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Most have no computer, but may have access to a computer at work or at an internet cafe for email, but you will have to ask them if they can do that or not. It's expensive for them, so most can't. Besides, actual handwritten letters are more romantic, and most dislike typed letters or email anyway. Some have cell phones now, but that does not mean they are rich. They may have a cheap or disposable phone without a plan, because they can just buy phone cards cheap. Also, they are not charged for incoming calls there...just out going calls. The popular thing is texting each other for only 1 peso in country, although it costs 25 pesos to text overseas. Many do it now. You can send a text message to their cell number free at www.chikka.com, and it is cheaper for them to text you back at chikka. Only about 1.5 pesos. It is listed on my main page. It may be the most reliable way to contact a lady if mail gets stolen, or she has no email address.
Pros and cons of email. Pros: can't be stolen, fast, secure and private, free, etc, etc. Cons: costs the lady money usually at an internet cafe, she may ask you for money for it, she may be talking to many other men, she may be into chat rooms with a lot of men, etc. Some ladies with just regular mail may be scam artists... but a higher percentage of scam artists can be found among the internet savvy ladies. They find they can get multiple rich foreigners to send them money often times with various sad stories, etc. They can make quite an income doing that. Hanging out in the internet cafes is not good either, not such a good company for them there sometimes. In short, of the listings that I have removed as gold diggers or frauds, most by far were ones with email addresses, and were internet savvy women with a cute picture. Some men have even told me they had such poor luck with those with email addresses that they would only contact those without it. I have heard of men sending thousands of dollars before they realized they were being used....I am one of them, and I have learned the hard way! While it is true most have real needs there, it is bad manners to ask for money and most won't. If you know they are honest, and wish to help them with cash, that is your choice. Whichever you choose to go with, be careful and wise. I advise, if she starts asking for money, forget her. It is best not to ever start sending cash, I can almost guarantee you will be sorry.
Please let me know if you find a bad email address in my list. Sometimes Filipinas let their email accounts go without checking them a long time, and lose the account. In that case your email will bounce. Inactive accounts are closed. Hotmail will mark an account inactive if not accessed for 30 days, and will delete it entirely at 90 days. Google's GMail requires that users sign in at least once every nine months; Yahoo.com will close accounts whose owners have not logged in after 4 months. MyWay mail is one of the few that doesn't have a restriction.
Also, Philippine servers go down a lot, or power outages (common there) may cause delayed messages for a day or so. Cell phones are common because they are cheap there, and one does not need expensive contracts. They just buy cards for prepaid calling. If they don't keep the card up, they may lose the cell number, and you will get a bad number. A common way for them to lose a regular house phone is when neighbors run up a big bill with long distance calls, and they can't pay it. So... if you find bad emails or numbers in my list, then please let me know. I do this for free, so I cannot spend a lot of time and money keeping contact with these ladies. They just send me an application (once usually), and I never hear from them again, unless they marry, and they notify me. Postage and phones are expensive for them. Just try regular mail if other routes don't work out. If one tells you she's married, then please let me know, too. Thanks!
* WHO AND HOW MANY TO CONTACT...
Write to one, some or all if you like. If you write only one or two once, and wait for a reply, then you may be disappointed to get no response. The letters could have been stolen or lost... you never know. Write many at first, and try more than once. I wrote every week to mine (12 to start with), and did not wait for a reply each time. It took about 8 days to get a letter from the US to the Philippines, and from the Philippines back to the US in 1995. It now may take 10-26 days in each direction, since the terrorist attacks...maybe even longer during the holiday season. It's crazy to wait that long for your letters, but that's just the way it is. Write often, and don't wait to get a response from a lady before you write again. Send them some Philippine stamps in your letters so that they will be able to send you a reply letter. Frequent letters also show interest and will make a good impression. If your pen pal gets a letter every week from you, and a letter once a month from another pen pal, though he be well-to-do, guess who she will feel cares the most about her? Remember, you are not buying a bride, you are winning a heart! It's war! Don't send one soldier, send many and you will win. :-)
By the way, she is advised to have several pen pals just like you are. One needs to sift the wheat from the chaff, and find the one right for them... the most compatible. If you do it (write to many ladies), then don't be hurt if you find she does it, too. Competition will make you work harder to win her.
* BE POLITE AND RESPECTFUL...
Always remember you will be writing a letter that will be proudly shown to most of the family, including father, mother, cousins, friends, etc. The lady will ask for opinions and advice and your words and pictures should reflect understanding that others will see them. Be sensitive and aware of this fact.
