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The Filipino Family

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The Filipino Family is the basic unit of Philippine society. Education is merely an extension of the family circle. There should be strong child-parent-school relations through cooperation, coordination and transparency. Courtship and Marriage

Every society has some kind of courtship, system which precedes marriage. Society’s mores and values change due to certain influences which impinge on our social processes. Courtship is either arranged by parent or kinsmen; or by the participating parties themselves.

1. Courtship Among Early Filipinos
Courtship, mating and divorce among early Filipinos revolved around the dowry or bride price. The dowry was the gift from the groom or his family to be given to the bride’s family presumably to compensate for the care and the cost of the upbringing of the bride. Dowry had several function:

a) It signified the good intentions of the young bridegroom in the same sense that earnest money is used in a business transaction. b) It signified the financial status of both the bride and the groom as a sort of prestige-giving conspicuous consumption. c) It also signified a welcome gesture and acceptance of the bride to the groom’s family. d) Since the dowry was usually a contribution “ambagan” of the groom’s family and his nearest kinsmen who might wield power and influence, might put pressure on the couple to make their marriage success. Compadrazco System – Follows that of the kinship arrangement, giving the “ninong” and “ninang” similar obligations and concern accorded the newly married couple. Contemporary Philippine Society

The bride-groom and his family and kin assume full responsibility for the wedding preparations, including the bride’s wedding dress, church fees, reception and almost all major expenses of the wedding. In the West

Some brides would feel socially disgraced to let the groom assume any wedding expenses except the purchase of the wedding ring. In the Philippines Bride would be embarrassed if they had to share in the cost of the wedding. Wedding is considered as the union of two participating families.

2. Choice of a Mate
Selecting a life partner is a complex process, where cultural norms, race, nationalty ethno-linguistic factors, socio-economic and socio-political considerations play a very important role. Two types of relationship: endogamous and exogamous relationship. Endogamy – Limits the choice for marriage to those of the same race, religion, nationality, socio-economic and socio-political classes. Exogamous – Is a social arrangement where marriage is allowed only outside of a social group. Onset of modernization, esp. in the urban centers, ushered in more freedom among the young people and a wider sphere from w/c to choose a possible life partner. The term “going steady” is now a part of the vocabulary of young people.

“Going Steady” it signifies that two people of the opposite sex have signified their interest and desire for one another but, for some reason, they are not yet in a position to marry. Sex is often openly discussed among the young people for as long as polite and socially accepted terms are used. Further exposure to Western Ideas and social thoughts and values through the mass media have gradually broken down cultural restrictions. Legal determinants as incest taboo is a strong deterrent in selecting a mate.

In urban areas, matchmaking is done through lonely hearts clubs introduction service, pen and phone pal systems, use of newspaper personal love columns, the mail-order bride service, TV love counseling, computer matching orders. Thousands of Filipino women have the left for countries to marry foreigners as mail-order brides. This phenomenon is a reflection of the economic crisis in the country. School associations and social gatherings where young people meet are still the best methods of getting to know each other. In spite of everything else, mate selection is still very much influenced by the family and culture. Monogamy & Its Modified Forms

In the Philippines, there is no provision for divorce for any reason although it is possible to secure legal separation w/o the right to remarry. Annulment is resorted to when marriage has failed and the parties concerned can no longer rationalize or conform to the expectations of family and kin. The Roman Catholic Church has consistently opposed the legalization of divorce but approved annulment under certain conditions. Annulment is based on the belief that the parties involved never entered into real marriage in the first place; hence the, a genuine marriage has never existed. Thus when State of Church annuls a marriage, it simply proclaims that the parties involved are not really married and should be considered as a single individuals except for the continuing obligations for the care of their children. The Family Code has liberalized the causes for annulment and legal separation. Ground for a petition for legal separation

1. Repeated physical violence or grossly abusive conduct directed against the petitioner.
2. Physical violence or moral pressure to compel the petitioner to change religious or political affiliation.
3. Attempt of the respondent to corrupt or induce the petitioner to engage in prostitution, a common child or a child of the petitioner to engage in prostitution of connivance in such corruption or inducement
4. Final judgment sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more than 6yrs, even if pardoned
5. Drug addiction or habitual alcoholism of the respondent;
6. Lesbianism or homosexuality; Bigamous marriages; Sexual infidelity or perversion;
7. Attempt by the respondent against the life of the petitioner
8. Abandonment of petitioner by respondent w/o justifiable cause for more than 1yr. Void and Voidable marriages (Annulment)

1. Those contracted by any party below 18yrs of age even with the consent of parents
2. Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages
3. Those solemnized w/o license
4. Bigamous of polygamous marriages
5. Those contracted through mistake of the identity of one by the other
6. A marriage contracted by any party who at the time of the celebration was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage..even if such capacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.
7. Those of incestuous marriages

