The Classic Filipino Indo-Malay Look

Danica Flores Magpantay

It is believed that the first group of immigrants to come by sea to the Philippines were the Indonesians about 5,000 years ago. They drove the existing Negrito tribe, which had arrived in the Philippines about 25,000 years ago, from their land. Indonesians had two dominant groups. One group was tall with light skin, large foreheads, high noses and thin lips. The other group of Indonesians were shorter, darker, with large noses and thick lips. Danica-Magpantay-Ford-Supermodel-of-The-World-Philipines-2010

The Malays came about 2,000 years ago and also arrived in boats. The physical characteristics of the Malay people were medium height, brown skin, dark eyes, flat noses, and straight black hair. The Malays drove the Indonesians into the forests and lived in low lying areas. The basis for this information comes from this link. One of my most faithful female supporters and top female commentator, Christine, gave me the inspiration for this post and provided me with photos of Filipinas with the classic Indo Malay look. The previous photo is of 2011 Ford Supermodel of the World, the stunning 17-year-old Filipina beauty,Danica Flores Magpantay. Christine had given me a different picture of Danica, but I hope you don’t mind that I found another picture on Flickr that I’ve posted.

The following picture suggested to me from Christine is of Kuh Ledesma, a gorgeous Filipina singer. The photo I have posted is from 2006. Kuh Ledesma

Next person that Christine suggested to me is Pokwang (dressed in black in this photo) a popular Filipina comedian that appeared on the old “Wowowee” show. Many thanks again to Christine for this topic, and I hoped you enjoyed the little history lesson and a look at just several of the beautiful Filipinas that could be found in the Philippines that are representative of the Indo Malay look. But talk about diversity! I’ll be doing a future post of being a redneck in the Philippines thanks to an idea from Dan the Man, recipient of a “Poopy” for being one of my top commentators this past January. If you ever have an idea for a post you would like to see in “,” just drop me a line or leave a comment. I’m always interested in what my readers would like to hear about. Thanks in advance! Pokwang and the Aryty Angels

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

35 thoughts on “The Classic Filipino Indo-Malay Look

    1. I think the traditional look is good, Richard. I would say my asawa has traditional features with some Chinese influence due to her father’s Chinese heritage.

  1. Dave..nice post……the Tboli ladies look nice….I am sure all their clothes are hand made…….so where do these people live…..deep in the mountains or jungle?

    1. The Tboli live in southern Mindanao, Dan, in the southern part of the province Cotabata, in the environment around lake Sebu, west of the city General Santos. The clothes are beautiful, aren’t they”

  2. Nice article Dave. My nose kept getting pinched (aray) on my first trip to visit my beautiful asawa (MBA). She kept saying “I want your nose.” MBA is definitely from Malay descent. I kept telling her that she has a cute nose but she doesn’t believe me.

    1. Thanks, Jack, my asawa is definitely from Malay descent as her nose is flat, and she hates it. She envies her sister Emily who has a “sharp nose.” I love her nose. She doesn’t believe me, either.

        1. Kisses are important in a relationship, Gary. To be honest, my wife is so unhappy with her nose, she doesn’t like getting it kissed. If I attempt that, I make sure the bolo is nowhere nearby!

    2. met a couple at B of I yesterday. He was from Denmark and both lived in Tagum City as we do. She told Meriam that she loved my nose. Hahahaha! Of course the her husband didn’t know what she said. He is going back to Denmark soon. Hahahaha. Oops, sorry.

      1. I’ve gotten some favorable remarks on my nose, too, Gary, while in the Phils. It’s just an ordinary nose to me, but who am I to disagree with a compliment. I sent a picture of a co-worker back in America before my wife got to the States. My wife remarked how handsome my friend was. A compliment he probably only got from his mother. My mother-in-law said he “didn’t have an American nose.” Haven’t figured that one out yet.

        1. Hi Dave, I did not know you actually got round to writing this one up.
          I think your mother in law meant your co-worker did not have the classic Kano nose (long and pointy) 🙂
          And yes indeed. I think we’re never satisfied with what we have. Plastic surgeons in Thailand and the Philippines make a roaring trade giving Asian faces western style noses. uhhmm, I don’t think it looked good. And the Koreans and Japanese getting their eyes “fixed” to make them more rounded. Again, does not look right. And Australian women here are dying of skin cancer trying to get a tan. I wonder what the side effects of those whitening pills that are so widely available in the Philippines?

          1. Ya thing can not fig out about the Fillipinas is why they want to be white….I have run in to that many times and always tell them, you no….your dark skin..dark hair and big smile is what makes you so beautifull and so why not be happy the way you are…and then a lot of the white women they want to be dark women…..I sure there is a bad side to those whitening pills some where down the road, just like there are big time side effects for thos white girls that love to sit or lay or stand in the sun and try to be brown…

          2. Thanks for giving me all those photos and the idea for this post, Christine. Sorry I’m so far behind in my comments. Hope to get caught up in the next day or so. Interesting info about the plastic surgery. I know my wife wanted to get her nose “fixed.
            I said “NO WAY!” I love the way your nose looks, and you don’t need any plastic surgery. You’re beautiful the way you are.”