Most of these ladies are "good girls" and in their culture that means virgin, innocent and very unworldly. The "bad girls" are prostitutes or bar girls, etc. Men who talk sex right off or ask for new pictures of Filipinas will find they shock the lady and she will be disgusted. Most do not smoke, drink or use profanity, have never had sex or maybe never even had a boyfriend. There are many spinster virgins there believe it or not. Not all to be sure, some may have all the bad traits and experiences or be a bar girl. If that is what you want, fine but do not expect most Filipinas to be like women in your culture or like bar girls. Their culture is different, study it! Talk to them like you would the young daughter of your best friend.
* A BIT YOUNG?...
Some of the ladies are a bit young so obviously just a pen pal for now with dreams of marriage someday as most all young ladies have. Remember, we only list pen pals, not "mail order brides". Under Philippine law a Filipina cannot marry unless she is 18 years old and then only if her parents consent. She must be 25 years old to marry without their consent. You must win the parents heart as well as the girls heart, but it is not hard to do. Most welcome the idea of a foreign husband marrying into the family. If you choose to write the younger ones you may only have a pen pal for now, not a wife. Sometimes the ladies exaggerate their age, as is common with many women. :-) They often say they are the next year in age than they are. A common phrase is "running 20". This means they are 19 actually, but working on the 20th year. If they exaggerate a lot of years, that is something else.
* MAIL THEFT/SECURITY...
Just make sure it looks like nothing is in the envelope but a single page of paper to reduce chances of theft. Thin white envelopes let someone see no money is in it, unlike security envelopes. From the US one no longer needs to use special airmail envelopes for overseas mail, it is all airmail now. I think airmail envelopes scream out "Foreign mail! May contain money!) Use plain white if you can from your country and plain stamps. It blends in with other mail. The Cebu area has less mail theft than others plus some what faster mail movement as well. Some islands are as slow as 8 weeks! Average is 12-20 days from the US to the Phil. Other countries vary, of course.
* POSTAGE IS EXPENSIVE FOR FILIPINAS...
If you want responses, Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes (SASE) is the KEY! Postage is very expensive for a Filipina and getting worse. Many average jobs pay only about $3-4 a day so a stamp is a large proportion of a day's pay, it costs about what a kilo of cheap rice costs! Also, paying for transportation to the City Hall Post Office to buy stamps and mail a letter is costly and time consuming as well. If no postage is included, your chances of a reply decrease drastically. Some guys try writing without a self addressed stamped envelope and are disappointed to get no replies and think the whole thing was a hoax. In reality the mail may have been lost, stolen or the Filipina could not reply due to one of the reasons above!
It's cheap to buy 10-20 stamps to get responses. Think of it this way, compared to paying $____ for one average date... If you get a good wife out of a small initial investment it is an even better deal! A dream wife compared with a possible kiss or one night stand! ;-) If you want some Philippine stamps, email me, and I can sell you some for a cost of $20 for 14 stamps, which includes shipping and handling. Or visit the NIPA HUT STORE.
* MAIL THEFT OR NO REPLIES...
When I started writing ladies, to avoid theft, as well as be sure to get some responses back, I sent a self addressed stamped envelope with each letter stamped with the correct airmail postage for them. Out of 10 letters I got 7 back. My wife told me if no postage was in a letter to her she could not reply, so she just ignored it. She had to: no money. Also, if a lady has a pen pal or two, she may not respond to your letter even if she is not too serious about her other pen pals. BUT, if you sent a self addressed stamped envelope or postage she may at least respond, or even keep responding if she finds you are a better man than those she is already writing! Remember, mail may be stolen if it looks like money may be in it from overseas. If you get no reply after one letter don't just give up! Try again at least one or two more letters if she looks like she would be a good wife. Don't be discouraged! KEEP TRYING!
* CASH IS NOT COOL...
I did send a few small Money Orders for about $5-$10 for the ladies I decided to keep writing of my original selections but I should not have. Some of the letters were stolen and it's a hassle for them to GET to a place to exchange the foreign money or MO, and can cost them in time, risk and for transportation by jeepney or tricycle (a motorcycle that holds 6!). Stamps are BEST, if your chosen lady is very poor and must choose to buy rice instead of stamps you would have to wait for a response longer or never get one. A 26 peso stamp will let her send you a 1/2 ounce letter to anywhere in the world. And you don't want to start out a relationship by sending money! Gifts or money later is okay but not at the first! It may get you off on the wrong foot. She may even have family members who pressure her to ask for more money. (It happens.) Be suspicious if she asks you to send money right off or later for large amounts. Not all Filipinas are sincere. Some are gold diggers and you must be wary. If a lady asks for money before you meet her and are engaged, be careful. She may be working to con you. Some have legitimate needs though so you must decide for yourself if you want to take the risk. Do not send money is what I advise. Don't even start. Tell them I said not to, if you like.
