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Recent Trips to Philippines

Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.

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Recent Trips to Philippines

Postby Rock » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:46 pm

On my way back to Taiwan from States, I stopped-off in Manila and took a side trip down to Cebu for a couple weeks. Here are some of the highlights:

- Overall impression is that it’s a pleasant city. Even though it’s the second largest city in PI, it seems so much smaller and less traffic congested than Manila. Comparing Cebu to Manila is kinda like comparing Chiang Mai to Bangkok. All taxis I encountered behaved honestly and many were friendly and would chat to me in good English.

- Cebu seems to be the land of 4s, 5s, and 6s. You don’t see many very ugly people nor stunningly beautiful ones the way you often do in western countries. And like the rest of the PI, average height is very low. 5’5â€￾ and 5’6â€￾ is considered tall for women and its quite rare to see any female who stands 5’7â€￾ or above unless she’s Korean or other foreigner.

- The people in general speak better and more understandable English IMO than those I’ve generally encountered in Luzon. There are several big US call-center operations there and lots of English classes for Koreans. So those two industries seem to sort of drive Cebu and make for a visible middle class (call center employees and people involved in English teaching). There’s also lots of Koreans plus Korean restaurants, massage joints, karaokes, and entertainment establishments around town. And Cebu has 9 unis plus a bunch of trade schools so there’s plenty of students there.

- City seems pretty safe to walk around at all hours. There are certain areas you should not walk in at night but I think they are easily avoided and locals can tell you where they are. Best to also avoid isolated and unlit back streets at night.

- I don’t think it’s that easy to randomly approach female strangers there in the daytime. In that regard, the vibes are not nearly as open as in say DR, Colombia, or according to Winston, Russia. In fact, I don’t think it’s any easier than Taiwan. I approached 2 different girls in Ayala Mall and got shot down both times, once rather rudely. The ruder girl was kind of fat and not what most would consider attractive. But she was probably solid middle class. But, 2 others smiled back at me when I looked their way. One was a ladyboy and the other was a young girl who some might like. The girl talked to me, gave me her number, and wanted to see me when I had time.

- I arrived in the early afternoon after a long flight from LA and early morning transfer in Manila. So I was beat. When I got to my room at Kiwi Lodge, I crashed and didn’t wake up the next morning at 3:30 am. Then I decided to take a quick cab to Mango Square as per Mr. S’s rec. I just hung outside Juliana and ended up meeting a couple cute looking gals, once pretty drunk, as they walked out. They spoke excellent English and were engaging so we ended up chatting outside for over an hour. They lived a long way so I agreed to let them crash at my place. They had previously worked at a Korean karaoke club and didn’t seem to have money problems. Anyway, I ended up becoming good friends with one of them and saw her several more times.

- I had face-to-face meetings with 3 ladies from Filipino Cupid. 2 didn’t interest me but I liked the third one and the meeting seemed to go very well (body language, physical contact, etc.). However, she never responded to me again (email or SMS). I sent her home in the taxi outside Kiwi Lodge and I have a feeling the driver might have talked some trash about me to switch her off so suddenly. Perhaps not all the drivers there are as nice as they seem? I’ll probably never know for sure.

- I took a couple of side trips – one to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao and the other to a small village near Tubaron (2 hours out of Cebu City by V-Hire). Both were very interesting experiences, especially Cagayan de Oro where I stayed for a few days. What impressed me most was how all the extended family members seemed so happy, especially the kids of various ages. The babies almost never cried and got constant holding and attention from someone, sometimes their mothers, other times their siblings or grandmothers. The life in the particular household I stayed in seemed very harmonious and peaceful. One of the sisters spoke excellent English and was married to a Japanese guy some 30 years her senior. The family was still poor but not desperate, thanks in part to the foreign marriage. They let me stay in their house, shared everything they had, and treated me very hospitably. They also drove me around town a bit and took me out to a farm past the Del Monte pineapple plant. One of the kids (an 11 year old girl) was the valedictorian in her class and was really smart (I quizzed her on a bunch of American stuff including spelling and she could answer almost everything). That easygoing and loving environment made the kids very happy. But at the end of the day, I think the tiger mom style of NE Asians will better equip kids for life, even if they suffer some misery in the process. Perhaps something in the middle would be best?

