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In Culture, History, Philippine Issues on July 10, 2009 at 10:46 am

Philippine Prostitution in the Spanish Colonial Era in Light of Pre-Colonial Notions of Sexuality

by Hansley A. Juliano

(a joint paper with Jore Vergara in Hi 165-B, Summer 2009 under Dr. Ambeth R. Ocampo)

We have a held perception that there exists in Philippine pre-colonial history a relatively peaceful society, occasionally interrupted by “inter-barangaic” wars. They believed in many gods and spirits, known today as paganism. We were a developing society then having a lot of sophistication and knowledge during our time. These include metallurgical works of gold, pottery, tools out of metals, stone and the like. With the increase in sophistication and knowledge, social stratification inevitably emerged, likely for the maintenance of an organized society back then. The main status symbol during the time was the gold ornaments stated earlier. Amidst all of this, however, our ancestors displayed a relatively primitive regard to fashion, based from how they dressed themselves merely by wearing minimal cloth, save possibly those belonging to the pre-colonial nobility depicted in the Boxer Codex.

Eventually we established foreign trade, supposedly for the purpose of expansion and cultural development. One of the important international relationships established during the time was the trade we established with the Chinese. The Chinese brought with them various items of porcelains and pots that attracted the eyes of our ancestors that they insisted on buying the goods the Chinese brought with them. However, instead of using these goods as a replacement of what we formerly used they used the goods bought from the Chinese as an addition to the burial rituals of a deceased. And after some time trading with these people, our ancestors have established a firm relationship between themselves and the Chinese. The Chinese became a main source of labor and trade in the Philippines.

Before our readers become bored with wondering how these narratives on pre-colonial history would be relevant to our tackling of a quite unmentionable topic in our Spanish colonial past, we deemed it necessary to situate most of the major actors in this phenomenon in their proper context. These connections, in a way, illustrate how a proliferation and intermingling of culture has already permeated the life of the various barangays of the then-disunited Philippines, broken up into separate petty kingdoms. Nascent communities were opening themselves up to various modes of trade and communion with other cultures, such as the Orang Dampuans, Banjar and the neighbouring countries within Southeast Asia (Agoncillo 1990, 23-24). Though there are questions as to the nature and extent of these exchanges based from archaeological evidence (Joaquin 2004, 37-38), recent finds dispel such doubts and these are already visible in museums. (1).

However, during this time of flourishing trade and cultural exchange, the successive fleets of Spanish colonizers came starting from Magellan in 1521 until Legazpi in 1565, first presented themselves as friendly people only looking for food and water in exchange for their goods in order for themselves to go back home to Spain and report their findings. In the course of our interaction with them, war broke out between their men and our chiefs (most notably Sulayman) which eventually led to the destruction of native settlements, paving the way for the establishment of European-style cities and towns. As a result, greater stratification that classified the colonized by race, work, position in society and even “limpieza de sangre” (Ocampo-BOC 2001, 103) was put into place. It seems, interestingly, that stratification will be and always is a constant mark of a civilized society, whatever stages of progress it undertakes.

With the current stratification during the colonization, there arisen a number of problems to be addressed now that there is a clear line between the rich and the poor, the employed and the unemployed, the city-dwellers and the provincial people. There were significant economical effects, more so among the working force comprised of mostly native Filipinos, classified in records as indios. And a notable profession here, due to the aforesaid reasons, is prostitution.

As any dictionary would define, prostitution is the practice of engaging in a sexual activity with any person as a means of earning. Despite the existence of prostitutes from both genders and varying purposes, prostitution, incidentally, universally affects the women of a society. Today, there are various reasons for a woman to engage in prostitution and the most common of them all is that it is the only option left for a woman to have a means of living within that community. For the denizens of colonial Philippines, however, this wasn’t the only reason for engaging in prostitution, which spans a plethora of social, economic, maybe even political reasons that stow away from whatever stereotypes we might have imbibed from our early age.

Thus, this paper intends to discuss about the other factors that have led to a woman go into prostitution or, generally, why prostitution was present, and eventually prevalent, in the first place in Philippine colonial history. In line with the belief that prostitution is one of the oldest professions, it is no wonder, in a way, that it would manifest itself in the wake of the Spanish colonization. Despite the proliferation of such “illegal” and “indecent” means of earning a livelihood, the demographics of its patronage reveal a quite peculiar observation. In a way, it seems that prostitutes are readily available amongst the citizens of the country. That such public and prevalent patronage is present seems to underlie a question of the pre-colonial Filipino’s sexuality which desires to break free from the “domestication” of colonization.

