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  • The Philippines
  • Contents
  • A. Demographics
  • B. A Brief Historical Perspective
  • A/B. Character of Gender Roles and Sociolegal Status of Males and
  • Females
  • C. General Concepts of Sexuality and Love
  • A. Source and Character of Religious Values
  • B. Character of Ethnic Values
  • A. Early Sex Education Programs
  • B. The Present Situation
  • A. Children
  • B. Adolescents
  • Pubertal Rites for Boys
  • Puberty Rites for Young Females
  • Premarital Sexual Activities
  • C. Adults
  • Cohabitation
  • Divorce and Remarriage
  • Extramarital Sexual Activities
  • Incidence of Oral and Anal Sex
  • A. Coercive Sex
  • Sexual Abuse of Children and Incest
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Rape and Family Violence
  • B. Prostitution
  • Sex Tourism
  • C. Pornography and Erotica
  • A/B. Population Planning and Contraception
  • B. Abortion
  • A. Concepts of Sexual Dysfunction and Treatment
  • B. Sexual Counseling and Therapies
  • C. Sexual Counseling for Emigrant Filipinos
  • A. Advanced Education
  • B. Research

Bishop, prolife group to challenge QC sex education ordinance in SC

MANILA, Philippines - A Catholic bishop has vowed to question before the Supreme Court a Quezon City ordinance which pushes for the inclusion of sex education in the curriculum of the city's public high schools.

In an article posted on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines website, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said the diocese and local prolife advocates will elevate the case to the Supreme Court to ask for a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the new policy.

The ordinance, issued last February, paves the way for reproductive health lessons - including the use of contraceptives - to be taught to public high school students.

"We are now working on it," Ongtioco said, referring to the Supreme Court petition, saying the issue has touched a nerve with the local residents. Ongtioco added that he is now organizing a group of Catholic lawyers that would help in the campaign against the ordinance.

Asked what his group would do in case they lose the battle again at the High Court, he said there are still other venues and ways of "counteracting" the

sex education ordinance. He said they could lunch more protest rallies, saying that they have the strong support of the flock.

"We definitely have the strong support of our constituents," Ongtioco said.

Quezon City covers the growing dioceses of Novaliches, headed by Bishop Antonio Tobias, and Cubao.

Priests, nuns, students and other Church-based organizations joined Ongtioco in picketing outside Quezon City Hall last February 12 as the council voted on the proposed measure. The protesters wanted to stop the approval of the ordinance that "violates the beliefs of the Church." – GMA News.

What is happening to our sex education?

Phillipine Catholic Bishops Oppose Sex-Ed in Schools, Say it Should be Left to Parents Philippines Scraps Sex Education in Schools After Catholic Opposition Is this a power struggle between the Catholic Church and our government? I will not talk about the political aspect of sex education in our country . Let’s look at this statement from Dr. Angelita Aguirre, head of Human Life International. (CBCP: Scrap sex lessons) “The module should be scrapped. It does not have the emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions of human sexuality. This is very important,” “The code of morality is high. We are not pagans. We would like to pressure everybody indulging in a conjugal act to get married first,” she said. Aguirre pointed out that the modules did not mention that a person had to get married before having sex. As a concerned parent of two girls, I took an active role in teaching the basics of sex education. The high school that my daughter attended did not include sex education in their curriculum.Much as I want my 2 girls to get married first before having sex, this kind of sex education strategy (get married before having sex) does not make sense to teens these days. First of all, some Catholic schools instill fear of committing sin even on sexual

these high school girls turn to their girl classmates for relationships. The issue of morality can be taught separately from sex education. so we should try to err on the side of purity.feelings. movies and the internet. Why can’t they explain about raging hormones instead of judging their feelings? It’s a confusing time for teenagers. How many girl-girl relationships are occuring in all girl schools? Often.” (2 Corinthians 11:2) My mother discussed sex openly with me when I was 15 years old. so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. Mom didn’t have to go through the graphic details but what struck me was the responsibility of the sexual act. Morality is taught in the Christian Living Education or its equivalent like Values Education. I knew the morality issue already and formed my own beliefs at that age. to Christ. the apostle Paul said that the Church will be presented to Christ as a pure virgin bride: “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. God has a strong view of any kind of immorality. TV. Secondly. the school turns a blind eye because these relationships won’t induce pregnancy. For example. I promised you to one husband. our teens are exposed to sexual images in magazines. I discussed sex education with the 2 girls as “are you ready to have children?” . Most often. In the same manner.

Along the way. I added “Then you should abstain until you are ready“. mind you!” Then I proceeded to explain how the second daughter and Luijoe were conceived …and… “ewww. It takes only 1 sperm cell. Phillipine Catholic Bishops Oppose Sex-Ed in Schools. We can’t assume parents know how to discuss sex openly. Some might be .When they blurted “NO WAY“. They giggled. the children can do some more research on their own. My own definition of “readiness” is when one is married but I didn’t want to explicitly state that fact yet. birth control etc are not fool proof methods of birth control. We don’t need to teach everything but at least give them the basic facts. Then I continued “just one tiny drop contains millions of sperm to impregnate you. Besides it was her first time. I dont want to listen now” I explained condoms. I gave a clear example of a family friend who got pregnant at the age of 18 because she thought she wouldn’t get pregnant at that age. Say it Should be Left to Parents is true if all parents know how to discuss sex with their children. I continued “Don’t even believe your boyfriend when he says he has protection“. We need to teach them responsible parenthood in consonance with the sex education.

. The schools together with the parents can bridge the gap of sex education.uneducated to understand the anatomy of reproduction and thus fail to grasp natural birth control methods.

and valued by the Filipino people. religious teachings from their churches or other similar spiritual institutions.Sexuality in the Philippines Sexuality and sensuality in the Philippines or Filipino sexuality refers to human sexuality and sensuality as perceived. and sexual activities exhibited byFilipino men and women of the past and the present. Core ideas and main influences Although influences of Westernization or globalization became a dominant character of the majority of Filipinos living in the metropolitan areas. There are provisions and policies in the constitution of the Philippines which . and other related factors. experienced. building a family. and the influence of urbanization or urbanized regions in the Philippines. beliefs. religion. and other forms of individual interactions or interpersonal relationships. psychology. the rise of the internet. valuesand moral convictions. This encompasses sexual behavior. This is also related to courtship as practiced in the Philippines. Filipino sexuality is affected byeducation received by Filipinos from schools. sexual reproduction. as set and dictated by their culture and tradition. which involves strategies in finding or attracting partners for physical and emotional intimacy. expressed. these number of Filipinos remain to have a very conservative public and legal sexual values. sexual practices. foreign influences. the media. sexual contact. legal policies and laws.

premarital sex. The following forms of sexual behavior are still considered illegal in the country: prostitution. extramarital sex. political. and homosexuality) and other aspects of civil life in Philippine society. As a predominantly Christian country. southern. the Roman Catholic Church became the primary influence in legal. because this personal human expression is solidly connected to the family unit and to society as a whole. and southwestern regions of the Philippines. sexual roles of men and women. birth control and contraception. abortion. the Philippines considers that the only sexual behavior morally and legally acceptable and appropriate is heterosexual intercourse within a monogamous marriage. and religious views and issues on sexuality. and the idea of allowing same-sex marriageremains being debated by "both Church and State". education (including sex education. pornography. as long as the men of these population are financially capable of supporting their multiple wives. Although considered morally inappropriate. Homosexuality is legal in the Philippines. and similar variants. Furthermore. with the exception of polygamous marriage as practiced by some Filipino minority groups and by Muslim communities in the Mindanao. Among the views of the Catholic Church include that . cohabitation.promulgates that the sexual act should happen only within the framework of married life between a man and woman. nudity. quiet homosexuality and heterosexual cohabitation have become socially accepted at a certain degree.

under the leadership of Ferdinand Magellan. Arriola. the ancient native Filipinos already had their own sexual and relationship practices. a marital ethnic norm of the archipelago at the time. in 1521. According to Antonio Pigafetta and Friar Juan de Plasencia. In Our Image . However. as explained by Stanley Karnow in his book. and that homosexuality – similar to the form of Catholicism introduced by the Spanish missionaries – is an abnormal human conduct. Historical perspective Long before the arrival of the first group of Spaniards in the Philippine islands on the shores of Cebu. the men were also using other penile adornments such as the sagra and an . One of the general pronouncements for the majority of Filipinos is that men should choose to marry virgin women and that women should keep and maintain their virginity until marriage. Ancient unmarried Filipino women are encouraged by their cultural orientation at the time to participate freely in sexual activities. there are some tribal Filipino communities who permit young men and women to engage in sexual activities beginning from the stage of puberty.premarital sex and masturbation are immoral behaviors. Early Filipino tribal men had five or more wives. One of them is the carrying out of polygamy. apart from penilepiercing through the use of rods made of tin or gold with dimension similar to a goose-quillwhich may or may not have pointed spurs.America's Empire in the Philippines and in The Body Book by Fe Maria C.

the top of the spur – while attached to the penis – was smoothly introduced first into the woman's vagina. the rod or bolt stayed firmly. During sexual intercourse. This is exemplified by Ocampo's chosen passages from Soledad Lacson-Locsin's unabridgedEnglish- . Ocampo described that during 19th-century Philippines the sexually attractive female body parts of the time were the "bare arms. These Filipino ethnic communities also permitted marriages between girls and boys who have reached the age of puberty. and that the middle section of the rod had a hole to facilitate urination. and the Igorots. Filipino historian Ambeth R. Pigafetta further described that there were adornments that are similar to the size of a cart nail. In addition to this. followed by the bottom portion. An example of these is their custom of equating the size of a woman's breast and the wideness of her hips with the price of the dowry. the Chinese Limahong already introduced the concept of monogamy to ancient Filipinos. the Filipino Ifugao people of northern central Philippines already had a wellestablished values on marriage and sexuality.[4] In 10th-century Philippines. as exemplified in the cultural practices of the Ifugaos. Once the penis becomes stiff.item known inTagalog as pilik-mata ng kambing or "goat's eyelashes". a good neck or nape" and "tiny rosy feet". theNegritos. and cannot be withdrawn from the female's sex organ until the penis becomes flaccid. about more than one thousand years ago.

e.e. Their hair hung loose and their arms were bare." (Padre Salvi. starved being and made him dream of new visions in his fevered mind. Padre Salvi. Pale and motionless... the graceful neck ending in a suggestion of a bosom.) "Their legs were up to the knees. the Spaniard missionaries forbade the use of penile instruments. the religiousActaeon (i. Maria Clara): his sunken eyes glistening at the sight of her beautifully molded white arms.language translation of the 25th Chapter of Jose Rizal's Spanishlanguage novel. and the reverence of the Virgin Mary. who was hiding in the bushes. The diminutive rosy feet playing in the water aroused strange sensations and feelings in his impoverished. They wore striped gaycolored blouses. the wide folds of their bathing skirts outlining the gracious curves of their thighs.. the notion of a woman's role as a "nurturing mother". covered with sparks of fire from the early morning sun. although a priest. fresh as a rose opening its petals with the first dew. the Noli Me Tangere: "At last. Her first smile was for Crisostomo (Ibarra). Maria Clara emerged from the bath accompanied by her friends.. . and the first cloud on her brow for Padre Salvi." As a part of the process of converting ancient native Filipinos into Catholicism. premarital virginity. and promoted Christian ideas of the wife's fidelity to her husband. acting as a voyeur) watched this chaste Diana (i. is an admirer of Maria Clara.

specifically between female members of the home. and the like – was imprecise. Instructions were limited only to discussions on pregnancy and childcare within the confines of the family unit. This program was . with instructions on basic biology. flawed. The branching out of this American-introduced Protestantism led to the establishment of similar restrictions and rules regarding sexuality as imposed by the Filipino founders of the Philippine Independent Church and the Iglesia ni Cristo or "Church of Christ". available informal information – in the form of television and radio programs. pregnancy. illegal adult or sex publications. 1960s After the World Health Organization and the Philippine government's introduction of programs on family planning and birth/conception control in 1969. Outside the family or the home setting. or deficient. sex education in the Philippines was non-existent.After 1898. suburban and rural Philippine communities received training in these programs. and contraception that focused on the use of birth control pills. which were based on the doctrines of Judaism and Christianity. Protestants from the United States brought and shared their attitudes on sexuality with the people of the Philippines. Sex education in the Philippines Prior to 1969.

while high school students received elementary and basic-level of biological information and family planning. such as biology. The limitation was truncated by the Filipino tradition of not explicitly mentioning or showing images of the male and female sex organs even for educational purposes. the government of Ferdinand Marcos formally offered sexual education programs at all levels of education. 1980s During the 1980s. In 1972. sexually transmitted diseases. with emphasis that separation and divorce are illegal in the Philippines. and limited information on human reproduction and human sexuality in the curriculum for science courses. 1990s . wherein human development and population were topics in science and biology subjects in elementary schools. Philippine high schools and colleges began to include teachings related to public health. 1970s In 1970. although legal separation or de facto separation were taught in Philippine public schools due to its high incidence of occurrence in lower class families. seminars and international conferences were held by schools of medicine as an addition to ongoing courses on human sexuality.clandestinely sustained by the Roman Catholic Church to "reduce the family's burden of child rearing because of poverty".

sexually transmitted diseases. Zabala’s study also revealed that there is a trend for refined and professional males to become . In connection with this.Research on population control. Zablan. while 2% gave a neutral position about the subject matter.000 Filipino youth whose ages ranged from 15 to 24 years old. and that 65% of less-educated and dependent females residing in rural areas have more conservative sexual values and behavior. sexual harassment. in relation to the views on sexuality by 11. The result of this study that he entitled Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey showed that 80% of Philippine youth do not endorse premarital sexual encounters. but are more prone to not using contraceptives. a demography professor from the Population Institute of the University of the Philippines.C. 18% of young Filipinos accepted the occurrence of premarital sexual activity. Z. premarital sex. compared to 40% who preferred the use of contraceptives. Zablan also found out that 35% of women who graduated from colleges implement female liberalism and flexible attitudes toward sex. Filipino youth and sexuality Contemporary studies and surveys show the effects of ongoing sex education in the Philippines: 1994 A 1994 survey was carried out by Dr. and AIDS began to be conducted during the 1990s.

nonparticipating in viewing or reading pornographic materials. that from this group. status of their virginity. related topics. Similar to the Irala et al. and having trustworthy friends. survey above. this group of youth attributed receiving well-established values from parental guidance and upbringing received Filipino spirituality. However. thus a few number does not adhere to safe sexual habits. there were young people who believe that they are not vulnerable to HIV or AIDS.relaxed and comfortable with copulation. The result shows that although there were changing views about virginity and sexuality in the Philippines among Filipino youth. with seduction and sexual stimulation. 2002 Another similar study was performed by the Values and Ethics Committee of the University of the Philippines in 2002 regarding the values placed by Filipino youth on human sexuality. Thus the recommendations of this study is to provide class conversations while at school on topics regarding . close ties with family members. and with alternating active and passive social roles. a large number of respondents value postponing sexual intercourse until they are married. dangerous drugs and other “dysfunctional behavior” resulting from familial problems. This surveys participants included 292 randomly chosen individuals from nine colleges of a university. and their relationship to the rising incidences of sexually transmitted diseases. non-engagement in activities that involve sex.

