Couple urge those who stereotype Filipino-Western relationships: ‘Don’t judge’

The authors. Three years in a long-distance relationship

The authors. Three years in a long-distance relationship

This article was written in reaction to A. Mabini’s provocative essay “The Pilipina’s infatuation with the White Man,” which was published in the December 2011 issue. Authors, John Nicholson and Choi Mercado, have chosen to write their response by sharing with The FilAm readers their personal account of their own Filipino-Western relationship.

John, 40, is a British financial professional working in New York City. He is engaged to Choi, a shop assistant who works in Manila. They have been in a “very long distance” relationship for three years. They met by accident when neither of them was looking for a relationship. What began as friendship has taken on a life of its own, with John finding himself exuberantly in love with a woman he found “halfway around the world.”

The rest of their story below.

‘If adults are happy together, why does it matter what color their skin is?
By John Nicholson

Any visitor to the Philippines has seen the older western man with the much younger Filipina. The woman is assumed to be using her feminine charms to con her way into a green card. Once the gentlemen with the ‘pay by the week’ companions have gone home, still some couples remain, together by choice.

Everyone has heard anecdotal stories of Fil-Western relationship disasters with the unfortunate man being bled dry or abandoned. A very good movie, “Closer To Home,” 1996, illustrates this beautifully. The man, portrayed as being a ‘loser’ with neither youth, looks, money or social graces. He is unable to find a ‘proper girlfriend’ in the west and so in desperation looks elsewhere.

It isn’t true. These men and women are merely making a choice.

Marriage was instituted because two people can live better than one. The arrangement benefits both parties and is suitable for the rearing of children. In many ways, marriage itself is a business arrangement. This doesn’t mean there isn’t love involved, but the institution of marriage is not as Hollywood portrays.

Men-women relations of any race are governed by the need for companionship, financial benefit, access to sex and affection, and a stable environment for the raising of children. To attract a partner and fulfill these needs, both sexes employ strategies to make themselves attractive. Women by wearing clothing that highlights their physical attractiveness and men by flaunting their implied ability to care for a family by buying expensive clothing or cars.

Why would some Filipina women and western men choose each other in preference to someone in their own country? They simply must find qualities in each other that are harder to obtain nearby.

The man may find a woman who is younger, slimmer, more attractive, or have moral values that closely match his own. If he was a millionaire in his own country, he would have that choice anyways. One only has to look at the young wives of extremely rich older men to see that.

Most divorces in the west are initiated by western women. Statistically, Filipina-American marriages are more successful. Divorced men know this, hence it is likely that the western man who explores Fil-Am dating is usually divorced.

The woman may find a husband who can provide a better life for her and for her children. Western mothers have often counseled their daughters ‘It is just as easy for you to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one’. The Hollywood idea of the woman choosing the poor anti-hero is fiction. In real life, given two men of equal looks, character and intellect, women choose wallets.

I think that this helps to explain why some Filipina women look for love outside of their race. It would be the smart thing to do. She would be in centuries of company. Both men and women are attracted to the different and ‘exotic’. For the woman, the pale skin of the westerner is a novelty, and my fiancée admits, amidst many giggles, to being repeatedly asked about the size of my feet. The womenfolk are fascinated by the answer to this implied question.

There clearly has to be love and compatibility in the Fil-Western couple or they would be unable to carry the relationship. However, their initial reasons for considering each other, before they fell in love, shouldn’t be taken as meaning that their relationship is somehow invalid.

Indeed the union of a western man and a Filipina woman is often viewed negatively by western woman and Filipino men. I have read embittered writing from both on this topic, motivated by a single word. Rejection.

Remember at school when the captains picked teams at games? And how hurtful it was to be passed over? No one likes to be rejected, and the idea of being ignored by someone in your own ‘ethnic team’ who chooses someone else from another, much further away team generates that feeling of rejection.

Rather than being bitter about it, I would say that Filipino men would make themselves more marketable by being better financial providers, and that American women would make themselves more marketable by being more family-oriented and less materialistic.