            I’ve heard there are some very severe side effects from the whitening pills and whitening products. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

          3. Whenever Filipinas tell me they want to be lighter skinned I tell them that most Caucasian men prefer women with tanned skin, so they shouldn’t use skin whitening products if they want to meet a foreigner. I know of at least one Filipina who has stopped, because her skin is getting darker now in her photos. It will save her the expense and possible harmful effects of using whitening products.

            1. You’re right Lance. Those poor Filipinas are just wasting their hard earned pesos on skin whitening products and risking their health as far as I’m concerned. I think the dark-skinned Filipinas are just as attractive as the light-skinned ones, if not more so in many cases.

  3. Dave, it takes all kinds of woman to make this world go around..It’s hard for me to pick the best looking ones, so I will have to pick them all…I’am like a kid in a candy store.What can I say,just love them all……JC

    1. Smart man, JC, I think you’ve made a wise decision. All of the ladies are beautiful, but I have to admit the International Ford Model really catches my eye, too.

  4. I love the flat Filipino noses too. I guess it’s just a case of liking what you don’t have (light vs. dark skin, etc). Have you heard the story of why Filipinos have flat noses?

    “One day, God summoned all the blacks, the whites, and the browns, specifically, the ‘Pinoys’ to come so they can pick up their noses. The noses were all nicely arranged for everyone to pick from, and of course the first ones to come had a wider selection to choose from. The Filipinos received the message on time, but didn’t act accordingly. They procrastinated. Meanwhile, the blacks and the whites came on time and were able to try every nose on and picked out whichever nose they wanted. When the Pinoys came everyone else has left, since the sun was already setting down. There were still some nice noses left that were not necessarily flat but they were on the top shelves and the ‘Pinoys’ being short, height-wise, have no choice but to settle for noses that were within their reach. Sadly, those noses were the ones that fell on the ground and were stepped on by the people who came earlier, thus, they were flat. And since it was already getting dark, the Pinoys just settled for whatever noses they found on the ground. That’s how the Filipinos ended up with their flat noses”.

    1. Very interesting story, Lance, I loved it. I’ll have to ask my wife if she has ever heard that. She’s get ready to take a nap and is already miffed at me because I refuse to go to the doctor about my ailments. I better wait until she wakes up.

    2. WOW! I loved that story Lance.
      This is an old folk story one of my aunts used to tell me why Filipinos are short and just the perfect brown. Not overcooked (black) and not undercooked (white).

      On the 6th day after God made the mountains and the seas and the trees and the birds, God decided to make an image of himself – man. So he took out a lump of clay and shaped it accordingly. Placed him in the oven and he went for a walk. He returned too late and the man he made was overcooked! That was the black race, Africans etc. So God tried again, placed him in the oven but this time he only went for a short walk. He came back too early and man was undercooked! That was the white man. So by then, God was only left with a small amount of clay. So he had to make do with what he had. And this time God made sure he stayed around to make sure man is not over or undercooked. And when he took man from the oven – it was perfect brown. A tad short, but perfect brown with a button nose. And that was the Filipino (Asian) race. 🙂

        1. Oh, but try telling that to Filipinas, Lance! They will not believe you. In fact, a favorite and most common compliment on someone returning to the provinces is “my, you have become fairer in complexion! what’s your secret?”. Whereas in the west, a favorite compliment is “you’ve lost some weight!”. Interesting differences huh?

          And you’re welcome Dave 🙂

          1. Thanks for sharing that example of a compliment about becoming fairer in complexion when one returns to the provinces, Christine. My Filipina wife sure doesn’t tell her friends that they have lost weight, but I’ve heard her directly tell her Filipina friends or relatives that they have gotten fat. I asked her once if that isn’t an insult. “No,” she replied, “I’m just telling the truth.”

          2. I guess it is just a classic case of people differentiating based on what they don’t have. Overweight Westerners with their abundance of food and Filipinos with their tanned skin.

      1. It could be on the 3rd day God added a little choc-o-late and sugar and that is what makes the Fillipinas so sweet..or it could be that he was not thinking straight and so made 3 Adams and 3 Eve’s….

  5. wow!thank you for having this wonderful site.It made me feel that I am beautiful.Before I never believed my husband saying that I am pretty.Why?because I have a very flat nose and dark skin.My eyes looks chinky a lil bit,i have jaw line which I don’t like at all.But my husband does.He always says that he love the package so I am learning to appreciate it..I wish I could post a picture here..

    1. Thanks for your comment, mary ann, sorry you can’t post a picture, but if you would like to use my contact form, I would be happy to publish it for you. My own Filipina asawa, is of Chinese heritage and has a flat nose which she hates. I’ve told her numerous times that I love her nose and all her features. She’s the most beautiful woman I know. Sounds like you have a great husband. Take care.

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