the Philippines and lots of filipinas respect and prefer older husbands because of their maturity, wisdom and reliability compared with younger filipinos.
    John I get the impression that you don't really respect older guys or don't think that they have anything to offer their wives or maybe to society as a whole or why would you push this line. It sort of fits in with the view held by some "young goats" that once a guy is over 40+ he is unemployable, his opinions irrelevant and he is basically useless and should step aside.
    What about the many obese, fat, ugly or plain dumb younger foreigners who can't get a nice girl back home who go there to marry pretty slim simple filipinas – how does that impact on local perceptions? Or broke or low life foreigners who move to the Philippines to live because of the cheap cost of living or losers who move there because they can't make it or fit in back home?
    These are all nasty generalisations which offend those who are targeted but contribute absolutely NOTHING positive to the perception of expats.

  131. Spencer says

    I agree that learning the language is quite important. I truly want to surround myself with the natives when I get there. I intend to be at least partially fluent in the language, and to become at least functionally literate as well. As far as surrounding myself? Let's see….considering Filipinas to be the more beautiful of the females in the world, I fear I may be one of the "old goats" referred to in several of the posts. I may be criticized by many, but I won't care. I'll always know who I am, and what I'm about – and it's not one of the "Ugly Foreigners".

  132. roy says

    Actually Neil, even if you are an "illegal alien" as you've mentioned, our Constitution affords everyone civil liberties which include but is not limited to free speech. Non-Filipinos love to point out that there is no free speech for them here. But they do not offer any proof or even share any anecdotes that their right to free speech has been infringed or anyone who exercised his right to free speech and has been jailed and deported for it. Meanwhile, these non-Filipinos spew observations in their blogs pointing out 'mulcting during Christmas(pan handler demands money and you can't refuse)" as Filipino Christmas tradition. While our Constitution guarantees everyone free speech, that does not mean that one can automatically say anything without being responsible for his statements. One has to stand by the statements made, & defend it in a court of law. Can you imagine what kind of world we'll have if anyone can say garbage to anybody without that person be held accountable for it?

  133. says

    Hi Jon – In recent years I have gotten like that too, that I don't really seek out foreigner companionship. I have some foreigner friends, but it's not something I go out looking for anymore.

  134. roy says

    Hello Bob, I'm incorrect? Or we just differ on the interpretation of sec.4 , Art 3 of the Phil Constitution which provides among others the freedom of speech. To whom does the law apply ? The Bill of Rights start off in sec 1. No person shall be deprived of life,…, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
    The above provision guarantees all (NO PERSON SHALL BE DEPRIVED..NO PERSON means it does not admit of any class of human beings) the equal protection of the laws. If a Filipino citizen has freedom of speech in the succeeding Bill of Rights, it follows that the same right be enjoyed by everyone, foreigner, alien etc. The Constitutional provision did not make any distinction between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. Since I am basing my position on my understanding of the Phil Constitution, I should adhere to the elem principle of statutory construction applicable here: when the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish.

  135. says

    Hi roy – I don't argue that in theory you are 100% correct. However, the Commission on Human Rights has ruled foreigners do not enjoy the right of free speech when it comes to being critical of the Philippine Government, and people have been jailed and deported for being critical. So, in practice, foreigners do no have free speech, whatever the constitution grants them. I believe that it is wrong to have this policy, but I want to live here, and I'm not going to test the policy.

  136. roy says

    Hello Bob, I'm sorry if I'm dwelling on this topic rather excessively. But you bring another point on what really happens as opposed to what the theoretical side is, w/c thankfully we both agree on. You said "Commission on Human Rights has ruled….." Well, I did not know that CHR has the power to try and decide cases. As a matter of fact, nothing in sec. 18 Art 13 of the Phil Consti grants the CHR judicial powers. It's not even a quasi-judicial office. All it can do is make sure that human rights are protected. And since it is just a constitutional body, it cannot decrease the rights granted by the entity that created it–the Constitution. The CHR is created precisely to make sure that human rights are protected. It does not stand to reason why they are the first one to violate human rights which in the first place has been guaranteed by the Constitution which created them. and finally, the Phil CHR is part of an international community that monitors human rights issues. It does not exist for itself alone. It is signatory to treaties involving human rights laws.
    For this reason, it makes it hard for me to imagine that "CHR has ruled…" They just cannot do that. But then again, we have different sources where we get our informations. Cheers!

  137. Rey says

    Hi roy, as pointed out by Bob, you are 100% correct in theory but maybe you forgot how it works in our country. We may have patterned our system's law with the US but what Bob says happens too. He's only avoiding something that can get him in trouble with the powers that be, in fact even us filipinos cannot guarantee we can use all our rights unless maybe you have the influence and the money to back it up, how much more an expat.

    You know how corrupt some of our officials is that even the current CHR which as you mentioned is to protect human rights is now being used as a political tool to exact vendetta.

    Sorry Bob if we have veered a bit from the topic, i'm just apprising roy of the current situation of our country(or city) now since he may not be as informed as he's not living there now.

  138. says

    Hi roy – You are still caught up on what the law is… how things are on paper! I don't disagree with you, you are 100% correct. But, in practice, things don't work that way! Go to the Immigration jails and tell the foreigners sitting in those jails that they do have the "rights" – I doubt that they will care much what the constitution says, because they are sitting in jail already for doing something that the constitution allows.

  139. Jonno says

    So does that mean a Filipino with a residents visa in the states is “JUST A GUEST” and has no right to freedom of speech? I posted on a blog in relation to muslims causing trouble in Sydney and mentioned that “they are only guests in this country” and should accept our way of life or go back to where they came from. You can only imagine the howls of racist chants i got for doing something that a Filipino would not think twice about saying to a foreigner.

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