And that these sexual activities are usually unplanned. She also mentioned that some Filipino teenagers either believe that they cannot acquire AIDS or that this illness is curable. 2007 There was another study conducted by Dr. Raymundo also pointed out the increase in the number of occurrences of teenage pregnancies. drug use are correlated to sexual engagements and other risky behaviors. Raymundo also discovered that a considerable number of Filipino youth encountered reproductive health problems and had been infected by sexually transmitted diseases. sexuality.726 Filipino student teenagers regarding their opinions on relationships. a survey was done by Irala et al among 3. Corazon M. Raymundo found out that there was a rising number of Filipino youth engaging in sexual intercourse before marriage. drinking alcohol. and education concerning fertility and contraception. Raymundo also noted that smoking. 2009 In 2009. She recommended governmental provision and promotion of free yet better pro-life services related to reproductive health. Raymundo and published in 2007 regarding the occurrences of premarital sex among Filipino highschool adolescents. unwanted and unsafe. and .the importance of values in relation to human sexuality and the introduction of open and direct peer counseling. love. Twenty percent of this number involves students at the secondary school level. maternal care.

Most female teenagers also oppose sexism.exploitation. . publications. Pornography Based on the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines and Republic Act No. 7610. and indecent. prostitution. pornography is defined as doctrines. obscene.related items. This study that targeted third year high school to third year college participants aged 13 to 18 years old revealed that they primarily received information and opinion on love and sexuality from friends and parents. Philippine legislations penalize involvement in these activities. and discrimination of children. including the abuse. andshows that are immoral.

Contraception. 15. and Population Planning Sexually Transmitted Diseases HIV/AIDS Sexual Dysfunctions. Abortion. Demographics and a Historical Perspective 2. 16. 13. 14. Contents 1. 11. Religious and Ethnic Factors Affecting Sexuality 4. Basic Sexological Premises 3. Significant Unconventional Sexual Behaviors 10. M. Gender Conflicted Persons 9. Sexual Knowledge and Education 5. 12. and Therapies Research and Advanced Education Conclusion References and Suggested Readings .The Philippines (Republika ng Pilipinas) Jose Florante J. Autoerotic Behaviors and Patterns 6. and Ambisexual Behaviors 8.D. Homoerotic. Homosexual. Leyson. Counseling. Interpersonal Heterosexual Behaviors 7.

7 million. Demographics The Philippines is an archipelago of about 7.107 islands that stretch 1. Visayas in the center. the large majority of the people are Malays. in Quezon City. south of Taiwan. With 3 million square kilometers (115.Demographics and a Historical Perspective A. with small minorities of Chinese. but slightly smaller than the British Isles. the landmass of the archipelago is about the same size as the state of West Virginia. American. with 1. and Mindanao in the south. and Cebu City with 612. the former capital. The Philippines is located northeast of Malaysia and Borneo. The Philippines is divided into three major regions: Luzon in the north. east of mainland China and Vietnam. which are mountainous. the new capital.6 million. Ethnically.1 percent between ages 15 and 65.100 miles north and south in the Pacific Ocean off the southeast coast of Asia.3 million Filipinos was 37. with a 1990 estimated population of 1.6 percent 65 or older. Ninety-five percent of the 1999 estimated 79. The 1999 age distribution of the 79. in Manila. Twelve percent . and Indian. except for the heavily indented coastlines and the central plains of Luzon. and a distant west of the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean.000. Spanish. and 3. Slightly over half the nation’s population live in the cities.3 percent under age 15.345 million Filipinos (Pilipinos) live on the eleven largest islands. 59.830 square miles) of total land area.

Santo Tomas University. Eighty-three percent of Filipinos are Roman Catholic.88 per 1.45 per 1. 95 percent of the people were literate. and there are 80 different dialects. . Pampangino. Bicolano. and the Muslims in the south. However. English. giving an annual natural increase of 2. the “hill people” (north central). etc.constitute the ethnic and cultural minorities that include Aetas. founded in 1645. Life expectancy at birth in 1999 was 63.89 per 1. In 1993. Igorots. and the infant mortality rate was 33. The birthrate in 1999 was 27. Ifugaos. 5 percent Muslim. the Philippines had one hospital bed per 860 persons and one physician per 849 persons. Ilocano. the oldest university in the United States. and 4 percent other. Although ten major languages (Cebuano. The 1995 Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was 3. the death rate 6. 8 percent Protestant. Tagalog (Filipino) became the national official language in 1937.) are widely spoken.8 for males and 69. The Philippines also has the distinction of having one of the oldest universities in the modern world. with 97 percent attending primary (elementary) school and 55 percent attending secondary school.000 population. Spanish. English is still widely used today throughout the country and it is the medium of instruction beyond the sixth grade. In 1995.000.143 percent.6 children per fertile woman. Negritos (north).000 live births. placing the nation eightyfourth among 227 nations. twenty-five years before Harvard University.5 for females.

because of global economic crises. the islands were named Las Filipinas (the Philippines) in 1559 by the Spanish explorer Ruy L. the Spanish-American War. A Brief Historical Perspective Several waves of Malay peoples arrived in the Philippine archipelago from Southeast Asia long before the arrival of Europeans. quickly became the key transit point for trade between Mexico and the Far East.In 1997. the East Indies. and a colonial capital. a majority of Filipinos became Catholics. Discovered by Magellan. and defeat . A nationalist movement gained strength in the late nineteenth century. In the shadow of a tepid colonial administration. Time/World News reported a 7 percent economic growth for the Philippines. de Villalobos in honor of Prince Philip of Asturias. who later became King Philip II of Spain. and countries in the Indian Ocean. The first Spanish settlements came in 1564. the country is trying to recover and survive in agriculture. established at Manila in 1571. who was killed there in 1521.600. in 1999. the Catholic Church grew in power and wealth. and considered the Philippines as one of the 10 leading major Asian countries in a business boom. Under Spanish rule. with a per capita gross domestic product of $2. and industry. except in the southwest islands where the people remained Muslim. B. However. aquaculture. leading to an armed uprising in 1896. These tribal societies and petty principalities coexisted with links to China.

On July 4. 1946. as a high population growth rate was aggravated by both poverty and unemployment. When Marcos . opposition continued. but the President was an American Governor General. Muslim (Moro) secessionists fought repeatedly for their autonomy from the Christian majority on the island of Mindanao. In 1898. was established. In 1972. A six-year war followed between 1899 and 1905. the Filipinos elected a Senate and House of Representatives. sparked demonstrations calling for the resignation of the president. Opposition to Ferdinand Marcos continued despite his lifting of martial law and his election in 1981 to a second six-year term as president.for Spain. in accordance with an act passed by the United States Congress in 1934. the Philippines became the first Asian colony of the United States to gain independence. When the nationalist movement declared the islands an independent republic. modeled on the U. constitution.S. Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law to combat riots by radical youth groups and terrorism by leftist guerrillas and outlaws. a Philippine Commonwealth. Japan brought the United States into World War II by attacking and then occupying the Philippines in December 1941. The 1983 assassination of Benigno Aquino. In 1916. the prominent opposition leader. Despite some land reform and control of inflation. in which American troops brutally repressed the guerrilla uprising. the United States refused to accept the declaration. In the 1970s. In 1935.

which have been much less influenced by Western contacts. Government forces were able to put down an attempted coup in 1989 with help from the United States military stationed in the Philippines. Polygamy. The 20-year rule of Marcos ended in February 1986. A weak economy. except in the Muslim-dominated southern islands. traditional Filipino gender culture has been transformed by tremendous Western . and 425 years of deep-rooted Spanish Catholic traditions.declared himself victor in the bitterly contested elections of 1986 despite widespread charges of fraud. Corazon Aquino.influences. and deferential behavior of women in the . Basic Sexological Premises A/B. However. Character of Gender Roles and Sociolegal Status of Males and Females The traditional gender roles in Filipino society are strongly influenced by centuries of Islamic culture. and communist insurgents kept the political scene unstable between 1987 and 1990. widespread poverty. In 1994. 1. proclaimed herself president and announced a nonviolent “active resistance” to overthrow the Marcos government. since the 1960s. Chinese mores. with the recognition of Aquino as the new president by the United States and other nations. although some rebels have refused to abide by the agreement.European and American . the wife as the husband’s chattel. the government signed a cease-fire agreement with Muslim separatist guerrillas. the widow of Benigno Aquino.

The Muslim ideals of feminine behavior still produce a dependent. Arranged marriages are still common. In the mid-1800s. and to their sons when widowed. bear and educate children. The traditional colonial Filipina was supposed to reach marriage in a virginal state. a nonviolent intellectual woman. and support her man in his political. and economic endeavors.presence of men are still strong values in the Muslim-dominated areas. women were to be obedient to the father and elder brothers when young (single). . inferior. In traditional Chinese society. A wife’s position and security within her husband’s family remains ambiguous until she produces a male heir. Joan of Arc. For Filipinas of Chinese ethnic origin. to the husband when married. Those who try to defy these traditions have been ostracized and sometimes driven to depression or even to suicide. The oppressive attitude of colonial Spain toward the Filipinas was first challenged by Mechlora Aquino (Tandang Sora). These women have no right to divorce or to remarry if widowed. and obedient woman. for leading both a political and cultural revolt against the suppression of women’s rights. She was expected to take care of the domestic tasks. marriage was the only means to economic survival. she was considered as the equal of the French “political” heroine. professional. with the clear expectation of male offspring who will maintain the “family business” interests and continuity. go to church. passive.

economic. That has changed since the Philippines gained its independence from the United States. Filipinas occupy key positions in university and medical schools. On February 21. this double standard of colonial mentality was accepted without open criticism. Today. hospitals. and/or lovers. and the treatment of Filipinas as second-class citizens remained in force until Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States in 1898. with the democratic government taking steps towards recognizing the social and political rights of women. The Western influences on women have resulted in sociocultural independence from parents. it was not until the late 1950s that the majority of women achieved equal rights. researchpharmaceutical companies. For a long time. Mrs. and administrative positions.However. only the children of the rich had access to a high school and college education. 1986. and all fields of the arts. legal. the colonial government quickly extinguished the local revolt. large corporations. spouses. However. Women with a college education and businesswomen have started painstakingly to open spaces in the country’s political. Corazon Aquino became the first woman president of the democratic Philippines. both females and males were provided with free elementary education. In the early years of the American occupation. but this also happened mainly in the urban areas. 1900 to 1930. both local and national government. Although women’s social standing was improved. journalism. However. .

well-educated Filipinas are more comfortable than older women in taking the initiative in foreplay and . and 2 percent were neutral. C. and grandmothers. Filipinas in all classes are trying to balance their responsibility as mothers and lovers with some real class distinctions. The mothering role of the middle. Z. 80 percent disapproved. conducted by Dr. professional babysitters.000 young people. Zablan. The same YAFSS survey showed that a large number of female college graduates residing in urban areas (35 percent) were exercising their liberal roles. sexual attitudes are more liberal and accepting of radical changes in sexuality and love because of the influences of the media and global communications. sophisticated. Today. while 40 percent were more likely to employ contraception. professor of demography at the Population Institute of the University of the Philippines. In general. The 1994 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey (YAFSS) of 11.discrimination against women and special privileges granted to men continue to exist simply because the males benefit from a deeply rooted and longstanding “male buddy” (comparé) network. both in their personal and professional lives with flexible sexual attitudes.and upper-class Filipinas is often supported by housemaids. revealed that 18 percent of Filipino youths approved premarital sex. General Concepts of Sexuality and Love Virginity is no longer a universally expected prerequisite for the marriage covenant. C. ages 15 to 24 years.

On the other hand.6 percent under age 15 and 47 percent between the ages of 15 and 49 years. these younger middle. There are also more women than men. especially in the rural areas and in minority groups. In my observation.learning new erotic techniques to introduce a variety of sexual techniques in their sexual lives.” The Latino tradition of single women serving as surrogate mothers for infertile wives is morally and legally unacceptable in the Philippines. most well-educated males. The sophisticated professional men are also learning to relax during lovemaking. especially urban dwellers. enjoying alternating passive and active roles. it is often difficult to internalize the impact of the women’s liberation movement both in their sexual and professional lifestyles. more conservative in their sexual lifestyles. and less independent in their personal lives. Also. For some males. the 65 percent of Filipinas who live in the rural areas are less educated. are starting to perceive that they enrich the relationship by participating in the rearing and education of their children. with 37. The Philippines is a third-world country that enjoys the benefits of a young population. and the sharing of two incomes are beneficial to the family. less likely to use contraception. .and upper-class wives try to increase both the depth and scope in the emotional and intellectual communications within the couple. and accepting the fact that they can also be seduced and excited. with the surplus women finding support as maids or “nannies.

Taoism has both a philosophical and a religious tradition. Five percent are Muslim. or the traditional nature worship of the aborigines or hill people. cohabitation. but still very conservative in its public and legal sexual values. Every other imaginable sexual variation is explicitly condemned. . especially when they involve celebrities and politicians. However. Religious and Ethnic Factors Affecting Sexuality A. quiet homosexuality and heterosexual cohabitation seem to be more socially acceptable today. pornography (nudity). and other variant sexual behavior are all illegal. and 4 percent follow Hinduism. Taoism. Seventh Day Adventists. Source and Character of Religious Values Although 83 percent of the Philippine population are Roman Catholic. 8 percent are members of the Mormons (Church of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ). 2. premarital and extramarital sex. polygamy (except in some minority groups and the Muslim south). Because of the dominant and pervasive influence of the Catholic Church. homosexuality. and Iglesia ni Kristo. prostitution. Thus. Buddhism. Four Square Church. Taoism was introduced to the Filipinos by Chinese merchants during the tenth century. Philippine Independent Church (Aglipan). Jehovah’s Witnesses. the only sexual behavior considered legal and moral is heterosexual intercourse within a monogamous marriage. Church of Christ.The majority of the Filipino urban population today is clearly Westernized.

