Saturday, May 30, 2015

Top 5 Things Single and Successful Female Yuppies Understand

How many of you, smart and successful female yuppies get to be told you are single because you are intimidating?  While it is quite a blur why “success” attached to a woman is intimidating, it clearly is the case. Well, almost always. Depending on one’s definition of “success”, it is a possibility that a man is interested with a woman who’s at least a step ahead in the ladder.

For single and successful female yuppies, ”success” most likely mean being able to exceed pre-21st century  notion of staying at home exclusively, the outcome of life at home as managed by them, and the degree of importance their opinions have on their peers’ issues.
In this blog entry, “success” refers to the point reached in one’s career as a woman; the ones that are smart, driven, thriving, and leading in their chosen professional field. Those who take charge to get things done, whether in the group or an organization as a whole, are considered by men the most intimidating of all. If men don’t feel that way, then great! They are the gentlemen of the 21st century, and the very ones we single and successful female yuppies are looking for.

Here are the top 5 things single female yuppies may agree on:

1. It is you, men, who set the standards of “what we are looking for”. Most men tend to shy away from women who might be ahead in the professional world, forgetting that we are on to actually challenge ourselves, and not them. In the world where the glass ceiling still exists no matter how minimal, to reach the point in our careers where we get to take the lead empower us. However, just because we take control of what’s going on in the workplace doesn’t mean we wanted the same thing in our relationships. As a matter of fact, we are interested in men who can make us stay grounded and tell us we must at least stop pushing ourselves too hard. Further, we are not choosing mates based on professional standing alone. You need not be ahead of us in the hierarchy of achievements. Just like other women, we fall for wit, dependability, sense of humor, ambitions, and compatibility. If we are managers, it doesn’t automatically make us CEO hunters.

2. Our independence isn’t a threat that we can leave the relationship whenever we want. Instead of considering this a shaky foundation, take it as something attractive. How come, you said? Well, unless you are the type of man who wanted to be smothered 24 hours a day, getting all your private messages read, your phone calls monitored, or your all-guys night out ruined, an independent woman who has her own life makes life less complicated. Because we are independent in our careers, we tend to extend that in many aspects of our lives as well. Just like us, we know how important it is unwind after a stressful week, to work overtime, or to have your free time with the boys alone. Our life doesn’t entirely revolve around you, so we don’t always go clinging on your side, requiring you to boost our self-esteem, and start a fight if we feel you fall short in doing so.

3. Rather than a competitor, we are our men’s number one supporters. Yep, yep, yep! We might be a little competitive in the workplace, but we won’t make our beloved ones feel that. In fact, as we continually progress, we inspire you to achieve the same. Don’t take it as a form of pressure; we know men have the deep-seated, century-old concern on hierarchical dominance, and we are well aware that can make him happy. So, we support you to reach that happiness. With that, we can contribute meaningful ideas on your planning, or lend a hand so you can be ahead of the deadlines. When you needed a witty corporate dinner companion, we can help you earn the boss’ positive impression; we know how it works too! We are not just eye candies who can’t eloquently answer your boss’ queries about what we are passionate about. We are capable of sharing equally relevant ideas with the boss’ wife and help you break down barriers. We want an equal partner in all facets of life, which leads us to the next item.

 4. Our success in the job, monetized, will help us become financially stable as partners. Let’s face it. In today’s commercialized world, a double source of good income can spell the difference in terms of where you can build a home together, how far you can travel, how well you can provide for your kids and their education. Or maybe, how often you can enjoy fancy dinner dates that yuppies need to break free from the stressful corporate world. Stop being chauvinistic. It is gentlemanly to foot the bills for the date but that might be depressing for your budget plans, too. You see, we know how hard we must work to earn some money and we feel you. Unless your income alone can sufficiently support a convenient family life, given that everything goes smoothly all throughout, you need a providing partner as well. Yes, money can’t buy us happiness, but we can possibility do what makes us happy with the resources we have, put together.

