It was never a hidden fact: there has always been an unpleasant stereotype that goes with a Chinese getting into a relationship with a Filipino. So many years after, when things, mindset, and ideas tend to be more liberal, we wonder, what’s the real deal now? Has anything changed in this dating situation?
We’ve asked real-life couples who had to undergo this murky situation to share with us their interesting journey that transcends race, culture, and language all in the name of love:
The Couple: Jason Tan and Kath Garcia-Tan
Their story: Jason’s parents hail from Mainland, China but he was born in the Philippines. Because of their family tradition of being only allowed to marry a fellow Chinese, he had to keep his relationship with Kath for six years from his mom, until he finally gathered the courage to tell her.
The struggle: Jason’s mom didn’t like Kath, at first. But eventually, his mom saw that they weren’t kids anymore and they were about to settle down already. “Pero one week ata siya hindi kumain sa sama ng loob,” Jason shares. It took about three more years when Jason and Kath got married. They now have a wonderful baby girl and have been together for nine years.
How it works: According to Jason, “Nakita naman niya na hindi niya kami pwede paghiwalayin na. Mag-30 na ata kami *laughs*. So hindi naman boyfriend-girlfriend pa. Nakita naman niya yung pagsasama namin. Pero andun pa rin yung language barrier. Pero Kath is trying hard naman na makisama and everything.” Kath also gave up her corporate job to join and help with Jason’s family business. He also summarized their love journey through an emotional snippet from his wedding vows. “Sa lahat ng nakakaalam ng pinagdaanan namin, kami ay nag-tagumpay."
The Couple: Esjae Peña and Jiea Dee
Their story: Jiea happily shares, “Well, thankfully my Chinese father is now modernized and he was never against my pure Filipino husband.”
The struggle: While their relationship hasn’t faced a struggle in that area, Jiea knows other people who went through all sorts of struggles. “I have traditional Chinese classmates. Chinese kasi (the traditional ones, I mean. May mga modernized na kasi) prefer to 'preserve the wealth and ancestry' which is why they usually reject Filipino lovers. And having rich Chinese friends, oftentimes they avoid Filipinos not because of racism, but as harsh as this sounds, the Filipino clan tends to make 'asa' on the Chinese family. And a Pinay classmate who dated a pure Chinese guy experienced shunning… when she was introduced to the Chinese parents, she was treated like a ghost. So they decided things can't work out and ended the relationship.”
How it works: “On a more positive side, a Chinese guy went against his parents' wishes and fought for his Filipina girlfriend. The guy was disowned by his family and was denied of inheritance. Good thing the guy is capable of making a living on his own. So bottomline, there's really no guarantee if things will work out or not. Very dynamic na ang Chinese community ngayon. There are actually a lot who now date Filipinos just as long as the latter is financially capable and not with a family who'll freeload on the Chinese clan,” Jiea says.
The Couple: Ernest Chan and Rea Lyne De Jesus-Chan
Their story: Ernest and Rea had been together for five years as boyfriend-girlfriend. Recently, Ernest proposed and they decided to tie the knot.
The struggle: Rea notes that as a Filipino, the initial struggle they encountered was language barrier. With Ernest coming from a Chinese family where he talks to his parents in Chinese, Rea had to learn at least basic Chinese language. "Nuon una... Feeling na hindi welcome kasi hindi ko naman din sila naiintindhan. Pero naging okay din eventually eh... Nasanay ba," Rea also shares.
How it works: “Just trust your partner,” Rea shares. Be open to learning new things and it also helps to embrace your partner’s culture.
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