Buddhism was probably first introduced to the Philippines during the eighteenth century from India through the Malaysian peninsula and China. was handed down from generation to generation by both Chinese traders and immigrants. Wide Path) school of India. Nature worship. Negritos. Chinese Buddhism. Taoism had some definite ideas about sex. This form of Buddhism is very similar to Taoism. not religious symbols and sites. based on the Mahayana (Great Vehicle. the husband can have a concubine or mistress to bear children. especially sons. and its temples have become a tourist curiosity. As octogenarian males are dying and their religion is fading away. As the traditional Chinese population has aged. Ifugaos. in 1521. Igorots. Buddhism has become more of a social ceremonial practice rather than a religion. Their constant struggle with the forces . and the hill people. More recently. Taoist temples are increasingly seen only in few major cities where they serve as tourist attractions. If the wife is barren. For example. the traditional indigenous religion of the Philippines.Before the Spaniards came to the Philippines in the sixteenth century. The “fat-bellied” Buddha statue is a symbol of the family’s wealth and fertility that bedecked a Chinese house’s foyer or living room. for him. the wife’s purpose is to please the husband and conceive more children. has been practiced from prehistoric times by the aboriginal Aetas. modern Chinese males are being Westernized or practice a more popular religious persuasion.

tall. a century before the Spanish colonialists arrived. the expectation of virginity . .as “tight” like the nodes of an adult bamboo stalk . and slender palm with sequenced “nodes” in the trunk. known as “Moros. with the majority residing on Mindanao at the southwestern tip of the archipelago. On the other hand. Islam is practiced by 5 percent of the population.the absence of penile/vaginal intercourse . This form of religion has little if any systematic doctrine.” are allowed to have several wives provided they can afford them. comparing this early exploration with sweet and tender young bamboo shoots. local Muslims. However. Some tribal customs allow sexual activity as early as puberty.of nature for their survival has led to a closer relationship with their ancestors and the elements of nature. a kind of a tropical.with the assumed “tight vaginal entrance” . through Arab and Persian merchants arriving from the Malayan peninsula. The majority of tribal peoples believe that the first woman came from the “split” of the bamboo node. These religions also have lesser gods and deities with different powers related to physical health and fertility. Despite the fact that the Philippine government legally approves only monogamy. there is one basic characteristic: the belief in the spirits of their ancestors who influence the living in every conceivable sphere of life and apply rewards and sanctions where appropriate. Islam reached the Jolo and Zulu Islands in the Philippines.is favored for marriage.

A very conservative interpretation of Catholic decrees about sexuality and marriage have been inscribed in the minds of the Filipino people. Throughout Filipino history. child adoptions. The sexuality attitudes of both old and new Protestant tenets are based on the basic Judeo-Christian doctrines. the Filipino Independent Church. and deaths. and the other in 1914 by the Manalo family. The influence of the Roman Catholic Church was and still is hegemonic over ninety percent of the Filipino population. such as education. but each has added rules imposed by personal preferences from their Filipino religious founders. Iglesia ni Kristo (Church of Christ). The Church is determined to maintain its hold on important aspects of civil life. However. the political powers have been submissive to the Catholic Church. Outstanding among these are the Church’s views on the social roles of males and females. its insistence that any form of masturbation or premarital intercourse is sinful. the availability of contraception and abortion. and condemnation of homosexuality as unnatural behavior. The Church also places great emphasis on virginity as a . marriages. in a way that has proven difficult to alter or delete. two off-shoots of the Protestant tradition are homegrown: one established in 1902 by the Aglipay family. These two Filipino Protestant churches have sexuality restrictions similar to the basic Judeo-Christian principles.American settlers brought Protestantism to the Philippines after 1898. and even the registration of major events in the lives of the people like births.

Catholicism also offers young men and women a celibate life that is supposedly more spiritual and rewarding in the priesthood and religious life. who conceived her son without the need of sexual intercourse or a biological father. The indigenous people were mostly nomads who fished and hunted wild game. confirmations.000 years ago. the Philippine islands were inhabited by fierce. developed and retain to this day unique sexual and marital ethnic values along with advanced engineering land cultivation.prerequisite for matrimony. But the “hill people. However. citing the example of the Virgin Mary. first communions. and weddings. the aborigines came by land and/or ice bridges from the Malayan peninsula. the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ. large breasts . who settled mainly in the north central part of the country about 1. It is believed that the chain of islands was a geological product resulting from volcanic eruptions from coastal/mainland China.” the Ifugaos. Character of Ethnic Values Before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521. B. indomitable tribes that valued their freedom and had learned to survive by adapting to the climate and resources of the different islands (regions) of the archipelago. For instance. This sexual innocence and purity is clearly symbolized in the white clothing worn at baptisms. some tribal customs consider breast size and prominence of the hips to be financial assets that equate to the value or size of the dowry.

Islam takes on a slightly different expression among its many followers in the southern part of the country where ethnic plural marriages occur. funded by Spain. translates into “five wives. Ferdinand Magellan. The sexual . He did not realize that polygamy was a common marital ethnic norm in most of the indigenous tribes throughout the whole archipelago.” Magellan noticed that the natives were practicing polygamy. then. China was trading regularly with different Philippine tribal clans led by a merchant known as Limajong. discovered the Philippines in April 1521. he accidentally landed in the central part of the island country called Limasawa. Limasawa. There was also a great variety in the way religious values and sexual customs developed in different ethnic groups and tribal traditions. During the tenth century. Ifugaos. The arrival of Chinese traders resulted in about 10 percent of intermarriages with the indigenous peoples. Most of the men have five or more wives. For example. The Rice Terraces of the “hill people” are considered one of the wonders of the world still existing today. Most of the ethnic minorities-Negritos. When the Portuguese explorer. Aetas. and Igorots of the north-practiced monogamy. “Lima” means five and “asawa” means wife. Literally.and wide hips in the prospective bride would make a dowry of a few pigs or chickens unacceptable. who introduced monogamy.

” immature. and public dances. and unnatural. including birthday and college fraternity parties. considers males not mature or ready for marriage until age 20 or 21 years. narcissistic.” leading hopefully to marriages. which generally encourage sensual and erotic relationships. Catholicism introduced to the islands by colonial Spain in 1521. The socioreligious education of women in traditional Catholic Filipino society encourages them to play the “cat and mouse” game. “dirty. In the recent years. with male sexual exploits provided by an abundance of social opportunities. Young women are expected to develop social strategies that produce maximum enticement and individual satisfaction. about age 13 or 14 years for girls and age 15 and 16 for boys. the traditional awareness of and opportunities for sexual initiation among adolescents have been relaxed. This continual erotic stimulation and the hyper value of masculinity drives young men into the “courting game. A young woman’s ability to employ her virginity as a “bargaining tool” makes males inevitably impatient.values of these ethnic minorities often allow marriage by the age of puberty. community celebrations (fiestas). Masturbation is prohibited by the Church as sinful. On the other hand. and girls only at age 18 or 19. The young male is then caught in an expensive web of socially productive and profitable engagements associated with courtship that resolves itself in betrothal to the .

At that time. He also advocated interracial marriages and later married an Irish woman before his political execution in 1896. Early Sex Education Programs For some 425 years. Rizal. the colonial Catholic Church had a total monopoly over education that kept the people ignorant of the advances in science. Dr. Returning to the Philippines. and sociocultural barriers by studying medicine in Spain and Germany. coupled with the expense of building his masculine image and sexual experience with prostitutes. when a multi-talented physician. 3. Between 1600 and 1824. This began to change in the 1880s. broke through political. racial. Spanish colonial rule afforded the Filipinos little political freedom and individual dignity. only a few colleges offered limited science and social courses. and local health education. All university and college courses placed a heavy emphasis on religious subjects. At the time. only the most sophisticated elite and rich Filipino students were admitted to the oldest university of the Philippines. the University of Santo Tomas. Sexual Knowledge and Education A. and political organization that were taking shape in the Western world. Jose P. . technology.young woman and “marrying” her. and absolutely no sexuality or health education. Rizal established architectural and ecological parks.

In 1916. Two years later. Army General Douglas McArthur liberated the islands on October 20. Filipino society became increasingly Westernized. He was interested in economic growth and political participation. Between December 1941 to October 1944. Gradually. college education was free only in national colleges. The “re-Americanization” of the Philippines began when U. Prior to .In 1898. When Japan invaded the Philippines on December 8. in the 1910s and 1920s. the Filipinos elected a Senate and House of Representatives. public education was drastically altered and some individual freedoms were granted.S. when Americans colonists replaced the Spanish. free secondary education was introduced in the big cities. specifically Americanized. not in education. 1941. With political modernization and the advent of the Philippine Commonwealth of 1935. 1946. at the start of World War II. the Japanese occupation was characterized by political oppression and indoctrination. 1944. there was still no formal sex education or published material on the subject. with its president an American governor general. the political and educational climates changed hands. The Japanese military government was interested in total sociopolitical suppression. the Philippines was granted its independence on July 4. In the 1930s. Sex education was completely limited to information about pregnancy and childcare passed on by word of mouth among the women in families. However.

conception/pregnancy. In 1969. the students would learn from their families at home and in the streets. there was rapid population growth. but mainly the “pill.independence.” the church covertly supported this education in order to reduce the family’s burden of child rearing because of poverty. or outright erroneous. in an effort to reduce the world population. the educational system was reorganized and further modernized. The program consisted of teaching basic biology. In 1970 to 1971. From 1946 to 1968. What was not taught in the classrooms. incomplete. The college administrations finally settled and included in . the educational (college) system was rocked by a widespread explosion of “students unrest” demanding more student rights and an expanded curriculum. particularly the “pill. In 1970. The author was again one of the medical student leaders who demanded students’ rights in a peaceful protest rather than a confrontational or violent demonstration. but still no formal sex education. instituted a family planning and birth (conception) control program. this author was one of the principal instructors and trainers in the family planning program in the suburban and rural areas. the United Nations. United States soldiers who held educational degrees acted as model teachers and a catalyst for future Filipino teachers. although this information was often distorted.” Although the Catholic Church was overtly opposed to contraception. through the World Health Organization in cooperation with the Filipino government. and the different options for contraception.

that included information on sexually transmitted diseases and limited information on human sexuality. Sex education courses were offered. President Ferdinand Macros declared martial law and proclaimed a new sociocultural reform. who gave very limited information as part of the classes in the biological sciences.” which purported to reduce crime. During this period. the government also approved a program.their curriculum science courses. and augment economic stability. The information on legal separation (de facto . this instruction was more or less a description of the reproductive organs in plants and animals. Explicit mention or pictures of the male and female genitalia were unacceptable and forbidden by custom. both in high school and college. with perhaps some references to the role of the ovaries and testes in human reproduction. sex education was left to the biology teachers. the “New Society. starting at the elementary level in science and biology (human development and population). and directed that formal sex education be taught in all levels of education. In a few cases. The high school equivalent to the tenth grade in the American system and college courses included elementary basic-level biological information plus discussion of family planning and separation divorce being illegal. enhance land reform. B. such as expanded public health. The Present Situation In 1972. During this era. when the teacher decided to do so.

Research on population control.are widespread in the Philippines and cannot be controlled by either the government or religious authorities. soap operas. and AIDS are ongoing. 4. the medical schools supplemented the courses on human sexually with seminars and an international conference in which the author was one of the main speakers. who sent their children to private schools. Adolescents. it is obvious to any careful observer that informal sources of sexual information . . At present. radio-phone-in programs.) Despite the government’s crackdown on illegal sex publications. teaching that any sex outside marriage is sinful. which was supported by Catholic Church authorities. for additional insights into sexuality education for adolescents and medical school students. premarital sex. Interpersonal Heterosexual Behaviors. the government sponsored kindergarten classes. (See Section 5B. sexual harassment. and different kinds of adult journals and magazines commonly found in metropolitan and other urban areas . In the 1990s. Autoerotic Behaviors and Patterns The Catholic Church still maintains its condemnation of self-pleasuring (masturbation). In the 1980s.television talk shows. sexually transmitted disease (STD).separation) was more in-depth in the public schools because of its high incidence in the lower class as compared to the middle and upper classes (professionals).

and even blindness. engaged in masturbation. relative.a majority of Filipinos still believe that frequent masturbation can cause neuroses. mainly males. Interpersonal Heterosexual Behaviors A. Children In Filipino society today. In the rural areas and barrios. . boys would observe couples kissing and hugging in the park. it is not unusual for preteenage boys to engage in exploratory “sex” games with other boys and girls. they sit in the balconies of movie theaters where couples are engaging in heavy petting. Generally speaking. boys commonly compare their bodies with a friend. 5. or schoolmates. In some cases. premature ejaculation. when violence and drugs were not as devastating as they are now in the urban areas. Occasionally. This kind of childhood sexual rehearsal games was more common in the past and in rural areas. limited to medical school students. which revealed that only 22 percent of the students. In 1969 and 1970. Such exploratory play allows the child to reassure him/herself of the normality of his or her body. parents and other adults have a mildly negative response when they discover child sexual play. Another survey done in 1995. the author conducted an informal sex survey in Central Region colleges and universities. showed that 32 percent of the males and 8 percent of the females practiced masturbation (total N = 280). ranging from warnings to spankings.

In this very limited context. Most of the males’ ideas on sexuality were derived from older boys. he arranged an impromptu meeting with middle and high school students.” Most instructors were too insecure and embarrassed. Adolescents Our knowledge of the sexual attitudes and behaviors of the Filipino youth is limited to a very few anecdotal reports. The majority of these teenagers were interested in obtaining information regarding nocturnal emissions. and. contraception and pregnancy. grades seven through ten. In Catholic Filipino society. most of which deal with middleand upper-class urban teenagers rather than the rural poor and urban street children. They informed me that most of their teachers believed that they were too young to hear about sex education. love. The teachers did not allow questions from their students during the lecture on “family education. for women. the girls were too timid or shy to answer the sexuality questions. my personal experience was the basis of my premedical school thesis on “First Night Sexual Experience of Young Boys . sexual intercourse. the Christian dogma still has a . and so were unable to facilitate any indepth dialogue.B. brothers. On the other hand. and their uncles. During the author’s return visit to the Philippines in July 1995 as an invited speaker at a college sociocultural conference.” This study consisted of personal interviews with 80 adolescents in the rural areas of Cebu during social dances and summer festivals.1968.

so that. because of the sophistication of the instructors and department heads who are Westernized and comfortable with controversial and sensitive ideas. confessing only that it is attitudes like this. being pregnant out of wedlock can result in expulsion. repeated in their conservative homes. these teenagers were afraid to elaborate further. The best medical school students can graduate as doctors at the young age of 23. sex education is still mostly non-existent except for those basic biological courses and family planning programs mandated by the government in 1972. that make them view society and family cynically. Although still limited. despite the presence of a government-mandated educational climate. In most public non-sectarian universities. However. In Christian colleges and universities. in the largest government-run university. sex education courses are more in-depth and liberal. sexuality remains taboo in public discussion. . the University of the Philippines.strong influence on the teachers’ moral and religious values. sexuality courses in most urban medical schools are generally open to updating because of the infusion of new ideas from visiting professors and experts in periodic international forums and conferences. a factor that makes their communications with patients about sexual issues difficult at best. some might say elementary. Unfortunately.

a dorsal-mesal cut is made along the length of the upper surface of the penis. or only on the top of the foreskin. When a medical doctor performs either of these types of circumcision. Filipino boys may be circumcised as newborn infants or somewhere around age 8 to 10 years. the custom is to circumcise all males. Male circumcision is performed either by a medical doctor trained in this surgery or by a traditional medicine man. when they are in the third or fourth grade. City dwellers and the sophisticated elite have their newborn males circumcised before they are discharged from the hospital. In the Christian tradition. Circumcision is done in two ways. In superincision. the excess foreskin is removed with a circular incision. from the base to the foreskin. as is the practice in Europe and North America. In the coronal technique.Pubertal Rites for Boys The anatomical and physiological changes that herald puberty are universal to the human race. The medicine man is not a medical doctor. the incision is closed by sutures and oral antibiotics . but a man of ordinary skills who has learned the art of circumcision handed down from his father or grandfather. but usually wait until the boys are 9 or 10 years of age. the sociocultural pubertal rites are expressed in a variety of customs and traditions depending on the particular subculture and its religious orientation. Working class and poor families seldom have their newborns circumcised. However. in Filipino society.

using a specially “cleaned” (not sterilized) sharp knife or a modified slender “machete” as scalpel.are prescribed to avoid post-operative infection. The juice of a certain tropical palm plant (nipa palm) is squeezed over the wound as a post-surgical anesthetic and caustic agent to stop the bleeding. The boy with pants removed. somewhere in May or June. This pubertal initiation traditionally occurs in the spring or when the schools begin summer recess. march in procession. The ceremony commences when boys. is seated on the edge of a rock or stump of a tree. only performs the dorsal slit circumcision. Bleeding may be profuse or minimal. resulting in a midline cut or dorsal slit of the prepuce. In a split second. Despite this tensionproducing build-up. saying “look for a bird or a plane. The medicine man. He instructs the boy to look up. to the medicine man’s house. The medicine man. will then lead the boys to a secluded place. aged 8 to 12 years old.” diverting his attention. a clearing in a thicket or on a farm to insure privacy. on the other hand. No wound dressing is applied to . the boy must remain calm and composed to show that he is brave and ready to enter the new realm of adulthood and can handle the rigors of manhood. with the parents’ knowledge and consent. while the medicine man sharpens and cleans the knife. usually in groups of ten to twelve. a piece of wood or a branch is struck down against the knife. The medicine man places the knife’s sharpest side underneath the tip of the excess prepuce (avoiding the glans penis). The medicine man uses neither antibiotics nor anesthesia.

