As husband of a Filipina I have been puzzled with this question “what is the standard of beauty in the Philippines?” for a long time because, as you may expect, I am focused on making my relationship thrive and one of the ways I can do that is by meeting my Filipino wife’s standards among which there is the Filipino standard of beauty.
A husband has to be beautiful from the standpoint of his wife and viceversa and if one is purely focused on inner beauty and is careless about outward appearance while the other values outward beauty (in the broad sense of the word, meaning also dressing, etiquette and manners) a lot there is going to be a mismatch.
So what is the standard of beauty in the Philippines?
Because I have been in a relationship with a Filipina for 20 years now, I have come up with my own analysis and my own conclusions about the Filipino mentality and one of the things that I have repeatedly mentioned in my blog is that Filipinos tend to be more drawn to situations that create a state of masaya (temporary happiness induced by external stimulation) than by things that create a more permanent state of maligaya.
In the Philippines success is primarily measured by external metrics, most Filipinos devote more energy to conquering the world outside than they do to mastering the world within.
Filipinos value things like a fancy car, a nice house in an exclusive condo, the latest electronic gadgets and so on and the Filipino society is structured and organized to cater to the masaya over maligaya mindset.
As I’ve said before, the Philippines is full of giant karatula or billboards that push people to buy and consume, there are huge shopping malls everywhere, TV programs tend to mostly spread gossip about celebrities, beauty pageants are very popular in the Philippines and Filipinos who use social media do so primarily to post selfies to show to the world how cute and sexy they are.
This pretty much answers the question “what is the standard of beauty in the Philippines?”.
The standard of beauty in the Philippines is gwapo (having beautiful looks), sexy, cute and so on.
In much the same way as in the Philippines food has to be masarap (tasty) rather than masustansya or healthy (or let’s say that even when they talk about masustansya or “having substance” they mean food that fills you up or makes you busog not necessarily food that is full of healthy nutrients), a man must be gwapo rather than “beautiful inside”, a lady must be sexy and a child (or even a pet) must be cute.
Another gauge to measure the standard of beauty in the Philippines and in the Filipino culture is the extent to which the media have been talking about Catriona Gray or other Filipinas who have won Miss Universe or some other beauty contests. If you are active on social media and have Pinoy fb friends, you might have noticed that up until few months ago Catriona Gray was one of the main hot topics.
I personally believe that if one stakes his or her life too much on external beauty or success in general he or she has greater chances to fall into the darkness of depression when beauty fades away and other external things are taken away or lost.
So I am personally much more oriented toward developing the panloob na pagkatao or the “man within”.
I think in Europe and in the West in general there are more people who value introspection and developing inner qualities, through reading and meditating, than there are among Pinoy people (at very least the ones I have been interacting with for two decades).
Yet, as husband of a Filipina I must acknowledge that she comes from a culture where outward appearance does matter and, therefore, I have had to make some adjustments and pay more attention to the way I dress, my manners and other things that enhance my outward appearance.
That is not to say that Filipinas only marry people who have outstanding looks, actually they often even marry much older people who are not necessarily super-gwapo but, regardless of the extent to which one is gwapo, someone married to a Filipina must pay attention to outward appearance in the broader sense of the word.
In the Filipino culture there is this strong sense of hiya or shame and much of what Filipinos do or avoid doing is the result of their being overly sensitive to what other people think.
So, if you marry a Filipina, you cannot remain oblivious to social cues pointing to the fact that the way you are projecting yourself outward is causing hiya to your spouse and to the whole kin-group.
As for me, one of my missions through this blog and in my daily interactions with Filipinos is to share my ideas that maligaya is more precious than masaya and that the panloob na pagkatao is what remains when the kagwapohan (hope this is correct) fades away…..
P.s. this is what I wrote in Tagalog a few months ago about this subject in https://wp.me/paeiS4-vi
“Bilang banyagang asawa ng isang Pilipina, isa sa mga bagay na napansin ko sa mga Pilipino ay na marami ang mahilig sa kung ano ang nagdudulot ng pansamantalang kaluguran.
Ang Pilipinas ay punong-puno ng mga fast-food na restaurant, mga malaking karatula na nag-aadvertise ng lahat ng uri ng gadget o ibang bagay na nagdudulot ng pagiging masaya.
Maraming mga Pinoy na kilala ko, ay mahilig manood ng maraming TV, mag-Facebook, kumain ng junk food at iba pa.
Ang lahat ng mga bagay na ito ay may kinalaman sa kung ano ang tinatawag ko na pansamantalang pagtatamasa ng kaluguran.
Actually, sa aking pakikipag-usap sa mga kaibigan kong Pinoy, mas naririnig ko ang salitang masaya kaysa sa salitang maligaya.
Sa tingin ko ang pagiging masaya ay ang isang pansamantalang kaluguran na pwede lang tamasahin kapag may libangan, masarap na pagkain, sex o ibang uri ng bagay na pumupukaw ng kaluguran.
Ang kaligayahan naman ay isang mas namamalaging kalagayan na hindi nakakadepende sa pagkakaroon ng libangan, pagkain o iba pa.
Ano ba ang punto ko at ano ang kinalaman nito sa pagkakaroon ng isang matagumpay na romantikong relasyon?
Bweno, ang punto ko ay na mas magiging matagumpay ang isang romantikong relasyon kung ang hinahanap natin sa ating kabiyak ay kung ano ang nagdudulot ng namamalaging kaligayahan sa halip na basta lang ang mga bagay na nagdudulot ng pansamantalang kasiyahan.
Ang isa sa mga bagay na, batay sa nakikita ko, ay baka sobrang mahalaga para sa mga Pilipina ay ang panlabas na hitsura at ang pisikal na kagandahan.
Dahil tiyak na darating ang araw na maglalaho ang pisikal na kagandahan, maliwanag na ito ay isa sa mga bagay na pwede lang magdulot ng talagang maikli at pansamantalang yugto ng kasiyahan sa relasyon.
Para makapagtamasa ng permanenteng kaligayahan na magtatagal kahit magkasakit ang ating kabiyak o kahit ano ang mangyayari sa kanya o sa atin, sa tingin ko, mas mabuti mag-invest sa pagtatayo ng panloob na pagkatao para talagang maranasan ang isang matibay na relasyon.
Bweno, ito ang aking opinyon lang bilang isang banyagang asawa ng isang Pilipina at syempre naman ang bawat isa ay may karapatan na piliin kung ano ang kanyang gustong makita sa isang partner.
Ang masasabi ko lang, batay sa aking karanasan, ay na ang sobrang pagbibigay pansin sa hitsura ay nagdudulot ng kabiguan sa bandang huli”.