Women in the Precolonial Philippines
Juan Luna y Novicio (b. October 23, 1857 – d. December 7, 1899) was one of the great heroes of the Philippine Revolution and one of the first internation- ally-recognized Philippine painters. A native of Badoc, Ilocos Norte, Juan Luna was the third among the seven children of Joaquin Luna de San Pedro y Posada and Laureana Novicio y Ancheta. Both parents were from families that were well-off, thus each brought to the family a modest fortune.
In 1861, the Luna family left the north for Manila, believing that in this progressive city their children would receive a good education. Juan Luna was sent to Ateneo Municipal de Manila where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree (equivalent to the present-day high school diploma). His parents seemed to have envisioned him en- tering an ecclesiastical career; however, Juan had shown early interest in painting and drawing, influenced by his brother, Manuel, who, according to Jose Rizal, was a bet- ter painter than Juan himself.
As an artist Probably it was in 1883 when Luna started the paint- ing demanded of him by the Ayuntamiento. But it was some years before he would complete it. In May 1884, he shipped the large canvas of the Spolarium to Madrid for the year’s Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes. There, he was the first recipient of the three gold medals awarded in the concourse. Luna’s triumph in this exposition height- ened the spirit of the Filipino community in Madrid, and Luna gained recognition among the connoisseurs and art critics present. On 25 June 1884, the Filipinos organized an event celebrating the victorious Luna, attended by about seventy people, Filipinos and Spaniards alike. That night, Jose Rizal prepared a speech for his friend, stress- ing two significant things: (1) the glorification of genius; and (2) the grandeur of....
Women enjoyed high status in preco- lonial society. They had rights, performed economic activities at par with men, and had a public life. Colonialism stripped Filipino women of their once lofty position in society as they were viewed as inferior to men. Women were rendered incapable of doing difficult tasks and were confined in homes with nothing to do but daily chores. They were stereotyped as “Maria Claras” in the same mold of Jose Rizal’s tragic heroine in the novel, Noli Me Tan- gere -- shy and self-effacing. But despite this colonial bondage, many empowered women possessed the will and guts to leave behind this cloak of discrimination and move towards self and national liberation.
Rights and Privileges In many aspects of Philippine precolonial life, women enjoyed the same privileges, rights, and opportunities as did men – depicting a true egalitarian society.
Sexuality and Virginity Virginity was of little value, and women were not overly protected in precolonial society. Treated as companions, Filipino wives enjoyed freedom in making decisions in the family, and as such, were not con- fined solely to domestic affairs like having a baby. Precolonial women, especially those settled along the shore disliked giv- ing birth many times for as such, they are like pigs. Because of this, they practiced abortion whenever the couple reached their desired number of children, as there was no concept of birth ....
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