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.
When she decided to try online dating again, a month after she and Dan separated, Leonor was determined to make a wiser choice.
Unlike in 2001, when she and Dan exchanged emails and scanned pictures over a slow connection, Leonor had a robust set of online tools — video chat, social media, messaging apps — to help her find the right man.
Virtual connections must eventually be realized in physical space, where real-world politics, money, and bodies intervene.
For the earnest among these internet searchers, the hope is that in the midst of these complexities, a real, lasting love can bloom.
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.In September 2015, Leonor Cabigon, a 38-year-old Filipina mother of two, returned early from a trip to find a young woman sleeping in the bed she shared with her American husband Dan in Valencia, a remote mountain town in the Philippine island province of Negros Oriental.A self-described wellness expert, Dan first claimed to be treating the young woman for a stomach ailment, before admitting they’d been having an affair.Yet even as she went through the paces of partnering with him, Leonor found herself wanting to rewrite the script—and Dan’s betrayal became her chance to try again.For decades, Western men picked Filipinas out of catalogues, selecting from rows upon rows of hopeful women’s pictures printed on cheap paper, like a strange yearbook or police lineup.