Filipino Dating Culture: How Dating is Done in the Philippines

Every country has its own unique culture and tradition. Countries in the same continent usually have some similarities with their neighboring countries, but still have their own sense of uniqueness that makes that tradition their own. The Filipino dating culture is as unique and interesting as the country itself.

a conservative filipino couple

Dating in the Philippines, especially now, is somewhat a mixture of the traditional and modern Filipino dating culture. Filipinos still follow the traditional dating etiquette which is called Panliligaw or in other worlds, courting. Now, Panliligaw has a touch of modernity and is fairly influenced by the western culture. Especially the younger generation.

Now, let’s dig deeper into the dating culture in the Philippines that is still followed unto this day.

The man makes the first move

98% of the time, it’s usually the man who makes the first move. Whether if it’s just introducing himself or asking them out for a date. That’s was how it was usually done in the traditional Filipino dating culture. The women usually just wait until for the perfect timing until a man asks them out.

Nowadays, most people in the Philippines still follow this tradition especially in the countryside and minor provinces. But there’s a few where the women are more forward with asking guys out for a date.

Parent’s permission

Some Filipino parents could be quite strict, especially with their daughter’s dating life.

In the traditional way, before a man could ever date a Filipino lady, he has to ask for her parent’s permission first. It is required for her parents to know where you’ll take their daughter and even issue a curfew. Though there are some that would demand a chaperone. But it’s not really that common.

But that tradition is not really followed by most Filipinos anymore. Though there are still some who follows it. These days, they usually allow the man to meet their parents after they officially became boyfriend and girlfriend which we will tackle on the latter part of this article.

PDA rules & regulations

PDA or Public Display of Affection was always something frowned upon in the traditional Filipino culture. People from older generations did the traditional dating in the Philippines where it is usually very conservative and are reserved whenever they’re with their significant others. Instead of holding hands while walking, couples usually link their arms or the woman holding on to the man’s arm. Others still even consider this as a very sweet gesture.

Nowadays, people are more lenient and open-minded with PDAs but of course, there are still some limitations. Compared to the western culture, Public Displays of Affection in the Philippines are still pretty conservative. This is where the Filipino cultural background plays a part.

a filipino couple holding hands

Filipinos are now more accepting to seeing couples holding holding hands. When a boy and a girl hold hands, they’re automatically perceived as boyfriend and girlfriend. But if they’re only friends and they’re seen holding hands, they’re considered as doing something improper.

Hugging and cuddling while in public is also widely accepted and could still attract a few stares from other people. But of course, there are couples who can be a bit excessive with their hugging and cuddling. Like just clinging into each other like crazy and girls sitting on their boyfriends’ laps.

Kissing in public is already quite accepted now. Others would consider it as okay if it’s only a kiss on the cheek or forehead. But something beyond that would not only turn heads, but also make foreheads frown.

Are you ready to find love?

Religious beliefs

More than 86% of Filipinos are Catholic. That’s a huge number if compared to other the other religious groups in the Philippines.

Most Filipinos were brought up with religious values as they were growing up, and that is definitely a good thing. Because that means they put the highest value when it comes to family and relationships.

Related Article: Dating A Filipino Christian: How To Make the Relationship Work

Meet the whole family

You’ll know when the relationship is getting serious if they introduce you to their whole family. Not only their parents or siblings(if she has one), but the whole family from both their parents’ side. From grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and some would even include their neighbors. Meeting the family is always a part of the Filipino dating custom. Your relationship won’t last long or be great without their family’s approval.

When you do meet their parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, don’t forget to mano. If you’re confused who to mano, just follow their lead.

a filipino girl doing the mano

Most Filipinos come from big families and they’re usually very close. So when they tell you that they want you to meet their family, you’ll most likely meet everyone in the family tree who still alive.

Big bonus though, whenever Filipino families get together, there’s usually a ton of food that could probably feed a whole Barangay. They don’t do this to show off, this is just a part of their culture. Filipinos love to celebrate, and a celebration is never complete without food and karaoke!


So what the heck is Pamalae?

Pamalae is the term for when a man asks for the woman’s hand in marriage. But instead of asking only the woman if she can marry him or not, he also has to ask for her family’s blessing. A formal Pamalae is consist of the couple, both their parents, their siblings(if they have), and to some extent, their grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

In the traditional Filipino dating culture, the man’s family has to go to the woman’s house and introduce the two families together. The purpose of the Pamalae is to also make plans for the couple’s wedding. Where it should be held, when, who will do this and that.

Since this is a celebration of the couple’s engagement, of course, there will be food that will be shared by everyone. Which is supposed to be the next best thing to marrying your Filipino sweetheart. *wink*

Related Article: 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Dating Filipino Women

The Takeaway

The Filipino relationship culture is not really that hard to take on. Their dating culture is conservative and really puts high regard when it comes to their family’s approval, affectionate displays, and the whole courting process.

a filipino couple walking together in the park

The real takeaway here is to have respect for the Filipino you’re dating and towards their family. That is just one of the most important things that make up a good and lasting relationship. If you show that to them and to the people that care about, you can expect the same love and respect to be expressed back to you. Maybe even more.

Subscribe to TrulyFilipino

Receive up-to-date news, dating tips, and more!

Invalid email address
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Subscribe to TrulyFilipino

Receive up-to-date news, dating tips, and more!

Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.