After circumcision. about 90 to 95 percent of these cases of non-sterile circumcision become infected. a chemical agent that medically can minimize post-operation swelling and sometimes arrest bleeding. Despite daily wound washing in the ocean. For three to five days. A clamp of cobwebs or a mesh scraped from the underside of a coconut palm branch over the incision serves as a bandage and additional clotting agent (to stop further bleeding). not pants. the boys walk home without a sound of complaint or grimace of pain. When they walk back to their homes. the medicine man spits on the wound pre-chewed tobacco or a concoction of guava (a tropical peach-like fruit) leaves to act as a clotting agent. in which the knees are spread away from each other in order to avoid the thighs touching the newly circumcised genitalia. partially exposed glans (head) penis. a river. Some wear skirts borrowed from their sisters or mothers. It takes about six to eight weeks for the . their gait is characterized by a “frog-like” walk. The boys naturally walk normally on their way to the medicine man’s house. or stream. so that clothes do not touch or accidentally hit the sensitive. Both the cobwebs and coconut palm scrapings act as mechanical meshes to trap blood platelets in order to stop bleeding. The guava leaves mixed with saliva has papase. the circumcised boys stay home. It is interesting to note that a particular gait can be discerned before and after the circumcision. In some parts of the Philippines.cover the fresh and rugged incision.

however. however. Puberty Rites for Young Females Christian girls undergo two phases of social transition to womanhood: ritual ear piercing and a cotillion or debutantes’ ball. a “medicine woman. In some parts of the country. usually without ugly scars or deforming penile skin adhesions. with the arrival of foreign Christian missionaries and their conversion to Christianity. Ear piercing is usually done by a hair stylist. In the early 1950s. It is just a custom. most of the boys are now circumcised either by a medicine man or a physician. infections from ear piercing are not as common as in male circumcisions done by a medicine man with an unsterilized knife. Muslim boys were not usually circumcised unless their parents were well-educated and health-aware of Westernized attitudes of that time.” or medical person. However. the girl is much older. the debutante’s ball or cotillion. In general. The piercing of the ear is usually done between one month after birth and 2 or 3 years of age. In the 1970s. boys of minority families in the north were not circumcised. no anesthesia or antibiotic is given when the piercing is done by a hair stylist or a medicine woman. Oftentimes. is . a traditional “tribal” rite of socially announcing that the person is a girl. Phase two.wound to heal. Outpatient procedures by medical personnel use properly sterilized needles. Ear piercing is neither a religious nor a pubertal rite.

Kalingas. have their ears pierced at any early age. However. Cotillion is an old Spanish tradition. some . when the daughters of foreign dignitaries or tenured Spanish government officials were introduced to the eligible bachelors of the equally rich in order to secure the daughter’s future financial and sociopolitical status as eligible and eminently suitable future wives. account for 3 to 5 percent of the population. At present. but for others. Some Muslims include the cotillion in their rite of passage. like most Filipinas. The hostess of this social event is an 18year-old female usually from the rich families. No form of female circumcision or genital mutilation has been recorded. dating back to colonial days. dancing or any form of partying is absolutely prohibited and considered sacrilegious. about 10 percent of the Filipino population. the ear-piercing ritual is the same as among Christians. Ifugaos. Igorots. These females. In the early 1950s. in some tribes. In the Muslim or Moros community. the older girls would wear a veil. The minorities. young females seldom use veils or cover their faces.a social introduction of young females ages 16 to 18 years in the form of an elaborate party or dinner dance. Anecdotal reports suggest that during the pre-Hispanic colonial days. family wealth and status are demonstrated by the number of earrings or the layers of necklaces worn. and others.

Dumaquete. Iloilo. adolescents and young adults are exposed to the cosmopolitan life and consequently receive more information on sex and sexuality. household maids. and lip rings. Premarital Sexual Activities Sexual attitudes and behavior differ from one group of Filipino youth to another. Quezon. depending on their social class. Davao. For the youths of the poverty belts around the big cities. Furthermore. and place of residence. These tribal cultures do not observe the cotillion. Even if they would prefer to use a contraceptive. Youth in small towns have narrower and more restricted ideas on sexuality. youngsters in big cities have easy access to adult magazines and entertainment. educational level.tribal females wore multi-appendage rings. They are also freer to experience numerous options than are less educated youths. the situation is compounded by the lack of money and self-control. The majority of urban youth knows about contraceptives and can acquire these from pharmacies or from friends without problems. because of the family’s and Church’s strong control and influence. nose. and Zamboanga. Despite the guilt and shame associated with sex. In metropolitan and large cities. even though their parents and the Church try to hide such information from them. . in which sexuality is openly discussed or shown. middleand upper-class urban youth often engage in sexual contacts with girlfriends. Manila. Cebu. and even prostitutes.

Although condoms were distributed freely in public high schools in the early 1990s on a mandate from the Secretary of Health as part of an STD and HIV prevention program. The situation for rural (barrios) youth is quite different. The prevailing Catholic dogma on sexual morality is written deep in the unconsciousness of every boy and girl. the Youth Adult Sexuality Survey (Zablan 1994) revealed that about 18 percent accepted premarital sex. most of what is known is based on anecdotal reports. and from the relations between parents and other family members in homes where there is little privacy. although a majority of 80 percent still believed it was a sin and morally unacceptable. from magazines. They learn and receive information about sex and sexual behavior from observing farm animals. 98 percent of the youth associated premarital sex with guilt and sin. this practice was later discontinued because of a public outcry that it was ineffective and because of the Church’s persistent objections. Oral contraceptives are only given free to married women for family planning purposes by government-run city and municipal health clinics. from clandestine “boys only” meetings. Only a few years ago. The author’s .they cannot afford them and there are no places where they can get them free. In 1994. Only recently has this begun to change. Only a few general surveys about the sexual life of younger Filipinos exist.

The samples mainly consist of middle-class youth. and adultentertainment houses. Twenty to 25 percent have their first sexual experiences with prostitutes. The woman usually keeps the child in her parents’ home instead of giving it up for adoption. Young males pursuing college and graduate studies in the city are often detached from parental supervision and frequently succumb to the lure of metropolitan temptations. they expressed regret that these aspects of their lives that engender so much anguish and fears could not be explicitly discussed in the intimacy of their household. who were encouraged to bring to the meeting problems related to their sexual lives and development. youths in smaller communities who impregnate their girlfriends may be forced to marry them or make an amicable financial arrangement with parental approval. It is becoming increasingly clear that first premarital sexual activities are initiated at an earlier age. with both parents working or the father absent and perhaps working overseas. In a few cases.experiences are with interviews of preselected groups of the youth population conducted during periodic sojourns back to the Philippines. Repeatedly. ages 17 to 22. either out of peer pressure or curiosity. where the basic family structure often disintegrates because of a lack of parental supervision. . especially for those in metropolitan areas. go-go bars.

can be betrothed through the usual (parental) marriage arrangement. the majority of young females did not bother to get prior information about sexual intercourse and the possible consequences of their first sexual encounters. In the 1970s. and at the same time as a “challenge” to parental authority or a gross transgression of a religious or social taboo. or plainly to catch the men of their dreams. Filipino teenagers are probably less sexually active. motivated by peer pressure to keep their boyfriends. However. the memories of being deflowered were somewhat different from those of the boys. It is interesting to note that. in the 1990s. Because of guilt and shame. Most of the children born to single mothers are kept in the teenager’s mother’s home. because of Western influence and financial . premarital sex is absolutely prohibited. But young girls. For the well-educated and sophisticated city dwellers. a pregnant teenager was a social outcast and was subjected to severe parental scorn. ages 14 to 16. which they perceived as an obstacle to entering into a more mature and fulfilling sexual life.In the Muslim communities. mainly to affluent and much older bridegrooms. They perceived their first intercourse as the fulfillment of young love. it was a calculated act to get rid of the old-fashioned social taboo (virginity). compared with the United States and other industrialized nations. Among girls. thus teenage pregnancy is less of a problem than elsewhere. instead of being given up for adoption.

C. Recently. the definition of unmarried used in compiling official statistics makes it difficult to estimate the popularity of this .” Marriage is considered the natural conclusion of a stable heterosexual relationship. Filipinos have started to replace their oldfashioned social concepts with ones that recognize that the right to remain single is as much a personal right as the right to marry. and her parents are less condemning and more accepting of any financial help the teenage father might offer. Cohabitation The colonial view of the sacredness of marriage includes a strong social condemnation of cohabitation for unmarried couples. Adults Courtship.difficulties. Furthermore. Because of the Western influence on women’s liberation. and Relationships As mentioned previously. a pregnant teenager is somewhat more tolerated. “Get married at a marriageable age. to be a single older woman is no longer considered a social disgrace or the result of any personal inadequacy. The social and legal implications of “common-law marriage” (cohabitation) are not significant in a society of less affluence and resources. Dating. however. cohabitation was relatively rare during the 1940s. Thus. Chinese influence runs deep and the majority of Filipinas adhere to its simple social dictum.

Courtship is a cherished Filipino tradition with certain specific rules based on religious. and metropolitan Manila. sociocultural. 4. It is all right to publicly demonstrate decent affection. The rest are college students. Beginning in the late 1980s. 2. be discreet about her feelings. and caressing. .behavior in the sense it is understood in the Western Hemisphere. the increased tolerance of non-marital cohabitation in the West began to influence the middle-aged and younger generations. During the author’s 1996 visit in the provinces of Cebu.000 couples in unmarried cohabitation. there was an estimated increase of half a percent and an estimated 340. It is a prerequisite to have an escort. youth. There are five widely shared rules or “commandments” associated with courtship: 1. artists. Say “yes” to the first invitation. touching. 3. such as kissing. and the man must cover (pay for) all expenses. The majority of cohabiting couples in the provinces are separated from their legal spouses because divorce is illegal and they cannot be civilly or religiously married. on the first date (no escort is necessary for a woman 28 years or older. and family values. A young Filipina should reserve criticism after the first date. Leyte. and intellectuals who are attracted to this lifestyle. either a friend or next of kin.

If dating leads to marriage. as happened at the time of this writing. one must remember that marrying entails marrying into the spouse’s whole family as a clan. Whereas the legal age for voting is 21 years for both males and females. For the rich and middle class. the outcome may be violent and deadly. The engagement and wedding are usually a happy. the low-income class concludes the occasion with a firm handshake and/or a sip of a local wine or homemade ferment. betrothal is marked with elaborate parties. the parents of a girl between ages 14 and 16 may betroth her to an older man. similar religious beliefs. festive occasion. However.5. Generally. In the Muslim community. Adults. The community accepted the outcome as a proper punishment for the betrayal and unbearable shame caused to the bridegroom’s family. the courts do not . The majority of young men and women believe that love. and trust are the basic essentials in creating and maintaining a stable relationship. when a male’s family massacred the bride-to-be’s family because she slept with another man two days before the wedding. physical attraction. On the other hand. in the Christian community. if questions of family honor and shame arise. and the Family The marriage ceremony is usually preceded by an engagement. the legal age for marriage is 21 for males and 18 for females. Marriage.

The majority of sophisticated. whether Muslim or Christian. polygynous marriages are the exception today. in the past a person accused of rape or forceful abduction could avoid punishment by marrying the victim. In the southern end of the archipelago. Although polygyny had a long history in pre-colonial Filipino civilization and was common in the Muslim community prior to the 1970s. such as pilots and ship captains. The dowry.consider pregnancy a valid motive to grant permission for the marriage of a minor. Civil marriages are recognized and accepted in both the Christian and Muslim communities when conducted by judges and commercial chiefs. Christian marriages by a priest or pastor. where the majority of the Muslims live.and upper-class Filipino families also elect to have fewer children. two on average. With the advance of information technology. as compared to three or more for the less educated and low-income families. a dowry is agreed on before a formal marriage arrangement is signed. foreigners seeking brides with traditional values can now surf the Internet for a modest fee. or a sizable wedding present. Legislation has also abolished the possibility of reparatory marriage. choose to be monogamous for financial reasons. given by the bride’s parents to the groom. may be a large sum of money. Companies . property. highly educated males. Muslim marriages are conducted by a judge or an imam (a religious cleric). Middle.

For $150. He can correspond with her in letters or even phone calls. for a mere $3. criminals.” The service charge can range from a basic $150 to upwards of $2. oftentimes with fake birth certificates. or worse. The client is introduced to different women during a party and the couples can interact socially. Parents with severe income hardship frequently sign the contract believing that their daughters will either be given a job opportunity or be future brides of these unscrupulous foreigners. Newspaper reports and . A major shortcoming of this venue for finding a mate is that the interested males are not screened properly. In some cases. hotel accommodations. the bridegroom-to-be will receive a brief biographical sketch and a photo or video of the woman. He can arrange to go to the Philippines and see her at his own expense. and a two. These men can be psychopaths.500. a syndicate of “Internet bride-merchants” sells young women aged 14 to 18.” “Asian Rose. Recently.000.500.or three-day tour to personally interact with the candidate bride(s).” and “Exotic Girls. For $2.also advertise “mail order brides” in different magazines and specialty journals. There are currently about 100 companies competing to lure mailorder bride customers. the services include airfare. These women are admitted to the United States on a fiancée’s visa. such as “Cherry Blossoms. a congressman from the state of New Jersey sponsored a bill in the United States Congress to severely restrict the issuing of these “fiancée’s visas” and to stop the practice of “bride-to-be/sex slave” businesses.