5. We are appreciative ego boosters. We may have experience the same “another bad day in the office” thing that you have, and we know what actions are required to ease that bad day at work issue. Making you feel better do not require buying gifts alone, we understand there are priceless things that can do the job better, like preparing your favorite dish, or giving you a massage, instead of nagging at you and your failure to update about the entire day while she waited the whole day for your call, thinking you might be flirting with a colleague you must collaborate with to accomplish your tasks.  We can create meaningful days while you are at work and we know that at the end of the day, it’s the little things that stand out and make us forget about that crappy day. Other than that, don’t you think a man feel a lot prouder is he is with someone many people think are intimidating to approach, and even win? Going back to that hierarchical dominance, your woman tells so much about what you are capable of achieving.

We know many men are intimidated by single and successful female yuppies whom they consider to be someone that’s ambitious, assertive, opinionated and aggressive. Of course, a relationship that’s nurturing, something which is supposed to be, must be grounded on similar personal foundations, and that can explain why successful men like their women the same. If you feel you fall short of the expectations you perceived we have, we can’t do anything about it. You see, some of us will do the first move to assure you it is okay; many of us would feel you are not confident or strong enough. We want you to remember we like our men stronger than us. Intimidation isn’t something from women. Rather, it is the issue of men.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Foreign Men and the Pinay Online Dater: A social experiment

Hey there, online daters! How does the following go? 

"I am 65, retired, and travelling to your country in two months. I am looking for a younger woman to live with me being there. Maybe it will continue if we like each other after some time. I can support your family every month with supply of gas, a sack of rice, and P1500 worth of groceries."

Perhaps, for many online daters who had been around the dating sites, this is an everyday thing. For the fraction of regulars, this might even mean an opportunity served right in front of someone ready to grab a chance. Who wouldn't want to live without having to work on night shifts or 8-5 jobs, and still get to be provided with such necessities? For sure they are perks... and maybe curses too. 

For me, that was one of the most amusing statements I have heard in my entire existence (so far). 

Basically, I can't blame him though. 

There has been the decades-old view among Filipinos that goes something like "improve your race" (translated as: your kids have to at least look a bit better than you), "half-foreign breeds are just the most beautiful" (you can produce a bunch of actors and actresses), and "be practical, make your children's life better, so go marry a foreign man" ( insert dollar sign here). 

The most common stereotypes. Pinays dating or married to foreigners even get stereotyped in their own country.

We love everything foreign: clothes, chocolate, shoes, language, TV shows and even mates. That's how 333 years of Spanish colonization, 40 years of US control (if we have been really freed after 1946), three years of Japanese occupation, added to what has originally been a product of interaction with Indians, Chinese, Malays and other sultanates of South East Asia, have shifted the standards of every thing in the Philippines. The colonial mentality thrives as well as it was in the previous century. 

Of course, the easiest way to find a foreign man is through a free dating website. I have family members and friends who married foreign men (though not from dating sites), and I've even been into relationships with foreign guys myself. It was not a bed of roses entirely. There are major cultural misunderstandings, social stigma (though not as strong as it was previously), and confusions. Extra caution are then advised for online daters. With all that, I realized that before you jump the gun and get into an inter-racial relationship, you must be able to reflect on the following questions: Are you ready to get stared at while you both are in public? Is getting your conversation eavesdropped tolerable?  Is getting labelled a "gold-digger", at some point, something you can shake off? Those are just the basics. You see, Pinoys are fond of making other people's lives part of their business, and that might be not fair but definitely existing. That's added to the fact that Pinoys are racist (check the recent research on that). 

An example of how widespread Fil-foreign marriages are. Screenshot from Christian Filipina.

But there are still many Pinay online daters on countless websites, and that watered my curiosity. In one of my linguistics classes in grad school, we were tasked to study language use (English) in the different facets of life. While many chose print ads, billboards, novels and short stories, I opted for a strange one; the dating site.  I was fresh from a heartbreak that time, and it was quite a good diversion too. Of course that entailed that I sign up for one site, and so I chose DIA.

