Saturday, March 12, 2011


An American in the Philippines is an entertainment treat for most Filipinos. We white or black skinned foreigners stride the malls under a constant gaze of amusement or awe or distaste. Because I stand 6’ 4” and – what can I say – look the way I look, I get a lot of teen aged giggles, catcalls from men and smiles from women.

I have come to like the “Hey Joe” call that greets me when I walk about on the streets or beaches. I return it with a smile or a greeting. We are friends, it seems.

I prefer to ignore the exceptions.

The one I don’t quite get, or if I think too much about it, don’t like, is when young people from age 6 to 25 pass by and cry out “Daddy!” They don’t do this when they are alone, only when they are with others whom they seek to impress or amuse. Too often the cry comes from youngish girls. They make the call then burst into giggles of . . . what . . . delight?

The point they are making, I suppose, is that foreigners often like to liaise with Filipinas, and the outcome is frequently kids. The foreigner has money so if you are one of the kids, you are lucky enough to claim some.

So I am “Daddy” to those who want some of my money, or who know they can’t have it and want to slur me with a “you sex maniac” comment, read between the lines of the “Daddy” and the giggle. It’s bizarre.

I also get treated better than a lot of Filipinos in banks, government offices and stores. That is also weird in the extreme. This is a country with values that discriminate against its own. Indeed, I dislike whitening creams, for they suggest that Filipinos need to hide or erase their brown skins, which I find more attractive than my pasty white one. And a lot more practical under the heat of the tropical sun.

It is easy to conclude that this is a nation in need of mass psycho-therapy so people become content with who they are, and content with who others are, even if they are different. There should be no need to frame the differences with stares or catcalls that reveal too much about the person doing the staring or calling.

As my Mama used to say, “Son, it is not polite to stare” and “Son, it is not polite to point” and “Son, if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say it at all”.

And as my Pappy used to say, “Son, go get a Coke while I flip through the Playboy magazine”.


  1. I pity your wife, Joe. I pity you, too, Joe. As a Filipino we wickedly look at things differently. We see your wife as "swerte". "Lucky" in english to "snare" a "kano". We Filipinos look at your wife either she was your "pleasure mate" from the "house of fantasy". Or mail-ordered-bride. How so many times i"ve heard "swerte her "kano" husband is loving not physically abusing her". This I do not understand. I do not know where the Filipinos get the idea that Americans are abusive husbands. This I can surmise, Filipinos believe Americans marry a Filipina to satisfy their sexual fantasies. I can say it to you thru your blog but I can never say it to you in your face. Filipinos give a good nice front when you turn your back Filipinos obliterate you in the back. BECAUSE THEY ARE ENVIOUS.

  2. The "hey, Joe" goes back to American "occupation". I put in quote "occupation" because former US President McKinley did not have intention to occupy and colonize Philippines. McKinnley ordered Admiral Dewey to the Philippines to rout the Spanish armada during the Spanish-American war. This event and McKinley's musings can never be found in Philippine History textbook. It can only be found on McKinley's memoirs and wikipedia. During those times, the accidental occupiers, throw chocolates to Filipino children. The complete phrase of "hey, Joe" was "Hey, Joe, chocolate, Joe?" When I was little, whenever we see a "kano" we'd say "hey, joe, chocolate, joe?" It was our greeting impregnated in our mind.

  3. Filipinos love to talk to Americans. Filipinos would be totally amused if the "kano" would stop and bother to talk to us. We'd go home and talk to our parents that we talked to a "kano". "DADDY" is new to me. I've never called a "kano" "DADDY" so were my "barkadas". Could it be the proliferation of whites snucking up with kids? I do not know. See, any white or black are called "kano" regardless they came from Europe or Africa. We cannot make the difference. We believe that all white and black people live in America and there is only two countries in the world. Philippines and America.

  4. Call me sick. I am all out for pre-teens marrying foreigners as long as it is a loving relationship though I cannot imagine myself marrying a kid. See, living in the Philippines is torture enough. I'd be happy to see these kids to have a better life abroad. Of course, you know Timothy McVeigh. His wife was a child bride. A Filipina. A cebuana. From Cebu. She was 17 years old. She was pregnant with a local before she went to America with Timothy Mcveigh. McVeigh was accused of smoothering her child because it was not his. McVeigh was not found guilty. when McVeigh was arrested his wife went back to Cebu with their love child. Famous anchorperson from ABCNews went to Cebu and interviewed her. The Cebuana wife flew back and forth to testify on the Oklahoma bombing. She's here now. She never went back. I do not know if she ever became a US citizen.

  5. Before I went to America, I used to put on whitening cream. After many many years in America I became to like my color and hate those Filipinos who wanted to have whiter skin. America taught me a lot. NOT TO DISCRIMINATE !!! Filipinos are unaware of this discrimination. Another discrimination is English-snobbery. If no speak english, no office job. 2nd generation Filipinos in America cannot know their dialect because their parents wanted them to speak english and they only speak english at home. They never encourage their children to be bilingual. My niece who was born and raised in New Jersey speaks like she never have gone or born in America. She's 11 years old. We'd go to Filipino establishment and Filipinos would look at her in awe. Others would say "bagong dating" meaning, "fresh off the boat".

  6. WANTED ACCOUNTANT with the following qualifications:

    1. Graduate of BS Accounting;
    2. At least 5'2" in height;
    3. Pleasing personality;
    4. At least 25-years-old;

    Interested parties please submit 2x2 colour picture.

  7. One thing about I like about Filipinos is they are way ahead of the curve when it comes to liking blacks, transvestite, lesbian, gays more than americans. We are not yet on the bisexuals. Have not heard of any bisexuals. Maybe they are not out of the closet yet. Transvestite, lesbian and gays are GAINFULLY EMPLOYED. I would say 100% but that is an overstatement. We still call blacks as "negro". If we have dark skin we tease each other as "negro".

  8. Mariano, I appreciate your perspectives a lot. They are enlightening, very.



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