Last updated: February 6, 2020

The Foreigner’s Guide to Filipino Culture

Dating Abroad, Philippines, Southeast Asia


More and more Westerners are moving to the Philippines. Why wouldn’t they? The place is beautiful, people are friendly, and the food is to die for. But Filipino culture is quite different to what we are used to in the West. Read on to learn more about it and to avoid the culture shock.

By the way, we would be focusing on aspects of Filipino culture that are relevant to dating.


Because stats show that most of our readers are interested in that, and I am trying to make this article as useful as possible.

What Are The Philippines?

Hopefully, you already have an idea. But, just to clear some things:

  • Yes, the Philippines are in Asia.
  • No, people here are not Muslim, Buddhist, or Hinduist. The country has the largest Catholic majority in the Far East.
  • There is a visible Spanish influence in all aspects of Filipino life. From the language to religion, the way of life, and even beauty standards, the Spanish trace is still very much alive.

Community And Dating

It’s such a cliché, right?

Everybody has a different culture, there is no right or wrong, you have to accept that the values attached to actions might be different.

It’s like social justice 101.

But, for real:

The culture of the Philippines might be influenced by Spain but in many ways, it would be nothing like you ever imagined.

For instance, life in the Philippines is a lot more community-centered.

The extended family gets together often, eats a lot of food, drinks and dances, and if a problem is to ever come up, the whole community works on it.

Neighbours, family friends, even people your Filipina mother has just met at the supermarket are frequent guests. This is the environment, in which Filipino women were raised.

Conservative Vs A Prude

To recap, in the Philippines:

  • You have a strong sense of community.
  • Most people are practising Catholic.
  • You grow up used to always having people over.

There is a sense of “shared privacy” in Filipino culture.

Filipina women think nothing of telling their mothers, sisters, female friends, maybe even male friends, the most intimate details of their lives.

Even guys, who tend to be more reserved, could still come across as major over-sharers.

It’s so beautiful to see how Filipino parents teach their kids values.

There are rarely scorns, shouting, or violence of any other kind. Children are raised in large families and taught by example. For girls, that example includes being modest, feminine, caring, taking charge of most domestic chores. There isn’t a sense of “you must”, rather it is a way of being.

As a side note, I am sure you too, even as a foreigner, would love the general “lovingness” in Filipino communities.

So, before you consider any Filipino (and especially any Filipino girl) a prude, remember that their core values are surely different than yours. They were not raised to value privacy or autonomy. To them, the love and care of her family, the support of her community, and their relationship with God might be more important. Respect it. When it comes to dating, be honest and vulnerable enough to move on if you guys expect different things from the relationship.

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Filipino Culture: Guard Your Heart

On that last note of Filipinos, especially girls, being conservative but loving in their ways, consider the “Guard your heart” saying. It’s a Bible quote Filipinas hear all the time.

Guard your heart essentially means to be cautious and to take it slow in relationships. If you are not sure about somebody’s intentions, it’s best not to get invested. This way you will be protected if they turn out not to be too trustworthy.

In practice, this looks like the following scenario:

How To Get A Long-Term Girlfriend In One Week

When my friends first arrived the Philippines, he was just planning on staying for a couple of months. He had lived in Thailand before and loved it. As a digital nomad, you do get the freedom to essentially go wherever you want and work there. After a little while in his hometown, Stephen decided to go back to Southeast Asia.

Dating-wise, this guy had already been through a divorce and wasn’t interested in anything serious while at Thailand. By the time he moved to the Philippines, though, the idea of settling down again didn’t seem too unappealing. However, he wasn’t ready to even admit it to himself.

“I was looking for love again and denying its’ existence at the very same time. Now that I look back, I was a complete idiot.”

He did some online dating in the Philippines and ended up really clicking with Jen. The only issue? After a week of a wonderful first date, two more dates, constant texting, and repeating how much they like each other, Jen ghosted him.

Wait… What?

At this point, you are probably confused. Didn’t she like him? She liked him enough to have the first three dates within the same week. What could Steve have possibly done wrong?

Two things, actually, but you could guess just the first one.

One of the major Filipino women characteristics is a need for security. Since they are loyal but also a bit possessive by nature, Filipinas can’t handle the first stages of a relationship. The “what are we?” talk always happens before you could ever imagine it to be time. Meeting the parents, too, but we will cover that in another chapter.

Ask Her To Be Your Girlfriend

Asking a woman to be your girlfriend is a legitimate thing in the Philippines. I know, I know, I was weirded out at first, too. But if you don’t do it she might:

  • Start to get frustrated and upset (which led Jen to begin completely ignoring Stephen).
  • Pronounce themselves your girlfriend and start telling people.

The second case scenario is highly unlikely. Filipina girls are raised with a sense of delicateza, which literally translates to being delicate, feminine, and poised. Most of them would rather not see you again than go through the humiliation of option number 2.

And why would they block you? Mostly because of the guard your heart principle. Hurting yourself is inevitable but removing the source of frustration helps you move on. Is that maybe a bit too dramatic? It absolutely is! But, to be honest, Filipinas can be a bit dramatic and you’d just have to deal with it.

Filipino Culture In Dating

(A.K.A. Why Filipinas Make The Best Girlfriends)

When things are going well, Filipinas are among the best girlfriends you can imagine. They are sweet and kind, they were raised to be quite feminine, and they love to share their affection for you with others. You can be 100% sure that no self-respecting girl would cheat or as much as allow another guy to get close to her.

In terms of care, Filipinas are really just the best. If you have ever tried the traditional cuisine in the Philippines, you have an idea of what I’m talking about. Filipino women love to prepare homemade dishes for their men. Make sure you compliment the food a lot, and you would never go hungry again. If there is something you can’t eat that she made… You better make an extra effort at non-violent communication and handling the situation. Filipinas are not exactly the best at taking constructive criticism.

But, to be fair, there wouldn’t be much need for constructive criticism. At least when it comes to cooking, that is.

When Things Go Bad…

You can’t have a perfect person and that’s just a life principle. Jealousy is one of the major Filipino women characteristics. The strong attachment and the fact that they themselves are immune to other men’s advances just naturally result in that.

Jealousy, especially uncalled for jealousy, might turn out to be one of the biggest issues in your relationship. The “drop it all and go cold turkey on him” strategy of Filipina women makes dealing with jealousy even harder.

While I could not possibly suggest a one-size-fits-all solution, here are some tips to keep your Pinoy girlfriend happy:

  • Be with her for the right reasons. If you don’t feel a connection, there is nothing wrong with ending the relationship. Dating somebody that you don’t love is one surefire way to actually want to start cheating.
  • Get proactive about showing commitment. Rather than her having to look for signs, make an effort to demonstrate your love for her at least once a week, if not more.
  • Charm her family and friends. If things do get bad and she is mad at you for no reason, they would be the people to help her step back and evaluate the situation realistically.
  • Have your own boundaries and don’t compromise on feeling safe and accepted in the relationship. If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, there is probably something wrong. Don’t stay in a bad relationship just because.

Final Thoughts On Filipino Culture

The Philippines are an amazing place but it can take some getting adjusted to. Go into the expat experience with an open mind and some kindness, though, and you will be fine!

As usual, share your input in the comments below – whether it’s a thought, a tip, or a bit of constructive criticism. We will be waiting!

If you liked this post, here’s more content from Asia…

The Ultimate Guide to Filipina Women

Filipino Cupid Review | How to Meet Stunning Girls Easily

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Dating Foreign Girls

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