Curious enough? When I presented it in class first as part of the discourse analyses project, it plastered smiles on my classmates' faces, burst of laughter from some who can relate, and curious facial expressions for those who heard them first. I admit I was personally stunned by how far some Pinays will readily go to get to that "greener pasture" aspirations. There is nothing wrong with online dating, what's surprising is how some can tolerate the kind of treatment they get from foreign men (to be fair, not all of them). Okay, there must be "good matches" for every one of us. 

Here are the remarkable finds: 
1. Men vary in their language choice depending on your profile content. Yep, you get that right. Not all men who sign up in dating sites are blind or frustrated; they can be choosy too. I made three profiles on the site, all varying in language ability, social status, profile picture, and means of flirtation (haha. I can't believe I can do that! hell yeah, I can do that!) 

Profile A (which adheres to all the qualifications I have, definitely, no flirting) received messages that are quite respectful, educated and grammatically correct.  With 30 men I observed (they initiated the talk), 26 of them claimed to be educated, can use English well enough (despite not being a native speaker), and ask open-ended questions. Two men expressed the desire to have a relationship upfront, and two have offered support for my family if I agree to live with them. On this experiment, it is safe to say that 26/30 have quite sanitized language. 

Profile B (an unemployed Pinay with a bachelor's degree, decent photo, and with extreme eagerness to talk) received messages that suggested sex after several exchange of information. With 30 men that initiated contact, 23 men started getting sexual after an average of 5 exchanges. Twenty-seven of them used endearments such as "baby, honey, sweetheart" early on. Fifteen of the men asked if I am willing to relocate, and if I wanted to have a job or stay at home after marriage. Twenty-five men used contractions in their language, like u instead of "you", and 24 of them do not use proper capitalization. 'zup bby? 

Profile C (a young petite woman without a college degree, directly expressing the desire to marry a white man, with a decent picture, but poor language skills) received messages that contained the words, "sexy". "hot", "steamy", "playful", "submissive" and "baby" among others. Of the 30 men that initiated the contact, 20 had asked for or left their email addresses and/or skype name right away. Eighteen men asked if she has kids, 10 asked if she is gay, 5 asked if she can do oral, and the rest said something like, "will you taste my scrambled egg?", "I want some pony ride tonight", and "Can I be your slave?" 

See the disparity? Is it safe to conclude that men also want a great catch? Whatever the nationality, no one's gonna settle for anything that's least of their expectations, may it be for social status, emotional security (to be needed and adored), or sex. 

2. Men showed a trend in their approach according to country/region. Socio-linguistics have told us people use language differently, and this can be attributed to the society they live in. Some are quite direct, some are not. Though it is not true to every one, most of the men from the same region have shared similarities in their approach. 

Europeans: They tend to be more polite, would compliment the profile (picture or content), and wait for a response before they start asking more questions. After some exchanges, they asked direct questions and would often apologize for asking such if they realized that might be too personal. They would express early on, if they like you.Yes, call that indecent proposals. 

N. Americans: Many would start with niceties, clarifies what the woman is looking for, ask if the search is successful, and would proceed to more personal questions. Many would react to some parts of the profile content, questioning its validity (like, how sure are you there are men who are scammers here?). Would take some time before they say they like you, though they would be very eager to send messages regularly. Not an easy bunch to catch, if I may say. Because theirs is a culture quite popular around the archipelago, I find them the easiest persons to relate to. 

Aussies: Similar to Europeans, they would start by complimenting your profile, open up quite sooner, and would not hesitate expressing their fondness of you. Of the 10 Aussies involved with the three profiles, one had blasted comments on why the profile picture was the one in sunglasses, and that the member might be a scammer. Another had a violent reaction when the messages he sent were left unanswered. 

Asians: As expected, Asians are on for something else. Majority of the Asians (East Asians)  would ask about your work, educational qualifications, and knowledge of their country. If you know some things about them, they're hooked. After some exchanges, expect that they give themselves an ego boost, too. Some others would compliment your physical attributes and express willingness to communicate with you regularly (South Asians). Twelve out of 21 Pinoys who communicated asked why the woman was looking for men from overseas.     

