The culture of the Philippines is a rich and diverse one. Its culture is not defined by a single origin or a single tradition. Because of the experience in trading during the pre-colonial era and the experience in the colonial era of the Spanish, British, American, and Japanese, the Filipino culture is a melting pot of a lot more cultures.
Culture is defined as the set of practices, traditions, customs, and way of life of a particular group. In the Philippines’ case, its culture spans more than the traditions and customs. It goes as far as a Filipino’s day to day way of living. Relationships are involved in its set of culture.
Filipino-American relationships are not new and recent. Its existence is as far back in the 1900s when the American colony bought the Philippines from Spain. The Americans stayed in the Philippines and ruled the nation for four decades. In fact, they had built bases in the Philippines as one of their strongholds in the Pacific, instrumental during the World War Two. That is the bigger picture.
The smaller picture which involves the personal lives of both the Filipinos and the Americans would show how the two different cultures lived together in harmony, tug-of-war in power, and even in the issues of romantic love. Forty years is forty years and the four decades would tell how much relationships were made and eventual broken.
There were a lot of accounts of relationships between female Filipinos and male Americans. The biggest and heaviest evidences are the Fil-Am (Filipino-American) children conceived with those relationships. There is no denying that a relationship existed when a child would come into picture. They were known as the first generation of Fil-Am children.
That was the historical view on the Filipino-American relationships. Fast forward a little, to the 1970s and the 1980s when the migration pattern of the Filipinos become established. A lot of Filipinos migrated to the United States in search of jobs, academic fulfillment or the need to find their mostly American fathers. Of course, relationships were again formed. This is the second generation of Fil-Am.
Fast forward again to the 1980s to the 1990s, with the advent of fast mail and telephones. “Pen pals” and “Phone pals” thrive during these two decades. There were stories of Filipinas forming a relationship with Americans through mails and phone calls. The story was always the same. They would be introduced by a common friend then proceed with the exchanges of long mails and long phone call sgetting to know and dating. Sometimes, they become phone pals and pen pals when an American would get a chance to meet a Filipina and he would then ask for a constant communication once he leaves the Philippines.
The story would continue with mostly Americans asking for the hand of the Filipina in marriage or a promise of a better life abroad. He would be lovingly required to go to the Philippines, meet the family, properly ask the Filipina’s hand in marriage, and eventually would take the Filipina with him in the United States.
With the advent of the internet and the more efficient and higher technology than the normal snail mail and phone calls, meeting an American and a Filipina and forming a relationship becomes easier through virtual communication. The snail mail was replaced by the electronic mail and chat services, while phone calls are replaced with a video call. The meeting together becomes cheaper and easier online, in contrast to the expensive sending of snail mail via the post office or the expensive intercontinental long distance calls. It had been a fact that a significant number of Fil-Am relationships were formed via the internet through the said means.
Profit-seekers and money makers saw a great opportunity in this growing population of romantic relationships being formed over the internet. One by one, online dating service specifically Fil-Ams sprout like wild mushrooms over the internet. For a fee, an American or a Filipina could get a chance to meet his or her dream man or woman. He or she could also get to choose through the posted profile over the internet. Through the online dating service, they could also see their compatibility and the odds that they could have real and lasting relationships.
Some stories are of success for Filipino-American relationships. Others speak of break-ups and betrayals. However, most could attest that the first and second generations of Fil-Am relationships are far better and more genuine than the relationships formed via technology. A lot of factors could cause these realizations. Once, the old way of forming a relationship was founded on a face to face, personal interaction. Two, the primary focus was romantic love, and thirdly, online dating today seemed to be more on the illegal side than on the helpful aspect.
The Filipino-American relationships have both the good stories and the bad. A lot of successful marriages of the Filipino-American couples have been accounted for and are even healthier for their contribution to their culture and their society. Their children also become aware of their bi-racial existence that has not been a problem. In fact, some says that because of their romantic relationship, they cross over the boundaries of racial mark.
There were also stories of heart breaks caused by the Filipino-American relationships. These stories range from geographical difficulties to cultural differences to illlegal and even criminal acts done by both parties. Geographical difficulties would include the failure to establish a long distance relationship- whatever stage the relationship is. Cultural differences would mean that either or both parties would have difficulty in adapting in the other party’s cultural background, even with the best effort both of them gives. The illegal and criminal acts would include stories of betrayal, violence, and to some even death.
Whatever stories arise from the history department of Filipino-American relationships, one thing is sure: there is no denying the strong and significant existence of these types of relationships in both the Filipino and American cultures.