The discourse to be presented will be to do an appraisal of pre-colonial culture and their treatment of sexuality during those times. Having done so, we try to analyse the role of a prostitute with regards to her trade, the society wherein she moves in, and the motives by which she was driven to enter such a profession. We also look at how prostitution was treated back then, as well as the implications of their presence in the society they move in, in light of the dominant Hispano-Catholic culture. In the end, summing up all of the points of discussion then we conclude with an inference of how these still reflect in the modern Philippine society.

A Problematic Intercourse of Culture

To begin with, a study on a sensitive topic such as prostitution would warrant a look into the views that people actually possess of their sexuality. To say that a particular act is an act of prostitution would mean that somebody is committing a grave immorality, something that would not be welcome to a particular society. This is why it is not surprising that the first Spanish colonizers led by Ferdinand Magellan, more so the Italian chronicler Antonio Pigafetta, would have a field day in describing sexual practices that would be deemed bizarre by their Middle Age scruples (and even ours today), though this might actually be questionable: “The males, large and small, have their penis pierced from one side to the other near the head, with a gold or tin bolt as large as a goose quill. In both ends pf the same bolt, some have what resembles a spur, which points upon the ends; others are like the end of a cart nail… The bolt and the spurs always hold firm. They say that their women wish it so, and that if they did otherwise they would not have communication with them. (Pigafetta 1521, 66-67).”

The behavior of pre-colonial Filipinos with regards to their sexuality, it must be admitted, is not limited to the purpose of procreation. Sex is likely viewed by our ancestors as a manner of expressing themselves in a relationship with the person they are performing the act with, as well as an act wherein they gain pleasure. In much more controlled environments like those of Christian Europe, this is most likely deemed an aberration of character, a horrifying sin even. (2). It is no wonder, then, that accounts of Filipinos’ voracious carnal appetite would pepper accounts of friars such as the notorious Fray Gaspar de San Agustin who wrote a letter in 1698 about Filipinos, praising the chastity of Tagalog and Pampango women but would say that “Visayan women… are ready for everything and are not so fastidious. On the contrary, they are very ready to consent to any temptation.” (3). Almost a couple of centuries later, W.E. Retana, formerly an anti-Filipino journalist who eventually became Jose Rizal’s first biographer, would get into trouble with the Filipino colony (and Rizal himself) due in part to declaring Filipinas “of easy nature and by nature depraved.” (Ocampo-BB 1995, 81).

Such statements of savage and loose behavior, being seen from the point of view of the Spanish colonizers, do not likely do justice to our ancestors more so they are written with a prevailing superiority complex. In his annotations of Dr. Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, Jose Rizal, despite his quite biased historical scholarship, nevertheless puts in context the beliefs and points of view by which our ancestors believed they should act and behave with regards to the function of reproduction. When Morga decried the seeming absence of continence with regards to sex among our ancestors, Rizal rebuffed him

Because they saw nothing sinful in the act of the reproduction of the species. The ancient peoples, like many other peoples, did not see in it more than a natural instinct which has to be satisfied. The same Mosaic religion did not prohibit it except adultery. Only Christianity made the act a mortal sin, because (perhaps agreeing with the agnostics) it saw everything carnal as corrupt, bad, like something from the devil… Between prostitution, however, and Cenobite anti-naturalism, gloomy and barren, there is a middle ground: Obedience to natural laws without adultering them or frustrating the purposes that all things have. (Rizal-Morga 1962, 289, fn. 1).

These aforementioned debates and debunking of beliefs, bordering on accusations of myopia from both sides, is something which, if viewed with hindsight, something which they cannot be blamed for. It is only in the last three decades that an analysis of the dialectics between the cultures of the East and the West has been inaugurated by philosopher Edward Said: “as much as the West itself, the Orient is an idea that has a history and a tradition of thought, imagery, and vocabulary that have given it reality and presence in and for the West. The two geographical entities thus support and to an extent reflect each other.” (Said 1978, 5). Without examining orientalism as a discourse, one cannot possibly understand the enormous discipline by which European culture established itself by placing the Orient as a somewhat underground image. Misunderstandings between contact of culture between the East and the West, precisely because of their locations and distance, were driven to be curious and, eventually, suspicious of each other. This mutual distrust (despite claims to friendship and paternal protection of three centuries) will manifest itself in the criminal sectors of Philippine colonial society, which involves the sector of sexuality suppressed most by the Roman Catholic Church; prostitution.

