Mahal-Allay or Liberal Courtship

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Beauty seems to have very little premium, if at all, in the Apayao customs and traditions with respect to courtship and marriage. Considerations of beauty are not what propels Apayao swains toward the choice of a mate for all seasons, but rather a woman’s capacity to work. Her physical constitution is more important. It is one instance where the amazon-like womenhood have a decided edge over the fragile ones in the feminine struggle toward the affection of a man, something which can be classified as a reverse trend. Such seems to be the sad lot of the Apayao women-to work in the kaingins.

And when a man happens to own a vast kaingin-by their standards, anyway—he is constrained to indulge in polygamy just so he can obtain additional help to till his land. Polygamy is duly sanctioned by their traditions. But even as this is so, it is, however, rarely availed of—unlike their Muslim counterparts. Indeed, an Apayao swain exercises polygamy not only to satisfy his carnal mischief, but to acquire additional help.

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Source:

Anima, N. 1975. Courtship and Marriage Practices among Philippine Tribes. La Loma: Omar.

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