Sie sind auf Seite 1von 1

Ia Marie Donna B.

Cruz HI 165 A

Research on Blair and Robertson s The Philippine Islands Counting Concubines Thou shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20: 40

Class #25 Dr. Ambeth Ocampo

Kabit. In todays still traditionalistic Filipino community, the very mention of the term kabitmistresscarries an intensely negative ring to it. It is not only because Filipinos are simply conservative or generally family-oriented but, primarily because the centuries of living under the great influence of the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines. With the Ten Commandments deeply ingrained into the Filipinos consciousness, any mention of adultery or any act of lasciviousness will definitely receive a disapproving response. Some could even surely say that the success of the almost 400 years of Spanish rule in the Philippines can be attributed to the extensive conversion of the natives of the islands into the Catholic faith. Along with the conversion came the changes in the norms of the pre-colonial natives. During those times, most of their, the natives, daily practices and rituals were conceived sinful and of course, condemned by the Western colonizers based on the Catholic religion. And gradually, the Philippines and its people reinvented its practices and culture as well, in accordance to the preaching of the oppressors. One of the said native practices condemned and eradicated by the Spanish colonizers was concubinage. Strictly speaking, concubinage is the act of cohabitation of two people who are not bound by marriage. Along with concubinage, carnal sins such as adultery, polygamy and fornicationall of which were parts of the traditions of the early Philippine natives, were also disapproved of by the Catholic mission sent from Spain to the Philippines. Antonio de Morgas Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas provides the present-day readers with the marital practices of the natives of the Philippines prior to their conversion from their pagan beliefs. The native men, mostly belonging to the chief class, were allowed to have as many concubines as they want as long as they could support these women. These women, often slaves, remain as such in status unless they bore their chief a child (Blair and Robertson 16: 127). They were also not allowed to have relations with other men except with the chief who owns them. The woman considered as the legal wife is called the first wife and the children borne of her were the only ones considered as rightful heirs. Concubinage was not a practice exclusive to those of the chief class. The timaguas (timawas), also known as the freemen in early communities, were permitted to take concubines provided that the man can support all his wives well. However, the tradition prohibited a timagua from taking a woman from the chief class as his concubine (Blair and Robertson 16: 129). It was punishable by community laws. Back in those days, it was a common practice for men to live in concubinage with either the elder sister or mother of his wife even before marriage, especially when the bride was very young. Before a dalaga marries, she will be brought to men who would ravish and take away her virginity. The natives of the Philippines consider it a hindrance and impediment if the girls were virgins when they marry. Dalagas and bagontaos could also openly engage in such relationships for it was not frowned upon by their community (Blair and Robertson 16: 131). Aside from virility, concubines have socio-economic implications in the early communities. Being able to support many women is a sign of luxury and power over others who could not. Concubines were not shamed but were publicly paraded and communicated with. They may also be the ones accompanying the sultan in his official dealings. To some extent, along the process of converting the natives of early Philippines, the Spaniards sent to do the job got tempted by the aforementioned practices. Probably, it was due to prohibition of such acts in Spain whereas in the Philippines, concubinage was norm. One concrete example recorded by de Morga was the engagement of Spanish clergymen with their dispenseras (stewardess), either inside or outside the convent (Blair and Robertson 52: 50). De Morga even suggested to the King of Spain that slaves should be banned in ships for many of their sailors engage in acts offensive to God amidst the dangers of the journey on sea (Blair and Robertson 18: 300). Despite the reports of de Morga in the lascivious dealings of the appointed Spaniards in the Philippines, these moral offences remained overlooked (Blair and Robertson 10: 93). Cover-ups regarding the matter, especially those involving the clergy were prevalent for they have the most influence in society due to their religious authority. The issue of concubinage as a sin does not actually pertain to the actions of the natives of the Philippines but that of the Catholic Spaniards in the Philippines who involve themselves to the act. To the natives, having many women or having another man take away a bride-to-bes virginity was customary, both to their original culture and religion. Imposing judgment on the natives was simply to displace the flaws of the Spaniards, especially those in the clergy. They needed to find a justification for their mistakes and they found the customs of the natives convenient as an excuse. That is, they were tempted by the actions of these sexually-forward natives. With all that was said, apparently, the real dalagang Filipina wasnt as meek as Maria Clara.
Blair, Emma Helen and James Alexander Robertson, ed. and trans. The Philippine Islands 1493 -1898. Vol. 10, 1597-1599. P. 93. Blair, Emma Helen and James Alexander Robertson, ed. and trans. The Philippine Islands 1493 -1898. Vol. 16, 1609. Pp. 126 131. Blair, Emma Helen and James Alexander Robertson, ed. and trans. The Philippine Islands 1493 -1898. Vol. 18, 1617-1620. Pp. 300-301; 324. Blair, Emma Helen and James Alexander Robertson, ed. and trans. The Philippine Islands 1493 -1898. Vol. 52, 1849-1898. P. 50.