Throughout the years, Filipino dating culture has evolved into a complicated mix of traditional beliefs, religious customs and western influence. While the traditional style of Filipino dating is still practised in many rural and suburban areas, American influence in dating styles are becoming more apparent in the younger generation, especially those living in the urban areas, primarily in the country's capital, Manila.
Currently, the exposure to cultural diversity and globalisation has already resulted in the varying insights and opinions on modern Filipino dating culture. Some Filipinos keep the traditionally conservative ways, some embrace the more liberal practices, while some combine the two.
Close Family Ties
Amid the many changes in Filipino dating culture due to multicultural influences, one thing that hasn’t changed is how Filipinos value their families. Close family ties are an important bond for each member of the family. A guy who wants to date a girl must ask for her parents' permission. In case no permission is granted, it is highly unlikely for the date to actually happen, unless in some cases that the girl and guy sneak out and date out secretly. However, this is morally unacceptable in Philippine culture.
Filipino parents are very strict with their children having romantic relationships. Brothers are generally protective of their sisters. Even cousins and other relatives are protective of their young female cousins and relatives. They become more lenient when their daughters, sisters and relatives reach the legal age of 18. When picking up the girl at her home for a date, it is common to provide gifts to the family members (parents, grandparents and siblings) as well. Parents usually want to have some conversation with the guy and ask about his family and educational background before they can go out for a date.
The first date is officially a time to get to know each other. The couple ask about each other’s backgrounds and it is highly unlikely to have a passionate kiss after the date. Some girls allow a kiss on the cheek after the first date, but this varies per person and per couple. Some guys don’t even get the chance to hold the hand of their conservative dates. However, the more liberal females are more open to intimacy, even during the first date.
Traditionally, the girl should not provide a hint that she actually likes the guy except that she allows follow-up dates with him. It is important that the guy brings the girl home according to her curfew to maintain the trust of her family. Some parents allow their young daughters to date out as long as they have chaperones. A chaperon for a date is usually a household helper, a sibling or a cousin.
Dating in the Philippines is ideally a start of courtship. This means that a girl agreeing for a guy to take her out for a date is indirectly allowing him to court her. Courtship is an important part of Philippine tradition and culture. It is a trademark of Filipino women to first play hard-to-get during dating and courtship. This traditional thinking is considerably changing because of western influences. However, in general, the parents and grandparents still expect modern couples to live up to the old ways.
Filipinos, regardless of age and gender, have varying notions on modern dating and courtship. Some strictly follow traditional practices such as having to serenade the girl in her home to officially show romantic affection; while others are already open to more liberal practices and physical intimacy. Some already find it acceptable that the girl makes the first move.
Popular Dating Places
Malls are favourite dating places of Filipino couples as they typically have dining establishments (from fast food chains to fine dining restaurants), movie houses, gaming places, sports areas, clubs and bars, event halls and even parks.
Dining out is always a part of Filipino dating. After dining out, most couples also prefer to watch movies. Younger couples usually go to gaming and arcade sites or play sports such as billiards, bowling and ice skating. Older couples go to clubs and bars, play badminton, watch concerts and band performances or attend art exhibits.
A follow-up date is generally a sign that the girl is interested on the guy. As Filipinos are sensitive people and try to avoid directly hurting people as much as they can, they are not very frank when having to tell something that may hurt the other person. There are times that a girl can’t directly tell a boy that she is not interested on him anymore. She may find an opportunity to tell him about it by the next date. Others, especially some teens, might ask the help of a friend to tell the guy about it. A guy who is not interested on a girl anymore would normally do the same thing. Intimacy might be more apparent during follow-up dates, especially when the couple has been dating for a few months already.
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