Inspecting the Meathouse

To begin with, prostitutes are persons who engage in any kind of sexual activity in exchange for any form of income. Like in most cultures, it is females who are the ones most likely to engage in this trade or ‘work,’ though there are indeed isolated cases of male prostitutes. (4). Contrary to our stereotypes of a very pious population, the deemed crime of prostitution is actually very much rampant and active despite voiced-out condemnations from religious Orders. Various factors are present which could make a woman choose to become a prostitute, the most general one being economic (Camagay 1995, 108). Since many rural areas, then as now, are impoverished and poorly developed, many women from the province are attracted to work in the cities where in the end they end up being criadas or maids of a house where, nevertheless, the pay wasn’t that much (51). Sometimes they were turned over to brothels by the mistress of the house (114). Another more despicable means is when “a woman was seduced and persuaded to elope with a man who had not the slightest intention of honoring his promise to marry her, but who took her instead to a brothel. These men were known to be the pimps or brothel keepers, ‘recruiting’ women with their caressing yet deceptive tongues.” (Bankoff 1996, 41). The very term by which they were referred to, mujeres publicas, which literally means “public women” (and in a way resonates to an old euphemism used in Tagalog provinces, “asawa ng bayan”), shows the acknowledgment of their presence by the societies they move around. They do, however, need protection of “minders,” sometimes public officials, and they themselves have to be “street-wise” in order to avoid occasional incarceration. (42).

Besides their means of procurement, they were also subdivided into four categories depending on how they managed their work (Camagay 1995, 109-110):

1. A prostitute is kept in a prostitute house under the supervision of an ama (mistress) or amo (master).
2. A prostitute who managed by posting themselves in certain streets ready to offer their services.
3. A prostitute who managed their trade by going to the house of their client. This is especially made for the Chinese males of the society.
4. A prostitute who managed their trade inside of their own homes. These women catered to men belonging in the higher bracket of society.

Those in the first category are most likely women who were seduced by the pimps, by promising them better pay or better lifestyle through marriage. Denizens in the three remaining categories, however, suggest that they are women who were willing (or are forced to by circumstances) to become prostitutes for their own gain or for the livelihood of their family.

Unnerving as it may sound, the prostitutes undergo a quite vicious cycle which relatively ensures their permanent association with the flesh trade. After having been recruited or deceived and serving as a prostitute while doing other side jobs, she might be able to gain well-paying clients which will allow her to become a “professional” getting her living solely out of offering “services.” (Bankoff 1996, 42). Should she eventually retire, she can be part of the recruitment and training of new prostitutes, usually making her daughters engage in the same job or by means of referral, usually from the same province where she came from. In a way, the retired whore can still live off the rearing, “maintenance” and deposits of the younger prostitutes (43).

It must be noted, however, that not merely Filipinas were participants in this form of white slavery. Japanese scholar Motoe Terami-Wada gives us a quite vivid portrait of the Manila Japanese community’s complicity in prostitution, albeit during the tail-end of the Philippine Revolution. One Muraoka Iheji, an entrepreneurial “pimp” whose activities go far back since 1885 in Hong Kong, opened up a store and a restaurant, both in his name, as fronts for prostitution activities in 1900. Starting out with fifteen women (including his wife), the area eventually bloomed and by 1903 the Japanese Consulate in Manila would state that there are about 280 “barmaids” reportedly present (Terami-Wada 1986, 292-295), despite their earlier denials. Wada also noted that as early as December 1898, there were actually already houses of “ill fame” in “Kari Karieta” (possibly Calle Carriedo) which serves various personages. Confirmation came through reports of an American soldier’s arrest in such establishments and the experience of a certain Hirayama, notably a volunteer in General Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary forces who usually hid in the brothels to avoid American authorities (296-297).

