Filipino kinship


You are driving along the highway when suddenly a boy dashes in front of you and you hit him. What would you do? We would say, you get out and find help and apologize to the boys parents.  Not in the Philippines. In instances like this it is better to pick the boy up immediately and take him to the nearest hospital. It would be very risky to linger at the site because as more village folk gather at the scene the emotional atmosphere builds up; a mob of the injured boy’s relatives could get physical. Should one find himself involved in a road accident, where a mob has gathered it may be better to drive off quickly and report to the nearest police station. Village and town folks in the Philippines are of one or two kin groups’, they will definitely sympathize with the victim, who is a kin, and resent the outsider.

 

The Filipino family displays great solidarity. Emphasizing loyalty and support of the  group, frequently neglecting  the law.

 

 The basic social unit of the society is the family of the mother, father and children and the extended family which includes  relatives of both the mother and father. The influence of the family covers all facets of Philippine society. Social, economic, and religious activities revolve around it. Religion is family and home-centered to a notable degree. Economic activities, agriculture, fishing and cottage industries commonly involve all adult members of the family in cooperative labor; with the children included as well. Large corporations in the Philippines are characteristically family-owned.

 

‘In the typical village, political organization is weakly developed. Activities are usually organized on the basis of family alliance and common economic  interests. Leadership is provided by the dominant famiily. In a typical village election, you will find that the qualifications of a candidate will not matter if he is running against someone from the dominant family in the area. No matter how good a candidate’s qualification and experience is, the candidate with most family members would surely win.

 

‘The cohesiveness of the family also has a powerful influence upon personal relationships, particularly with non-kinsmen. An offence against one of its members is interpreted as a threat to the whole family and families often stand up for each other whether or not their objective is right or wrong. The family provides a secure environment for its members, in sharp contrast to the often uncertain relationships with non-relatives …’ The  relatives of both husband and wife count equally as relatives. To the  kinship group, it is the child who establishes the kinship bond, from the child’s grandparents, uncles and aunts, and down the line, forming the common link to both families. This is why children are very important to the 

It is important to understand the Filipino kinship structure.  

Example 1: An American Peace Corps worker assigned to a rural area loves to bathe in the river in a skimpy bikini and walk about the village in tight shorts. While hiking by herself in the forest she is sexually assaulted by a man and when she runs back to the village for help, in place of sympathy, the village response is that she had provoked the situation by being a ‘Sexy American’.

 

Exampe 2: An American scientist has worked out a program to improve the poultry stock in the Philippines by introducing a fine breed from the United States. At great expense, the exotic roosters are distributed to selected farmers at several farms. The scientist then takes to the field to inspect the progress of the poultry improvement project. Having been informed of the coming visit of such an important man, one farmer, in keeping with Filipino hospitality, makes preparations to welcome the VIP with the best he can offer. On his arrival at the farmer’s house, the American scientist is treated to a small feast-and on his dinner plate is the prize chicken. The Filipino host feels only the best will suffice for his honored guest and, of course, the exotic bird is the best he has to offer.

 

 

Kinship structure motivates their behavior . The  values very often apply only within each kinship group rather than in universal fashion. An outsider is viewed as fair game and a different set of values is applied to deal with such people.  It is to be expected that a tourist will be charged more than others, but once the ‘tourist’ has been identified as a guest or friend of someone within the group, the tourist gets a fair price because he is no longer seen as a  outsider.

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