If you asked me years ago exactly what I thought about relationships between an exotic Filipina and a foreigner I probably would have given a different answer.
And you probably wouldn't have liked what I had to say.
Now, it can be told and I must admit that, yes, once upon a time in my life, I had frowned upon such relationships and found myself thinking that I couldn't possibly get into something like that. And, if I did, I'd have to be either desperate or simply out of my mind.
Not because I had been harboring anti-foreigner feelings. It wasn't that. Race has never been an issue and never will be an issue for me. I just never entertained the possibility of getting involved with a foreigner -- much less envisioned it would happen to me. Why not? For the simple reason that I wasn't in the market for a man. I wasn't even looking, believing love would come at the right time and not something that is actively sought after or relentlessly pursued.
Of course, for someone who considers herself old-fashioned and a true-blue romantic, for me, love had to come with all the fancy trimmings -- magic in the air and the unexplainable rush of emotions running riot in the heart, sending the senses reeling. I guess, for me, love has to be an important ingredient in a relationship because I had never been the kind who would get into a relationship all for the sake of having one. There'd be no point in getting involved with someone or even marrying if not for love.
But, besides this and the fact that I'd been riding high on the wings of a dream and basically trying to carve my own career path, one of the biggest reasons why I shunned the idea of inter-racial relationships was the usual impression or public perception or even stigma attached to exotic Filipinas involved with foreign men.
And the stigma? That Filipinas involved with or marrying foreigners are only after one thing -- greener pastures in the good old US of A or any western country! Thus formed the basis for long-standing jokes about what to look for in a future partner: someone who has the "4 M factors" or Matandang Mayaman, Madaling Mamatay (Old, Rich, and Soon to die). If not that, then someone who has "CAR-acter & PESO-nality". So, why should every Filipina who has what it takes to make it in life want to become the object of such unpleasant public perception? No way, I thought. Not me. No, Sir. Not me. Never.
But life is full of surprises. More often than not, things just have a way of showing up in your life when you least expect them and the next thing you know, WHAM! You've just been hit between the eyes. Which was exactly what happened to me a few years ago. I hadn't really sworn off men then but I didn't exactly relish the thought of finding one via an online "friend-finder" club. I thought it was cheap. Forgive me, but that was how I felt THEN.
Friends thought I was too serious with life and was "all work and no play". So, after all of their efforts were met by my usual "WHEN I'M GOOD AND READY I'LL ASK YOU TO FIND ME A MAN" retort for several torturing months, I finally surrendered in exasperation just so they'd stop pestering me about it.
To make the long story short, I found love when I wasn't looking for it, from the last place on earth I'd thought of finding it, and with someone I never dreamed I'd find it with -- a foreigner. Of course, love didn't happen right then and there but the "connection" was instant. I had only met him and yet it felt as though I'd known him all my life. It was as if I'd been created for him, and he, for me and we were two souls fated to meet. It was...... destiny.
Then came the nagging thought of what people would say about "my destiny". What would my family say? What would my friends and colleagues think? That I was so desperate for a man I had resorted to acquiring one through the internet? That I was no different from those who went for relationships or marriages of convenience?
But then I reminded myself that I already knew what the common perception was on exotic Filipina-foreigner dating even before I met my foreign boyfriend and so, no matter if I had no other reasons for getting involved with him other than that I truly loved him, the world would still choose to believe the worst. I told myself that as long as I'm happy and my conscience is clear, the whole world can believe whatever they want. I couldn't care less.
Written by C. Louise Sienes, A Filipina in Davao, Philippines