Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Querida System

What divorce is to the Westerners, querida system is to a few Filipino males. This is a way of life wherein a married man maintains a mistress, sometimes to the extent of including a second home. The Filipino married male who keeps a querida provides the mistress subsistence and goes home to her once in a while but he is ever careful to keep the relationship a secret from his lawful wife. If his mistress bears him a child, he usually supports the bastard but is very careful not to acknowledge the child’s paternity. This is not only because his wife might discover it but also because he might be accused of immorality especially if he is a government official or employee with civil service eligibility. This behavior is generally considered “normal” since it goes along with the concept of “machismo.” The “machismo” complex somehow encourages the Filipino male to take on a sexual role which could only be verified by the peer group to which he belongs in terms of the number of affairs he maintains and children he sires either with his legitimate wife or his mistresses. In fact, it is not surprising to find a laborer or jeepney driver earning hardly P300 a month, to have two or three kabits (mistresses).

For the mistress, having a child means a sure source of income. A man may not support his mistress but he can be coerced into supporting the child. Since being a mistress is a temporary affair wherein youth is dissipated in the process, without a child, she gets into a pitiful situation in old age. Philandering by the Filipino male is not very much looked down upon in the Filipino culture. Because he is a man, he can be forgiven for taking too much sexual freedom. He just wants to prove his masculinity. On the other hand, Filipino wives feel that sex is primarily the husband’s pleasure, so it can be denied him if he misbehaves. Outside the “kulambo” (mosquito net) is a punishment meted out to a husband who has been caught by his wife having an affair with another woman.


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