I think it is best to downplay your financial status. I told ladies I was just low average income for the US and did not have a lot of money. I never told my income. I did say a average income in the US may sound like a lot but most all of it is spent on living expenses which were a lot higher than in the Philippines. I did not lie, but did really downplay the money angle. I thought if they really were interested in me more than money it would not matter. If they were most interested in money and dropped me... fine! ;-) There are thousands more to choose from with a better heart.
* WHAT IF THE LADY FINDS I AM WRITING MORE THAN JUST HER?
Don't worry about a lady knowing you write other ladies, most pen pals will ask you anyway if you are writing more than one. It is best to be honest and say yes. (I wrote 12, later many more). Just tell them you are exploring to see who you are most compatible with. They will understand. They may each have several pen pals as well. They look at the heart more than anything else. And don't brag about all your things, or lie to them. If you live in an apartment and drive a used car, tell them. In most of the bios you see they hate boasting. :-) They too will probably have several pen pals, so don't feel they are unfaithful to you for doing the same thing that you do.
* TRAVEL ADVISORY: SAFETY OVERSEAS...
You have heard of some civil unrest in the Philippines due to muslims and anti-government forces. Rest assured that the Cebu and Negros Oriental regions are the safest to visit in the entire Philippines. That is where most all our ladies are from. I am going back every 2-3 years so believe me, I listen to news a lot to see if any foreigners were kidnapped around Cebu or there is terrorist activity. I have heard of none there. If you decide to write and someday meet a lady from a dangerous area like the south or west, where the muslim problems are, you have SAFE OPTIONS like meeting them in Cebu or Manila. She can take a ferry or plane, with some family chaperones, there for not much money. Even if you pay for her and her mother or father or all three, you will find it cheap. Be alert and safe while there and don't take risks. Always check for recent foreign travel advisories before leaving.
Most of all, be prudent. If you go bar hopping alone late at night or take taxis in the city late at night alone you may get mugged and or robbed, obviously. That could also happen to you in any city in the world. If you go to places in the daytime with your lady and family chaperones, you will likely have no troubles . Your lady can tell you how to avoid which places. Listen to her and trust her judgment. The family will consider you like having a potential millionaire marry their daughter so they will protect you at all costs! :-) Heed their advice and you will be okay.
Airfare is higher during holidays. Most airlines put sales on at other times and are generally cheaper during January 13 to May 31 and August 2nd week to Nov 15th. Shop around and don't just take the first thing that pops up. The time or day of the week you leave or arrive on may make a big difference.
If you stay at a Resort or the best Hotels like Cebu Plaza in Cebu City for instance you can pay quite a bit for first class, or if you just want a cheap place to stay that is secure you could try the Pension House Hotels. Many of them all over, and very reasonable with good security plus air conditioning, phone, cable TV, showers, hot and cold water. I compare it to the US Motel 6 chain. Cheap but clean and all the things you need. Here is a site listing a lot in the Cebu Area: http://www.cebu-city.com/cctourismpension.htm In Zamboanga area: http://www.jetlink.com.ph/~zambo/hotels.htm#15 You can Google search other areas. We don't get commissions for mentioning them, just thought you would like to know average prices... Rooms run about 120 pesos up to thousands for deluxe. Average, depending on location, may run 800-2000 pesos a night.
* MASS MAILING TO YOUR FIRST LIST OF LADIES...
If you just send an impersonal, photocopied letter to 10 ladies without a self addressed stamped envelope your chance of reply is less, or it may take a longer time. If you send a photocopied letter first, put your picture(s) in it and personalize each one a little with a handwritten addition. That will go over better.
If you write frequently, what do you talk about? Tell them about your daily life, friends, pets, job, hopes, dreams and etc. Start with something like "I was just sitting here after work and started thinking about you...", then just write a little of common things or thoughts. No need to wait to write her of big news. Also if she is getting mail from someone else once in awhile, and she gets a letter from you every few days, guess who she will think cares the most about her? Like most women they look for love and romance first of all. ;-) They like to hear the simple things about you and your life, and regard that as important in establishing a closer bond between you.
