I got a lesson in Filipino culture from Jessie this week. Of course that is where most of them come from. They don’t come as often as they use to but they do still come.
Jessie developed a pretty nasty allergic reaction to something that caused her to have whelps, itch and her face has been swollen. It doesn’t look like a lot of fun to me. We’ve played a guessing game as to what might have caused it. Her latest guess was crocodile sausage. We both had some when we were in Palawan. Since it is something new, not a bad guess. I was leaning more to some kind of bug bite.
The rash is on her extremities only, not her face or torso but like I said, her face has been swollen too. The face swelling first became noticeable in photographs while we were at Virgin Beach Resort this week.
So what does this have to do with Filipino culture? So far, not very much. That was the introduction.
As we were on the front porch talking the other day, still guessing one what caused it, in hopes we could eliminate whatever it was she told me about some of the remedies. She has been covered from head to toe since we got home from Virgin Beach Resort.
First she told me she can’t shower and she shouldn’t expose her skin to the air. I told her that, I think anything natural would be helpful. Such as air and water. For me, I don’t want anything on a rash as those detergents or the clothing could actually be the cause.
The she told me she couldn’t eat various foods as those makes rashes worse. I don’t know why those particular foods are the ones she chooses but I have a feeling the answer would be “That’s what we believe.”
One of her first theories about the rash was because she was wearing shorts and someone hexed her. Further evidence was that we had visited places that often thought to be enchanted within Filipino culture. Those places being the cave of the Underground River and Estrella Falls. It seems that every falls or cave is enchanted. In other words, Filipino culture for haunted.
Jessie told me of several places she has visited in her life, mostly as a teen or young adult that was said to be enchanted.
When the rash first appeared it was near her knee. When our ya ya (maid) saw it, she asked Jessie “Have you been wearing shorts?” So okay, this is a common belief in Filipino culture.
Filipino Culture is As Logical To Her as It is Sometimes Illogical to Me
While discussing the air theory with Jessie, she said something like “It is true, I must keep my skin from being exposed to the air.” This was after expressing my doubts. That often submissive tone about Jessie is gone and she is quite firm when she said it. So I asked her “Why is it true.” I was looking for evidence which seems logical to me. Her answer was again firm: “Because that is what we believe.” I followed up with so, “If if you believe something it must be true?” I don’t remember the answer but it was clear at this point that I was never going to convince her that air was good for her skin because that is what she believes.
I further came to understand that this is a deep seated belief and what she has grown up with and taken to be as certain to her as the sun is certain to me. I came to see it as part of Filipino culture, at least for Jessie and many others. It is as logical to her as it is illogical to me. So, I gave up and told her my next article will be “Because it is what we believe.” She laughed a little and I told her I was serious because I had just learned a bit more about Filipino culture.
I have been looking for something consistent that she has been exposed to since the rash kept getting worse. I’ve been a bit worried. She even had a fever for a bit. Which she is sure she didn’t. I wanted her to go to the doctor and she is pretty much allergic to doctors. The one thing I could find consistent in her activties over the time of this rash is chocolate so I have been poking fun at her about being allergic to chocolate. That too is completely out of the question for it. It is simply impossible.
Jessie hates to take any medicine but she’s been popping benedryl over the last few days. That is a clear indication that the itching is really bothering her. For me, her face being swollen is a little bit scary as I know what the next step in that is. That usually precedes an allergic reaction strong enough to cause breathing problems. I’m glad that I worry too much, especially about her.
So, I’ve come to accept this as per of her culture. That it is something she will believe and there is nothing I can do to change it. I don’t feel the need to change it. These are the fact of life to Jessie, something deeply ingrained her beliefs. I’ll just accept the difference between Western culture and Filipino culture and understand her thinking a little bit more.
Filed under: Filipino Culture
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