Americas Columns

What’s Up, Attorney? Why certain Filipinas are reluctant to say “I love you”

“What now my love, I got no visa

I was gaga, please forgive me love

I didn’t tell them that I love you

When they asked me why I married you


We must ask them to reconsider

We’ll try again on another day

We’ll also hire a brilliant lawyer

(like Attorney Tipon)

So I can be in America.”


  • Lyrics by Emmanuel S. Tipon

To be sung to the tune of “What Now My Love”

First Sung by Emmanuel S. Tipon at The Manor, Camp John Hay, Baguio on October 20, 2022.


“I have never heard you say ‘I love you’,” whispered an Ilocano lawyer while making love to a beautiful Spanish mestiza.

“I have given my entire body to you and you still ask if I love you?”, she riposted with a feeling of irritation.

“A call girl gives her entire body to her client. That does not mean that she loves him,” the lawyer argued.

“Are you saying I am a call girl?” the mestiza cried, slapped the lawyer, and pushed him away.



We asked a 19-year old virgin with unparalleled beauty and incredibly one of the most intelligent women we have known, why Filipinas are reluctant to say “I love you” to someone they love. She replied that Filipinas are “shy”. I asked her if she was shy. She replied: “Very shy”. Until she overcomes her shyness, suitors might not be able to hear her say “I love you,” even if she feels it.


There are other explanations or reasons why Filipinas do not say “I love you,” even if they feel it.

The Filipina might feel that she loves her suitor but hesitates in making a commitment. Once you say “I love you,” that’s it, you have made a declaration which you cannot “unsay”. You cannot claim later that you did not mean it. That would be inappropriate and you would lose the guy’s respect, if not his affection. As they say in Ilocano “balangkantis”.

The woman might not be sure what her feelings really are. Is it love or infatuation or fascination? Or as one young girl told me “puppy love” or “crush” which has been described as “an informal term for feelings of romantic love, often felt during childhood and early adolescence; . . . an infatuation usually developed by someone’s looks and attractiveness at first sight . . . fading away when the object of attraction stays out of sight.”  For more on “Puppy Love,” listen to Paul Anka’s rendition of “Puppy Love”.

A number of women might feel that they love their current suitor but are apprehensive that if they say “I love you”, they might meet a better guy later on. What then? So they delay saying “I love you” until hope of meeting “Mr. Right” has become nil.

There are women who do not wish to appear that they are cheap or easy to get and thus play “hard to get” by not saying “I love you” too soon even if they feel it.

Some women who have been hurt by a prior relationship are very reluctant to say the word “I love you.” They do not want to be hurt again. As they say, “once burned, twice shy.”

Women who have suffered trauma from the divorce or separation of their parents are hesitant to say “I love you” to a suitor, even if they feel it. They fear that if they enter into a love relationship, it will also deteriorate.

It has been noted that certain women want to control the relationship. By not disclosing how they feel, they have power. They leave the man continuing the pursuit. Some men are patient and persistent, but others eventually give up when they feel their love might be unrequited. Like Frank Sinatra’s ballad, they “wake up to reality”. It will be the woman who will then be in pursuit if she loves the man who appears to be giving up.

It has been reported that “The disorder of alexithymia could also be a cause of not saying “I love you”. This psychological condition is defined as a clear difficulty in identifying and expressing one’s own emotions. Hence, sufferers can’t give a name to what they feel, and consequently, will be unable to say “I love you” even if they feel it.”

There are strategies for inducing a girl to say “I love you” if a man is certain that the girl loves him, although she is reluctant to say it, unless she is suffering from alexithymia.



There is a lawyer we know who sometimes says “I love you” because that is how he feels, without expecting a particular response from the woman he says it to. “Love” in this context does not necessarily mean romantic love, although in one case it was.

The responses have been: (1) Silence, (2) a smile,  (3) I love you, too, (4) I wish I had met you earlier, (5) I am happily married, and (6) can it still perform? The last response was the most shocking, particularly coming from an attractive 30-something Filipina. The lawyer quipped: “Let’s test it. It takes two to tango.”



A 40 year-old Ilocana married an 80-something Ilocano whom she met while they were sitting together in a van from Manila to Ilocos Norte. The man’s spousal visa petition for her was approved by USCIS. At her interview with a consular officer, he asked her why she married her husband. She replied that he is good, he is well-to do because he has four houses, and that she was sure he could take good care of her. The consul denied her visa application.

When the husband came to consult with me, we called up his wife. I asked why she married her husband. She replied that she loved him. “Then why did you not tell that to the consul?” I reproached her. “I was shy to say it,” she replied.

We filed a motion for reconsideration and reopening and attached an affidavit signed by the wife. I accompanied the couple to the consular interview. I explained to the consul that Filipinas are very modest and are shy in telling their feelings. The consul issued a visa.

This episode is the inspiration for my writing the lyrics of the song at the beginning of this column.


(Atty. Emmanuel Samonte Tipon was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializing in Constitutional Law. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He placed third in the 1955 bar examinations.

He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practices federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwestern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most prestigious legal publisher and writes columns for newspapers. He wrote the annotations and case notes to the Immigration and Nationality Act published by The Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Co. and Bancroft Whitney Co. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon.  They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, politics, and current events. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m.  Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645.  E-Mail: Website:   The information provided in this article is not legal advice. Publication of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.)