In 2001, the company shifted its entire operation online—and Leonor started receiving emails from an American in his 50s living in Thailand, named Dan Mc Kee. When he came to the Philippines to visit her, the woman he met was beautiful in the ways Western men imagined island women to be, with long straight hair, high cheekbones that taper toward a delicate chin, and smooth, dark skin.
Leonor also distinguished herself with good English and an indefatigably optimistic, life-embracing attitude.“I like you,” Leonor recalled Dan saying one day, less than a week after they first met in person.
She didn’t see any other way to make that dream happen.
They’d only been living in Thailand for a month when Leonor found herself pregnant, and at first Dan didn’t believe the baby was his.
So when she found out about his infidelity, she was disheartened but not entirely surprised.“We didn’t really know each other,” she concluded.
“It all happened too fast.”So Leonor did what an unfailingly optimistic woman would do: She decided to try again.That house belonged to a woman who had married an American man she met through the mail.“To marry a foreigner was really my ambition since when I was young—to have handsome and beautiful kids and also to have a comfortable life,” said Leonor.That dynamic was just beginning to change in 2001, when Leonor became one of the first Filipina women to meet a Western partner online.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.She registered on Filipino and, over the last year and a half, has corresponded with several suitors.Unlike the first time, when she got together with the first viable man who came along, she vetted the men she met through their Facebook accounts, chatted with them on Viber and Whats App, and then eventually got on Skype with the ones she felt most serious about.She may not have many things, but Leonor has always had hope.Leonor grew up in a rural area of the southern province of Davao, a town with only one house that was made of concrete and boasted appliances like a refrigerator and washing machine.Divorce is illegal and socially taboo in the Philippines, but Leonor realized she would have to leave her husband.She had followed a well-worn script when she and Dan met in 2001: beautiful young Filipina meets old but rich Western man.