Last week, I got an e-mail from a long-time reader of this site. I won’t give her name because I’m not sure she wants me to do that, but I will give a little information about her anonymously. For the sake of this column, let’s say that her name is Penny. Among my readers, Penny is unusual, she is a white female who lives in the United States. Nothing unusual about that, except that most people who want to live in the Philippines, and are coming from a Western country, are male. Penny has a Filipino boyfriend, and both of them have a dream of coming to live in the Philippines. Nothing unusual about that, most everybody who reads this site is interested to come and live here, but as I said, most are males.
Penny wrote to me and asked me if I could give some comment regarding safety for a white female in the Philippines. She wondered how this might differ from the safety of a male. I told her that I would have to think this over as it was not something I considered before, at least not in depth, and I also told her that I would write a column about it this week.
In addition to safety, Penny wondered about the general feeling of living here for somebody like her. She wondered about things like loneliness, or sort of being the outcast all the time. I can certainly understand her thoughts in that regard, because even as a white male living here, sometimes you just realize that you’re different than everybody else. You can’t hide the fact that you’re different, just by looking at you people know that you’re not the same. Normally, I have no problem with that, but at times it can bother you a little bit. I will say this, living in a society where you are a distinct minority certainly opens your eyes and makes you realize how others felt in the United States. I mean, there are lots of minorities in the US whether they the African-American, Filipinos, or whatever. I knew they were minorities, but I never really realized how they felt until I was one myself. The feeling is not always comfortable. As a matter of fact, when I first moved here. It took a long time to get used to the fact that I was a visible minority. It’s certainly opened my eyes and made me realize things about how others feel, things which I had never considered before. I would say it probably made a better person of me.
As for safety, I don’t think it’s a big concern for Penny. I feel that in almost all parts of the Philippines (please note that I said almost all parts) a foreign male or foreign female will be treated pretty much the same. There will be isolated places, perhaps in places like Muslim Mindanao, where a female would be treated differently, no doubt. But those areas are very isolated, and I don’t think that she would be going there anyway.
When I lived in General Santos City, from 2000 to 2002, there were very few white women to be seen. I would say that I could go six months without seeing a white woman, and that would not be unusual. I can remember one time when we are living there, my mother came to visit from the States. If she went out around town, she felt very uncomfortable, because she was the center of attention. She talked about this a lot because it was very unusual for her. However, here in Davao City, white women are fairly common, and I suspect they are in most of the big cities around the Philippines. Here in Davao, most of the white women that we see are here in some capacity as a missionary. And, they are very common. I’ve talked to a lot of white women here in Davao who are very comfortable, and really love living here. If Penny were to move here, I’m not sure what area she intends to live in, but I feel that if it’s in a metropolitan area, she will find that life is comfortable for her.
Anyway, Penny, I promised that I would comment on this, and I hope that you feel that what I said is adequate to help you. I wish you the best of luck when you decide to move here to the Philippines. Anytime that I can be of assistance to you, feel free to e-mail me.