15 to 20 percent of Filipinos are unhappily married. and the older age groups. younger age group. On the other hand. about . Women.embassy communiqués have documented that many young Filipino mailorder and Internet brides are held captive. more devotedly religious couples. especially those in their 20s and 30s. more often than men. the more educated. and the “unchurched” have a longer duration of sexual foreplay and coitus. reported having sexual intercourse not because they desired it. A majority of women complained of the brief duration of foreplay and premature ejaculation. According to the author’s informal survey and radio-talk-show interviews in 1995. There are no credible published data on marital sexual satisfaction or on the status of Filipino marital life. only 5 percent of the females were interested in more frequent sex. divorced. but to please their spouses. which is more common among the less educated. Whereas 35 percent of males would like to increase the frequency of sexual intercourse. The average duration of foreplay is about five minutes. Sexual intercourse is limited almost exclusively to penetration. sophisticated. raped. that of coitus about five to six minutes. These gender differences may be explained as the result of a greater pressure on males for sexual performance to maintain their macho image and maintain total control over women. most of the women were satisfied with the frequency of sex. and then pressed into prostitution.

Young. Filipinas are bombarded by the mass media and performing arts with messages about . Although premature ejaculation is not uncommon among males. less-educated. However. In the Christian community. and shy counterparts. Muslim custom does not allow any sexual activity during the menstrual period. Christian women make the personal choice of not having sex during their menstrual period. (oftentimes) more religious. very few men seek medical help. On the other hand. it was more a result of psychological and religious expectation and not so much because of oral or manual genital stimulation. In some cases. and less religious or unchurched women have a higher orgasmic rate as compared to their older. between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. It is difficult to gather data on female orgasm because of religious repression and personal shyness. and during Ramadan.twenty-two minutes. the month-long period of daytime fasting. educated. sexual activity is not prohibited during any religious event or celebration. It is believed that Filipinas’ sexual satisfaction is based on cultural and religious grounds. It is believed that for a majority of women who experienced orgasms. the barrage of media and Western influences has increased the proportion of Filipinas who prefer both psychic and physical stimulation. The husband’s satisfaction is primary and the wife’s orgasm clearly secondary. Husbands generally do not consider premature (early) ejaculation a problem.

The Family Code has adopted the grounds of “psychological incompatibility” as a basis for civil annulments. D. A civil annulment dissolves the marriage and leaves both parties free to remarry. but it will grant annulments. information about new techniques for lovemaking. Slightly more acceptable are consensual separations. new roles within the couple. Divorce and Remarriage The Catholic Church does not allow divorce of any kind. when annulments became much more common. greater gender equality. and new opportunities for extramarital relationships. (Nikki) Coseteng introduced in the . at business meetings. These issues are also conversation matter among friends and families. What is popular today is having a court declare a marriage null and void under the Family Code (Executive order 209.more openness in sexual matters. article 36). Filipino Senator A. A civil divorce requires that the ex-husband support the children and provide some assistance to the ex-wife along with household maintenance. and at almost any social-civic gatherings. However. generally. and annulment are becoming more socially acceptable for Christian and Muslim Filipinos. divorce. we find civil decrees of legal separation. which most Filipinos find socially distasteful. With the incidence of annulments clearly increasing in the mid-1990s. This was the criterion for annulment articulated by the Catholic Church forty years ago after the Vatican II Council.

” The end of the relationship is not viewed as freedom and independence. Legal separation. younger. but also for many other aspects of social life. but priests will not officiate at a second marriage ceremony unless the Catholic Church has annulled the previous marriage. when compared to the industrialized countries. and annulment are still frequently perceived as evidence of personal failure and as a “social anomaly. Despite liberalization in the dissolution or annulment of marriages. both in the rural and metropolitan areas. The incidence of remarriage is not presently known. In major cities. more sophisticated. and affluent women have more chances for remarriage. . but as the beginning of a different period in one’s personal life. not only as a source of emotional support and the context for the development of profound personal relations. However. is most likely the pervasive influence of the Catholic Church and parental moral values. divorce. cohabitation is on the upswing because of Western influences and financial problems. from financial support to finding a job. 179).legislature a pro-marriage anti-divorce bill (no. which now legally defines marriage as an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family. The importance of extended family norms derives. the main reason why the divorce rate is still relatively low.

cohabit with another woman outside the conjugal dwelling. The concubine . or 3. Under Filipino penal laws. there is an issue of legal terminology and social definition. Adultery or extramarital sex is vehemently condemned by the Catholic Church and is socially detested. a man does not commit adultery unless he violates the law against concubinage. Having sexual intercourse with a women who is not one’s wife does not in itself violate the law of concubinage. A wife commits adultery simply by having sexual relations with a man who is not her husband. have sexual intercourse with another woman under scandalous circumstances. Nor is the ban on concubinage violated if a man fathers a child with a woman who is not his wife. but also of the inequity between erring spouses.Extramarital Sexual Activities Most of the causes of legal separation involve extramarital affairs. a man must: 1. 2. To be guilty of concubinage. The provisions of the Penal Code on female adultery and male concubinage are glaring examples. not only of the inequality between the sexes. keep a mistress within the conjugal dwelling. However. The law provides a maximum penalty of four years imprisonment for the erring husband. regardless of the circumstances.

The survey results reflect the machismo culture in the Philippines. whether the extramarital partner is of the other or same sex. This. she proposed that the extramarital sex by either the husband or wife be called adultery. is also equated with his ability to lure other women. 51 percent admitted having had extramarital affairs. A wife found guilty of adultery. Senator M. among other things. wherein she is prohibited from setting foot within the man’s residence. seems to imply that the extramarital affairs of men are acceptable as long as they are discreet in handling them . the law does not criminalize the sexual infidelity of a married man except under certain circumstances. Some lawmakers have pointed out that it is easier to send a female to jail and that this violates the constitutional provision on equality of the sexes. wherein a man’s worth.a clear reflection of the double standard mentality of society with regard to sexual infidelity. In simple terms.shall be meted a penalty ofdestierro.” eliminating the separate provisions on concubinage and adultery. The House committee made amendments to her bill and put the marital offense under a single crime called “marital infidelity. and the consideration of whether the infidelity occurs within the couple’s . In an attempt to correct this inequality in 1997. some lawmakers point out. In her measure. A 1996 survey conducted by an advertising and research group revealed that out of 485 married men in metropolitan Manila. on the other hand. Santiago filed a bill simplifying marital infidelity. may be imprisoned for a maximum period of six years.

Speaking for the Women’s Legal Bureau. and trust. This “fatal justice” is carried out clandestinely as an expression of community justice that government magistrates (datu) can do nothing to either prevent or punish. Ursua claimed that imposing criminal liability on the offenders is not the answer. Some legal organizations propose a modified “divorce” law and/or a new bill to decriminalize sexual infidelity. The whole village maintains a “code of silence. In effect. But Senator Santiago countered that this might send a “subliminal message” to the youth that the state is encouraging “free love.home or elsewhere. regardless of the reasons behind the infidelity. “We do not think criminalizing is the proper solution. stoned to death in public. respect. E. A woman escaping from an abusive or violent relationship.” In the Muslim world. is treated no differently than a man who keeps several mistresses. or one who simply falls out of love and finds growth and fulfillment with another person. with the perpetrators either made social outcasts or.” The new law penalizes the guilty party with imprisonment. in rural villages. the law also punishes individuals who get out of marriages that are bereft of love. adultery is severely punished. Congress proposed a maximum penalty of six years for all parties concerned. a nongovernmental organization (NGO). We can’t force someone to be faithful.” .

we still find married men in all walks of life who maintain a long-standing relationship with a second woman. rich Filipinos who owned haciendas (estates or a large parcel of land) and employed several female domestic helpers could easily have extramarital relations with their female employees. reveal to his wife. 1775 to 1899. an affair. in other cases. because of religious restrictions. During the Spanish colonial days. oftentimes with the knowledge and approval of their spouses.because this punishment is written in the Muslim moral marital law. with or without the knowledge of their wives. may have no political consequences. immigrated for a few years. even when its makes headlines. Filipinos who married. and even of their grown children. Some couples find extramarital affairs a solution that keeps their marriage alive. while the wife is relieved of any pressure to change her sexual behavior. Most wives who adopt this compromise have limited horizons in their lives and a very low sexual appetite. an extramarital affair can end a politician’s career. Occasionally. Less common is a marriage in which both the husband and wife have extramarital relationships by mutual knowledge and agreement. bring their second wives back when . In some cases. with periodic visits to wife and family. The man may be freed to satisfy sexual needs he does not dare. Today. There is no witness to interrogate or testify. found employment abroad. usually the husband has a job that keeps him abroad for long periods of time. In such cases. and married a second woman while abroad.

when there was no constant supply on electricity in many towns and areas of the country. In the 1970s and 1980s. Legal penalties for bigamy can bring up to four years in prison and fines for moral and psychological damages between $500 and $1.” is practiced more or less by educated Christians who live in the metropolitan areas. From the 1950s to the 1970s. with electricity more widely available. which in the past was condemned as “unnatural. to enhance their sexual repertoire and learn about alternatives to penile-vaginal intercourse that could bring renewed vigor to their routine sex lives.300 US. Oral sex. and later videocassette players. . middle-class and upper-class couples used film projectors. and pay no attention to the possibility that their regular or occasional partner(s) may be HIV-positive. These relationships pose a serious problem in Philippine society because many of these men resist the use of condoms. Discovery of this bigamous affair can be costly if the courts become involved.they return and set up a second household in a different dwelling. professional couples enhanced their sexual lives by using pornographic and specialty magazines. Incidence of Oral and Anal Sex Both the Christian and Islamic sects abhor oral and anal sex acts. do not practice safe sex. The Muslim tradition specifically requires the husband to enter the wife by natural means in penile-vaginal intercourse.

older and lower-class Filipinos have a more negative view of oral and anal sex. . maintaining their technical virginity until marriage.e. Modern Filipino youth. The majority of Filipinos. doctors. however. a segmental study of metropolitan youths revealed two groups of young women based on their responses. In general. however. Although no general survey data are available. and businesspersons who travel a lot). For the few who engage in oral sex. but Filipinas will only very rarely engage in fellatio. according to what they said at the author’s impromptu meetings.. Youths holding the latter view believed that oral sex should be only engaged in with a stable (engaged to be married) partner and not in the first few exploratory encounters or dates. oral sex was a more intimate form of sexual relationship. and thought that only prostitutes could practice fellatio on boys. cunnilingus is acceptable. seem to be taking a new look at Westernized sexual expressions. For the second group. One group accepts and practices oral sex as a way of avoiding the risk of pregnancy. lawyers. and/or as a form of safer sex. still consider oral sex as dirty and unnatural. somehow more “romantic” than genital intercourse.Anecdotal reports suggest that oral sex is practiced by 10 to 15 percent and tried by 20 percent of the professional couples (i. Some other older girls joined some boys in rejecting this way of expressing love.

Gradually. Homosexual. Most of the youths I spoke with do not accept anal sex even after marriage. and social workers. 6. Today. however. a macho society. Homoerotic. as their orientation becomes clearer in their minds. homosexuality is viewed as a perversion and a disease. Teenagers who feel a strong attraction to persons of their own gender at first experience confusion about their feelings and sexuality. Prejudices against anal sex are even stronger in less educated youths. the Philippines is still. including locally trained physicians. they awake to the unpleasant reality of belonging to a group that Filipino society marginalizes. Twenty . perhaps influenced by the increasing incidence of AIDS in the Orient. and Ambisexual Behaviors Early Christian and Muslim colonists brought their religious views of homosexuality as either sinful or at least unnatural and immoral. Homosexuality in the Philippines. to a large extent. Older boys agreed that a woman will never ask for it. whom they see as effeminate and “strange.Whereas anal intercourse is not part of the fantasies for the majority of devout Christian women. and a gay movement is gaining strength and demanding their rights. is increasingly being tolerated. anecdotal reports revealed that 30 to 40 percent of males fantasized about having anal sex with women other than their wives. and macho men detest gays. psychologists.” For a majority of the population.

is not so annoying. To be gay or lesbian in a repressive environment whose stereotypes are the macho man and the submissive reproductive woman is not an easy task. The Filipino Armed Forces does not allow gays to join the military and expels them when they are discovered.years ago. it was common for Filipinos to identify or classify two types of gays: those who engage in homosexual sex activities and those who act effeminate but do not engage in homosexual acts. but which was carefully kept out of scrutiny from the media and the masses. as long as one’s same-gender behavior is kept very private. Lesbians are still not too visible in Filipino society. beauticians. However. Anyone who deviates from strict heterosexual behavior is ridiculed: A gay is not a man and a lesbian is a degenerate woman.and middle-class men than in the upper class. helping the latter to openly assume their identities. they speak for both the visible and the invisible. Although the “Gay Organization for Liberty and Dignity” is not yet a formal organization. There always were artists. the former group has been active in promoting gay rights for the whole gay community. fashion designers. this would have been unthinkable. in the early 1990s. writers. Part of the emergence of gay and lesbian . however. To be bisexual. in keeping with the Christian and Victorian tradition. In the early 1970s. The scorn for gays is stronger among low. and medical and dental professionals whose homosexuality was known among the elite. which never wanted to think about sexual activities in a relationship between two females.

among artists. and hair salons. discos. homosexuality is still generally viewed in Freudian terms. The same is true for members of the Armed Forces and the clergy. On the other hand. TV personalities . as a condition originating in conflicts and childhood sexual conflicts. Those who have a well-defined and highly visible economic or political role are still in the closet. which can be cured by psychotherapy. but they may end up being accepted and sometimes even see their popularity increase. To admit their homosexuality would be unthinkable or suicidal. dancers. . view homosexuality as a violation of the laws of nature. Most Filipino gays prefer to mix with the heterosexual mainstream in their own social class and not form exclusively or predominantly homosexual neighborhoods. Whereas members of the locally trained medical community.actors. In the medical community. movie producers. with limited experience abroad.subcultures are masseurs who advertise their services in the most important papers and magazines and in metropolitan “gay” bars. to openly admit they are gay may bring rejection from the most conservative members of society. writers. Some vocal gay groups lobby to influence politicians for future legal status and/or political clout. and university professors. some doctors and dentists. the general public continues to believe that homosexuality is a result of growing up effeminate in a family without a masculine image or male role model.