Yep, perhaps the theories on socio-linguistics are true even for communications made online. 

3. Men of different age groups vary in their communication style. Perhaps it is true that with age comes experience, and with experience comes confidence.  

below 30: They are fond of using endearments right away. They would also ask if the woman has a boyfriend (which of course, is ironic. If you have some one, and you are sane, you won't be there in the first place, right?) 

30 to 40: Most men under this category, who are involved in the social experiment, are on for more fun talks. Most would talk about adventures. Perhaps for the 34 men in this age range, 22 have talked about how they love adventures, holding hands or kissing in public, and yes, sex. They are concerned with social status and qualifications, too.

41 to 55: Most men in this range offer practical life topics (perhaps out of their personal experiences). Many would be upfront in expressing intentions, and would continually view the woman's profile. They are the ones that will quickly have vacation plans, perhaps looking for a tour guide or some thing else. The group is also the most open-minded of all, while being practical on the side. 

56 and up: Would most often say what they have to offer, and do not settle to selling themselves short. They are also the most aggressive, constantly sending messages despite not getting responses every time. 

Yeah, age does matter when talking about quality of talks. That depends on the kind of topics one is looking for, or can keep up with (to some, can stand). 

4. Men hesitate to admit how many females they chat with on the site.  Yes, I asked men how many women they are actually in communication with. For Profile A, 20 out of 30 men admitted they chat with someone else. For Profile B, 19 out of 21 who dared answer say they have "other friends". For Profile C, 12 out of 30 said they are only talking to the woman exclusively. 

You know what's funny? Of the 20 men that communicated with the three profiles (A,B and C), nine admitted they are talking to someone else in the Philippines. Of course they didn't know I was the one talking to them as well. Of the 4 men I like, nobody replied to the couple of messages I sent from profiles B and C. Kudos to the four of you! :D 

It has been an exciting, frustrating and overwhelming ride. Oh, heart-breaking too. (Read previous posts if you wanted to find out why). I have gained some friends along the way, and sadly lost the dearest one two months ago. 

So, fellow Pinays, be careful. Online dating sites can be a good avenue for finding romance, but it's not for everyone. Taking it from my late friend Dave, "give people masks (being anonymous) and see who they really are". 

Language research is fun! I'll do a more elaborate one when I get into Post Grad  (haha, God knows when). Those men I have had great connections with, when told what  I was on, ended up calling themselves lab rats, guinea pigs. and cultured bacteria when they found out. 

Have you been a member of an online dating site? How was the experience? 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Destination Antique: Labor Day Weekend Adventure

Antique was the only province in Panay island that I hadn't set my foot in; well, not until last weekend. For my bff/sistah/colleague's birthday, we decided to take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend and packed our bags to Antique, home of the highest peak in the island. 

Located in the western side of the island, it borders all the three other provinces and Sulu Sea on the West. It's where the picturesque mountains meet the crystal clear sea; the very things I loved to take refuge in with the summer heat in the city. We also thought this is going to be a good practice for the long ride we'll take for our Sagada trip later this year. 

We had two places to visit: Malumpati Cold Spring in Pandan, and Malalison Island in Culasi. Here's where we went to: The lines in red was the route for the first destination,and blue for the second. As you can see, it would require travelling the whole stretch of the province, giving you a good view of the sea to your left and the mountains to your right. The view is magnificent, but the bus ride will heat up your butt a lot. 

