American Girl in a Filipino World

I cannot talk about the Philippines without mentioning my whiteness. Remember in my first blog I said I was a deer in the headlights? Well, that's pretty much how I felt most of time out in public! Here in the US, my family and friends give me a hard time about being SO white. I'm constantly being told "to get some sun". I'm known for going on cruises and other vacations to warm places and coming back just as white as I was before I left (due the SPF 100 I just's more like SPF 55). As you can imagine, I was completely surprised at the attention I received in the Philippines. My first time there I started noticing people staring at me. It seemed to happen wherever we went; the mall, out to eat, walking down the street. It was as if I was an alien who just landed on their planet. After the first couple of stares my husband said to me "Everyone thinks your beautiful". What??? Why? "Because you're so white" he went on to tell me. How strange, I thought.

My husband and I were at a bar one night and a Filipina woman approached us and struck up a conversation. After a few minutes, she turned to me and touched my face and said "You're so beautiful." Thank you, I said but in my country I'm just average, nothing special. "No, I wish I could have white skin like you, it's so beautiful" she says. I went on to tell her that here in the US all the women want to be dark and they go to tanning salons. The woman was shocked and asked "Why"?

My husband explained to me that in the Philippines, the darker you are the uglier you are (so to speak). White is considered very beautiful...I'm still not really sure why.

story continues...