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Yet even as she went through the paces of partnering with him, Leonor found herself wanting to rewrite the script—and Dan’s betrayal became her chance to try again.
For decades, Western men picked Filipinas out of catalogues, selecting from rows upon rows of hopeful women’s pictures printed on cheap paper, like a strange yearbook or police lineup.
In one sense, the leveling of dating power between Filipinas and Westerners is the fulfillment of the global internet’s promise to equalize relations between disparate places and people.
For the next 15 years, Dan provided her with a more comfortable life than she could have expected, but one where her own needs always took second place.
Instead of taking Leonor to the US, Dan poured his energies into building a wellness center in the mountain town of Valencia outside the provincial capital of Dumaguete City, a cool area in that perennially hot country that was beginning to see some tourism.
In addition to raising his children Dan expected Leonor to run the center day to day, coordinate with helpers and gardeners who did not speak English well, and do a lot of the cooking herself.
But a power dynamic that for decades favored Western men has steadily tipped toward Filipina women, largely because of technologies that level the information gap that used to separate the two parties.
Filipinas no longer need to sit around and wait to be chosen, and they now have much more access to these men’s complex lives before making a choice of their own.