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English 212
2002 First Paper
On Serendip

Wag mo ihawak ako (Don't touch me)

Monica Locsin

Coming from a conservative Filipino family, sex was not openly articulated. Family life and religion play a major role in traditional Filipino culture. The majority of the population in the Philippines are advocates of the Roman Catholic religion which my family is a part of. Since sex was not a topic to be discussed in my culture because of the strong impact of the Catholic Church, my parents didn't feel that it was necessary to elaborate on it. The Catholic religion does not accept the ideology of premarital sex. Why does the Catholic Church have such an influence on the mentality of the Filipino people? This is because in Philippine History, the Filipino people were oppressed by ruling empires and Catholicism was the only outlet for Filipinos to feel free from the oppression. Catholicism has a strong influence in the upbringing my parents instilled in their children. I am a member of a family that does not clearly express the language of sex in terms of acceptance.
My family consists of five members: my father Enrique, my mother Susan, my brother Mike, my sister Angelica and myself. A typical Saturday morning in Manila would be the smell of freshly baked pandesal (soft rolls) and the aroma of hot Spanish chocolate and chorizo at the breakfast table. Filipinos wake up very early and one of the reasons is to EAT! We, the children greet our parents by kissing them and saying good morning. The conversation would be again of FOOD and my mom turning to me and saying that I should watch what I am eating because of my cholesterol and I gained weight again. As always, everyone nods. To be honest, I can say that Filipinos are very blunt people. They can tell you that you are fat, yet they cannot discuss SEX in the table. That is just awkward to me because criticizing an individual's body is worse than having an exciting luscious conversation on sex. The ironic part is sex is a universal issue and should be a topic easily discussed while personal issues should not be read as an open book the way Filipinos let it be.
Now I will proceed in introducing my family. My father is loving but is not open to us, his children about dating and sex. He never once asked me if I had any interest in the opposite sex. My father emphasized academia over social relationships. When I think about it, maybe that is the reason why he wanted me to go to attend an all womens' college. Whenever we talk about my boyfriend Ralph, he still addresses him as "your friend Ralph". My father has not accepted the fact that I have feelings for someone else even though my relatives acknowledge him as the guy I am dating. As an adolescent my father grew up in a household where his mother never discussed sex because it was inappropriate. This stems from her background as a young Spanish Filipina lady growing up at a period in the Philippines where sex was looked down upon socially. Thus, this made it arduous for individuals to articulate sex in public and private conversations.
On the other hand, my mother is the one who is home mostly and manages to spend more quality time with the children. She is more liberated and jokes about sex by demonstrating a playful attitude but ironically finds it very unacceptable before marriage. The reason why my mom feels this way is because my grandfather being very religious instilled a lot of discipline in my mother and her nine siblings and was very strict in terms of dating. My mother was allowed to date at the age of twenty-two. It is traditional in the Philippines to have a chaperone while on dates. She was always accompanied by my aunt or another elder family individual in all her dates with my father. Until this day, my mother does not believe in the concept of sex before marriage. She always tells us that "no man wants to marry a girl that is not a virgin".
My siblings Mike and Angelica have contrasting viewpoints on sex. My brother acknowledges the fact that I am a teenager and am aware of what sex is. He does not talk about it much but says that "he will kill any guy who dares to touch me in that way". My brother is overly protective of me and since I am the youngest that is not a surprise. He is the eldest and feels that he has responsibility of caring for me and Angelica. My sister on the other hand does not talk about it at all. She is highly conservative and feels that I am not ready to be in any type of relationship being only nineteen years old. Angelica is more traditional and feels that dating should only start at a later age when I am more mature and ready to handle a relationship.
I personally don't find anything wrong with talking about sex. Sex is supposed to be fun and an emotional experience with someone you love. I am not as conservative as my family when it comes to talking about sex, maybe it is because I am a more open person and I grew up in an International school background having a lot of friends who were not only from Asian decent. But at the same time, saving my virginity and waiting for the right man is something I hold sacred.
The theory of sex varies from different cultures and beliefs. In my family sex is not accepted before marriage. It is believed to be sacred to the point where religion and family values dictate whether the act should be done or not. Sex can be expressed in a language however in this situation, it is a silent one.

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