Dating in the Philippines

Updated 2023-06-30 08:54

The beauty of the Philippines, with its dramatic modern and old Spanish architecture, plus the golden sands and breathtaking mountains, leads to an ideal backdrop for romance, dating and love. In general, the dating culture in the Philippines is generally welcoming and friendly, and there are many opportunities to meet new people and form meaningful connections.

Whether you're looking for a long-term relationship or just want to dip your toe in the proverbial dating pool, there's something for everyone in the Philippines.

Naturally, the Filipinos themselves are a passionate nation that values the principles of love and relationships in all aspects of life, even in the food! In this article, we shall look at the dating etiquette in the Philippines, online dating and romance scams.

Dating etiquette in the Philippines

Please be aware that the dating culture in the Philippines is unique and different from what expats may be used to in their home countries.

Where to go on a first date depends on the person, their likes and dislikes, but it would be appropriate to go to the cinema in a mall or a coffee shop, or a restaurant; the more public, the better is normally the norm.

Filipinos place a high value on family and community, and these values are reflected in the dating culture as well. Due to the strong bond between the individual and the family, it is not uncommon that you will be introduced to your new flame's family sooner rather than later (certainly sooner than by Western standards). If you are an expat man, do remember to bring a gift, and show courtesy.

The Philippines could still be viewed as a traditional country, and this also applies to dating. ‘Courting' and ‘courtship' are still prevalent even today. This is called ‘panliligaw' or ‘ligaw' in tagalog and is influenced by Spanish and Catholic ancestry. ‘Ligaw'/ courting is the process where men will send flowers or go on a formal date for coffee or dinner. Although not a rule of thumb, ‘ligaw' is still a part of the mysticism of romance, and many Filipinas still see courting through rose-tinted glasses. It is worth noting that it is more common to see an expat male dating a local Filipina rather than an expat female dating a local Filipino, however not ruled out.

It's also worth noting that religion plays a significant role in the dating culture in the Philippines. Catholicism is the main religion, and many social events are centered around the Christian calendar, such as Fiestas, Holy Days and processions. Filipinas, or more importantly, the family of the Filipina, may also prefer to date someone from the same religion, although this is not always the case.

It is also important to understand that the Philippines is a large and diverse country. Everyone is different, and the expat dater may meet a career-driven city person where the above criteria are not applicable, or they may meet a traditional person from one of the provinces who values the above criteria and takes ‘ligaw' seriously.

Filipinos are open to dating foreigners, and it is not uncommon to see many Western men and Filipino happily married couples. With their traditional background, Filipinas do have the fairytale wedding and dream life in the back of their minds, but as modern society and online dating apps have developed, casual dating is no longer frowned upon.

Finally, if you are ready to dip your toe into the dating pool, good luck, and do take the time to explore the dating scene in the Philippines and see where your heart takes you. You never know – you might just find ‘the one' in the Philippines!

Online dating in the Philippines

Online dating has also become more popular in the Philippines in recent years. International apps like Tinder and Bumble are widely used, and there are also several Filipino-specific dating apps, such as FilipinoCupid and TrulyFilipino. These country-specific dating apps are most commonly used by “foreigners” to meet Filipinas.

Most online dating platforms in the Philippines have advanced features like live chats and video calls. You can use the unlimited free membership on these platforms but note that you cannot access advanced communication features. According to the news website the top 10 country-specific dating websites in the Philippines are:

  1. FilipinoCupid
  2. Cherry Blossoms
  3. PinaLove Philippines
  4. Filipino Kisses
  5. Elite Singles
  6. Truly Filipina
  7. Filipinos2Meet
  8. Cebunas
  9. LoveAwake
  10. AsianDating

Romance scams in the Philippines

As mentioned, the Philippines, with its rich Spanish heritage, places an emphasis on romance, just like Spain, Cuba, and Argentina. While we do wish you all the luck in the world in your dating quest, it is worthwhile to note certain pitfalls and to also err on the side of caution.

The majority of cases of Philippines romance scams involve Filipina women and expats/ foreigners. The good news is that the Philippine authorities have been helping fight fraud for years, but this is still an ongoing problem.

The warning signs of romance scams in the Philippines are the following:

  • Repeated subtle requests for financial assistance
  • Long periods of disconnection and being unable to contact the person
  • The whirlwind romance
  • Making commitments online before actually meeting the individual

Useful links:

Filipino Cupid


Cherry Blossoms




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