The Impetus of La Gota

It appears, in light of the aforementioned data, that prostitutes weren’t given much concern by the government despite the condemnation of the then highly-influential Catholic Church. (5). Only when there were occasional breakouts of venereal diseases were visible measures enforced, and they were not even deemed problematic. For one, “prostitutes were not being ostracized” during the time suggesting that they didn’t carry any kind of social stigma if they were labeled as prostitutes (Camagay 1995, 106). In addition to this, government policy over prostitution was quite ambivalent too (Bankoff 1996, 44). However, in the turn of the 19th century, local authorities imposed punitive measures against prostitutes in order to combat the spread of venereal diseases (Camagay 1995, 99). The measures against the spread of the disease include incarceration, deportation, and, wildly, marriage.

Incarceration of a prostitute lasted for 10, 15, and 30 days (101). Most of these prostitutes served their sentences in the Carcel de Bilibid. Usually, they would serve their term by doing hard labor appropriate for women. Upon finishing their sentence, the authorities of the prison would certify these women that they have successfully served their term. Yet instead of reforming them, incarceration created another place in order for them to practice their trade. Sometimes, the women would return to the prison during the Thursday and Sunday visiting hours, pretending to be relatives of the remaining detainees in order to get in the prison and “peddle their goods” once again (1988, 243).

Deportation was then considered the most severe punishment a prostitute could receive, such that even while wary of the activities of their daughters, the fathers and mothers of such whores would “spare no effort to prevent the daughter from being deported to Davao or Balabac.” (244). In a way, it suggests that the local authorities didn’t have an accurate consensus of who were the prostitutes back then and therefore only suspected who and who weren’t guilty. With such familial involvement, a means was created to supposedly circumvent the increase of prostitutes: marriage. The offer of marriage apparently served to circumvent or avert the deportation of a prostitute, since it was then perceived as another means of reforming them. There are numerous cases of such aversions since 1849, though there were also instances that such proposals came when the suspect was already serving the term, or even those who chose to join their “beloved” in exile (245-247). Nevertheless, it raises questions as to why there were men who would choose to marry women accused of prostitution when Catholic regulation (and probably, perception) would say otherwise. It seems, in a way, that there is no stigma involved with accusations of prostitutions with the working classes of colonial Philippines.

However, several factors convinced the authorities that regulation was more productive than futile attempts at proscription (Bankoff 1996, 44). One of these is still the spread of venereal disease cases that later created the Bureau of Public Health. At this point, punishment of a prostitute was minimal because of the consensus and licensing made by the bureau, publicly acknowledging that the “… Bureau of Public Health instituted the licensing of prostitutes in Manila… [it] did not only facilitate a census of prostitutes but more significantly, it checked the spread of syphilis in the city… licensed prostitutes were required to undergo examination twice a week…[italics ours].” (Camagay 1995, 115). This suggests that the government has allowed prostitutes to be, still, prostitutes only that they abide by taking an examination of syphilis. But aside from this, they were sexually ‘free’ to do it. Bankoff adds that “the licensing of prostitution was a symptomatic of a process by which pragmatism increasingly replace morality as the guiding principle in administration of justice in the Philippines. (6).

Cultural Checkpoints

By constant interaction, it is with the Chinese immigrants and traders that we share a lot of societal roots with in colonial Manila. However, what really persuaded the Spaniards in integrating the Chinese people within the colony is likely their appetite for labor and production. Quoting from Liao, “The Chinese played an important role in the support of skilled labor, materials, better methods of farming, and manufacturing for the development of the country. They became the backbone of Philippine trade and industry (1964, 19). In a point in time, they were deemed more efficient than our ancestors such that the authorities believe that “without the trade and commerce of the Chinese these dominions could not have existed” (31), further emphasizing their importance and significant contributions.

However, amidst this social inclination towards the Chinese in reliance of labor and the economy, the Spanish still had doubts about them. The Spanish government was especially alarmed with the rapid growth rate of the Chinese during the establishment of the Spanish regime, such that they eventually made it a policy to monitor and control their movements through the establishment of the Parian, close to the Walled City of Intramuros (Tiongson 1973, 22). Filipina prostitutes, interestingly, had a role of calming down the Chinese to prevent them from conducting revolts, which in a way is a worse blockade to commerce than the flesh trade itself. This is another reason why imposing punitive measures had a difficult time in the Spanish regime because prostitution assumed this position (Bankoff 1996, 44). That they would choose Filipinas to intermingle with reflects how close they are in the lower rungs of the social strata dominated by the Peninsular Spaniards (Ocampo-BOC 2001, 105). This implies that they might be receiving low wages (Tiongson 1973, 30-31) not equal to the amount of work they put into it. As such, they can only afford cheap entertainments such as prostitution.