Be aggressive (but tactful, pure and polite) in letter writing, but as loving as a puppy in your deeds and words. You are not buying a bride, you are winning her heart! Consider putting a little something extra in every letter like I did. Maybe a bookmark, a photo, a postcard, a leaf, a pressed flower, a feather, a scripture, etc. Just anything to say "thinking of you". Imagine if your letter is one of 2 or 3 she gets from pen pals, and yours always has something in it while there is just a piece of paper... who will she remember most. Who's letter will she open first next time if 2 come at once? Think about it.
Here's an excerpt from a man's email to prove my point.
"I just wanted to say thank you! I purchased some Philippine stamps from you several months ago. I have been very busy lately, but have found the time to start corresponding with one lady from your site... I wanted you to know that she seems very sweet and sincere. Tomorrow, I will be mailing my fourth letter to her (somewhere around 12 pages this time, I think!). She's mailed me two letters so far, both very thoughtful and expressive. I sent my second and third letters within one week, so she didn't have time to mail her reply to the first of those before she received the second. I talked to her on the phone this evening for over a half an hour. I don't like phone conversations nearly as much as meeting in person, but we were both very excited. She said she was especially impressed that I replied to her letter so quickly, then sent another soon after. Apparently, she has received correspondence from American gentlemen, but they did not write her again, or write very sporadically." I are not just trying to sell stamps. Whether you sends stamps or SASEs or not, WRITE OFTEN!
* HOW DO YOU BREAK OFF WITH A PEN PAL TACTFULLY?
How do you respond to those you don't want to keep writing? Just send a short note thanking her for her response but gently say something like "from what you told me, I don't think we would be very compatible" or "Thanks for writing, but I have found another lady who seems more compatible with me, and we have become very serious about writing. Since it would not be fair to her to keep writing you, I must say goodbye, but good luck on finding your life mate. You seem like a very nice lady, and I am sure you will soon find someone." ... They will understand. If you receive a letter or email from a lady, and you do not respond to it, then you will probably never hear from her again.
* HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET MY LADY TO THE US?
A plain I-130 Spousal visa is taking about 12 months currently. A K-3 Spousal Visa is taking about 10 months. With a K3 for her and a K4 for children if any, she can wait with you in the US for the immigration process to complete vs waiting in the Philippines. Having her come to the US for 3 months to see if you two are compatible to marry, a Fiance Visa is taking about 6 or 7 months currently. In the 3 months you must marry her, or send her back. It is faster, but few families will like the idea of sending their virgin daughter off to America alone to stay with a man whom she has not married. Also they wish to marry with all their family present (of course), so there can be problems with that route. Many do that, though.
* TRAVELING THERE, MEETING AND MARRYING...
When we go we take crisp, new, flawless $100 bills in a money belt or bra. :-) Better exchange rate. Travelers checks can be cashed though, exchange rate fair but a bit more hassle. Credit cards like Visa and MC are useful almost everywhere. If you use one with big, worldwide ATM abilities, you can get cash easily at most bank machines.
How much to take? I take about $1000-1500 pocket money for 3 weeks. When I first went they offered to have me stay with them. That way Jade would have no shame going to a hotel or resort to meet me, and the family got to know me better, seeing me all day long every day. They asked for nothing, but I knew they were poor. I calculated what I would have spent on a hotel and food, and gave that amount privately to her mother. Had to preface it just right, and be subtle with Jades help. (The mothers usually manages family money. Husbands, children and ALL surrender their entire paychecks to her, and she gives them back a small allowance for food, clothes, jeepneys, etc. That is their culture.) Remember, they will try to "put on the dog" for you, and buy lots of good food and all. They may pawn jewelry, or get loans from scalpers at horrible, daily interest rates just to supply you with hospitality, and not ask you for money. Don't let them do this. Show a bit of generosity, but don't flaunt money, or offer it tactlessly. Just pay for things here and there. Better yet, let your lady take the money, stay out of sight, and let her get Filipino prices on stuff for you, such as taxis and other negotiated things. Foreigners pay much more than locals....usually double the price.
About health issues. The physical for the embassy before immigration is pretty shallow, and will miss things maybe. They just screen for communicable diseases mostly such as TB, etc. You may want to get your lady to a doctor of your own for a GOOD physical... even before you begin the immigration process. Most have never had a PAP smear, and have never even heard of it. My wife's first was here in the US. We have heard of a few instances where a Filipina immigrated only to die of cancer, etc. A physical may be a good idea for you to consider...