Because these persons are celebrities in Filipino culture. especially the women. and maintain the macho stereotype in their work and social environment.” This event is similar to gay. For the moment. and sometimes from their children. accepts them with smiles and gentle jokes. the advent of democracy and Westernized media messages are slowly changing traditional attitudes. transvestites have acceptance from their mates. dress makers/designers. In some rare cases. this author would cross dress with other young professionals to entertain hometown guests during fiestas and Christmas celebrations. the public reacts with curiosity rather than violence or acceptance. In his younger days. and transgender pride parades in San Francisco and New York City’s Greenwich Village.7. There is an annual summer parade of transvestites in Manila. the public. lesbian. where some men are indistinguishable from real women in physique and even “beauty. it is advisable to cross dress so that the witch or the devil does not recognize you. On the superstitious side. the “eccentric” minorities have had a chance to come out of their closets and express themselves. In the world of beauticians. Thus. . folklore in the North Central and Central parts of the archipelago holds that. cross dress in the privacy of their homes. and performing artists. there are well-known transvestites. Gender Conflicted Persons Despite the prevailing Spanish machismo mentality. when someone is confronted by a witch or travels through a haunted region. when they live in metropolitan cities.

Abusive males are usually unemployed people with a past history of . and any person who desires to undergo medical (pre-surgical) and transsexual surgery treatments has to seek such services abroad. not transsexual surgery. Transsexuals are provided with psychiatric treatment. The courts have not addressed this situation. it is more difficult for those who identify themselves as the opposite sex in manners and clothing. 8. However. Coercive Sex Sexual Abuse of Children and Incest There are no statistics on the incidence of incest in the Philippines.If life is not easy for non-effeminate gays or non-masculine lesbians. or when the wife’s work takes her outside the home for long periods. The Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine College of Surgeons have not officially reported any case of transsexualism. and even more so for those who want to see their bodies change towards the features of the other sex. it is quietly known that adolescent girls are often raped by older male family members. and fathers often use them as sexual objects after the death of the mother. Significant Unconventional Sexual Behaviors A. Persons who want to change their physical sex and be socially recognized as being of the other sex have not been seriously considered in the Philippines.

Although less frequent. or transmit pornography involving minors risk heavy fines and imprisonment. Sexual exploitation of minors is more frequent in the cities. Reacting to the increase in cases of child sexual abuse reported in the media. Cases of incest in middle.). provide counseling for pedophiliacs.family violence. however. Arizona. whose primary mission is to help sexually abused Filipino children. an organization. The clients and supporters of child prostitutes and those who produce. .E. indictment for incest by judicial authorities does not take effect unless a formal complaint has been filed or in cases of public scandal. USA. and prevent teenage pregnancy. and sex tourism. in the form of child prostitution. Crimes of sex tourism are difficult to prosecute because they originate or transpire outside the geographic borders and legal jurisdiction of the Philippines.L. cases of incest are also known in which the male is the head of an upper-class household and respected by his community. high consumption of alcohol. social inadequacy. but there is a strong reluctance on the part of most victims to make formal charges. There is. sell.and upper-class families seldom surface while the victim is a minor. based in Phoenix. law enforcement agencies and the courts have started taking this situation seriously.P. Hand Extending Love to the Philippines (H. Generally. and impulsive behavior. The trauma may emerge during private sexual therapy with an older woman. child pornography.

there is still considerable violence within Filipino households perpetrated by the male head of the . Women from the barrios and small towns are easily intimidated. recent educational reforms and the transition to a democratic government are producing a more humane society. The administrative procedure. as Filipinas respond to Western influences and begin to assert their personal and political rights. the experience of sexual harassment is emerging in the social consciousness. and winning the support of men. does not preclude legal action by the alleged perpetrator. Sexual harassment is punished through an administrative indictment that may end with a dismissal from public service. who know the problem well from inside the system. the symbiotic culture tomachismo. Rape and Family Violence Despite a long colonial period during which wealthy hacienderos controlled and regularly exploited their indigenous female employees without fear that the victims might find some recourse in the justice system. but it is the sophisticated and well-educated women who challenge the “old-boy buddy” system and file complaints. However. However.Sexual Harassment The Euro-American concept of sexual harassment has no place in the tradition of Filipina subservience to males that is part of marianismo. however. The strength of the current law shows that Filipinas are expanding their political presence/clout.

656 cases of incest. and 400 cases of lasciviousness. The public demanded the severest punishment. girls are conditioned from infancy to accept the violent behavior of their fathers. In the poorest households. Even then. particularly when they return home intoxicated. The initial physical abuse may lead to sexual intercourse that amounts to marital rape. Local newspapers occasionally report domestic incidents when a wife inflicts serious genital damage on her husband while resisting his violent carnal advances. repress their feelings. or lethal . there were at least 1. because women know that the male police usually behave in the same way in their homes. Philippine Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) statistics reported that in the first three quarters of 1998. especially their offspring. Execution by hanging.152 cases of rape and attempted rape. Abuse of this kind is seldom reported to police. if she does not manage to hide at least some of her earnings. and continue laboring for the survival of their families.household. the death penalty. Faced with a society that until recently did not recognize the possibility of marital rape or a woman’s basic rights. the husband may spend them with another woman or drinking with friends. The seriousness of rape against an individual female was brought to the public eye by the media when a famous actress was “gang raped” in the mid-1960s. abused women capitulate. electrocution. retreat into their taciturn dreams. and they got it.

in any bodily orifice of another person. This new law also penalizes marital rape.” The law in the Revised Penal Code also eliminates the gender bias. only the minor’s legal guardian or the court can file a suit.injection as a penalty for rape has been on the books since 1924. The death penalty was abolished in 1987 but reinstated in 1994. but opens the door for the spouse to forgive her husband. including a former member of Congress convicted in 1998 and awaiting execution for rape. the law makes it possible to present evidence in court. approved the bicameral conference report on a new law that heavily penalizes rape and makes it easier for government prosecutors to prosecute rape cases. Even though no actual executions for rape have taken place. so that a woman can now be charged with raping a man. Finally. in which presumption is created in favor of a rape victim. so that any overt physical act manifesting . in which case the charge is voided. The new law also redefines the nature of rape. the law has been instrumental in helping reduce such incidents. in 1997.” Thus. These “other acts” are now part of “sexual assault. This anti-rape law reclassifies rape from “a crime against chastity” to “a crime against a person. After nine years of debate. expanding the traditional definition of forced penile insertion in the vagina to include unwanted insertion of the penis. There are currently about 900 persons on death row. or any object or instrument. the House of Representatives finally. if the victim is a minor and refuses to accuse the perpetrator.

When Pope Gregory XIV abolished slavery in the Philippines in 1591. Anecdotal reports revealed that some Filipina slaves were sold as “exotic sex objects” or prostitutes to European brothels. When Chinese merchants started trading with the inhabitants of the archipelago in 960 C. When the American troops . B. evidence that the victim was in a situation where she/he was incapable of giving valid consent can now be accepted as evidence of rape. the Japanese Imperial Army forced Philippine women from Manila and surrounding towns to serve as “comfort girls” (military prostitutes) to provide sexual favors to all Japanese soldiers serving in the Philippines and in the Pacific region.. but did not sexually exploit the women. a flourishing slave trade was established between the Philippines. Similarly.E. With the advent of Spanish colonists in the late 1500s. the Caribbean.resistance in any degree can now be accepted as evidence of rape. but not sexual slaves. middle-class Europeans started to immigrate to the archipelago. but the sexual exploitation of Filipinas by the Spanish colonists continued. these comfort girls were partially compensated for their humiliation and moral sufferings. and Spain. During World War 11 (1941-1944). Prostitution Tribal wars between the aborigines in the Philippine islands turned the vanquished into slaves for labor or cannibalism. they intermarried with native women. In the 1990s. with international (legal) backing.

immigrant workers. all social classes made their contributions to the trade in sexual services. with every variety of prostitution. and sex tourism conceivable. the two largest U. The out-of-town students. pornography. Although for different reasons. many American soldiers left illegitimate Amerasian children behind.” the military adult-entertainment capital of the Philippines. the old parttime prostitutes have moved to the big cities. President Roxas signed a military agreement granting twenty-two military bases to the United States. In the following year. the commercialization of human relations.liberated the Philippines from Japanese imperialism in October 1945. In 1947. and the sustained carnal demand. Angeles City. exotic bars. the Naval Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base. In order for these mothers to survive. and organize social activities. With the advent of information technology and global travel. they became part-time prostitutes in the rural areas for single laborers and traveling salesmen and in the cities with all kinds of customers. and wayward youths may be looking for their first sexual experiences and to . military bases in the Far East. Prostitution survives because of poverty. These respectable matrons are assigned by society only to bear and raise children. were established north of Manila. later became the “Mecca of Sex Trade. manage households (sometimes businesses). The rich are looking for entertainment and diversity of sexual practices that they would never dare to ask from their wives.S. The mothers of these children and their Amerasian children were social outcasts. located near Clark Air Force Base.

bar bouncers. club managers/owners. by taxi drivers. The majority of the prostitutes fall under the category of entertainment girls. Some massage parlors are commercial fronts for prostitutes who offer their services from oral sex to regular intercourse ($25 to $65 US). and those that work in brothels. Their safety is at jeopardy on the streets. Call girls comprise approximate about a third of the female sex-worker population. The poor frequent the brothels to affirm their masculinity by using many women or to relieve their loneliness. masseuses. They are usually business employees and have contact managers (sophisticated pimps). They cannot set the prices for their services. These agents . nightclub hostesses (waitresses).combat the loneliness of being separated from their family for the first time. they usually do not have managers. and call girls or high-class prostitutes. Self-employed or autonomous. As in most other countries. Their safety is secure because they work inside an establishment. are usually self-employed. Streetwalkers are not common. These hostitutes include bar girls. entertainment girls (hostitutes). Hostitutes and call girls advertise their services through word of mouth. and many have pimps. However. they cannot refuse clients who are produced by agencies and their managers. exotic dancers. there are three types of prostitutes or sex working girls in the Philippines: streetwalkers. They advertise their services in specialized magazines disguised as escort services for sophisticated gentlemen and sometimes ladies. and hotel bell captains.

Local city councils may require filing an application with the city to establish a brothel. the Japosakis. the bell captain may have an album with pictures of different prostitutes from which guests may choose. The women cannot show themselves at the balconies or in a window. indicating the location for legal reasons and/or tax purposes. In 1997. Filipina hostitutes who return home from sex work in Japan and continue serving their Japanese special clientele or sugar daddies on their periodic “business” trips to the archipelago. Although prostitution is still illegal. nor can they solicit in the streets. Local authorities may also restrict brothels to certain areas and regulate any signs that would identify it as a brothel. In order to work in a brothel. In the large sophisticated hotels. Filipino society believes that some regulation is always needed. a woman has to register with the sanitaryhealth authorities (Bureau of Health). a new phenomenon emerged. Brothels also have to have a bedroom for each working woman. there are also reports of an increasing number of gigallos or toy boys who provide escort services and pleasures for lonely matrons and wealthy widows. Recently. Prostitutes cannot reside anywhere other than at the brothel itself. which is her official domicile.receive part of the price in exchange for referring clients. based on the premise that prostitution is regulated in order to minimize the damage to society. The authorities will check .

whether she is a victim of deceit or coercion and advise her that help and assistance is available from legal authorities. registration number (if any). In reality. The sex worker must show her sanitary notebook to any customer that asks to see it. and no one can subject her to any abuse. and the main articles of the decree that concern her rights as a provider of a service. be this an STD or non-sexual disease. and politicians and judges are bribed. Each prostitute is given a “sanitary notebook” with her picture. the brothel pays for medical treatment. The manager also has to report immediately to the sanitary authorities whenever a prostitute is ill. this law and its application or lack thereof does little to protect the health of the women and . If an STD is diagnosed. Each prostitute has to undergo mandatory monthly medical examinations for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). often on the pretext of protecting the free practice of a fully consensual sex by the client and sex worker. The manager of the brothel cannot accept any “prostitute-candidate” or applicant who has not first registered and passed a medical examination. personal data. violations are ignored. It is easy to imagine the rampant corruption that this naive attempt to protect customers and suppliers of contractual sex alike has produced. Police protection is bought. Her rights include being free to stay or quit the brothel in which she lives and works. debts cannot be used to compel her to stay in a given brothel.

Sand. But the new airport has also become the center of sex tours to the Philippines. Angeles City in Pampanga. especially with unwary foreigners. The women have no protection from customers already infected.their clients.” and many may be infected but not show any symptoms while others suffer in silence and continue practicing unsafe sex with other prostitutes.” Sex. has emerged to the point where it has already warranted the United Nations’ attention: sex tourism involving child prostitutes as young as 6 years old. arranged by Filipino tour operators and their foreign counterparts.” the Land of the Three Ss . is now being developed as an international airport.Sun. Air Base. Male homosexuals and child prostitutes who created Asia’s reputation for sex tourism are concentrated in major metropolitan cities. The clients are not subject to compulsory medical “control. north of Manila. Transvestites also participate in prostitution. sold in “coolly” wrapped packages. A fourth “S. once home of the mighty Clark U. Sex Tourism The Philippines has always been known as the “Pearl of the Orient Seas. The prostitutes can request that their clients wear condoms.S. with attractive come-ons for men seeking sexual . and even wives. but cannot demand the performance of safe sex practices. openly promoted abroad. and Sea. lovers.

the prostitutes are arrested. But the current penalties and enforcement policies do nothing to have an impact on the business. but never the brothel owners. While this law. applies to women dancing in the nude or in scanty bikini tongs. however. The 1995 law set the punishment for child prostitution at twenty years in prison. An increase of the maximum punishment for child labor and exploitation to twenty years was sought. As in many other countries. and others whose enormous profits make this business so attractive. The Philippine Congress is still struggling to pass a law making a customer of a child prostitute criminally liable. the punishment for pornography and pedophilia. but not the clients. While the government is making major arrests in this trade. arrests are seldom made because of corruption and bribery. Sex tourism is the third-highest money-making industry in the Philippines.activities with “virginal” or child prostitutes who they hope are free of STD and HIV infections. their cohorts. The punishment for committing prostitution is a US$500 fine or twelve years in jail. remained unchanged. managers. a major element in the prostitution trade. . and sex establishments are regularly closed down. in effect for three decades. the tour operators. the front page of major dailies show bikini-clad young girls being led away by operatives. and pimps. even if he does not engage the services of a pimp.