- During the nights I spent in Cebu, I met several people around Mango Square. A lot of them spoke excellent English and some worked in call centers. I actually was able to get some stimulating and seemingly intelligent conversation out of some of them. What I noticed there is that many of the most attractive girls are together in groups with Filipinos or Koreans. Even the hottest ladyboys tended to be with Korean guys, lol. People in those groups are not easy to approach and will often have that stand-offish vibe. Once they get inside the disco, they’re even worse. Now that area has all kinds of go-go bars and higher-end P4P type joints. I don’t know where the locals and Korean expats source they’re girls from. Perhaps it a mix of friends from school and take-outs from the more expensive types of P4P joints? Mr. S might be able to shed some light here. I also met an American expat who had been living in Cebu for 12 years who told me that he had a list of regulars he could call but that a lot of the girls in go-go bars wouldn’t go with him cus of his appearance – he claimed to be 50 but looked significantly older to me.

- My general experience there is that shorter girls are easier to meet than taller ones and darker skinned girls are easier to meet than lighter skinned ones. Sometimes, its hard to meet plump girls too cus they tend to be found more commonly among uni students or those with decent jobs. If you don’t mind shorter and/or darker complexion girls, I think as long as you are reasonably qualified, you can easily find plenty of interested females there. If you are more keen on what Asian men tend to go for, you will probably have to search and work a lot harder. But even then, there’s hope.

- Foodwise, I don’t think Cebu is a very good place if you wanna eat healthy food or have a decent variety. The best option I could find were Korean restaurants. But I don’t wanna eat that all the time. Winston often complains about the food in Angeles City. But at least there, you have enough expats so that there are a lot of international choices. Outside of Ayala or SM Malls, you’re very limited in Cebu. It’s also challenging to find something as simple as fresh fruit juice. It’s almost like you have to get the fruits and make it yourself.

- Photos:

1 and 2: Girls from first night in front of Juliana w/permission

3: Example of average looking Cebuana who is easy to meet

4: Example of average looking Cebuana who is difficult to meet

http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/sha ... arer-_-Top
Last edited by Rock on Fri May 04, 2012 11:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Repatriate » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:08 pm

Great trip report Rock. I don't understand how Filipina #4 would be so hard to meet? She's not attractive at all in my opinion and kind of pudgy with a boringly plain face/body. Even a lot of the regular Thai-Chinese girls would look stunning next to her in both fashion sense and basic facial features.
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Postby momopi » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:10 pm

Is that a ring on her finger?
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Postby Rock » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:23 pm

Repatriate wrote:Great trip report Rock. I don't understand how Filipina #4 would be so hard to meet? She's not attractive at all in my opinion and kind of pudgy with a boringly plain face/body. Even a lot of the regular Thai-Chinese girls would look stunning next to her in both fashion sense and basic facial features.


Well, the girl who rudely shot me down in the mall was even fatter and probably worse looking than her. For some reason, lighter skinned and sometimes pudgier girls, especially if they are relatively tall, seem to be given a higher value in that society, even if they are very plain looking. The whole point of photos 3 vs. 4 was to illustrate the value of lighter skin, height, and even pudginess. These features make even a very plain or worse girl have a higher perception of her own attractiveness and generally makes her harder to get. Girl #4 will get attention from Korean and local guys. Girl #3 will not.

Also, keep in mind, PI is full of rather uninspiring girls, IMO. As I mentioned in first post, you don't see many stand-out uglies like you would in the States or certain other western countries. But stunners are equally rare IMO.
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Postby davewe » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:20 pm

Rock wrote:
Repatriate wrote:Great trip report Rock. I don't understand how Filipina #4 would be so hard to meet? She's not attractive at all in my opinion and kind of pudgy with a boringly plain face/body. Even a lot of the regular Thai-Chinese girls would look stunning next to her in both fashion sense and basic facial features.


Well, the girl who rudely shot me down in the mall was even fatter and probably worse looking than her. For some reason, lighter skinned and sometimes pudgier girls, especially if they are relatively tall, seem to be given a higher value in that society, even if they are very plain looking. The whole point of photos 3 vs. 4 was to illustrate the value of lighter skin, height, and even pudginess. These features make even a very plain or worse girl have a higher perception of her own attractiveness and generally makes her harder to get. Girl #4 will get attention from Korean and local guys. Girl #3 will not.

Also, keep in mind, PI is full of rather uninspiring girls, IMO. As I mentioned in first post, you don't see many stand-out uglies like you would in the States or certain other western countries. But stunners are equally rare IMO.


I found there to be plenty of inspiring girls, but they weren't hanging out at malls. They work at malls, hotels, airlines, etc.