When I come home at night, I don’t want to find a note on the fridge and my wife out on a business trip. That just doesn’t do it for me. I don’t care to spend my weekends alone looking after the kids while she goes to a conference. So, I would rather choose a woman who is more family-oriented because I’m happier that way – and feminism be damned. I’ll vote with my genes on that one.

I have met driven, successful, loud, aggressive women in New York, and I’m not interested. The feminist line is that I feel threatened. Not at all. I just don’t find such women feminine enough. For myself I want to date a woman. Not a wannabe man.

It would be offensive to choose a Filipina woman just because she is not western. No. Choose her for her own special qualities. Filipina and western women have different spectrums of qualities that different people appreciate. And everyone is entitled to an opinion on what they find attractive and what they do not. I’m sure there are plenty of guys who find the loudest woman in the bar the perfect example of femininity. I’m not going to argue.

It is wrong to judge any couple for the choices they make, since everyone has the right to pursue happiness. Many Filipina women are very good, honest people who face profound adversity cheerfully and who have great belief in the sanctity of marriage and in true love. If two consenting adults connect and are happy together, then why does it matter to other people in society what color their skin is?

To Filipino men: ‘Be a real guy and pay attention to our feelings’
By Choi Mercado

I’m a 35-year-old Filipina with two children from a previous relationship. I live in Manila. I’m in a Filipina-Western relationship with a man five years older than me from New York, and we are very happy. It saddens me though that there are so many negative stereotypes and people constantly judge us so I wanted to write my point of view.

'Boastful and aggressive Filipino men are a turn-off'

‘Boastful and aggressive Filipino men are a turn-off’

I am proud to be a Filipina. I’m not proud of the behavior of some of the women from my country, but there will be some bad apples in every country. It’s unfair to generalize.

I believe in love, and marriage for me is one of the seven sacraments. It’s the law in the eyes of God and I think that we view marriage as being more permanent than many people in the U.S.

Marriage isn’t like putting a spoon of hot rice on your tongue and if it burns you, you can spit it out. I think in the U.S., people have crossed the line. There is too much sex and too much abortion, artificial insemination and interference with marriage and with life. It is as if these people think that they are smarter than God.

Many Filipino women I know have been beaten or cheated on by their husbands, but still try for the sake of their families. A cheating husband says: “What can I do if the rice comes to the chicken?” But so long as he comes home and provides a good home for us and children then it’s often ignored and we are thankful for his good side. If a Filipina women discovers that her man has had an affair, she will not castigate the man. She will go after the mistress because that woman must have lost her goodness to ever go with a married man.

I think this shows the willingness of Filipina women to suffer hardship in a relationship. Part of this is social, since it’s unacceptable for us to divorce, and also, any woman that has children and has lost her husband isn’t seen as being a desirable wife. She is just seen as a sex object.

Western men seem more faithful and seem to treat their women better. I think that many western women are spoiled. They should be grateful for their blessings. I’m shocked by the way that some women there swear and dress and behave so immodestly. Flaunting themselves in public. People believe that many western women are too aggressive and it’s no wonder that some western guys come here to try and find true love.

Marriage here is treated more seriously. Before people get married, you have to go to a series of classes for two months, to explore the reasons why you want to marry, and make sure that you aren’t making a mistake.

Some people think that Filipinas are submissive and weak. It’s not true. There have been women presidents here, unlike in the U.S., and many Filipino women are breadwinners in the family. We are used to hard work and we are not lazy. A lot of women work abroad and send money home to the children.

In the past, men had more pride. It was an honor for a man to provide for his family and he would die doing it. But now, since our society has become more Americanized, things have changed for the worst. People have become more greedy and more lazy. Some men are not willing to work so hard and we women have to pick up the burden. That is why some of us have looked outside the Philippines for foreign men. I know a lot of women who date Japanese, Korean, British and American men.

Filipino women who might consider foreign guys tend to come from the less well-off families. Super rich people can marry each other with no worries about whether they will have enough food. But usually a women needs to choose a man sensibly, one who can stand for her and the children.

If I see my neighbor here who is having a hard time feeding himself, it wouldn’t be sensible for me to fall in love with him. It’s a real turn-off if the guy is well-dressed and boastful but his pockets are empty so when he takes you out for a meal he can’t afford to buy some noodles. I think that it’s sensible to meet or date a man where the relationship at least has a chance to go somewhere. Love cannot feed you all and you can’t just make love all day.

