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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ander Da Saya (The Henpecked Husband) -- A Sad Filipino Phenomenon

Ander Di Saya Movie poster, 1954

I don't know if you'd agree with me but I think our Filipino culture breeds hen-pecked, emasculated men. Just look at the movie poster above. This was a movie in 1954. Incidentally too, we recently had a short-lived TV sitcom featuring the same theme but with a slightly different title in 2011:
Andres De Saya Photo, 2011

Ander De Saya which in English literally means "under the saya or Filipino skirt" is a Filipino term used on husbands who are dominated by overbearing wives. The mental image conjured is of a man with no "balls", pardon the term, to lead his family. The woman is the "kumander" (commander) of the unit. He has no say, he has no voice and he better not speak his mind or else (!), he will get a good tongue-lashing!

Themes like these are usually for comedic purposes, which sometimes are funny, but in reality is no laughing matter. It only is funny on TV or in movies but is actually not laughable when you see it happening to a LIVE couple, in person. It is actually quite sad. :(

Filipinos have these terms for nagging, noisy women: bungangera, palengkera and chismosa. (talkative, noisy - as in marketplace noisy, gossipy) Not only is it a big turn-off to be these, it also is a huge sin and woe to the husband who finds such a wife!

Here are some Bible verses on that:

Proverbs 21:9 - It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
21:9 Lalong maigi ang tumahan sa sulok ng bubungan, kay sa palatalong babae sa maluwang na bahay. 

  Proverbs 27:15 - A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
27:15 Ang laging tulo sa araw na maulan at ang babaing palatalo ay magkahalintulad: 

Proverbs 21:19 - It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.
21:19 Lalong maigi ang tumahan sa ilang na lupain, kay sa makisama sa palatalo at magagaliting babae. 

Proverbs 25:24 - It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a 25:24 Maigi ang tumahan sa sulok ng bubungan, kay sa kasama ng palaaway na babae sa maluwang na bahay. wide house.

Proverbs 19:13- A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping

19:13 Ang mangmang na anak ay kapanglawan ng kaniyang ama: at ang mga pakikipagtalo ng asawa ay walang likat na tulo. 

When one tries to understand the verses, they simply mean that it is an unfortunate, kawawang kawawa (very pitiful) circumstance for a husband to have such a nagging, dominating wife. 

I used to think I was not the woman these Bible verses described because I don't really nag or gossip, but looking closely into my heart, I have realized that even though I was not bungangera or palengkera, I was nonetheless contentious and angry. When things did not go my way, I would shut up and grumble or keep silent but feel bitterness and resentment in my heart!
It is one thing to be an empowered, strong woman who can handle herself with grace and ease in the workplace, but it is NOT okay when she carries that role over to the homefront and dominates the home and her husband, as though she was its leader.

Remember our place, dear sisters in Christ.
Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.

Efeso 5:22

22 Mga babae, pasakop kayo sa inyo-inyong sariling asawa, na gaya ng sa Panginoon.  

We are in no way inferior to our husbands in terms of humanity, I cannot stress that enough. We are in no way second-class citizens or oppressed women, martyrs or doormats. Those do not glorify God too!
Being submitted wives mean that we humbly, respectfully let go of our desire to control everything in our lives, including our husbands, and with much faith, allow God to work His Way in our lives, with our husbands leading and us following. We should not be Kumander (Commander), for that is NOT our role. Let us leave that to our husbands. Honestly, I would rather now be just Muse. :)

 For more of that topic, click on April Cassidy, the Peacefulwife's blog on the wives' fears of losing their voices or identities.

Incidentally, my husband Dong's real name is Andre, but I don't think he is Andres De Saya. I am grateful that my husband never submitted to me. Imagine if he did! Disrespectful Nikka would have completely lost it, and disrespected him even more, and he would have then be known as Mrs. Veronica Cleofe and not I as Mrs. Alfredo Andre Alejar! It would have meant that he had no backbone whatsover.

I am grateful to God to have married somebody who though was very kind and laid-back, never allowed me to push him around or verbally abuse him or get him to do things my way or the highway. I would have been even more sinful if he had bended over backwards to all my whims and caprices!