As to height I met a striking girl who was 5'5". She said height is a disadvantage with Filipinos but not so with white foreigners, which was her preference. She said her sister was taller and had quite a problem with local guys in the province.

So yes, if you don't like short and dark this ain't the place. But if you do it's fantastic!
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Postby Dogboy86 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:52 pm

Great report Rock, thank you...
"Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity"!!!
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Postby Twobrains » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:11 pm

My Thai ex GF told me that they have exactly the same preferences. Tall, light-skinned and slightly big-built girls (particularly with big breasts) are highly valued by Thai men. Short, thin, dark girls (typical of Issan) are not in demand, and Thai men laugh at the farangs who date them. Luckily, I don't mind being laughed at! My ex said that sometimes other girls would call her maaa-daaam, which sounds polite to us but actually means "black dog" in Thai.

Very interesting report, Rock. Did you hit any dating sites before reaching Cebu, or did you rely on cold approaches?
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Postby Repatriate » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:21 am

Twobrains wrote:My Thai ex GF told me that they have exactly the same preferences. Tall, light-skinned and slightly big-built girls (particularly with big breasts) are highly valued by Thai men. Short, thin, dark girls (typical of Issan) are not in demand, and Thai men laugh at the farangs who date them. Luckily, I don't mind being laughed at!

You almost got that correct but actually thai men prefer tall, light skinned and slim women. If a woman is slightly heavier on the body size with latina type curves she'll be called fat. They really like the tall rail thin beauties here. Actually anything beyond a slight frame for both men and women is referred to as fat. Even if you're slightly muscular they'll still call you "fat" heh.

A lot of Thai men have twig like frames and wear cigarette leg jeans. The same goes for women most have very petite frames. With that being said Thai women usually let themselves go around age 40 and the looks seem to go rapidly downhill from there.

My ex said that sometimes other girls would call her maaa-daaam, which sounds polite to us but actually means "black dog" in Thai.



"Mia falang" (wife or mistress of white men) is also said behind or in front of the girl's face. It sounds pretty innocuous but it's actually a pretty offensive comment. The implied meaning is basically "whore" or gold digger. Darker skinned Isaan girls tend to get tagged with this a lot.
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Postby Jeygonza » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:42 am

Dogboy86 wrote:Great report Rock, thank you...



Yes it is, Rock you should be a reporter because you write like you talk. For me it is easy to imagine how's each place, because you give too many details.
Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
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Postby Rock » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:36 am

davewe wrote:
Rock wrote:
Repatriate wrote:Great trip report Rock. I don't understand how Filipina #4 would be so hard to meet? She's not attractive at all in my opinion and kind of pudgy with a boringly plain face/body. Even a lot of the regular Thai-Chinese girls would look stunning next to her in both fashion sense and basic facial features.


Well, the girl who rudely shot me down in the mall was even fatter and probably worse looking than her. For some reason, lighter skinned and sometimes pudgier girls, especially if they are relatively tall, seem to be given a higher value in that society, even if they are very plain looking. The whole point of photos 3 vs. 4 was to illustrate the value of lighter skin, height, and even pudginess. These features make even a very plain or worse girl have a higher perception of her own attractiveness and generally makes her harder to get. Girl #4 will get attention from Korean and local guys. Girl #3 will not.

Also, keep in mind, PI is full of rather uninspiring girls, IMO. As I mentioned in first post, you don't see many stand-out uglies like you would in the States or certain other western countries. But stunners are equally rare IMO.


I found there to be plenty of inspiring girls, but they weren't hanging out at malls. They work at malls, hotels, airlines, etc.

As to height I met a striking girl who was 5'5". She said height is a disadvantage with Filipinos but not so with white foreigners, which was her preference. She said her sister was taller and had quite a problem with local guys in the province.

So yes, if you don't like short and dark this ain't the place. But if you do it's fantastic!


Don't pay too much attention to what they say. Carefully observe behavior instead. I sent out emails on Filipino Cupid to girls who were 5'4", 5'5", 5'6", and 5'7". I got the highest response rate from the 5'4" girls and also got a lot of unsolicited attention from even shorter girls. 5'6" girls were very challenging and I got no responses from the 5'7" girls. The taller girls also tended to have more demanding spec requirements. As for your friend's sister, tell her to move into Cebu City or Manila. If she has a decent face, she will soon find that her height gives her a big advantage in attracting guys and even finding work. Guys out in the province are not generally considered a good catch compared to their urban cousins.

