“Family?” Was Never A Question

By October 15, 20122012, Asia

Filipino culture is largely family-oriented, with most families being extended, patriarchal and patrilocal. In rural Philippines I was quickly made aware that everyone was related in some way, whether it be by blood or alliance. The main reason for this is that when the Spanish colonized the Philippines in the 16th century, they also brought their beliefs, culture, and their way of life. The Spanish were Roman Catholics, so their family structure was based on the kind found in the Bible. The Biblical tribes are composed of extended families. What I mean by that is that many generations live in one house: grandparents, aunts, uncles, children, parents.

My homestay family’s household includes: 1 member of the 1st generation, 4 members of the 2nd, and 4 of the 3rd. Add in Nicole and I an we have 11 people under one roof.

The head of the family tends to be the eldest male which is the patriarchal side to things… If you can’t extend onto your house safely? Build a new house next door so your family will remain patrilocal. Many Biblical aspects have been incorporated into Filipino culture over the 300 or so years the Spanish ruled. More examples can be found in courting styles, marriage, and the fact that the center of the house used to be an icon of the Virgin Mary. The Spanish with their colonization of the Philippines, has had a major effect on family life in the Philippines, and it’s legacy continues to this day.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.