Guide to Filipino dating culture: Do’s and Don’t

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While the language of love is international, every culture offers a different approach to it. The Philipines is a breathtaking country with distinguishing tradition. Filipino dating culture is still non-westernized as it has kept a mix of religion and superstition.

When it comes to dating, things can seem complicated to foreigners.

Let’s go through what is the right way to go and what is wrong.

Understanding Panliligaw

Panlili…what? In every culture, there is a period of development before a relationship.

The western world calls it dating, and in the Philipines, they call it Panliligaw.

The simplicity of casual dating in the Western world here gets replaced by specific traditional courtship.

While the Filipinos have made a move towards modernizing it, it can still feel conservative.

What are the unwritten rules of Panliligaw?

Men make the first move

You can feel conservativeness in every part of the panliligaw.

In Filipino dating culture, the women are submissive, and the men are the ones to take on the action. From meeting and introducing themselves to sorting out dates.

No matter how much a Filipino girl likes someone, she will wait for the man to make a move.

In the era of emancipation and feminism, a small number of Filipino women ditch the stereotypes and traditions. In the big cities, a Filipino girl has no fear of approaching a guy she likes.


Family values are above anything else for the Filipinos.

Meeting the family in Filipino dating culture comes right after meeting the woman. The parents are very involved in their children’s dating life.

They want to know who you are and what kind of person you are.

Filipino parents are religious, stereotypical, and strict when it comes to love affairs. So it’s fair to say that when you date a Filipina-you date her whole family.

A man will have to ask for her parents’ permission to take a girl on a date. Some parents will want to know where you are going when you are coming back and even send a chaperone.

Many Filipinos tend to skip this tradition and meet the parents after becoming an exclusive couple.

Religion & Culture

Filipinos are a very religious and God-fearing nation. 86% of the population is catholic and attends church every Sunday. You need to pay respect to their religion as well as their culture.

Many parts of the Filipino culture, as well as the dating culture, are hard to understand for the western world. But that won’t change for you, so pay your utmost respect.

Public Display of Affection

Public display of affection is a tricky point in most Asian countries. While PDA was unacceptable in the past, today it’s a little more tolerated.

Couples back in the days wouldn’t show signs of affection whenever they were out in public.

Today holding hands is the main giveaway that you are a couple. Friends don’t hold hands in the Philippines. It’s considered rude and disrespectful.

French kissing is still a big No, but a cute forehead and cheek kiss is okay.

Hugging and cuddling are okay as long as it is respectful.

Clinging onto each other or having a woman sit in a man’s lap is disrespectful.


When choosing a man, Filipinas look for someone who can provide for them.

They are hard-working, and a broke man is a deal breaker for them.

At the beginning of dating, you need to give her gifts and show generosity.

What you probably don’t know is that Filipino families help each other a lot.

So you get money requests to help your girl’s relative building a house, or her nephew with its’ education.

If you happen to go on a trip, you have to bring back pasalubongs. These are small gifts from the place you’ve visited.

Picking up checks is no different. If you take the family to dinner, no one will fight you when you pick up the test.

Some parts of the Filipino dating guide might seem strange and impractical to you, but the basics are simple.

If you have no problem with paying respect, keep up with family values, religion, and generosity, you are ready to date Filipinas.

Keep an open mind, don’t assume and observe with great respect and appreciation.

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