To any Filipino man who wanted to date a Filipino woman I would say firstly don’t be so boastful and don’t be so aggressive. Be a real guy and pay attention to our feelings. Be willing to work. Treat us with respect and stop being so aggressive. Nowadays, men are so excited to try and get into our pants. We aren’t sex toys.

There is some resentment here over Fil-Western couples. When my fiancé and I go out, I notice that some men give him nasty looks. The women look me up and down and I can tell they are thinking ‘why is she with him?’

My family was worried about me when they found out I was dating a western guy. They think that western guys come to the Philippines and treat the women just like sex toys. They were scared that he would just use me and throw me away. They are also scared that when we are together that he could change, and beat and abuse me. I don’t care where we live. If we could live in the Philippines I would be happy so long as we are together but if I have to move away to another place then I would do that.

There are lots of good and decent women here. All I can do is to be as good and sweet a person and thank God for my blessings.


  1. The 1950s called. They want their sexism and racism back. It’s cute that you’re justifying your little fetishes with an even cuter narrow-minded, mysoginist view of the world. But ethnicity is not a shortcut for values, SUCCESSFUL women are FEMININE and SPOILED women just know what they want and how to get it. So for the sake of humanity, please don’t reproduce holier-than-though myopic offspring with superiority complexes…or I swear my fully-Asian “loud, aggressive” offspring will kick yours in its “wannabe” ethnic-cleansed face. Love, a Filipina raised in the Western world.

    • Choi M wrote:

      I am sorry that you seem annoyed. We are all entitled to our own opinion and I respect that. I have not heard the words ‘ethic cleansed’ used to refer to mixed race relationships. It seems that you think that all relationships should be single-race otherwise you would not say that. If that is true, then Isn’t that a strange thing for you to think? I do not think I appeared sexist or racist or that I hate women in what I wrote and I’m sorry you took it that way. Thank you for reading my post. God bless you.

    • Amen to that..

      I personally have no problem with mixed marriages. Any marriage, mixed or not, should be based on personal compatibility. But to paint a certain culture/race with certain characteristics, and then use it as basis for preference to that race – at the same time discounting partners of other culture/race – is simply wrong.

      Saying stuff like white men seem more masculine – or asian women looks more feminine.. are just example of racist bull craps..

      what mixed couples who marry based on these mistaken beliefs dont realize is that their children will suffer from the same generalizations that they propagate. In the western world,
      – a half caucasian/asian man will never be as white as their peers, and will be viewed through the asian man stereotype.
      – a half caucasian/asian woman will also be viewed as an exotic woman and pursued for her “asianness” rather than for her true self.

  2. John N wrote:

    Misogyny is defined as being a hatred of women. I do not believe that either
    of the essays demonstrate that quality so clearly as your own comment which seems filled with hatred.

    Likewise I was discouraging racism, therefore your own comment claiming
    that we show racism (where exactly?) whilst simultaneously and aggressively attacking a perfectly legitimate
    viewpoint I feel could properly be construed as racist.
    In short, as Shakespeare would put it, I feel that your response is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.” However thank you for posting it. It made us smile.

  3. John N wrote:

    I’m sorry I don’t see where sexism, racism or misogyny come into the essays. Would you like to explain?
    Misogyny is defined as being a hatred of women. I do not believe that either
    of the essays demonstrate that quality so clearly as your own comment which seems filled with hatred.
    Likewise I was discouraging racism, therefore your own comment claiming
    racism (where exactly?) whilst simultaneously and aggressively attacking a perfectly legitimate
    viewpoint I feel could properly be construed as racist. I find it all very odd so perhaps you would like to explain more clearly what your view points are?

  4. Filwestern wrote:

    There are many good reasons for Filipinas and western men to get together, but you people listed none of them. And in asking others not to judge, you both handily judged Filipino men and western women with very broad generalizations. How ironic.