Having brought up earlier in this paper the case of our relatively-free sexuality during the pre-colonial era (Camagay 116), we might then have an idea as to why we have embraced prostitution as a non-problematic means of livelihood. Once more, we note that “sex to the pre-colonial natives clearly entailed much more than the propagation of the species; it was also enjoyed purely in the pursuit of carnal pleasure” (Reyes 2008, 208). Sexual expression seems to be a given that men enjoy much to have sex with the women within their society (and therefore willing to follow their demands), which indicates a somewhat high regard for women. Contrasting this sexual expression in the context of a conservative and scrupulous colonial regime, however, suggests an entirely different picture, leading them to consider our women as “inherently loose.” (7). That Morga would describe our ancestors in somewhat condescending tones illustrate how problematic indeed is our sexuality in their view:

…“The natives of the Islands of the Pintados, especially the women, are very vicious and sensual, and their malevolence has led them to invent lewd (torpe) ways of intercourse between women and men. The men have a custom that they practice from their youth onwards. They make a hole in the miembro viril, close to its head, and pass through it a device that resembles a serpent’s head made of metal or ivory, which is then secured in place by material of the same substance. With this device they have intercourse with a woman, and are unable to withdraw long after coitus, for women are so addicted and fin delight in it despite shedding much blood and receiving other injuries. These devices are called sagras…” (Rizal-Morga 1992, 289-290).

If we will try doing a psychological analysis by hindsight through the collective unconscious according to Carl Jung, women who pursue prostitution (and are likely aware of the colonial past despite hundreds of years of suppression) are likely to willingly show this particular behavior. (8). Since earlier in our pre-colonial life we were sexually active in pursuing our desires then it is ingrained in our subconscious mind of what we were before. This is better commented on by the eminent Philippinologist Ferdinand Blumentritt who, in reproduction, stated that “…[v]irginity is not a virtue, for the girls easily give themselves up to any of their lovers, and only a small number of them are still virgin when they are brought before the altar for marriage. This may still be blamed on the time when there were still pagans and when virginity was not prized… Prostitution is present. [italics ours].” (Reyes 2008, 201).

If So, What’s New with Us Then?

Looking at how our pre-colonial culture practices a free mode of sexuality, we find that virginity is not given importance because it is deemed relative to a society which, though definitely pagan, is not necessarily to be considered heathen due to their views on the goodness of fertility and primacy of development. Such ideas, being deemed immoral and unworthy of Christian values, morals and lifestyle drove, the Spanish colonizers to habituate us in a belief of consistent sexual repression, therefore resulting in a Filipino woman to be more innocent, chaste, and having great esteem for herself. (9). However, this isn’t that much true in the colonial Philippines because of prostitution and prostitution itself didn’t carry a social stigma during the time (Bankoff 1996, 43). This means that people do not see prostitutes, who commit adultery and pornography most of their time, as a set of people who must be sanctioned but as a normal set of people just living their daily lives. Prostitution, as the norms of society would show base from evidence, was to be tolerated but should be regulated. Therefore, Christianity hasn’t fully been inculcated in the culture of the Filipinos because they still have their primitive sexual life within them and that is why prostitutes weren’t given a social stigma.

It might be probably an exaggeration, but it appears that we as a people seems to haven’t been in terms with our notions of sexuality and, as such, are not able to understand the context by which our ancestors come from. True, the majority of Filipinos’ scruples and Catholic upbringing seems to have a love-hate relationship with our mixed culture due to our desire to find our true identity as Filipinos, sons of this long-fragmented country, and yet cannot depart from the indoctrinations that more than four hundred years of foreign intervention has impressed on us. As such, we cannot understand how, as gleaned from experiences with issues regarding sexuality, we abhor prostitution and other “indecencies” yet in our consciousness we actually desire to know more about them.

Michel Foucault, in recognizing this dilemma, seems to offer a challenging solution:

… [W]e must not refer a history of sexuality to the agency of sex; but rather show how “sex” is historically subordinate to sexuality… It is the agency of sex that we must break away from, if we aim – through a tactical reversal of the various mechanisms of sexuality – to counter the grips of power with the claims of bodies, pleasure and knowledges, in their multiplicity and their possibility of resistance. The rallying point of the counterattack against the deployment of sexuality ought not to be sex-desire, but bodies and pleasure. (Foucault 1990, 157).

