Many Americans that come to the Philippines get a bit of a shock at the many misconceptions that we have about them. Although American culture has a very strong influence on us, most of what we see and know about the United States is limited to what is shown on TV and the internet. Many of us really can’t relate to the issues and concerns, whether past or present, that the United States experiences. A majority of Filipinos look at the United States and Americans in a whole different way.
Below are 10 common misconceptions that most Filipinos have about the United States and Americans.
All Americans are Wealthy
We have this connotation that Americans are wealthy because they have a lot of money to spend during their stay here. But we Filipinos also need to keep in mind that American dollars are worth more than Philippine pesos. Over the years, the exchange rate has hovered at around 1 US dollar for 42 to 46 pesos. And since things are cheaper here in the Philippines, Americans that come here can make the most of their money. Again, it’s all about the exchange rate. Living off $1000 US dollars a month here in the Philippines, compared to the United States, can give you a comfortable life.
All Americans are White
If it’s your first time in the Philippines, you should know that many of us generalize (actually it’s more on over generalize) Caucasians as Americans. For most of us, if you’re light skinned, you’re American (and kids will call you “Joe”, which what we use to call American soldiers during the Second World War). Which is why other light skinned people, such as most Europeans, often get blanked gazes when talking to a Filipino if they have a hard time speaking English. As mentioned, the majority of the experience we have with the United States is through television. And since a lot of the content in American media is white, this is what we automatically relate Americans to. We don’t really see the United States as the giant melting pot of races and culture that it is today. We also carry this train of thought to other races. If you have chingky eyes, then you’re Chinese and you come from China. If you’re dark skinned, then you must come from Africa. If you’re pale and light skinned, you’re American.
Although relating being Morena or brown skin to beauty is being pushed by many today, a majority of Filipinos are still stuck with the idea that having light, fair skin is beautiful. We’re constantly being bombarded by it with commercials of skin whitening products that promise beautiful and white skin in a bottle. Philippine television is also predominantly featuring fair skinned actors, which brings us to the idea that Americans (well, fair skinned people in general) are good looking. People even joke about how good your kids will look of they have a Caucasian parent. Whether or not a Caucasian man or woman and a Filipina or Filipino produces a good looking baby, most still dream of having pale, fair skin. Maybe some of us are secretly hoping that our Caucasian partner’s fairness will rub off on our own skins.
Marrying an American Will Make you Instantly Rich
Many believe that once they marry an American, they can live a life of wealth and luxury. Again this goes back to our idea of Americans being rich. Marrying an American does not ensure you a wealthy life, but it can open up doors for you. You can get a visa easier which can lead to a permanent residence in the United States and finally a citizenship as a full pledge American. And since a job in the United States pays way more than what we make here in the Philippines, then you can be “wealthy”, in a way. Unless you marry someone that’s actually really well-off, then you might have to build your future from scratch with your spouse.
They’re Not Use to Labor
For some reason, we think it’s strange to see an American doing labor intensive jobs. We sometimes even think it’s funny if they work under the sun and lift heavy things. It’s as if we think that there are no blue collar, labor-heavy jobs in America. We usually don’t associate Americans as farmers or construction workers. Which is probably why we have a tendency to not let them do rigorous tasks if one ever becomes part of the family. It’s not just our being hospitable and accommodation as a people, a lot of us just don’t see them as capable of doing labor.
Yes, Americans have bigger body structures compared to us Filipinos, but not all Americans are big. The average height of an American man is around 5′ 8. For women, it’s actually a flat 5’0. But many of them are actually quite petite. For us Filipinos, the average height of a male Filipino is 5’5, while Filipinas stand at an average of 4’11.
They’re Big….Down There
Don’t laugh, this is true. Filipinos have this idea that Americans (well, Caucasians in general) have big penises. At an average, an American man’s penis is about 5.6 inches when erected. This is considerably bigger compared to a Filipino mans, which was listed as having an average size of 4.2 inches when erected. But again, these are just averages. A man’s privates does come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t be disappointed if your American partner fell short on your expectations.
It’s Always Cold in The United States
If you ask people, especially kids, about the United States, often times they’d tell you that it’s always cold there. Yes, some areas in the United States experience more cold weather than warm and sunny days, but some areas have weather very similar to the Philippines. Areas in the south tend to have warmer weather throughout the year, and it usually never snows there. Hawaii, which is a state of the United States, has tropical weather that’s close to our own. So don’t be shocked when they ask you what snow feels or taste like or if you’ve ever built a snow man, even when you’re actually from Deep South and have never experienced snow.
Americans are Well-Educated
Since we relate the English language to education here in the Philippines, many of us assume that all Americans are smart and well-educated. However, reports say that 2 million adults in the United States can’t read. This is 14% of their total population. 21% of adults in the United States read below a 5th grade level, and 19% of high school graduates still struggle with reading. Not all Americans reached a university level education. In fact many choose to take a vocational course or training and started a career in their chosen industry. Naturally, Americans will have excellent English skills since they are native speakers. But this doesn’t mean that all of them are well-educated.
It’s Easy to Make Money in America
Well, if you work hard enough, you can make a pretty decent amount of money in the United States. Many of us look at the United States as the land of milk and honey, and that if you get a job there, you’ll make a good amount of cash. The average monthly income in the United States is around $3,769, which is about P169,605. This is a big amount, but you have to consider the cost of living there. Depending on the city you live in, you could spend up to $1500 on rent, food, transportation, and all your other needs. That’s close to half of what you earn. Also, job vacancies are not as available as they were back then. People are getting laid off, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a job there. It’s not unusual to see or hear stories about OFWs working multiple jobs or doing odd jobs just to make more money.
Since the majority of us don’t really have a solid understanding about how life is in the US, these misconceptions can be corrected through better education of the American culture, history, and way of life. Are there any common misconceptions we missed? Leave your comments and suggestions bellow.
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