How the Ate / Kuya Factor Impacts Your Relationship with a Filipina

Women in the Philippines Online Dating First Dates What to Expect

The Ate / Kuya Factor – Who’s in Charge?

In the Philippines, the eldest daughter in the family is known as Ate (prounounced Ah-Tay). If the Ate is the first-born child, then she is in charge of all her siblings.

The Ate almost rules with the power of a parent. When she tells the younger brothers and sisters what to do, they do it.

Now, if the Ate has an older brother, her power is limited significantly as compared to being the eldest child. She is still the Ate, but only to siblings younger than her.

The eldest male child is known as the Kuya (pronounced as coo-yah). If the Kuya is the first-born child, he is very respected and commands authority on the same level as the parents. It’s almost as if the Kuya’s job is to handle the daily affairs of his siblings. He’s sort of like a third parent rather than a brother.

Why does this even matter?

Well, you have to take it into consideration based upon your own personality. For example, if you are used to calling the shots in your household (like me), then you may clash if your girlfriend is the oldest child and the Ate. She has grown up telling others what to do. She is used to being in charge. Therefore, it may cause a power struggle.

If your girl is one of the younger siblings, and her oldest sibling is a male, then she is used to taking orders from the Kuya (a man). You will probably get along.

If the girl is one of the younger siblings, and her oldest sibling is a female (the Ate), then she has grown up taking orders from a woman. She may have the perception that women are the ones who are in charge. You may clash with her view of what is normal.

Now, if your personality is laid back and you don’t care who is in charge, or if you are used to being bossed around by your ex-wife, then it really doesn’t matter.

Girls in the Philippines - Online Dating and Cultural Advice

What finally worked for me is a girl who has several older brothers, that are all EMPLOYED. She is used to taking orders from the Kuya and has grown up in an environment where males work hard for their money.

The Ate / Kuya Factor – Who Has to Support the Family?

Listen to this.

If your girl is the eldest child in the family (the Ate), it is her inherent responsibility to bring home the bacon.

The pressure is upon her shoulders to go out and earn a paycheck to support everyone. It’s just the way it is here, especially among the poorer families.

If you end up dating a girl who is the eldest child, realize that her main mission in life is to make money and give it to her parents.

If you cannot accept that, then move on to the next girl.

If you don’t have the money to help support her entire family, pick another one.

The girl will be so damn stressed every minute of every day unless you make her some type of promise to send money to her family every month, just like a car payment. I’m sorry, but I cannot recommend that anyone date a girl if she is the oldest sibling. There’s too much contractual bullshit involved that’s not in your (the Western guy) best interest. If you are a rich man, then it’s not a factor. Just be prepared to shell out a few hundred bucks every month to the family and everyone is happy.

Make sure you read all of my articles on How to Date a Filipina so you know what to expect.


  1. shallow sexist crap really from mr macho who gets his kicks exploiting poor women for his own ends. :( sad really.

  2. Edward,

    Thanks for the comment, my friend.

    Just wondering though, have you ever been to the Philippines? If you have or if you live here, I have to wonder about why you didn’t choose to debate the actual philosophy and psychology of the article?

    I suspect that I may already know the answer.

    Could it be, that you are one of those individuals who live a shitty life in the West, waking up every day to a fat-ass wife telling you exactly what to do? That might be the issue here, especially since you were browsing my series of articles on “How to Date a Filipina”. Don’t worry because you’re not alone. I wrote this series of articles for guys just like you.

    Make sure you read this article:

    Pay particular attention to the “Captain Save-A-Ho” section. It may help save you from a lot of grief. Due to the tone of your comment, I’m concerned that you may fall into this category of men that I’m referring to. Please don’t take that as being derogatory toward you personally. I’m not being mean. Many guys fall into that trap and get taken for a ride here in the Philippines. Believe it or not, I’m trying to help you.

    Again, thanks for the comment and thanks for reading my article. I respect anyone who has the balls to voice his/her opinion, especially when it’s critical. You made my day!

    Check out my book as well:

    The King’s Chronicles: How to Escape the Wrath of American Women and Live Like a King


    Whenever I receive comments containing the word “sexist” it tends to indicate the author is a woman. Perhaps your wife sent the comment from your email account when you fell asleep? Make sure you clear your browsing history next time.

  3. What’s the deal with the p.s. in your last comment? Was there really a need to say that if someone says that you are sexist, the author is likely to be a woman? Does gender make their comment more or less valid? Otherwise, I don’t see the point in mentioning it. Btw I am a woman and you are sexist.