Since the inception of the law. Many marriages have been annulled.
Matrimonial tribunals and lawyers expert on annulment cases are available. A tribunal grants a decision of Declaration of Nullity after a series of psychological tests, & a series of probing interviews to determine the truth. Consensual Marriage

Is a term used for more or less permanent relationship between a man and a women which has not been sanctioned by a formal marriage ceremony. Ceremonies like this are sponsored by prominent people who act as “ninong” or “ninang”. Lower-class pattern; live in arrangements are preferred among the middle & upper class circles. Querida System

Is common in many social levels, ranging from the policeman on the beat to prominent government officials and successful businessmen. The Querida is a woman who engages in sexual relations with a man on an exclusive basis, usually in exchange for partial for total financial support. The Querida system results in a two family system where a legal wife and legitimate children share the husband with a mistress and illegitimate offspring. Traditionally, Filipinos in all levels accept double standard or morality. Women are supposed to be virgins at the time of the wedding.

Due to the new morality where love is strong, virginity, although preferred, is not considered absolutely necessary. Studies have shown that women give themselves up to their boyfriends only if there is a promise of marriage or because of love. Santiago’s (1981) classification of extramarital affairs as: 1. The “querida”, number two or “kabit” relationship w/c involves some permanence, exclusiveness, and economic support 2. The “girl friend” relationship w/c implies more equality, freedom to date other men, and no economic arrangement 3. The “party girl” or “fun girl” relationship w/c simply means occasional good-times for a free;  4. The “love affair” w/c blossoms unexpectedly between business partners, teacher and student, boss and secretary, etc.

Family Composition
A family may not be bound by marriage but by what society approves as a result of community experience. It is, however, necessary that members of a family should interact and communicate with each other and maintain a common culture. Father and mother, married or not, who live with their children is a nuclear family; while the extended family would include a kinship group from either or both relatives of father and mother. This bilateral arrangement by blood or adoption is a consanquineal family. Two types of nuclear family:

Orientation family – the group to w/c an individual originally belongs before the marriage. Procreation family – the new family where he/she intends to beget children of his/her own. Extended family

When two or more families live together as a single household. Consist of several families of orientation mixed with families of procreation all of them united either by blood or adoption. The role of Husband, Wife, & Children

The father is the principal breadwinner and nominal head of the family. The wife has not deviated much from the traditional role of homemaking, rearing children, & managing the household. Whatever success the children may achieve is attributed to her; her association with the children is closer than that of the husband. Parent-Child Relationship

Traditionally, the children’s role is to obey and not to question, but this has already changed lately and they are now given a voice in decision-making. Children are expected to help support the family, help educate the siblings, care for the parents specially in their old age. They are a source of inspiration for parents to lead a good life in order to be able to bequeath an honorable and untarnished name. Among siblings, there are seems to be a hierarchy of power where the eldest receives special privileges. There is also so-called “tyranny” of the youngest because the other siblings give in to the whims and caprices of the youngest.

The Filipino Family in Modern Society
In spite of the impact of Western ideas found in the different media exposure, the Filipino family remains traditional in many aspects of life. Many wives are considered as partners, not subordinates, who will follow without question whatever the husband wishes and desires. The Size of the Family

Responsible parenthood is a government policy so family planning programs are initiated and proposed by the health agencies, but these programs run counter to the ideals and principles of the Catholic Church. The Filipino family is “child-oriented”.

A newly married couple is expected to have a child after the 1st yr of marriage, otherwise the husband is regarded as “baog” or sterile & therefore, not manly. A son is preferred because he will bear & propagate the family name. Children are considered as a form of wealth, most families prefer many children. The Changing Filipino Family

Most social scientists claim that the Filipino family is in transition. The traditional system is kinship-oriented where one’s personality & outlook in life are dominated by the wishes of parents & elders & where mutual assistance & cooperation are paramount. The modern family is characterized by attitudes, values, interests and goals directed towards individual performance and achievement. Being in transition, the Filipino family exhibits characteristics of both the traditional and the modern. The Kinship System

The Filipino kinship system is bilateral.
The ritual (compadrazco) relationship is very important because of the assistance expected from them like helping the inaanak to get better job or get a promotion. Another aspect of ritual kinship is bayanihan meaning cooperativeness among neighbors, magkapit bahay and kasambahay, persons living in the same household but not otherwise related.

The kinship relationship is so broad that every one may be related to almost everyone else in small communities. Kin relationship will continue to be strong but there seems to be a weakening of the concept of mutal, reciprocal, social obligations & economic support among the members. The real value of the kinship group lies in the emotional support given its members. In an attempt to strengthen the kin relationship in urban areas, family re-unions are regaining popularity. This strengthens kinship ties and fosters mutual cooperation social involvement. Changing roles of Men & Women

Women today are challenging the traditional division of labor and are demanding equal rights to job, equal pay for the same amount and quality of work, and equal chances for promotion as men have.

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