Considering prostitution as a crime and a menace to society is inevitably tied up with the logic and understanding of the colonizing Western culture. To comprehend through Oriental point of view (that is, the perspective of our ancestors) the significance of prostitution in Philippine society, we must look at the phenomenon of prostitution as an offshoot of our culture of sexual freedom, albeit a twisted means of resistance against the prevailing puritanical hegemony. If we are to consider our colonization as instrumental in fabricating our present Filipino culture, some might deem it right that we consign this “orgasmic” period of our history in the shadows, as it is a “shameful” spot in our national family tree. However, doing so blindly will also indicate our inability to come to terms with an aspect of the past we seek and wish to glorify. Doing so, we will be unable to use it to chart our future. Prostitution is a recorded and persisting part of Filipino life then until now, and the exploitative nature of the trade obscures the call for the liberation of sexuality. How we will deal with it is a reflection of the changing perspectives we have as a people, as a community, and as a nation.


  1. The Ayala Museum has exhibited recently various excavations of gold ornaments made by pre-colonial Filipinos and implements made of porcelain and precious stones from China and differing countries from Southeast Asia. (Ayala Museum, “Exhibitions – Gold of Ancestors,” and “Exhibitions – A Millennium of Contact,” , accessed 20 May 2009).
  2. Such a belief will be echoed centuries later by philosopher Michel Foucault when, in making a differentiation between scientia sexualis and ars erotica, he would criticize the controlling power of the pastoral as a means of habituating the body, stifling it into “docile bodies” which reduces sex as a tool of production, stifling the body’s means of expression. As an illustration of this, he writes: “Up to the end of the eighteenth century, three major explicit codes – apart from the customary regularities and constraints of opinion – governed sexual practices: canonical law, the Christian pastoral, and the civil law. They determined, each in its own way, the division between licit and illicit. They were all centered on matrimonial relations: the marital obligation, the ability to fulfil it, the manner in which one complied with it, the requirements and violences that accompanied it, the useless or unwarranted caresses for which it was a pretext, its fecundity or the way one went about making it sterile, the moments when one demanded it (dangerous periods of pregnancy or breast-feeding, forbidden times of Lent or abstinence), its frequency or infrequency, and so on.” (Foucault 1990, 31).
  3. Blair and Robertson Vol. 40, 254.
  4. Camagay 1995, Appendix F, 184 & 186. In the records of prostitutes during the years 1862-1879 from the Philippine National Archives, a pescador (fisherman) named Faustino Nicolas, unmarried at 35 years of age, was the sole male prostitute.
  5. As an added note to this phenomenon, the Marquis de Ayerbe would write that “[t]ambien huyeron unas cuatrocientas mujeres de mal vivir que quedaron abandonadas por la marcha del ejercito ingles (also, about four hundred women of ill-repute were forced to flee Manila after they were abandoned by the English Army),” suggesting that the English invaders were procuring prostitutes for their own relaxation after the fall of Manila. (Joaquin de Urries 1897, 130).
  6. As early as 1591, then-Governor General Gomez Perez Dasmarinas has acknowledged and informed his lower officials within Manila that most of the indios were supposedly “addicted to theft and licentiousness, and the women were ready to sell their persons.” As such, it might be, to the consternation of the Orders and to the insult and detriment of the native Filipinos, that prostitution was propagated within the colonized settlements. (Blair and Robertson, Vol. 8, 81).
  7. It is not an isolated case. Up to today, many still have misconceptions with regards to the purpose of the Vedic Kama Sutra of India, thinking of perversions when in fact it was made for the maintenance of a lawful relationship.
  8. “Carl Jung.” Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. (accessed 24 May 2009).
  9. It is no accident, it seems, that in recognizing the free sexuality of the pre-colonial Filipinos one would recall to mind our supposed epitome of Filipina virginity: Jose Rizal’s Maria Clara from the Noli Me Tangere. However, her somewhat aberrant and highly-repressed (and therefore sexually-tense) behavior at the mention of her beloved puts this idea to doubt, affirming our thesis on repression breeding more deviant behavior like prostitution.


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