    A lot of what you say is actually true, but your general observations are not the problem. The problem lies in your huge judgement calls and shallow side comments. Yes, the oldest female child in a Filipino household has a lot of pressure to provide for the family, especially if she does not come from a well-off background. Rather than respect those strong family ties, you make a mockery of them. Of course some men coming from a different culture would find a relationship within such a dynamic difficult, but some women could just as easily be turned off by selfish and self-centered foreigners. As for the comments below, holy hell. Are you God to be expecting your orders obeyed? I imagine you had a very hard time finding a Western woman (oldest sibling, middle child or baby of the family) that would find your life view palatable. Which is why you had to search for the elusive middle Filipina girl with many older brothers.

    “What finally worked for me is a girl who has several older brothers, that are all EMPLOYED. She is used to taking orders from the Kuya and has grown up in an environment where males work hard for their money.”

    “If the girl is one of the younger siblings, and her oldest sibling is a female (the Ate), then she has grown up taking orders from a woman. She may have the perception that women are the ones who are in charge. You may clash with her view of what is normal.”

    As if women can’t work hard for their money and can’t be equally in charge. Newsflash, this is the 21st century and your girlfriend/wife probably resents you. Even though she may be used to taking orders from her kuyas, you know nothing about the Filipina woman’s mind if you think she doesn’t dream of a warm-hearted and sensitive husband.

  4. Mark,

    I’m putting your book on my “To Read List” if for nothing else than your light-hearted response. Based on some of the comments though, I already know I’m in for a head explosion. I’ll try to keep in mind that you write not just to share personal experience and advise, but also to entertain.

    While I do think husbands and fathers can be treated unfairly in today’s American court system, I have a feeling your book does not touch upon the reality of women as wives and mothers throughout history beyond the last few decades. For thousands of years, women had no rights to their children, property or even themselves. They’d be social pariahs to request a divorce from abusive husbands and would have to leave children behind. They also had little chance of working outside the home for any decent pay or living conditions. No, that does not make it any easier for those suffering present injustices, but most people don’t realize how current legal practices first came about to protect those who are most vulnerable.

    I also have to say that the divorces I’ve unfortunately seen have been pretty even-stevens in terms of outcome, with a third being amicable, a third with the man getting the raw end of the deal, and a third with the woman getting the raw end of the deal. Many of the amicable divorces had terms settled outside of the courtroom. Sometimes, the in-court cases were exacerbated by lawyers with a seize-all mentality for their clients or driven by parents’ fears and resentment in the moment of strife. My own father was a deadbeat dad and never supported my brother or I. My mother supported all of us while he was around and never pressed for child support when he wasn’t. It was what it was.

  5. Kristine,

    I do hope you read the book. I would love to hear your review.

    I’ll agree that throughout history there has been inequality in many areas. However, in the United States today, the pendulum has swung way too far in favor of women in family law. It’s absolute madness. Child support, alimony, “visitation”, etc… These terms should not even exist. I’ve experienced the system first hand and want no part of it again. Getting robbed of my money was one thing. Being robbed of time with my child was a crime against humanity. My personal solution to this system of injustice was and is simple:

    Step 1: Leave America and never date American girls.
    Setp 2: Write a book to express my views and experiences.

    Want to know the root cause of gun violence in the U.S.? It has nothing to do with guns. It’s a cultural problem. Here’s a long-winded article about the subject: Gun Control, Politicians, Hypocrisy, and Bad Karma

    I’ll just paste an excerpt:

    “In simple terms, gun violence is a result of the absence of fathers. The fathers are absent because they have to constantly work to pay excessive taxes to the U.S. federal government. They are stripped of their authority as a parent and removed from the home by illogical family law. Ponder that shit for a minute.”

    Going back to the subjects of equality and being sexist, have you read this book?

    The Power of the Pussy by Kara King.

  6. There is that FB video floating out there where the little babe comes barreling through the open door into the bedroom. Only to see something he does not want to see and performs a cute out of balance 180 degree departure. Picture me in diapers people and running to the fridge for a cold beer. Too much to even think about in this life! LOL

  7. Hi Mark, I just finished reading the article. I read the comment from Kristine and your response to it immediately after. My opinion is below:

    The first part of this write-up details the relationship dynamics of the Ate and Kuya authority figure in a Filipino household. The Ate / Kuya(A/K) factor is key information that is inarguably relevant for a man seeking to date a Filipina. It is unique to the culture and many men do not learn of it until they are months or years into a relationship. Knowledge of the A/K factor beforehand can lead to a healthier relationship, for obvious reasons. I think it’s good that you brought all this up. Nice job Mark.

