Hello, my name is Bill Barlow and I wanted to take this time to try to explain the reasons why I believe that taking a guided tour to the Philippines is better than the pen pal approach. I’ve tried both and I’d like to tell you, in my own words, why a tour is 100 times better than just writing to girls you’ve never met.

My own personal experience may help illustrate this point. I was divorced in 1988 and spent a considerable amount of time grieving and way too much time away from the dating scene. Finally, I decided to try to find another special someone, and for reasons most of you that are reading this will understand, I decided to look at the advertisements of young women from the orient that were arriving in my mail box regularly. To make a long, frustrating story short, I must have written three or four hundred letters to young women over a four year period, establishing mail relationships with several dozen.

The problems were numerous, from misunderstandings due to language and customs, to actual fraudulent activity. I even had one young lady ask me to send three hundred dollars to help with postage. THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR POSTAGE??!!!

Then there are the experiences you hear from others who have tried to do this on their own in the Philippines. The girls who are writing dozens of guys at a time trying to get money from them. (I wonder if any of my pen pals were doing that?). I’ve even heard of cases of Philippine MEN who are writing to American men, pretending to be a young lady. There is a cottage industry in the Philippines, getting money out of the so called “wealthy Americans”.

Then you show up in the Philippines to meet your pen pal. After she has hit you up for money for processing her visa, maybe several thousand for wedding preparations and travel fare for her and all her relatives to come and meet you when you arrive at the airport, you find out that she is nothing like you imagined from the pictures and letters you exchanged or even worse, she doesn’t even show up. Basically you’ve wasted a trip, half way around the world.

After hearing these kinds of stories, I decided to take a tour to the Philippines, to see a pen pal I had been writing to for many months. When I arrived in the Philippines, I met one of her friends before I met her, and her friend asked me if I was so & so from the US. I wasn’t, of course, but apparently my pen pal was waiting for one of her other American pen pals to visit from the US. To top that off, she had been very friendly and outgoing in her letters, but when I met her in person, she was extremely shy, would not talk, and showed little interest in me.

After that bad experience on the first part of my tour, the rest was MAGIC, and I’ll tell you why. I became a tourist, albeit a tourist with an eye on the young ladies. I was assigned a Philippine driver and tour guide who knew all the right places to go and things to see. He would introduce me to anyone I wanted to meet, and he was very good at this, observing the proper etiquette and keeping me away from the bad people. When I’d walk into a department store, a dozen heads would turn. Sales clerks are at every counter over there and they are hired because they are young and attractive. And believe me, they didn’t look at me because I’m good looking! Your average attractive American girl wouldn’t give me a second look.

I ended up dating four young ladies that were very high on my personal 1-10 scale. In fact I couldn’t believe that they would go out with me or show interest in me. But the important thing was, they weren’t out to hook up with an American, (or to take advantage of one ), because I hadn’t found them in a pen pal magazine. I met them in person, and with the help of my driver, established that they were nice girls from good families and backgrounds.

And then I met my wife, the love of my life. She was working at the front desk of the hotel I stayed in. She never had any desire to date a foreigner before, had never been outside of the Philippines and informed me on our first date, when I asked her if she would like to travel to other countries, that she would never leave the Philippines.

We dated a few more times before the tour ended. I went back to the United States and wrote to her for several months. Now this was productive correspondence, this was accomplishing something. I was writing to someone I had met, and seen and talked to, and I knew what she was really like and that she was the right girl for me. I proposed to her on Valentines Day, 1994, and returned for our wedding that May. We’re still very happily married and I feel like I’m still on our honeymoon.

After all that time and money I wasted on bad pen pal experiences, taking that tour was the best choice I ever made. I found exactly the woman I was looking for.

Bill Barlow

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