Getting there

Starting point: Iloilo City 

You can choose to take the bus or van to Antique from San Pedro Bus Terminal in Molo. In our case, we opted for the Ceres bus as it is comfortable, safer, leaves on time, and has limited stops. We started out from Molo terminal at 8:30 AM, going to the southern part of the province of Iloilo. The last town bordering Antique is San Joaquin. The San Joaquin- Hamtic road will make you dizzy though as it is zigzagging along the mountains and their cliffs. It would take around an hour of circling and moving from left to right so if you are prone to motion sickness, be prepared. And oh, be sure you give the handrails a tight grip; you'll surely find yourself losing balance along the way. You'll spend about 70 pesos for Molo-San Jose fare. 
The first welcome as seen from Iloilo. 
Travelling the whole stretch of Antique took us about 7 hours to reach our first destination: Malumpati Cold Spring in Pandan. It's the last town on the northernmost part the province, even closer to Aklan and Kalibo than to its capital,San Jose de Buenavista.  There are occasional stops by the bus terminal to cater to personal needs.  You know, you can't just spill it on the bus. :D 

The mountains of Antique as seen from the bus.
Though the prices of food is cheaper, we decided to stopped by San Jose de Buenavista for brunch and food shopping at the local market. I believe they have the cleanest, well-organized wet market I've ever been to, so far. After buying fresh fruits and other food for our boodle fight dinner, we headed to the terminal to catch the bus going to Pandan. Getting off after another 3 hours, we've finally reached the area where tricycles to the cold spring wait for the passengers. One tricycle can carry the maximum of 4 people as the route going up near the base of the magnificent Mt. Madia-as is challenging.  Drivers charge 300 pesos for the 20-minute ride along the dusty and rough terrain. 

The rough road going up to the base of the mountain in Pandan, Antique. Those are our friends on the first trike. 

And finally..... after 7 hours... here comes Malumpati Cold Spring!!! 

Crystal clear water of Malumpati cold spring. Photo grabbed from my friend @missmarieangelie. 
They charge 10 pesos for the entrance fee, and the open cottages can be rented for as low as 25 pesos. 

The floor of the cold spring can be seen ,as clear as this, from the bridge. 

Bamboo rafts can also be rented. Photo grabbed from my friend, @missmarieangelie

There were so many people when we arrived, so we decided to let the dust settle first and had a nap in our rented house. The concrete house has 3 rooms with a veranda and a living room available for 2000 pesos for 24 hours. 

Fave sistahs and I prepping for a dip. Grabbed from @vitzkylicious13. 
And so after all the rest are gone, we took a dip till dusk and did the same thing early the next morning. The water is so refreshing, and that's a great cure for the day-long travel. We swam for hours, until about dinner time. 

Doesn't know how to swim? Not a problem! Grabbed from @missmarieangelie 

Some parts of the spring are actually deep. Photo by: @vitzkylicious13

Yep. There's a life saver. :D Photo by @vitzkylicious13

That's a bff bonding, cold spring version. Photo by

There are very few people who stay there overnight, so it provided us a good party place. The area by the spring is also unlit, so our candles just shined as bright as expected. The area was silent too. 

Tea candles in paper bags and polaroid pictures hanging. These were unexpected by the birthday girl. :)  

This is how it actually looked like. Ain't that lovely? 

Yep. That's a candlelight boodle fight dinner by the spring.

Here's with our very nice hosts.... 
The accommodation is on the second floor. They go home at the end of the day, so we were left on our own.

By 10 AM the next day,we left Malumpati and traveled back to the heart of Antique. We bound for the town of Culasi where our second destination was. We had our tricycle drivers picked us up to the main road and took the bus for three hours. 

Then, Culasi.... here we come! 

We booked two rooms at Anna Sophie Hostel which has the magnificent view of Mt. Madia-as, the highest peak in Panay, and according to myth, the home of the Visayan deities. I had read about this story when I was in college, and not quite surprising, the locals believe the peak is enchanting.  

We were told that it will take at least 3 days for an expert mountaineer to reached the upper part of the mountain, though making it to the summit was made impossible by the crevasses that's prone to flooding even with very little rain. Friends and I were looking at each other, and it was like saying, "yeah... it will take us a month".  

Here's that magnificent beauty as I saw from the hostel's window. Ladies and gents.... Mt. Madia-as.
The view that greets the hostel guests. I can't help but took a snap of her. Hey there,Mt. Madia-as..we've met.

