Theodore Vincent C. Calaor
Since the beginning of the era of exploration, different human societies have had its fair share of interactions, whether positive of negative. We can see this example through Colombus and the Native Americans, the Spanish and the Filipinos, the British and the Indians, and many more. Half of the time, these interactions would result in a conflict of interest, the other half, an agreement of interest. We can see an example of the positive result of these interactions through Canada and Australia, though both have their individual governments, both countries still recognize the Queen of England as their monarch. It can go both ways, the good and the bad. Looking at this issue at a more personal level, relationships can branch out form these interactions. As we can see from the family histories of numerous people, most of the time they would say that at a certain point in their family’s history, foreign blood had been mixed in. The same is true for me. My family tree has shades of Indian, Spanish, and Chinese blood. As sure as the past has proven, these inter-racial relationships still make their mark on today’s society.
As a fulfillment for the requirements of our SA course, Basti and I went to Greenbelt 3 at night time to observe what others say “an inter-social mingling” in and around Café Havanna. The usual Friday night scene was there, the party music, booze, smokes, women, men looking for women, and small talk. As Basti and I sat down in Café Breton, which was right beside Café Havanna, we began observing immediately. At first sight, one can notice the large number of foreigners, or “expats”, as a general term, who were present in the area. This fat was never surprising to us since we were already accustomed to seeing a lot of foreigners in the Makati area, since it is the business district of the Philippines. A couple of beers arrived on our table and quickly had a drink as we prepared for what would seem to be a long night of monotonous observing. We were never so wrong in our preemptive judgment. All we had to do is to shift our mindset from observing from a macro level to observing at a micro level, on an individual basis. Once we spent a couple of minutes tuning our eyes to observing on the micro level, we finally got to get some pretty interesting input.
All of us are accustomed to someone saying “you look exotic”. Probably what comes to mind is an image of a Latin American woman with a nice coke bottle body, Angelina Jolie lips, Kiera Knightley eyes, and the nose of Scarlett Johannson. But it seems that the foreigners looking for “exotic” love have a different set of standards. As we watched a group of foreigners approach a group of scantily clad Filipinas, the thought of the word “exotic” hit us in the head. Why do these foreigners fin Filipina women exotic? Are we so used to the generic look of a Filipina that we can’t anymore find any uniqueness in them? Probably so. Based on our own standards, those Filipinas barely pass the category of “pwede” in the context of rating women (though it IS subjective).
Now, what could be the possible driving factors of these foreign men in choosing Filipinas? Some say it’s the caring factor that Filipinas possess in excess. Others say that it’s their ability harbor healthy, good looking children. Whatever the reason, this is definitely a topic for discussion. Returning to the first paragraph on racial interactions, we can probably root out a cause from this. One reason that Basti and I thought of is the thought of uniqueness. Perhaps we can’t quite fathom it in the context of the Philippines, but maybe we can look at it in the eyes of the foreigners themselves. Let’s say that we are a middle-aged American man on a business trip to the Philippines then during one of those nights off, something catches our eye; a beautiful Filipina by herself looking for a “date” for the night. Why are we attracted to her? One of the main factors is the fact that we are already middle-aged, meaning we are in our late 30’s to our early 40’s. Back in America, if you are still single and middle-aged, it’s either you are divorced or you just plainly can’t find a partner. Perhaps that’s why the foreigners come here in the first place. America’s working middle class earns way more than the average middle class income in the Philippines. That means more money for the Filipina and love for the middle-aged American man. It’s a win-win situation. This is most likely the situation for most, if not all, the foreigners in Greenbelt that night.
One other darker possibility came to our minds, the concept of the “holiday affair”. We’ve all seen this I movies, television series, and even comics. One man is on a business trip to a far flung country and then gets caught up in its red light district and brings back to the hotel room an “exotic” female. Probably one of our more disturbing hypotheses, it is not far from happening. The Philippines IS on the other side of the globe as compared to America. We can only imagine the average American man getting bored of the usual routine that he does with his family in the states, so for a change, he spends a night or two on one or more girls here in the Philippines. This thought though is very hard to comprehend for us Filipinos because of the strong bonds that we possess with our families. Despite conflicting outlooks, beliefs, and religions, the Filipino family will remain strong throughout these things.
For the American man on the other hand, the possibility of him doing this is much greater because of the very liberal society that they live in. A society wherein divorce, religious freedom, and LGBT acceptance is present doesn’t easily nurture a strong familial bond. This context gives the American man more leeway to be able to get away with the hook-up. The mentality of “okay lang yan” overrides the “responsibility and accountability” part of the American’s brain and thus allows him to do whatever he pleases in the Philippines as long as he is not caught and held responsible for it.
All in all, the night was very amusing and entertaining in general. Watching the interaction between these two races (pertaining not only to the American but to all the foreigners) was almost comedic in a sense. This experience opened our eyes to a deeper perspective on happenings like these. Whether what’s happening is the search for true love of the search for an overnight love, is beside the point. What we are driving at is that two different societies were able to meet in community without having to debate on certain issues. Is it because we are at peace time? Is it because it’s the right thing to do so? The subjectiveness of the situation will never allow us to know the true answer, but perhaps there is a take-away that we can get from this; societal differences are superficial all it takes for us to come to terms is music, good company, some booze, and a good hearty talk.