I keep being mistaken as a Filipina

It can get quite amusing.

Being Malay, it’s inevitable that I look close to my Asia Pacific counterparts. I could go to Indonesia and blend in as an Indonesian, the time when I was in Thailand with my girlfriends, the locals thought that we were Thai ourselves until we opened our mouths.

But in recent years, there has been countless the number of times that I’ve been approached and asked, “Are you Filipino?”

Even on youtube, there are people who think that I look like Happyslip, an insanely talented youtuber who has ancestry from the Philippines.

I’m not skinny enough to look like her

Don’t get me wrong though, Personally, there is nothing to feel offended about and I think that there is nothing wrong with looking like a Filipino. Besides there are so many attractive looking ones at that.

Like Lea Salonga.

Lea Salonga

Like Marian Riviera

Marian Riviera

Like Toni Gonzaga

Toni Gonzaga

But it’s just weird for me that everywhere I go, everyone would assume that I’m from the Philippines. Even in Singapore! And even by Filipinas!

Like the time while Cart and I were shopping at a Filipino Shop to see if we could get some Asian groceries, the clerk started to cheerfully talk to me in Tagalog.

Random market

It was later when she saw that I couldn’t respond to her, then she realised that I wasn’t a Filipino.

Maybe I should start to learn a little bit of Tagalog. But the only word I know is Mahal kita so I probably wouldn’t get very far with that.

But anyway, I just wish people in general would stop assuming things. And I’m not the only one. Even my Egyptian friends are commonly mistaken as Moroccan here.

Now if people went up to me and said, “Oh my gosh! You remind me of Ziana Zain!” That’ll be another thing altogether.

21 Replies to “I keep being mistaken as a Filipina”

  1. Hey, you do look like Happyslip! Sadly speaking, we have to contend with the stereotypes people bestowed upon us. When I was in Dubai, many Filipinos especially those service staff would chat me up in Tagalog thinking I am Filipino too! But I don’t have such a problem in Singapore.

  2. Babe!! I’m half spanish filipina but not alot of pple realise tht till I mention it. But if u r at Lucky plaza… almost all would speak to u in Tagalog even if u look Super Chinese…lol!

  3. Although many have said so, I still want to reiterate – there IS some resemblance between u & Happyslip!

    I was often mistaken as Shanghainess by both the locals and Singaporean alike when I was in Shanghai. It did feel weird haha…

  4. I was just having a conversation about this with a friend that visited from the US.

    You do look like you could be from the Philippines.

    I guess I’ll have to check and see who this HappySlip is.

    I really should learn some Tagalog. There are lots of Filipinos all over the world.

  5. Hahahahhaa.. Nice one.. Have you gotten the confused look on people’s face when you tell them that you’re from Singapore? Many Europeans think that Singapore is in China, and we don’t look typically Chinese.. Hehehe.. I’ve gotten that many many times.. Hehe.. ppl need to look at the world map more.. 🙂

  6. personally i think all Asian women look amazing and would be very poor at judging one nationality from another, suffice to say that your looks are every bit as appealing as those other women pictured.

  7. I’d have to agree with STUMPBO, you do look quite like Happyslip!! heheehee!! 😀

    I find that Filipinos are the most friendly lot of Asian people. I say this because whenever I travel out, they will stop me at the airports and ask me if I’m Filipina 😛 Some will even stop to chat. I actually find it amusing – I’d NEVER stop someone who looks like Malay at the airport – nanti orang ingat kita ni tak betol 😛 Not saying they are, lah… but you know how the arrogant side of us will suddenly surface and say, eh, kaypoh nyer orang ni, gimme my space, can or not. *hehehe* Banyak merepek aku ni today 😛 But the interesting fact is, Filipinos/Tagalog are actually related to Malay. Some thing about the anthropology that is interesting, but I am no expert in lah 😀 Will be something to read about just to find out more about our ancestors.

    BTW, what is Mahal Kita? Expensive Us? 😛

    Salamat!! 😀

  8. eh yes! u do look like happyslip!! today i was watching a WONG FU Productions video… and it had her in it. and i was thinking omg this girl looks like rinaz! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRpxydp2QEw

    anyway… the only thing i know how to say in tagalog is…

    bakit ang pangit pangit mo.

    which isnt a nice thing… it means.. why is ur face so ugly. HAHAHAH. ok. if u meet horrible people u can say that to them. HAHAH. =/

  9. For the first few seconds Of seeing Happyslip, I really though it was you! I get mistaken for Filipino and/or Chinese on a regular basis too.

    Anyway, I think it’s harder and harder to tell what race a person is from skin colour or features because of globalisation and Singapore being a melting-pot for every nationality, it just makes it difficult.

  10. Malique

    Pwah! There’s a place called Malay in Philippines! That is so cool!

    And what a nice looking place it is 🙂


    No, its not the first time that that has happened. Years ago I was rather sensitive because like Yespecan, I’d be wondering, “What do you want, why are you so busybody”

    But its quite amusing. As long as they have no intention of malice.

    Its nice to pretend to be a native, that way the locals treat you more warmly right? 🙂


    I guess Filipinos are very friendly people! Its hard to imagine the inverse coming from, say a Malay, “Are you Malay?” Hehehe 🙂

    I still get that question even in Singapore too 😛


    I think you’ve got a point there about how the Filipinos are friendly people. Maybe thats why people generally ask that question, yeah?

    Maybe I could start asking “Are you Malay?” And totally spread the word 😛

    Nah, to do that, would be making another assumption … actually I prefer the question, “Where are you from?”

    And Mahal Kita means I love you! Hehehehe. I can say that to every Filipino’s but that wont take me very far! Or maybe too far! Hehehehe!


    Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that! I really thought you were mostly Chinese!

  11. Nazry

    Tried to photoshop my eyebrow to look like Ziana Zain but its totally FAIL! I look more like a minah with a pencil eyebrow -_-


    But the shape of our face are different – hers is longer and mine is rounder. Also … she’s skinnier than I am 🙁

    Anyway, alamak thats not a nice thing to say … most to most I smile and say sweetly in Malay about not so nice things .. hehehe


    Were you able to blend in with the locals there? Maybe its good! You know, so that they don’t treat you like a foreigner and give you deals like a local 🙂


    Yup! Your wife will love you more for it 🙂

    Cart has this little pocket phrase book he carries to trips to Singapore and sometimes he tries to say a few words to my relatives, which is so cute 😛

    His favourite phrase is Sedap! That means delicious!

    And terima kasih! That means thank you!


    Not in Italy! When you tell them that you are from Singapore in Italy, they start to break out into a song!

    Check it out!

  12. Adamantixx

    Thanks! You’re too kind 🙂

    I think my issue is that I’d need to contend more is my body size :

    Exercise! 😀


    Haha, yeah. And like what Russell Peters would say, “In the future, there will be no whites, no blacks, no yellows, no browns. Because everyone will be mixed up with each other and we’ll all be beige”

  13. OMG I keep getting mistaken as Filipina too. (i mean apart from indon, chinese, indian, canadian and portuguese. I know, wth right!) I get so many blog comments and emails and facebook messages written in tagalog. These people don’t even bother to double-check! I’m THAT convincing. lol

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