Here's another pic my friend Ronie took

Mt. Madia-as as seen from Anna Sophie Hostel. Photo by Ronie M. 
After the mandatory rest period... and the rain... we went out. Across the street, about two blocks away, we excitedly snapped photos of destination number 2: Malalison Island (translated as prodigal). 

What a great beauty she is! 

Malalison Island by sunset as seen from Culasi port. 
We took a night's stroll in downtown Culasi and was excited for the island trip the next morning. We were scheduled to leave the hotel at 6AM. (The boats were also arranged by them, you just have to find a guide to tour the island which is not very difficult). 

It would take 15 minutes to reach the beautiful Malalison Island. The smallboat we took can carry 4 passengers and the water was so clear you can see the corals as you cross. Malalison Island is a marine sanctuary, and it is one of the most beautiful places I've been to. 

Little boat ride to the island. 
The island is even more beautiful up close. It was still early when we arrived.

Touchdown Malalison. That's Mt. Madia-as in the background. Photo by Ronie M.

But here's what she looks in midday!

Malalison island at noon. Crystal clear water and beautiful day. Heaven! Photo grabbed from @missmarieangelie

When we arrived, we were surprised by the number or campers and tents that greeted us by the shoreline. Upon arrival, you will also have to pay an environmental fee of 10 pesos. The locals are very friendly and obviously used to seeing visitors. There are smiles and greetings everywhere. 

Majority of the areas here have no shade, a grassy land it is, so be sure to have your sunblock handy.  Here are my friends as we start our way up. 

Surrounded by greens. The trail up is cool and still a bit shady. 
Along the way, you'll get to see some things like this: 

Flowers in Malalison Island. Photo by Erl

Beauty among the grasses of Malalison Island. 

As a reward for catching your breath along the trails, expect to see something like these: 

Yes, you'll be walking by the cliff in Malalison. 

One of the very few trees that can withstand the environment in Malalison. 

Snapped a photo as we walked to the other side, descending to the cave. 

The port of Malalison as seen from above. 

My friend, Ronie, in his "this is my land" gesture.:) 

That's downtown Culasi as seen from the top of Malalison Island. 

The rocky slopes are so beautiful, you'll forget you are walking along the cliff. Photo by Erl.

Here's where we went to with the help of our guide, Manong Loreto. 

Friends and I on our way to the peak.

The trekking in Malalison offers a very beautiful view. 

A little try on modelling? Photo by Erl

Other than the grasses, the only plant that can grow here are pine trees. 

And my friend Erl tried paddling. It's Anne, Ronie and I in the background.

All you need to do is bravely cross the chest-level water to get to the adjacent island. The current though was quite strong.

On the other side of the island, there are two caves..

On the opposite side of the island are the caves... and here are the cavemen haha

Ascending to the highest point in Malalison island,Culasi,Antique
It would take about 2 hours to finish the trek, but we decided to take it slow and kept snapping photos of the very beautiful view around.  

Halfway to go.... difficult trail down but the view in Malalison is worth it all. 

Of course, a little fun will be essential
 Here's our guide, looking at how beautiful the island he resides in is... 

Our guide as he contemplates, looking down the sandbar. We've reached the top of Malalison Island. 

Trekking in Malalison Island was so great, we wanted to do it again. The sad thing was, we just hope that other tourists who come to see the beauty of this island will help the locals not just by giving them livelihood through tourism, but with taking care of the environment. On the top of the island, we've seen plastic bottles left by those who came their ahead of us. Please, do not leave anything there. The locals can't sweep the trash after you at all times. 

For those who travel... I hope you'll put this in mind: "Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures." We have been blessed with very beautiful places, so let's help taking care of it. 

For an enjoyable trip to Antique, 3 days and 2 nights can be good to take a refreshing weekend from the City of Love. 

Kruhay, Antique! See you again soon. 

Thanks to Alex for the "checking for interesting posts" comment, I was inspired to write this travelogue tonight.