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Married To A Filipina And Need Marriage Counseling

Family problems are usually solved within the family. Relatives that are closed to the couple are usually called in to intercede for marriage crisis. It could be a sister/brother-in law or parent or close friend of the couple who would appeal to the softer side of the couples or "worst-case scenario" if separation/divorce is impending.

Again, culture comes in. Couples expect to be married for life and don't see divorce as an option. Counselors are far and few in between. It is a new field that traditional Filipino couples often shy away from as "optional" and too foreign. Inter-racial marriages tend to be open to that option though.


With that said, foreigners must consider the weight of the understated warning, "You marry the Filipina, you marry the family. "They are there to help you in family crisis like this. Arlene Meyer, 09/29/05

Marriage in Pre Colonial Philippines: Marriage in Pre-colonial Cebu, Cebu City and the Province. More than One Filipino Girl wife, Filipina wife, in Pre-colonial Philippines, Marriage to Relatives

This is from "Barangay: 16the Century Culture and Society" by William Henry Scott, Born 1921 to Departed 1993.

The cultural roots of the Visayan are interesting to me and maybe to you too. These roots changed a lot, set the tone for marriage in the Philippines today or so it seems to me.

Weddings between people without property to share by bequest were simple ceremonies in which the couple partook of the same cup or plate, and hayohay were simply married off by their masters and given a few pots. But the weddings of datus, or tribal chieftains, were the most important social events in a Visayan community. Since they were contracts between families rather than individuals, they were also political events creating new alliances as marriages often are even today. (They were often made when the man and woman concerned were still children, or even before their birth.) Their importance depended on the size and ritual settlement of a bride-price called bugay-bride-price" rather than "dowry" because it was sit by the girl's father, bargained down like goods in a marketplace, and was not conjugal property. Spanish dowry (dote), on the other hand, was property a bride brought into her marriage to be enjoyed by her husband. Visayan bugay was shared within the kin group that set the price and sealed the bargain, including the bride's brother's-in-law if she was a widow, and redistributed to meet their own future needs for bride-price. And since it had to be returned in case of divorce, it gave the wife's family a vested interest in the permanence of the union; indeed, a share called kukod went to the bride's brothers specifically to guarantee her return in the event she ran home after a marital squabble.

The engagement required a relative or a friend if the suitor to obtain permission from the girl's father to open proceedings. The man's relatives then went to the girl's house with the respected timawa bearing his spear.

There they were received with gongs soundings to assemble her relatives and give public notice, but not admitted until they bargained with the girl's grandmother to let down the house ladder. Then, with a fine Freudian gesture, the spear bearer drove the weapon into the house ladder and invoked the ancestors on both sides for fertility. They the entered, presented a gift, and fixed the date for negotiating the marriage contract. The father's acceptance of the gift was his pledge of his daughter's hand.

On the date set, the marriage contract was negotiated in the girl's house. The man's relatives were accompanied by two or three mediators (kagon) who placed a porcelain plate in front of the father containing a number of little sticks-the ordinary counters used in Visayan calculations.

The father tossed a betel nut quid in the bowl to signal the opening of the discussion. This began with painful formality, but became less inhibited as drinking continued, and often had to be broken off and resumed another day. As each item was agreed on-slave, porcelain, or gold-one counter was placed on top of a gong on the floor. As agreement was reached on the schedule of payment, the counters were moved from one side to the other. Part of the bugay had to be paid immediately as a kind of down payment, but the rest was deferred until later, and some even held abeyance and only demanded in case of connubial conflict. Still another part of the bugay was really not intended to be paid in the first place: it was only agreed to for the sake of the lady's prestige. Conversely, the hingusul, a fine if either party withdrew, might be demanded in advance if the girl was of much higher rank than the man.

The girl's father usually asked for the same bugay as he had given for her mother; and if the father were a proud datu who refused to lower his demand, the match would be canceled unless the suitor agreed to enter his father-in -law's household for a number of years or even a lifetime. (It was normal for a man to serve his father-in-law for one year before his wedding, a period of adjustment and trial, or actual training in the case of a young boy.) Once the contract was settled, the mother came forward to ask for himaraw, a compensation in gold for all the sleep she had lost while the bride was an infant.

During the wedding celebration, the bride and groom were seated beside one another-after her shyness was overcome with suitable gifts. They were tied together by the hair for a short time, then served a plate of rice, from which they each took a handful and squeezed it into a ball. She tossed hers the house ladder, the symbol of his coming and going to support his new family, and he threw his out the window to indicate that her place was in the home looking out. Then, as they drank together, an old man rose and made public announcement of the match, stated the conditions pertaining to the bride-price in the case either one went astray, and called on those present to act as witnesses. He then united their hands over a bowl of raw rice, which he then threw over the guests.

When the newlyweds finally retired to the bridal chamber-that is, the bokot where she had spent her days as binokot-her brother would bar the groom's entrance until he gave them something; slaves would ignite a smoldering fire underneath until receiving a gift; and others would enter the chamber with bright torches and had to be paid to leave. Meanwhile, the party went raucously on, and if the bride groom's father was a man of sufficient rank and means, he presented gifts to all his new in-laws, perhaps even their slaves. Guests playfully snatched off one another's pudong to be returned only on payment, and slaves were permitted to keep anything they could grab from the bridegroom's party. These prestige feasts were public celebrations and might last as long as ten days.

When it came time to fetch the bride, she required another round of gifts-before crossing a river, climbing the house ladder, or entering a crowded room. Her father contributed bantal to the household-a number of slaves equal to, or even double, the number included in the bugay, but only for the newlywed's use, not their possession: they remained his own property. Any slaves the wife brought along remained her personal property.

Any slaves the wife brought along remained her personal property just like he gold and jewelry. And if she and her husband quarreled, they might refuse to obey him. A wife's paramount housekeeping duty was to keep her husband well clothed by weaving, sewing, trade, or purchases-just as unmarried women were expected to clothe their lovers, as Bubung Ginbuna does for epic hero Kabungaw. As Alcina (1668a, 4:218) said, "Both husband and lovers are accustomed to leave their wom-en if they do not do dapi or darapi, which is to give them the clothes they need."

Marriage was forbidden between first-degree kin, but a niece could marry her uncle. (In a Panay origin myth, Lupluban, granddaughter of the primordial pair, married her mother's brother, Pandagwan.) Spanish references to polygamy differ, perhaps because of confusion between secondary wives and concubines: Legazpi said Visayan men took two or three wives if they could afford it, but Chirino said the practice was very rare. Father Chirino also said that husband and wife separated "for the least reason in the world" -actually, for incompatibility, neglect, or misconduct-and a man or woman who had been married only once was rather the exception than the rule. Pangoli was a gift to attract back a wife who had fled to her relatives, and legal divorce was often avoided only because of the difficulty of restoring a bride-price that had already been "spent. "Moreover, if divorce was common, the premature death of one partner, was by no means uncommon, so remarriages filled families with half-siblings and adopted nephews, nieces, or foundlings.

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