  5. Laura wrote:

    I am laura from the Philippines,I like the article and I agree with it ,I think a lot of Pinoy guys are just sitting around,I think being lazy is very infectious cos its very rampant..they would just sit and a do a lot of siesta,drink alcohol,joining with their friends and drink all night till dawn..thats why I am dating Western guy too.:-)

  6. John wrote:

    Filwestern: I didn’t set out to list every reason why fil-western couples may choose to be together. I wouldn’t presume to try. I think love, economics, happiness, compatibility likely cover a few of the bases. What else did you have in mind?

    I have mentioned a few theories why such couples might exist. You are being naive if you believe that economics does not enter into the mind of almost every couple, whatever their race and whether mixed or not.

    You claim misogyny and yet fail to assert where. You claim sexism and racism and yet show it and I really don’t see where we are racist or sexist so tell me the precise statements you found offensive. In your reply you claim good reasons for couples to get together and list none of them. So please educate me. The irony is indeed thick. You also fail to explain your suspiciously strange and violent “ethnic cleanse” comment.

    In your profile you claim to be an attorney, “saving the world with killer stilettos”. I am not sure how believable I find that, given the logical flaws inherent in your argument and given your threat of violence, which as an attorney you would realize was unwise. Are you based in NY? Would you be able to give me the index number and district of one of your next appearances? I will check the court calendar and will be happy to hear your eloquent, incisive argument and discuss further.

  7. John N wrote:

    Filipino in Canada
    Perhaps you misunderstood my article. I agree with your point of view.
    I have nothing but praise for most women and men of all nations. I didn’t say that filipina women look more feminine. I said that I preferred feminine women and I happen to be with a Filipino woman. Incidentally I have dated (feminine) western women for 20 years and been married to one in that time.

    I don’t believe western men are more masculine – didn’t state that anywhere -but it’s interesting you seem to mention that. Was this because of the women asking about my feet? There are plenty of masculine filipino men. I go there 3 times a year for goodness sake. I merely stated that some of them might find it easier to find a partner if they were at work. It is worth remembering that the Philippines is the only country in south east Asia where male unemployment is higher than female. Why do you think this is? Do you believe that men have fewer advantages in the Phil’s or shall we go with Laura’s post above where she claims that her local men drink all night? I am not trying to stereotype. You can hardly argue with the stats given out by the census office.

    I don’t encourage people pursuing partners JUST because of their looks, asian or otherwise – but people do it all the time all over the planet. A women or man will naturally find other people more or less attractive for different reasons. It’s called choice. I don’t agree with my offspring being judged. I hope it doesn’t happen and I’ll fight to make sure it doesn’t. I don’t have the experience that you do, so perhaps I am being naive that it won’t happen. It won’t stop me being with this woman because of the fear of it.

    • Jude wrote:

      Right. I guess the western standard beauty and white male privilege have nothing to with your partners choices? In your defense you couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to be Asian so don’t kid yourself by marrying an Asian, bragging about how many times you visit the Philippines blah, blah. Ultimately there is an ingrained inferiority complex that asians have and which Filipinos posses in spades that have them look in the mirror and see themselves and those that look like them as inferior. It is ingrained into filipino society that the ideal (aesthetic or otherwise) is someone that doesn’t look asian. Sure they’ll say that asians or filipinos are handsome or cute or beautiful but they will still whole heartedly claim caucasian features to be even more attractive. That is the “truth” your relationship is built on. Turning a blind eye to it doesn’t make it less sad.

  8. […] Couple urge those who stereotype Filipino-Western relationships: ‘Don’t judge’ […]

  9. Edge wrote:

    Haha this article is funny!! Asians (especially the women) are the most white worshipping group of people on the earth and Filipinos and Thai are probably the worst offenders. Please don’t claim some magical love line based on the imagined beauty between two cultures when there’s thousands of white men every year who travel to asia to marry asian women, and just as many asian women who prefer white men. Conveniently ignoring the racial politics associated with your preferences and ultimately your union makes you look sad. Hopefully you’re children will look more white or your marriage will have been a big waste

  10. Filipina Lady wrote:

    We must never judge western-filipina relationships. Most people would judge filipinas who marry westerners as “hopeless.” Continue the love!

  11. Christian Dating wrote:

    Filipinas are pleasers and are very much attracted with white men. Nice article

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