However. economic. a Philippine national hero. the Spanish Cortes (government) granted the Filipino freedom of the press. In 1820. that Dr.In order to reduce the negative moral and economic effects of prostitution.” The government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development has programs to teach these ex-prostitutes other work alternatives and technical skills as a means to a decent living. government and some non-government agencies are working together to rehabilitate former prostitutes or entertainment girls who retire or change their “profession. But funds and enthusiasm for such social programs are too limited. Marriage Encounter. A civic action and rehabilitation group. Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not). This literary masterpiece exposed the Spanish political. but it was not until 1887. Rizal. it was not until the early 1900s that Filipino romantic novelist . published in Germany the first Filipino novel. Jose P. Pornography and Erotica Under Spanish colonial rule. is also training married former prostitutes to help them move back into mainstream society and divert single women from the sex trade by improving their personal skills for future relationships and family life. 67 years later. the Dutch (in 1600). Filipinos were concerned about their personal freedom rather than freedom of the press. and the British (in 1762). and sexual abuses in the Philippines. C.

the influence of a healthy sexual life on physical and mental well-being. Although there are no precise data on the production and commerce of pornography in the Philippines. and pornography is often presented as a form of sexual liberation. there are articles about sexuality and eroticism. Pornographic magazines were illegal. In 1946. And in almost every issue. These articles also cover a variety of subjects. and how to improve a marital relationship. changes were visible in the social attitudes and private interests of Filipinos. American and foreign magazines started to pour into the country. By the 1960s. in homes. there is no doubt about its widespread distribution and availability. the anti-pornography position is weak. when the Philippines became a republic after 48 years of American colonialism. Even some Catholic moralists have recognized that . such as contraception. physician’s offices. In public debates. Women’s magazines are now found everywhere. The gradual blurring of the distinction between pornography and other forms of erotica has led to some level of social acceptance of pornography and opened new markets.Francisco Balagtas published Florente at Laura. hair salons. his Filipino variation on the Romeo and Juliet theme. but the rich and some devoted collectors managed to import literary exotic pieces (erotica). and in businesses.

but avoiding pornographic images and full nudity. Gossips. safer sex practices. clearly pornographic and devoid of artistic quality. with pornographic texts. Among the topics discussed in Sex Forum were techniques to enjoy an intense sexuality. provided sexual information reviewed and approved by the author of this chapter. Magazines of literary and sexual humor. some with scatological . and are directed at informing a public that accepts a scientific (although popular rather than academic) language.pornography can help couples to improve their sexual lives.. Superstuds. as long as it does not replace the “natural” (romantic) sexuality. and Penthouse). Expose. Intrigue. published by a lawyer in the mid-1980s. Sex Forum magazine. advice columns. have quality printing. (e.. to make your bedroom a more erotic place. 2. to renew sexual passion without changing partners. Teen Stars. Magazines and packages of playing or picture cards. and ways of taking care of yourself without handicapping your pleasure. 1. andSoap Opera Stars). TikTik. Three types of Filipino magazines deal with sexuality and eroticism: li>Magazines dealing with sexual issues. They are moderately to expensively priced. letters.g.g. Playboy. and partial or total nudity (e.

porno shops (major cities only). before video players. with distribution handled by regular newsstands.or super-eightmillimeter portable film projector in the privacy of their own homes.” Videocassettes offer the possibility of greater privacy. a 61-year-old Filipina grandmother was arrested for selling pornographic tapes on the streets of a metropolitan city. In reality. video shops. and mail-order services. women. however. . the most important sector of the Filipino pornography market is the sale of videocassettes. and couples. offer the advantage of greater anonymity and the higher technical quality of the cassettes.content. Although enforcement of the anti-pornography law is weak. From the economic point of view. or at some occasional college students’ “stag parties. In April 1999. a wide range of pornography and erotica is readily available. Most of the pornography is produced abroad and imported for rental through video shops and typical newsstands. rich couples viewed adult films with an eight. and cater to the needs of middle-class and even poor men. fueled by the wide distribution of videocassette players-recorders. Video shops. In the 1960s. sometimes it will produce a dramatic example. The sale and distribution of these pornographic materials are illegal. The legal situation seems to favor the newsstand as the primary channel for the rental/sale of these cassettes.

including local Web sites. and professional couples. are also homemade. whereas males are more easily aroused by simply viewing mere nudity and sexual organs.mayakis. The advent of the Internet has brought a wide variety of sexual information and visuals. Generally speaking.com). Hard-core videos. The movie UHAW (Sexual Hunger). Female consumption of pornography seems to take place in the context of the couple. there are indications of an increasing trend toward increasing consumption of soft-core (clean) pornography by educated. was the first erotica production with the lead female role played by a former national Philippine beauty queen. like sex maniacs (manyakis. with a modest monthly access fee. www.Filipino pornography also comes in the form of “Live Sex Shows” arranged through special parties held in motels or hotels. whereas for men it is more linked with solitary sex. sophisticated. The author’s informal survey of consumers of pornography indicates that about 85 percent of the males and 15 percent of females are sexually excited by such films. a soft-core film in the early 1970s. but lack the better quality of American and foreign imports. Females prefer erotic films where sexual acts are embedded in a narrative context. although poor in quality. .

9. Contraception, Abortion, and Population Planning A/B. Population Planning and Contraception Despite the mountainous topography of the Philippines, agriculture is the main source of livelihood. This agrarian living needs workers. In order to provide “cheap” labor, it is advantageous for a Filipino family to sire more children, mainly boys, as workers and helpers in the agribusiness and aquaculture. Despite the deep-rooted influence of Catholicism in favor of large families and its ban on all artificial contraception, family planning has become increasingly popular since World War II. Even though the Filipino population has increased exponentially to 79 million in January 1999 and is projected to reach 105 million in the year 2025, the Total Fertility Rate is 3.6 children per fertile woman. Most of the larger families reside in the villages and barrios, especially among poor families. The only contraceptive method accepted by the Catholic Church, the rhythm/cervical mucus or Natural Family Planning method, has a very low effectiveness rate because of menstrual irregularity, a reluctance of Filipinas to check their cervical mucus, and limited understanding of the physiology of fertility among those with limited school education. Between 1968 and 1970, the United Nations, through the World Health Organization and Planned Parenthood, initiated a massive population control program distributing contraceptive pills to Filipino families. As one of the trainer/instructors, this

author gave public lectures and provided training to all municipal health care personnel. The pills were given free to all married women. Fortunately, there was no strong opposition from the Catholic Church. However, after two years of implementation, because of government mismanagement of funding and pill distribution, there was no significant reduction in the pregnancy rate. With the increasing number of couples living together out of wedlock, the number of illegitimate children will double by the year 2005. Before the government started the “aggressive and formal” family planning in the late 1960s, middle-class couples learned the use of contraception through specialized pamphlets, magazines, and private channels (family doctors and pharmacists). Nowadays in the large cities, contraceptives of all kinds - pills, condoms, diaphragms, IUDs, and vaginal spermicides - are available to all types of women. These contraceptive aids can be freely bought in pharmacies without prescriptions. Women who can afford to pay can use the services of private physicians to help them acquire the correct kind of diaphragm or to insert an IUD. The situation is more difficult for women who live in scarcely populated distant rural areas. There, both the birthrate and infant mortality rate are still high when compared to the urban figures. In these less-developed areas, the government has been trying to organize family planning services

as part of its program of mother-child care including kindergarten classes. The number of abandoned children in metropolitan cities has increased. The Catholic Relief Services and other non-governmental organizations are trying to house these children and provide contraceptive-control classes, including newspapers and television advertisements regarding practical birth controls for women and families who live in the city’s slums and newly arrived urban immigrants. In 1997, faced with declining official development assistance from developed countries, the government requested increased funding for population programs. Former President F. Ramos suggested that developed countries must meet the United Nations target of committing 0.7 percent of their gross national product (GNP) to population control, and that this aid must follow the 20-20 formula on environment and development endorsed by the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit on Social Development. According to recent studies, the Philippines has nearly 1.5 million street youth. At the same time, 74 percent of all unintended pregnancies in the Philippines occur in women 15 to 24 years old and 18 percent of Filipino youths engage in premarital sex. In late 1999, the Family Planning International Assistance office in Bangkok, Thailand, and the Reach Out Reproductive Health Foundation announced the start of Barkadahan, a new project designed to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies among Philippine’s street youth, and have launched a program to address their reproductive health needs with sexuality

However. B.education. including the right to an abortion. 11/1/1999). abortion today is illegal in the Philippines and is severely condemned by the Catholic Church. the American influence resulted in most abortions being performed by physicians. the Spanish colonists suppressed women’s rights. Abortions are allowed in only two situations. Filipinas were considered second-class citizens until 1937. Evangelium Vitae. These crude gynecological procedures often led to serious complications including death. treatment for HIV and STDs. abortion was controversial and performed in rural areas by quack doctors with improvised instruments and herbal concoctions. when the pregnant woman is mentally deranged and the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. This condemnation was reiterated in a recent Papal Encyclical on ethical questions. when a plebiscite on women’s suffrage gave them the right to vote. Abortion From 1581 on. The Catholic antichoice movement tries actively but with limited success to convince the political . After World War II. Filipinas could have some impact on decisions regarding their health. In the 1930s. For the first time. and family planning options (World Reporter Asia Intelligence Wire. and when the pregnancy endangers the woman’s life. The current criminal code penalizes with prison sentences women who have an abortion and the professional who performs this service.

but agree to keep the child in their parents’ house despite embarrassment and peer ridicule. the Ministry of Health has no exact statistics for abortion. In the major cities. Studies in Manila and Cebu City .leadership to tighten the existing legislation and its enforcement. Given these conditions. Instead of fighting against the powerful forces that arrogate to themselves control over women’s bodies. but nobody talks about. pregnant teenagers are now being gradually accepted by their parents. and only occur when a woman dies as a consequence of an abortion performed by a non-professional. These women resort to abortion mainly to put a stop to an unwanted pregnancy or to reduce the family size. women who typically seek medical help for abortion are unmarried. Abortion is a last resort everybody knows about. Criminal prosecution and denunciation of abortion practices are rare. Filipino society prefers to tolerate the officially condemned practices with a mischievous twinkle of tacit agreement among professionals and citizens. but it is believed that its practice is not as widespread as previously thought. mature women who already have several children or single high school and college students. Although morally wrong.or lower-class women. They do not resort to abortion. Studies on the relationship between abortion and socioeconomic position suggest that middle-class professional women resort to abortion more frequently than high. Muslim law supports the national law on abortion.

chancroid. the government and nongovernmental organizations should appropriate extra funding to provide better accessibility to well-equipped provincial or regional hospitals to treat the complications of abortion. Europe. the most frequently reported STDs are gonorrhea. genital chlamydia. There are no written records of abortion among the lower classes because they are usually not performed by health care professionals and the women deny having them to avoid problems for themselves and for those who help them in the procedures. 10. could be reduced if the Church and the government would provide appropriate sexual education and promote the proper use of contraceptives. especially those performed by non-professionals. Sexually Transmitted Diseases The estimated one million foreign women sold into prostitution in Japan. . the Middle East. The morbidity rate associated with illegal abortions. In addition.during the 1980s and 1990s revealed that the highest rate of abortion was among women with a college education or college students who temporarily reside in college dormitories on city-owned housing. and expand the socioeconomic criteria/indications for legal abortion. and Southeast Asian countries and sex tourism are a major source of STD. In metropolitan Filipino cities. Singapore.

The lack of appropriate sexual education among mostly the lower social class. herpes. dermatologists. The third . clinics established by big corporations and specialized businesses. urologists. resistant strains of gonorrhea and trichomoniasis have been reported in some pockets around large Filipino cities with international connections. and AIDS. has helped a large number of workers and their families by educating patients about the risks of STDs and encouraging them to seek early detection and treatment. While the quality of care in this setting depends on the training and qualifications of the medical staff. Because of global travel. the availability of consulting specialists. The first and most advanced environment is provided by private medical practitioners in their offices. particularly gonorrhea. not for the prevention of STDs. There is an alarming increase in the number of cases with the traditional STDs. an attitude of indifference to prophylactic measures. only prejudice or ignorance can prevent doctors from providing timely prophylactic advice.genital herpes. and syphilis. and gynecologists. papillomas. Management of STDs is organized on three levels. The second environment is industrialized medicine. early diagnosis. The nationalistic policies of the government have meant that doctors are trained and medical services organized to take special care of pregnant women and newborns. In this privileged setting. and a poorly funded medical care system combine to increase the rate at which STDs are growing in the Philippines. and appropriate treatment of STDs.

these facilities now charge a small fee or donation to defray the recurrent and management costs. contraception. or family planning are infected with STDs. Through shared needles and sexual activities. Prostitutes form another subpopulation in the larger cities that requires special focus in terms of being a reservoir of the diseases and implementing measures for prevention. These hospitals are entrusted with two missions: to provide medical services to the poorest sectors of the population and to serve as training grounds for medical students from both private and public medical schools and universities. but because of escalating labor-management medical costs.environment is provided by municipal health clinics and provincial and/or regional hospitals. there are no precise data or information regarding the incidence of STDs from city health offices. However. with the increasing population growth and . further contributing to the spread in their original milieus and city at large. pour into the city and become prey to drug traffickers and pimps. Children and young adults. But anecdotal reports from the last ten years revealed that a small percentage of women who came to a medical office or made hospital appointments for gynecological problems. they are infected with all kinds of STDs. This small donation and transportation difficulties may further discourage Filipinos from the shantytowns in the poverty belts around the large cities from seeking early diagnosis and treatment of STDs. especially women from the barrios/rural areas. Because of poor record keeping. Initially these services were totally free.

the Philippine . but rather its enhancement by seeking to make it free of disease. Information provided by schools. the ancient Filipinos supplemented their rice and vegetarian diet with meat from a variety of game animals. 11.the advent of sexual liberation. and to recognize their instinctive drives and develop an ability to establish trade-offs between instinctual urges and the social moral constraints. health clinics. without shame and guilt about one’s sexual nature. HIV/AIDS The current epidemiological explanation of the origins of HIV traces it to a mutant strain of SIV (simian immunovirus) found in “green monkeys” of the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. These simian creatures are the main prey of another world-famous carnivore. Poor peasants and sophisticated urbanities can both understand a well-delivered message that these trade-offs do not mean a repression of one’s erotic life. young Filipinos are vulnerable to STDs. The government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). social workers. Two thousand years ago. with intense mandatory sex education starting in the sixth grade or earlier. including native Philippine monkeys. Schools should incorporate STD-prevention information. including the Church. and NGOs should go well beyond this to help the youth develop a positive attitude towards the body. must marshal all their informational-educational resources to counteract the spread of STDs.

there were 834 cases. Epidemiologists believe a major factor in the spread of HIV is the U. In spite of their carnivorous appetite.S. it was estimated that 234 people were infected.monkey-eating eagle. Contrary to the experience in the industrialized nations. an anecdotal report indicates that one infected Filipina prostitute from New York City came home to die in the Philippines. mortality is almost 82 percent in the first year of . Twenty years after AIDS was diagnosed in California. B. military personnel who frequented the sex bars and bordellos in the towns surrounding Clark Air Force Base and the Naval Base in Subic Bay. In 1992. Nevertheless. 1. According to L. But the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the true figures of Filipinos with AIDS in 1998 was approximately 23. The dramatic increase in AIDS cases is attributed by MSF to exposure and infection of the virus through prostitution (heterosexual activities). untreated STDs. in 1978. the prohibitive cost of medicines. economic depression. In 1988. Duchene (1997) of Doctors Without Borders (Médicins Sans Frontières). the first twenty cases of AIDS were diagnosed in the Philippines (1990). the Filipino aborigines did not contract the HIV virus.A. by 1994. the HIV virus has reached the Philippines by other routes. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) was first described in the U. there are Filipinos who still savor exotic menus of Philippine monkeys. malnutrition. and limited access to modem medical care.S.350 persons.234 Filipinos were infected with the AIDS virus in 1997. Even today.