As I mentioned, when I hung out at Mango Square area, the better looking girls were generally with Filipinos and Koreans. A lot of these girls were taller too, many around 5'6" and some even 5'7" or 5'8". The bfs were sometimes shorter than them but tended to be good looking.

I didn't visit 5 star hotels. But I did observe the girls working in malls, travel agencies, and airlines. Again, many were OK but I didn't see knock-outs. Probably some of the best looking girls I saw worked in call centers. Also, keep in mind that the bias I discussed above (taller lighter skinned over shorter darker skinned) extends to employ-ability I think. So yes, girls working in certain public interface positions are going to be, on average, much more presentable as far as locals are concerned at least.
Last edited by Rock on Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Rock » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:05 am

Repatriate wrote:
Twobrains wrote:My Thai ex GF told me that they have exactly the same preferences. Tall, light-skinned and slightly big-built girls (particularly with big breasts) are highly valued by Thai men. Short, thin, dark girls (typical of Issan) are not in demand, and Thai men laugh at the farangs who date them. Luckily, I don't mind being laughed at!

You almost got that correct but actually thai men prefer tall, light skinned and slim women. If a woman is slightly heavier on the body size with latina type curves she'll be called fat. They really like the tall rail thin beauties here. Actually anything beyond a slight frame for both men and women is referred to as fat. Even if you're slightly muscular they'll still call you "fat" heh.

A lot of Thai men have twig like frames and wear cigarette leg jeans. The same goes for women most have very petite frames. With that being said Thai women usually let themselves go around age 40 and the looks seem to go rapidly downhill from there.


You know Repat, everyone seems to say that and I believe it. The tall, light skinned, model types are strongly in demand by the majority of heterosexual local guys. And even tasteless white farangs appreciate them.

But, let me share something else I've discovered over the years from much trial and error. Contrary to popular opinion, the plump and even somewhat overweight girls are also very much in demand by a significant number of well-qualified local guys if they are taller + lighter skinned and/or have nice curves and/or have a cute or attractive face. Yes, they are probably classified as fat. But they've been a much bigger challenge for me than the garden variety types there - lighter or darker skinned. Once in awhile I do see a taller Thai with Latin type curves too. Whenever I have the balls to investigate, I usually find she's well set with an good looking and successful partner. Many of the bigger girls consider themselves attractive or better even while they acknowledge that they are 'big' for Thai standards. The biggest exceptions I've seen to this tendency towards strong self confidence are the ones who have unattractive faces.

So if larger and heavier girls are not so much in demand, what explains my personal experience above? My theory on this boils down to supply vs. demand. Even in Thailand, there is a signficant subset of guys who, like me, prefer taller and curvier girls in contrast to the mainstream ideal. And there is a certain subset of local girls who, to some extent, match this preference. Perhaps the subset of guys who have it is much larger than the subset of girls who match it? Never underestimate the value of scarcity.
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Postby Rock » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:12 am

Jeygonza wrote:
Dogboy86 wrote:Great report Rock, thank you...



Yes it is, Rock you should be a reporter because you write like you talk. For me it is easy to imagine how's each place, because you give too many details.


Well Jeygonza, perhaps you should visit the PI too. At a slim but curvy 5'10", I think you would stand-out as pretty exotic there.
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Postby Rock » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:20 am

Dogboy86 wrote:Great report Rock, thank you...


Thanks. I've been quite lazy about posting trip reports. I still owe one on DR and even my old interview with French tenant on Taiwan.
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Postby Rock » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:01 am

Twobrains wrote:My Thai ex GF told me that they have exactly the same preferences. Tall, light-skinned and slightly big-built girls (particularly with big breasts) are highly valued by Thai men. Short, thin, dark girls (typical of Issan) are not in demand, and Thai men laugh at the farangs who date them. Luckily, I don't mind being laughed at! My ex said that sometimes other girls would call her maaa-daaam, which sounds polite to us but actually means "black dog" in Thai.

Very interesting report, Rock. Did you hit any dating sites before reaching Cebu, or did you rely on cold approaches?


I didn't hit any dating sites until a couple days after I arrived. Then I only used Filipino Cupid (cus you can do searches which filter for height). So I didn't get the same benefit of those who start contacting people a month or two in advance.

One annoying thing about the profiles is the incidence of false positives. Some Filipinas don't know the metric system well so mis-state their height. For example, a couple of girls were listed as 175 cm but when I bounced them over to SMS and asked to confirm their height, they would reply with something like 5'2"!
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