Here's a powerful post from Peacefulwife April's blog on Submitting Under Protest:

My prayer is that the Philippines will start to breed respectful women who know how to treat their husbands as God-appointed leaders in their homes, so that the men will be able to fulfill their roles and their God-given purposes. I would like to see less and less Ander Da Saya (Hiding Under the Skirt) and more and more Asawang Masaya (Happy Husband) from having found a "good thing."

Proverbs 18:22 [Whoso] findeth a wife findeth a good [thing], and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Salawikain 18:22 Sinomang lalaking nakakasumpong ng asawa ay nakasumpong ng mabuting bagay, at nagtatamo ng lingap ng Panginoon.  

May we all be richly blessed! :) God bless us all!



  1. No, the Filipino culture does not breed emasculated men. And movies like that are just for comedy and exaggeration. IMO, Filipino men in general are gentle especially compared to their Western and other Asian counterparts and are secure of their masculinity that they do not need to feel to "dominate" the household but SHARE it with his wife and children. And this is largely a carry-over from the pre-colonization period where many societies had women leaders.

    Notice how Filipino men generally do not use "anything female" to insult each other? They do here in the west. To degrade a fellow man is to "emasculate" them by calling them words used to be derogatory to females. Among Filipino men, I have not noticed this. Emasculation is more common in the US than in the Philippines....and usually perpetrated by US males.

    As a Filipino woman living in the US, I've actually learned to appreciate Filipino men when I saw how non-Filipino men who aren't raise din Philippine culture act. You see, you can have a 'friendly touch' with them without it being interpreted as asking for sex or asking to be raped. Filipino men will be helpful to women without demanding anything back. If you go to forums where many Western men post, you'll see a lot of terrible rants where they rant that women owe them "sex" because they voluntarily opened the door for her. It really is shocking

    Filipino men are NOT emasculated. They are men who are gentle and secure about their masculinity that they don't need to degrade women nor call other men by "female parts" just to feel like a man like US men do.

    You see, to these Western men, to hit a woman is a testament to their "masculinity". In the Philippines, if they hear man hit a women, what do they say? "Dude, are you gay"?

    Filipino men, unlike US and Western men, are not afraid of the feminine that a lot of them do embrace some "stereotypical" feminine characteristics if it benefits them and the family.

    This blog should give an insight.

  2. Hi Anonymous!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter. I understand you are a fellow Filipina. :)

    I wrote this piece because my husband and I have been experiencing since my conversion and subsequent biblical submission to him, that more and more Filipino marriages are suffering from disordered roles in marriage. We ourselves have within our inner circle, these types of nearly, if not totally emasculated men from having very controlling women as their wives. The ayaw patalo, laging tama type of women; married to the generally loving but soft-spoken or passive men. It is this reality that Dong and I have seen for ourselves, that I felt led to write this blog post about. Maybe I should re-title it though, because I think that it may not be a "phenomenon" but more likely just part of the changing times... More and more women from the country are living as Overseas Filipino Workers and becoming breadwinners for their families, while their husbands stay at home and take care of the kids... This is actually a real phenomenon -- the OFW phenomenon, a real cause for great concern. I wrote about that too in one of my earlier posts.

    Having said that, I do agree with you 100% that Filipinos are generally carinoso and are attuned to their feminine side. Thanks for pointing that out. :) It is also true what you say about our women, not really feeling "sexually harassed" immediately by a carinoso man. It is just in our culture that we are more touchy-feely, I guess.

    I have not lived in any country other than the Philippines, and you reside in the States, so I believe you have more experience dealing with the Caucasians than I do, and I thank you for your perspective on the Filipino men as compared to the Westerners. It makes me feel good that I myself am married to a loving, kind and sweet Pinoy. :)

    Thanks for the link! And thanks for your insightful comment! I should not have left that one out about the gentlemanly character of the Pinoy, who is secure about his masculinity. Maybe that'd be a good topic for another blog post.

    God bless! Thanks for dropping by! :)



  3. Women are NOT inferior to men in any way. It's a matter of authority and respect for authority. God is the highest authority (Ecclesiastes 5:8). Then the angels (Psalms 8:5). Christians are commanded to obey the higher powers of government (Romans 13:1-2). The husband is to rule over his wife, and the wife is to submit in obedience as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). Children are commanded to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20). This is why the Bible teaches for women to learn at home from their husband. 1st Corinthians 14:35, “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” It is a matter of authority. (D.S.)


Feel free to comment. I would love to discuss things with you. :)