A Note on Terminology
The proper Anglicized term for a resident of the Philippines in Filipino. The feminine form is Filipina.

Phillippino/a is not a thing.

Pilipino is how Filipinos refer their own language/nationality (Pilipinas is how they render the name of their country).

Pinoy/pinay refers to Filipinos as a people

Dating is hard, unless you find it easy, or somewhere in the middle. Similarly, the initial comfort level for a westerner dating Filipinos for the first time will vary wildly depending on you and on the person you’re chatting up. Consider this our awkward way of saying there’s no secret trick to unlocking someone’s heart, no matter what guides with names like The Rules or The Game might have you believe. Buuut with that said, whether you’re an expat making a new life in Manila or trying to play the field with a love interest on the other side of the world, Findmate is the best app for making an online match in the Philippines.

While the Philippines has become considerably more westernized over the past two decades, at least in the major metropolitan areas, there are still many overt and subtle cultural differences that westerners should be aware of if they want to date a Filipino. That’s where our guide comes in!

Photo by Vasile Stancu / Unsplash

The Philippines is a country of over 100 million people spread over 7,000+ islands, and their culture is very diverse. On the whole though, romance is more conservative among Filipinos than westerners may be used to.

  • Nude pics will get you nowhere this time, chum! Men are expected to take the initiative, but in a courteous, respectful fashion. Aggressiveness and showing off is a turn off. Filipinas tend to prefer a more discreet, amiable approach, so if you’re a man making the first move, try to keep your Findmate messages casual. If she keeps talking to you it’s a good sign, but don’t force the issue.
  • Old school courtesy: Men are generally expected to do the little things, like holding the door, pulling out her chair and sometimes carrying her bag. As a woman, if you’re not comfortable with this, approach the matter as sensitively as you can.
  • (Playing?) hard to get: Filipinas are often raised to show great modesty and restraint, and may not be as overt in their feelings as western men are accustomed to. Western women may find themselves a bit thrown by the formality of some Filipino men, but if something about him intrigues you, it might be wise to let him lead the conversation, at least at first.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions: With all that said, Filipino women have historically enjoyed greater social equality than is common in other southeast Asian countries, and as many as 1/3 of all businesses in the Philippines are female-owned. The culture is different, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to subordinate yourself to fit in.
  • Meet the parents: Families tend to be very involved in the courtship process, and showing respect to your date’s parents is taken as a sign of a suitor’s seriousness and compatibility. Once you move on to in-person dates, you will likely be introduced fairly early. If your own parents are far away, you may wish to introduce them in kind via Skype when the time comes. In the meantime, be aware of how you talk about your own family, as it will be a factor in how a Filipino judges your character.

  • Chaperones: Traditionally, alone time for couples is fairly limited, though again, in more cosmopolitan areas like Manila these restrictions are beginning to loosen. Still, don’t be surprised if some of your first dates are in group settings, such as accompanying a woman and her friends on a shopping trip to the mall or to dinner with friends or family. Filipinos, particularly men, may involve a friend (known as a tulay or “bridge”) to act a kind of wingman who will liaise with their sweetheart’s family.
  • No heavy petting: On the first date, and possibly the first few dates, it’s often unlikely things will get more physical than a peck on the cheek (and sometimes, if that…). Look at the date instead as a way to get to know each other as people. For westerners, it may be frustrating to wait, but don’t be insulted if your date keeps a modest distance. Public displays of affection in general are much less common in the Philippines.
  • But how will I know? Like, know if they’re into you? Just like anywhere else, you have to do your best to read your date’s intentions, even in chat. If it’s not working, they will seek graceful ways of disengaging. If you’re truly confused by the signals you’re getting, just be honest about how you feel and explain that dating in your own country is a little different. If they like you, they’ll help you out!

We hope this brief guide to online dating Filipinos has been of some help! If you’re still down after all that, check out whose on Findmate right now!