The Modern Maria Clara


I am neither a love doctor nor Sociology Major. I am neither a historian nor a Behaviorist. I am just a woman living in the Philippines trying to set her own standards and adhere to the norms that society has imposed onto us on how to be a Filipina.

Being a Catholic country, we are governed by a certain set of moral laws. We might say that we Filipinos are a truly conservative race but as time progresses and modernity creeps its way in, this ideology has taken its toll for most of us, mostly for Filipinas. At this time of modernization, it is really hard to maintain that Maria Clara concept that we are being taught back in school. We are restricted by an invisible line that separates us to other races, and acts us the criteria for those judgmental stares.

I was listening to my player when I heard this great song from my favorite band, Parokya ni Edgar entitled “Pangarap Lang Kita.” Listening to the verse: “Ang hirap maging babae, kung torpe yung lalaki, kahit may gusto ka, hindi mo masabi…” made me think that it is so true. Here in our country, it has been a big taboo for girls to express what they truly feel. We are bounded by norms and brought up with an understanding that as a Filipina we should be courted, serenaded, and our hand asked from our parents before we try to start a relationship with that significant other. As this certain concept still dwells in the minds of Filipinos, the question is if there is still a decent Filipino guy willing to go through this miles of courtship just to get her simple “yes” or is there a truth behind the remark, “Ang tunay na lalaki, ubos na.”

Personally, I don’t believe in courtship. I see it as a fictitious façade worn by ego centered men. For me it masks the true identity of that person as he tries to only show his good side to get that “pogi points”.  Instead of having the opportunity to know him well, it is barred by the role he needs to portray to be your “perfect man.” I haven’t been in a lot of relationship, and I don’t know how to play this game well, but through my careful observations and tips I got from my guy friends I really hope this article would help us know and understand a modern Filipina more as she tries to balance reality and expectations.

Chapter I. The Sad Truth about Fairy Tales.

I was browsing the net earlier when I saw a certain post about Fairy Tales, especially for Disney Characters and how they have taught us that everything will be ok if you’re beautiful. Honestly I never saw it that way, I have adored these Disney Princesses for almost my entire life yet then again at some point it is true. If you’re beautiful, people will always go the extra mile to exert the effort to know you. They get all the attention and the limelight leaving us average people none. For western people, this is no big deal. If they want someone, it is ok for them to make the first move. But for us Filipinas…. It is a major no-no.  We should appear to be friendly yet not too approachable. Tricky huh? But our best weapon here will always be our confidence.

Chapter II. Embracing your own Filipina beauty.

The magazines, internet and even fairy tale books has created this picture of what beauty is ever since we’re young. We have this image of a beautiful person to be fair skinned, long legged, with a pointy nose and to be super skinny like those Victoria Secret models. That’s why it was really a shame that we Filipinas are going overboard with Glutathione and Whitening Soaps. Instead of loving what we have, we tend to despise who we are which has also meant despising the fact that we are Filipinas. In order for someone to love you, you should learn tolove yourself first and make the most out of your hidden beauty. Stop posting slutty pics in facebook and adding a caption “I am so ugly” and then waiting for someone to comment: “no, don’t say that you’re beautiful…” For me that is really sad, and pathetic. Confidence exudes beauty so if you love yourself, then no matter what everyone may think, you know deep in you that you are indeed drop dead gorgeous. Yehey to the power of our minds!

Chapter III. Moves like Jiggy

So now, you have that oozing confidence which makes you feel like a supermodel. You had eyes on you yet you still long for that one specific stare, the one from your ultimate crush. For westerners, they can just go directly to that guy and open up a conversation, but for Filipinas it takes a long while. Filipino guys think that we Filipinas are so lucky most especially when they believe we don’t need to do any move for the one we like which is ultimately wrong. We are dying every minute that passes without that special person approaching us. It’s not like we can grab them and say “hey, let’s talk.” We can’t make him feel we’re interested yet we should at least let him know that we might be. Filipinos always tend to interpret small actions as wrong signals, so always measure the consequences of your actions. My advice, just play it cool. Even though you’re itching to grab him and to make the first move, just take a deep breath and relax. Never get caught looking but if he did, just give your sweetest i-am-innocent smile. If it still doesn’t work, play outside the field. Talk casually with his friends, for eventually at some point the conversation will be directed to him and there you can start getting your swag on! Lol!

Chapter IV. The Mutual Drama

Ok, let us say that your charms worked and by some miracle you were able to put on a spell on him, then we go to the next part which is often termed as MU (Mag-Un). Mutual Understanding or MUs is another part of this weird thing called love that I really don’t understand. It’s like you like him, he likes you but for some soap opera reason you just can’t be together yet you know that you are both in love. I always tend to laugh at this kind of stories as I really don’t get it. The funny part about this is after you have been dating for a while; Boy asks girl if they can level up from the friendzone and then Girl tells boy to court her first. My initial reaction… OMG, what’s wrong with you?!?

Ok, ok so some of you might be having doubts about my sexuality as I always tend to favor the guys point of view but I assure you I am 100% female. You can even check my Birth Certificate. Lol. At first, I really don’t get it but then again I realized… “it’s the Filipina way” and instead of fighting it, let us just go with the flow.

For boys, if you truly love her then you have to wait. Just follow whatever she says and never forget to listen. Honestly, she is confused as hell and scared at the same time but you should also consider that she is just trying to protect your relationship from the society. She doesn’t want to appear easy and that she just wants to make a sturdier foundation for your relationship. It would hurt her if she would hear comments like, “nag-landian lang sila na agad” and other cruel things that cruel people might say. But if you’re not into her that much then STOP at this right instant. Stop making her expect and dream about forever when you have no intention of staying.

For girls on the other hand, don’t make him wait so long. Always remember that they also have emotions and please don’t toy with it as they are the ones who have a very hard time getting up when they fall down. If you want something then tell it, they perceive our minds as Rocket Science and they’re doing the best they can to figure us out. Most of all, trust your instinct for love is a very tricky game.

Originally posted in Definitely Filipino.

© Den Montero | Cavite Wedding Photographer