40 percent were infected by heterosexual activities (mainly with prostitutes). are involved in the illegal drug trade. While the gay community initially interpreted the alarm about AIDS as an attempt by the medical profession to regain control and use the discourse about health risks to moralize against “disorderly sexual conduct.6 billion business. 55 percent are drug addicts.112 cases by the end of 1999.8 million Filipinos. the Philippines will have an estimated 40 to 42 million cases of HIV and over two million of them will be children. Approximately 1. By the year 2001. 50.infectivity and 98 percent in two years. for unknown reasons.000 in Cebu City alone. and Asia. Latin America. The Department of Health AIDS Registry showed that 53 percent of the victims are men. 38 percent are women and 9 percent are children.780 cases by the year 2000. a US$6. the drugs and AIDS situation in the Philippines is. and about 39. According to Duchene (1997). the WHO figures estimated that there will be 38 to 40 million people living in the world with the HIV virus by the year 2000. 90 percent of the world’s 33 million HIV/AIDS cases are found in Africa. That is a 70-percent increase in the incidence of AIDS in just two years in a population of 79 million people. As of 1999. WHO and MSF estimate the Philippines will have 30. and 5 percent by homosexual activity. Furthermore.” the real . Among persons diagnosed as being infected with AIDS. less serious that it is in India and Cambodia.

In 1995. understanding and respecting those who suffer. changes in individual attitudes require the active and creative support of social groups to which the individual belongs. In addition to emotional engagement.purpose of this crusade was to reduce the risks and mortality for gays who are sexually active. namely families. to give talks to Filipino youth about HIV prevention and living a responsible and healthy sex (safe) life. a private-civic organization hired Magic Johnson. and churches. promoting the use of disposable needles among drug addicts. and helping individuals everywhere to enjoy sexuality while minimizing the risks for one’s self and society. Government and NGOs are more actively engaged in the education and prevention of HIV/AIDS. private businesses. to increasing the use of condoms. requires an emotional engagement that facilitates an important paradigmatic change of beliefs and behavior. a famous American basketball superstar. This paradigmatic change is essential to practicing abstinence. It is now clear that any plan to decrease the social and economic impact of AIDS in the Philippines. decreasing promiscuity. as in any society. schools. .

the growing public rejection of the conservative attitude of the Church linking emotionally stable sexuality with orgasm might reduce the tendency to treat alternative expressions of eroticism as sexual dysfunctions. Concepts of Sexual Dysfunction and Treatment The Philippines is a conservative society in which definitions of sexual dysfunctions often mirror the changing attitudes towards male and female sexuality. Thus. and the idea of heterosexual sex as spontaneously pleasant. in the 1970s. the information they received was prejudiced and biased. Finally. Filipino physicians had no better knowledge or understanding of human sexuality than the sophisticated Filipino citizen. The departments of obstetrics and gynecology in the public health and urology section taught the pathologic aspects of genitourinary (sexual) . Prior to the mid-1950s. inhibited or absent female orgasm (anorgasmia) was not considered a problem in a context where female sexuality was linked almost exclusively with procreation. but seldom did. Both could. Counseling. and Therapies A. Even after some sexuality education was introduced into medical training.12. read Kinsey’s works and Masters and Johnson’s book Human Sexuality. expectations. promoted by the Western media. Sexual Dysfunctions. Premature ejaculation became more of a problem in the 1980s with the emergence of the myth of simultaneous orgasms. which taken together created a new set of pressures. and tensions.

especially in being asked to deal with the “sexually oppressed” minority social groups. In 1990. Although their scientific information about sexuality is limited and incomplete. and the mentally and physically disabled (handicapped). In my interviews with medical students and young doctors during my periodic visits to the Philippines in l984. and sexual surgical procedures. homosexuals. this author perceived that two years later.organs and reproductive mechanisms. consequences on sex life from drug/alcohol abuse. The internal battles between these two opposing patterns of thinking and behavior only add confusion and distress to ignorance. urologists. sex during pregnancy and after delivery. the physicians still did not feel comfortable discussing healthy sexuality issues. Sexual Rehabilitation of the Spinal . but refused to consider with the same vigor or objective the sexual behavior of healthy males and females. Some of these doctors even felt personally offended. they perceive that science and common sense conflict with their ideologies and cultural-religious beliefs. impotence. painful sex. ejaculatory dysfunction. and general practitioners often have limited knowledge when people come for advice on sexual problems. sex among the aged and physically handicapped. Gynecologists. such as the aging. this author initiated the creation of sexuality programs in major Filipino universities and medical schools. such as frigidity. psychiatrists.

marital dysfunctions (sexual and reproductive) were treated with exotic concoctions and herbal remedies. with perhaps some behavioral sex therapy. along with other resources. impotence was mainly treated with psychotherapy. . vaginal spasms. Sexual Counseling and Therapies Prior to the 1960s.” In the 1970s. lawyers. by this author. In the rural areas. occasional anti-depressants. management was a mixture of traditional folklore and medical science. and quickly became popular among medical and paramedical personnel along with judges. and infertility. and. and inhibited orgasm (dysorgasmia). followed by premature ejaculation. the most common male sexual problem was impotence. In the urban areas. the management of sexual dysfunctions was based mostly on folklore and “witchcraft. In 1998.Cord Injury Patients (Leyson 1991). the most common sexual problems were painful intercourse (dyspareunia). Premature ejaculation was managed by antidepressants and psychotherapy. penile prostheses. and teachers who are increasingly more aware of their need for advanced education on sexual topics/issues. sex therapy. Impotence was treated with non-specific vasodilators. Among women. for those who could afford it. was introduced. and hormones. B. Libido disorder and infertility were treated with psychotherapy and pharmacological remedies. Premature ejaculation was managed by psychotherapy. decreased libido.

advanced psychotherapy. and libido disorders have also been revived. From 1995 to the present. oral and intra-urethral medications. Dyspareunia was treated with psychotherapy and sex therapy. sexual dysfunction management is almost the same as in the United States and Europe for those able to afford it. older women complained of a decrease of sexual desire. The Church and NGOs with social services offer premarital and marital counseling. although the official Catholic position still maintains the traditional female role of motherhood and perpetuates a generally more passive attitude towards sexuality and pleasuring even in marriage. sensory amplifications. Most urologists and gynecologists have taken additional training in sex education and therapy.and European-trained sexologists have opened offices in major cities.Occasionally. management of sexual dysfunctions consists of behavioral therapy. Modern impotence treatment includes erection vacuum devices. However. some herbal remedies for impotence. The other sexual dysfunctions were grouped into one disease and managed with sex therapy and pharmacological remedies. With the infusion of new ideas and discoveries in sexology. and solid and inflatable penile prostheses. infertility. A few American. and sex therapy. as well as sexual performance medications like Viagra. intrapenile injection medicines. .

A different generation of Filipinos immigrating to the United States and Canada are subjected to a variety of traditional and Westernized cultural and ethnical (valuescommunication styles) conflicts. The primacy of family and small-group affiliation over the individual. Sexual Counseling for Emigrant Filipinos Sexual counseling and therapy from Filipinos who immigrate to other countries presents some unique problems. a strongly held value that inhibits free expression of dissent and tends to detract from the creativity and autonomy that are highly prized by Americans. This clash of values and behaviors may result in a cultural psychodynamic conflict. which may include any or all of the following: 1.” which represents the majority of Filipinos. is the result of racial diversity and genetic pooling involving over 1. India. The profound psychological and cultural result is a Filipino selfconcept of being powerless and inferior. The “Filipino Blend. . This perceived sense of dependency on the benevolence of envied Western masters detracted from the development of a strong national identity and solidarity. Malaysia.300 years of infusions from China.C. Java. Spain. Borneo. Indochina. Indonesia. perpetuating a subservient mendicant role and passive resistance. and the United States. a kind of cultural baggage.

that is opposed to American beliefs in future orientation. is incongruous in societies that give primacy to individualism and the “bottom line. 8.2. or reciprocity of favors. 7. A sensitivity to slight and criticism. that is ineffectual in Western societies. where directness is appreciated and competitiveness is encouraged. 5. 4. and the drive for excellence and economic development through determined effort. in direct opposite to the American style of directness and sportsmanship. and often leads to withdrawal and/or vengeance. The practice of delicadeza. An attitude of “optimistic fatalism” or bahala na. A strict adherence to gender-role stereotypes and patriarchal family structure that goes against the egalitarian norms in the American family. A fear of hiya (devastating shame) that often inhibits competitiveness. amor propio. This concern over face-saving is fostered by the use of ridicule and ostracism in child training. 6. careful planning. 3. Utang nang loob. most evident among females. that derives from a sense of gratitude and belongingness. A primacy given to smooth interpersonal relationships that conflicts with the American ideal of openness and frankness. or nonconfrontational communication.” . which springs from an exaggerated need for self-importance.

and homosexuality. and even divorce. The therapist should try to discard the “cultural baggage” of the Filipino colonial mentality by utilizing alternative Filipino cultural norms and practices in the therapeutic role. Such role . which can nourish a self-righteous judgmental stance that is out of place in a pluralistic society with emerging alternative lifestyles. These adjustment disorders may show up in family and marital conflicts. which can result in psychological and/or sexual dysfunctions and symptoms of depression. Unemployment and underemployment weigh heavily on the Filipino male’s sense of his own masculinity. and he frequently takes his frustration out on his spouse and children. extramarital affairs.9. Santa Rita (1996) emphasized the need of professionals providing sexual and relationship therapy for native and émigré Filipinos to understand the psychodynamics. and cultural and ethnic background of the Filipino personality and their families. abortion. contraception. estrangement from the Filipino family. The stress of immigration and acculturation have extracted a heavy toll on Filipinos. embarrassment from inadequacies in work situations. schizophrenia. Filipino women may internalize their frustration against male dominance by developing symptoms of depression and/or arousal or orgasmic dysfunctions. and paranoia. A strict adherence to Catholic belief on virginity.

Assertiveness is an alternative to playing the martyr. and thereby escape whatever traps the colonial masters might concoct. These traits are so often exaggerated in both Filipino men and women that failures and disappointments often lead to depression and adjustment disorders. which exacts such a high psychological price in the form of depression and other medical symptoms. This resourceful dancing-bird image suggests an alternative to maintaining amor propio (need for self-importance) and hiya (shame) at all cost. “God helps those who help themselves” is a study theme that can utilize the religious theme of “actively working with God” through one’s labor and accomplishments to “glorify” Him. 2. These stage scenarios might include: 1. Filipinos can be resilient and resourceful. This dance can be used to remind the family that like the bird. including arousal and erectile dysfunctions. This biblical view suggests . passive behaviors of Filipinos with assertive behavior. 3. Tinikling (a bird in a bamboo trap) is the traditional Filipino dance simulating how a bird skips and jumps its way through clashing bamboo poles. A scenario for role playing Lakas ng loob (assertiveness) may be used to contrast mahinhin (self-effacing) and long-suffering. more functional ways of interacting as individuals within a family and as a family in a changing Filipino culture or in a different culture.playing can be used to suggest alternative.

especially on very emotion-laden issues like contraception.an alternative to Bahala Na (fatalism) that may result in lack of initiative and impedes economic and social mobility. premarital sex. “In my father’s house. 4. . This thesis of “Christian welcome” may help Filipinos become more accepting of other people’s beliefs and lifestyles. and bisexuality. homosexuality. Culturally sensitive therapeutic approaches are important in order to neutralize the Filipino family’s low image of self and provide the family and the individual an opportunity to discover its inner strengths and resources including the gaining of self-respect (Santa Rita 1996). The marital and psychogenic sexual dysfunctions of immigrant Filipinos stem from their sense of vulnerability over their perceived. often acutely subordinate status as a minority in a pluralistic society that reminds them of their colonial history. there are many mansions” is another basic religious theme common among Filipinos that can be used as an exercise in “hospitality”-welcoming one’s fellow human beings. abortion.

and sexual issues were totally suppressed. a foreign-trained eye surgeon and “the Liberator of the Philippines. Cebu City. In the late 1940s. while on a trip to America. Rizal. 1989. three medical schools in Manila. and public health sections. P. Advanced Education In August 1887. sex education was not formally taught in colleges until the American colonial rule.” deplored the American prejudice against Asians and African-Americans and was especially appalled by the laws against interracial marriages in some states. urology. Dr. and Quezon City established some form of sexuality courses in the gynecology. despite the proliferation of medical schools. human sexuality courses have been limited to sexuality-related professional degree programs in nursing. At the time.13. sexuality was introduced to the Filipino educated elite in the form of family planning and topics on reproduction and birth through pamphlets and specialized magazines. Today. and medicine. the Spanish religious teachings were solely limited to family life. Despite the declaration of independence from Spain by Filipino nationalists on January 12. psychology. there is only one so-called accredited post-graduate program in sexuality and humanities. Since the 1980s. J. . Research and Advanced Education A. over a hundred years ago. offered by the Population Institute of the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. through the author’s encouragement. In 1996.

homosexuality. hypertension and stroke. incest. The Philippine Psychiatric Association and the Philippine Urological Association are updating their diagnostic codes for the diagnosis and management of sexual dysfunctions. and tuberculosis. including: 1. and combating the spread of HIV/AIDS. 2. Birth control . . extramarital sex. population control.the effectiveness of new contraceptives and their side effects. Sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. Some international. foreign medical associations and the Association of Philippines Physicians in America (APPA). and 4. B. sexual violence (rape. Sexual attitudes and behavior: child prostitution.old treatment and new alternatives.The Ministry of Health regularly trains nurses and midwives in family planning and contraception through the municipal health clinics. Research Most of the government research dollars and interest have been earmarked for the prevention and treatment of childhood diseases. and medical alumni associations sponsor research projects that relate to social and practical sexual issues. 3. Management of sexual dysfunctions . and spousal abuse). such as heart diseases. The limited research resources from private and civic organizations are directed to traditional medical illnesses.

both indigenous and immigrant. . There are also wide variations because of the sociocultural and linguistic mix. Muslim. However. and other. and the educational system are essentially an amalgam of the old Hispanic dogma and the modern Western flavor with the present public sexual morality reflecting the values of these enduring institutions. reflect the cultural attitudes and behavior of their mixed Malaysian and Chinese ancestries. the dominant Catholic Church. Conclusion The peoples of the Philippine archipelago.and the sexuality of minority groups (blind people and the handicapped). Christian. the legislative body.

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