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A House Full of Daughters

By Kerima Polotan Tuvera


About the Region

ARMM stands for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The Region

of is composed of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao region was first created on August
1, 1989 through Republic Act No. 6734 (otherwise known as the Organic Act) in
pursuance with a constitutional mandate to provide for an autonomous area in Muslim
Mindanao. A plebiscite was held in the provinces of Basilan, Cotabato, Davao del
Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Palawan,South Cotabato, Sultan
Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur; and in
the cities of Cotabato, Dapitan,Dipolog, General
Santos, Koronadal, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Puerto

Princesa and Zamboanga to

determine if their residents would want to be part of the ARMM. Of these areas, only four
provinces - Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi - voted favorably for
inclusion in the new autonomous region. The ARMM was officially inaugurated on
November 6, 1990 in Cotabato City, which was designated as its provisional capital.

The region is headed by a regional governor although the president

exercises general supervision. The region is one of the most impoverished areas in

the Philippines. It has a per capita gross regional domestic product of only PhP3,433 in
2005, 75.8 percent lower than the national average of PhP14,186. It is the lowest among
the Philippines' 17 regions, the second lowest region has a per capita income almost
double the ARMM's. ARMM has a population of 4.1 million based on the 2007 census.
It is the country's poorest region, where average annual income was just 89,000 pesos ($
2,025) in 2006, less than 1/3 of Manila level.
ARMM is one of the country's top producers of fish and marine resources,
particularly seaweed, which is used in some toothpastes, cosmetics and paints. It has
large mineral deposits, including copper and gold.

About the Author

Kerima Polutan Tuvera was born on December 16, 1925 in Jolo, Sulu. Her

father was a military officer and her mother taught economics. Due to her fathers nature
of work, she studied in different provinces like Pangasinan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.
She enrolled in University of the Philippines School of Nursing but she
was not able to continue due to Battle of Manila. She later transferred to Arellano
University where she attended writing classes of Teodoro M. Locsin.
She married Juan Capiendo Tuvera. The latter influenced Kerima to write
as well. Mr. Tuvera was the executive assistant and speech writer of the then president
Ferdinand E. Marcos. They have 10 children.

She edited the first anthology which

became a Palanca Prize Winner. She also wrote Imelda Romualdez Marcos: biography
of the First Lady of the Philippines. Her 1952 short story, The Virgin, won 2 awards:
Philippine Literary Free Press and Palanca Awards. She was several times winner in the
Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature in different years. She was also an
awardee of the Stonehill Novel Award for her The Hand of the Enemy.
She died August 11, 2011 due to an illness. Rina Jimenez of Philippine
Daily Inquirer described Tuveras works as "unsentimental and clear-eyed depictions of
heartbreak and disillusion. But her writing was dazzling and unflinching in its honesty."

A House Full of Daughters (Short Story)

Mother a strict and disciplinarian type of mother; narrator of the story
7 daughters

Large musty house canopied by ancient trees

The story opens with the thoughts of the mother having seven daughters.
The possibilities are endless. Seven daughters mean seven dowries (seven sons-in-law),
seven spinsters, seven bakeshops, seven beauty parlors, seven stores, seven designers or
even seven models.
But with the number of daughter she has, one cannot avoid but to have
little heartache or as the mother calls it crises. First is the hope to have a son. Second,
being a mother is also subjected to multiple strain of post-natal depression, financial
difficulties, household chores, and birth control.
Motherhood has taught her tricks when dealing with her daughters.
Because of being strict and disciplinarian, the first word learned by her daughters is
quiet. The mother also realized that discipline makes her life easier because she needs
no words. A friend of hers warned her about the trauma children might later develop
with such stricture.
She cant help but notice how this friend of hers deals with motherhood.
This friend is her complete opposite. She describes her as the perfect mother. And with
this so much correctness this friend ran away with another man leaving her babies
behind. The mother said that there is no moral in her friends situation, but she suspects
her friend would have stayed if she allowed herself the luxury of mistakes.
Despite the heartaches or crises included in being a mother, the mother
realizes that it can also be a very rewarding experience. She wants her girls to be
experienced not accomplished, able to stand on their own because they have a
knowledge not gained by words but by touch, sight, sound, victories, failures,
sleeplessness, devotion, love the human experiences and emotions of this earth; and
perhaps; so as little faith and a little reverence for the things you cannot see.
She is also able to teach love to her children despite the fact that she did
not deliberately set out to teach them. It is very evident how the girls take care of each
other. Lastly, she develops friendship with her daughters.

The author vividly describes the reality that being a mother is not just a

walk in the park. It entails a lot of hard work, patience and sacrifice. The story also

provides rich details of how a mother survives the crisis in a daily basis. Nevertheless,
the rewards are great that one can forget the trials and hardships experienced.
The lessons found in the story are not only applied to mothers but also for
fathers and children too.

Philippine Literature by Saymo et. al