Because of the Western influence on women’s liberation, to be a single older woman is no longer considered a social disgrace or the result of any personal inadequacy. In the Muslim community, the parents of a girl between ages 14 and 16 may betroth her to an older man.Generally, in the Christian community, the courts do not consider pregnancy a valid motive to grant permission for the marriage of a minor.During the author’s 1996 visit in the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, and metropolitan Manila, there was an estimated increase of half a percent and an estimated 340,000 couples in unmarried cohabitation.The majority of cohabiting couples in the provinces are separated from their legal spouses because divorce is illegal and they cannot be civilly or religiously married.Women believe that marriage to a wealthy man or a foreigner will guarantee happiness.Divorce is illegal, but annulment is available for the dissolution of a marriage. Leyson wrote in the Encyclopedia of Sexuality: “The colonial view of the sacredness of marriage includes a strong social condemnation of cohabitation for unmarried couples.
Marriages among cousins of different degrees are somewhat common among Tagalogs.The dowry, given by the bride’s parents to the groom, may be a large sum of money, property, or a sizable wedding present. Marriages have traditionally been monogamous although in some places, particularly Muslim and tribal areas, men have had more than one wife.Virginity has traditionally been valued, particularly in the countryside.According to a 2001 Time sex survey 82 percent of males and 87 percent of females said that monogamy was important to them and 78 percent of males and 65 percent of females said it was important to marry a virgin. Leyson wrote in the Encyclopedia of Sexuality: “Chinese influence runs deep and the majority of Filipinas adhere to its simple social dictum, “Get married at a marriageable age.” Marriage is considered the natural conclusion of a stable heterosexual relationship.In the same sex survey 48 percent of males and 10 percent of females answered yes when asked if they had every been unfaithful. Recently, however, Filipinos have started to replace their old-fashioned social concepts with ones that recognize that the right to remain single is as much a personal right as the right to marry. D., Encyclopedia of Sexuality www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology, 2001 |~|] Whereas the legal age for voting is 21 years for both males and females, the legal age for marriage is 21 for males and 18 for females.