Why do Filipinas marry foreigners? Here are 4 good reasons…

By Doug •  7 min read

Here in the US, a vast majority of the interracial marriages that I see are Filipino women and white men. As a matter of fact, I have five close friends with Filipina wives (which says a lot considering that I’m not a very social person). Why do Filipinos very foreigners?

Based on my research, there are 4 main reasons why women from the Philippines tend to marry foreigners.

  1. Most do it because they are seeking a better life for themselves.
  2. Most interesting (to me at least) is the fact that many do it because they want to escape from the demands of a strict family circle. Family bonds are very tight in the Philippines, in person it’s just too much.
  3. Some do it because the thought of living in the United States or Europe sounds exciting.
  4. They think western men are more charming. Ha!

For the record, I discovered these things from conversations with the wives of my friends (the ones from the Philippines obviously). I also have a handful of Filipino friends myself (both male and female), so it was fun to pick their brains and dig deep into what some of the reasons are.

The reasons why Filipinas marry foreigners are fascinating (to me anyway)

Before doing the research to write this post, I would’ve assumed that most women from the Philippines marry foreigners because they simply want a better life for themselves. While that assumption was correct, some of the other reasons were not anything that I had considered before. Here’s what I discovered:

They might be looking to escape from poverty

Life is hard in the Philippines. It’s technically a Third World country, and most people live in poverty. Based on what some of my friends wives have told me, the poverty they struggle with isn’t a choice. It’s simply a way of life and for most, there’s simply no way out of it.

The prospect of marrying a foreigner (someone with money from a first world country) is appealing to some Filipino women, but not all. It’s mostly the younger women, who tend to spend more time on social media.

Interestingly enough, none of my friends wives admitted to marrying a foreign man just to escape poverty. I mostly believe this, but there are one or two I question about. Just sayin’.

Note: it’s important to be aware of the signs that a Filipina will give you if she likes you. If you’re getting the sense that she’s only using you to escape from her own problems, run away as fast as you can.

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They could be looking to escape from family

Family is a core part of Filipino culture. Families do everything together, and they tend to stick together for life. As a mater of fact, I consider this to be one of the disadvantages of dating a Filipina.

Anyway it’s not uncommon for women to stay with their parents until they get married. The pressure parents put on their daughters to find a nice man to marry and settle down with is immense.

US passport and green card

To a woman stuck in the Philippines with an overbearing family, a US passport and Green Card is the most valuable thing on Earth.

Family life is still very important after marriage. Even after getting married, then moving out, and having children, it’s not uncommon for parents (and even grandparents) to voice their opinion on every little thing. I’ve heard horror stories from my Filipina friends and acquaintances about how overbearing family life can be in the Philippines.

An easy way to escape this pressure is to marry a foreign man and leave the country. Two of my friends’ Filipina wives wanted to escape the Philippines for this reason.

Western culture seems glamorous and exciting

Anyone who has been to the Philippines knows that it’s nothing like how it is in Europe, Australia, or the United States. Outside of Manila, life is hard (and not very glamorous).

Social media has made it very easy for many Filipino women to see how much more interesting life could be outside of their home country.

There have always been western TV shows and movies in the Philippines, but social media has taken it to another level. Instead of just seeing how the movie stars and musicians lived their glamorous lives, it’s now easy for them to see how “normal” people live in western societies.

And of course, as we all know, most people post a highly-curated version of their life on their social media channels. Many women from the Philippines (among other places) have a hard time seeing past that.

Many Filipinas think western men are more gentlemanly and charming

Learning that Filipino women think so highly of western men was shocking to me. As a western man myself with many Filipino friends, I have a hard time believing that western men are more gentlemanly than Filipino men.

Nearly all of the Filipino women that I’ve spoken to have said that men from the Philippines can be rude and controlling in private. But isn’t that the same everywhere? As an American, I can tell you for a fact that American men are the same.

I asked one of my Filipina friends about this specifically and this is what she said:

Filipino men treat their wives and girlfriends as objects. They may seem warm and charming at first, but in private, it’s not uncommon for them to be abusive and cold (to the point where they focus very little attention on family life). Most women will experience this at some point in a relationship, and it’s frustrating because it’s seen as a normal thing and it’s something we have to deal with.

Warning: some Filipina women marry foreigners with bad intentions

Don’t worry. Most Filipinas marry men from other countries with good intentions. However, there are plenty of instances where marriages have gone horribly wrong.

I had a friend once who married a woman from Cebu after dating for only 6 months. They met online, and he went to visit her only once before the marriage. Everything seemed fine in the beginning, but he quickly realized that he was in trouble when he noticed money disappearing from his bank accounts. Long story short, she left him broke at alone after only six months of marriage.

International marriage is risky, and it’s extremely important that you know how to spot a Filipina scammer before she ruins your life. Here is what my friend had to say about taking the risk out of marrying a woman from the Philippines:

By the way, if you’re curious, I recently wrote a detailed explanation of how much it typically costs to marry a Filipina. I highly recommend reading that if you’re thinking about marring a woman from the Philippines.


My name is Doug, and I'm an ordinary white guy living in the US. 10 years ago I married a Japanese woman that I met online, and it's been an adventure to say the least! I started AsiaGraphix.com as a way to share all the lessons I've learned about dating (and ultimately marrying) an Asian woman.

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