    The second part of the article describes the situations one may find themselves in based on the various hypothetical scenarios that are controlled by the influence of an Ate or Kuya in a Filipina’s life. Mark does a great job providing an honest explanation of what to expect in each of those scenarios. Nice job again Mark.

    In the P.S. section, you mentioned that whenever you receive “comments”, in reference to the responses you receive containing the word ‘sexist’. Ten years ago, I might have been concerned if you told me you received numerous responses being accused of such a thing. However, to be called sexist today is just as common as someone saying you were ‘mean’. Actually, I’d rather be called sexist than mean, because in my opinion the word has lost all meaning. I am numb to it.

    BUT…You hung yourself when you said:

    “What finally worked for me is a girl who has several older brothers, that are all EMPLOYED. She is used to taking orders from the Kuya and has grown up in an environment where males work hard for their money.”

    Okay. Let’s pause.

    Don’t think about how your are going to respond. Don’t attempt to defend your statement. Don’t place energy into appearing right for sake of argument by conjuring up a witty reply to divert attention to another topic, or shift focus to anything other than what you just said. Doing any of those thing would be of no utility at this point. Lets direct our attention on only what you said.


    Your comment implies support for “ordering” women around. I think(hope) I get what you were attempting to say. If you agree that ordering a woman around is a recipe for a good relationship built on love, respect and trust, then I would recommend that you strive to obtain more education. To hold such a view is unhealthy. I fully support the idea of being a strong, confident man, but you shouldn’t need to fly across the world to seek a woman who has been programmed by life to submit herself to the authority of a man. I honestly don’t think you meant it the way you said it. I get it man, a lot of woman out there DO want a strong man to take charge and be a responsible, loving, respecting, caring, well-rounded partner. If a man is willing to fulfill a role that involves displaying all of these positive traits, many good women would be willing to submit themselves to that man as a token of gratitude, appreciation, love, respect, a mutual understanding that says the husband will be the protector and the wife will support him. That is Filipino culture. It is very similar to the way the culture in the U.S. was several years ago, but a wave of irrational thinking has swept over the country. People can longer have conversations without becoming emotional hemophiliacs. Strong words like “sexist” get thrown around and people don’t consistently devote enough time/effort to understanding things. Notice that I never just simply responded by calling you a sexist?

    Kristine, your response indicates that you are somewhat eager to confront. I would ask that you try to pause, then process, then respond, all-the-while making it your goal to understand the other side. I’ve found that much of the time simply asking for someone to clarify what they said can clear things up enough to avoid misinterpretation. I don’t think Mark is sexist, I think he may be a little immature and he is probably still growing as a man. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong, but before you call him sexist, you may consider attempting to gather just a little more information first, because such an accusation used to mean something very serious, but overuse of the word has diminished its value .

    Take care.

  8. Mark,

    After visiting the PH for the first time, I can say that you’re completely on point here. I’ve enjoyed reading about your experiences here, though I wish I had sen the video about the CR prior to my visit. Having to ask my ladyfriend to show me how to use the bathroom was humbling, to say the least.
    Thanks for the blog, keep it up.

  9. Mark,

    Thank you very much for explaining the Ate/Kuya family dynamic. This explains a lot in regards to conversations I’ve had with filipina’s I’m getting to know. Unfortunately, in my experience, girls that are not the Ate’s in the clan often pull the same, “I need to provide for my family” card. At least now I know the cultural history of it!


    I see the word “submit” as a feminist derived word to further their justification of why they should not be answerable to a man. Submission has the connotation of a slave, or animal.

    The word I seeing that is true would be “surrender”. That word will actually get a feminist more pissed because it cuts to the heart of what it’s all about. One surrender’s themselves to an opposing, greater force. Whether it’s a husband, a boss, a conquerer, or God. Surrendering is paradoxically what a woman must do to gain true freedom of the spirit. But feminists don’t want that, they want to be the man, the boss, which is why “surrender” is an even more dangerous word to them then “submit”

    I would say traditional filipina’s were raised to surrender themselves for the greater good of the family, so it’s just natural to them and also might explain how good natures and at peace they seem to be. However there are more and more filipina’s becoming westernized with feminism every day. And we see them commenting on the internet on pages like this. Something to keep an eye out for

Comments are closed.