* IS SHE SEPARATED AND NO ANNULMENT YET?...
To get an annulment (no divorce in the Philippines) is costly for her, and she may be hoping her foreign fiance will pay for it. Costly for them, but not so perhaps for men from another country. She can apply for an annulment in her country, or from another one. We are told Hong Kong is one where she can do so by proxy, and never have to contact the ex at all. If you chose to write a separated woman (ie. still married) it is up to you if you want to take on the extra hassle, she may well be worth it. It is best not to let the ex-husband know his wife is seeing a foreigner if the annulment is not complete, as he will smell money, and demand a lot usually, to agree to the annulment, even if he wanted it. Do not commit adultery with a lady that is still married, it is not just a sin, in the Philippines adultery is a crime punishable by 7 years in prison! Prisons there can be a real rat hole, and your embassy will kiss you off, as you are under Philippine law. Don't EVEN consider it! Play the game by their rules to get your love safely to your country.
* BE CAREFUL AND I'LL SAY IT AGAIN: DON'T SEND MONEY!...
We do not know MOST of the ladies at all who list with us, just a little about a few. We cannot make any guarantees, either expressed nor implied, about any of them. We remove any gold diggers we find, but have no way to find out much about the ladies other than what they tell us, and what YOU tell us. Please let us know if you have suspicions about any of them, or trouble, and we will try to contact them and resolve any issues. (Tell us also if you find someone has married and not told us.) We remove any we find that are bad, but that is all we can do. DO NOT send money to a lady unless you meet he,r and are engaged, and are positive she is sincere. This is what we suggest. If they ask for money right off, you had best forget her. Tell them we told you not to send money if you like. We want to help people, but hate being used as much as you do. Many may have real needs, some just have wants. You must decide what to do if she asks. We only provide free listings, and of course, cannot be responsible for what any of the ladies (or men) do. Best not to base a relationship on money. If you even start that, you will probably be sorry you did.
This heartfelt advice is from a guy with real life experience with Filipinas while living in the Phil and looking for a wife.
===Strong Advice: Never under any circumstances send money to a filipina whom you have never met in person, and developed a understanding for. If you do, 99% of the time, you are not only being swindled, but you are also encouraging more filipinas to enter into the "pen pal business" of using foreigners to get cash. A sincere filipina will never expect a monetary gift, will never ask "what is my gift" or otherwise hint that she wants a gift, much less overtly ask for money for anything. A sincere filipina is too shy, even if she had a medical emergency in the family, she would not dare ask her new pen pal, and risk destroying her chance for love and marriage. Understand very well, that for the true filipina, love has no monetary equivalent, and is more cherished than anything. If you send money, you are just encouraging yourself to become confused. The non-sincere filipina will waste more of your time, and you will become more of a target (non-sincere filipinas do sometimes talk to each other), or they can just see the pattern of a foreigner who likes to give.===
* HOW TO SPOT GOLD DIGGERS?
It may not be easy at first, but here are some things to watch out for. There have always been a tiny percent of frauds with only mail addresses, but the risk is much lower than those with IM and Email these days. If a Filipina is well off she may own a computer, and have the internet at home, but it is rare. If she is hanging out in the Internet Cafes and using web cams, often you have to wonder where she gets the money to do that. It costs about P25 to P40 per hour to use the internet cafes which can be a large portion of a days pay, per hour!
Look at the local time that her emails or IMs were sent. Is it late at night? Is she a "good girl" chatting from home or hanging out in town all hours of day and night? Is she online emailing and chatting every day? Is she slow in answering your IMs? Maybe she is talking to more than one man at a time? Most "good girls" parents would not let her stay out late, un chaperoned, hanging out.
The ones that are true and honest that do have email may only get to check it once a week, or once a month.
If a good Filipina needs money for real problems she will still not ask strangers for it, or her pen pal she hopes to marry. If a pen pal asks for money right off,or comes up with a long, sad, sob story hinting strongly for money, drop her immediately. If she is listed with us, forward us her emails or chat logs for me to review for possible removal. It is not pride that keeps the good ones from asking for money... it is honor.
Do not start sending cash, it will only escalate. Send stamps for her to write you back, or perhaps, if you use Chikka.com for free texting, you can send a small "load" for her cell phone to text you back. That is about the most I would do if I were you. Small things like that show you care, but sending cash shows you may send more if they can talk you into it...
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