Econonomic Activities of the Women of Batangas Province by Tarcila Malabanan, 1916 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Econonomic Activities of the Women of Batangas Province by Tarcila Malabanan, 1916 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Econonomic Activities of the Women of Batangas Province by Tarcila Malabanan, 1916

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1916 ethnographic paper written by one Tarcila Malabanan from .jpeg scans of the originals made available by the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. Corrections for grammar had been made in certain parts but no attempt was made to rewrite the original paper. Original pagination is indicated for citation purposes.

Henry Otley-Beyer Collection

[Cover page]

Tagalog Paper No. 281.
Tarcila Malabanan
  1. TAGALOG: Province of Batangas, Luzon
  2. Economic Life: Household Industries: Manufactures: Commerce.
  3. Social Life: General data: Education.


[p. 1]


Tarcila Malabanan

In Batangas, the “idle lady” does not exist. The woman who may be noted down in the census as having “no occupation” will be found upon close investigation to be not an idle, parasitical being depending merely on the bounty of a father, husband, or brother; but a person who more than earns her keep by managing a household, very often doing the work of cook, maid, and housekeeper, besides being now and then a muse and a seamstress. But setting aside the duties in the home, a great majority of the women are engaged in profitable activities outside of it. These activities are varied and multifarious. We may divide them into the following:

I. Professional. If we look at the records of the Bureau of Eduation, we shall find that very many women in Batangas are engaged in teaching. Most of these are municipal teachers drawing salaries of from ₱15 to ₱35, and a few are in the employ of the insular government, drawing from ₱40 to ₱100 a month. Women belonging to other professions are so few that quantity is negligible.

II. Industry and Manufacture. One of the important industries of Batangas is weaving; and this and all the steps connected with it are managed exclusively by women. We may note here that one of the steps connected with weaving is the knotting of fibers

[p. 2]

to make what is called “dinugtong” forms in itself a great industry and that many women earn from ₱.25 to ₱.75 a day through this kind of work.

There is a class of hand-embroidery known here in Manila as Batangas embroidery. This worked on several kinds of cloth – white cotton and linen cloths, silk and jusi, but more especially on piña. Most of this fine needlework is done by women from Taal and Batangas towns.

In Batangas, much crochet lace is also made, exclusively for American ladies living there.

This town also supplies many towns in the province with cooking and flower pots. Many of the pot-makers are women.

III. Trading-Business Transactions. But the great part of the economic activities of women consists of business transactions buying and selling goods for profit. This covers a wide range of capital from ₱5 to ₱10 to a few thousands.

The women of Batangas seem to think it their own particularly legitimate field of activity to own a store. These women merchants, especially those who deal in cloths and such other things as are imported from Manila, are really very active. In some towns as in Lipa, they have a sort of guild and they resist with vigor enactments of the municipal council which they think are prejudicial to their interests. In going to Manila, they often band themselves, and shop together and go home together. Some of the merchants of the larger towns go to smaller and more out-of-the-way towns and sell goods there on the days when they are not

[p. 3]

busy in their own towns.

Some other enterprising women deal in raw products as abaca, rice, etc. and sell in different places, sometimes to commercial houses in the city. These women handle hundreds of pesos a week and sometimes have a capital of several thousands. There are also many women who deal in jewelry. Sometimes they have very [missing word] capital, but they generally sell jewels for private individuals with the understanding that they may appropriate for themselves a commission which may be large or small according to their luck.

IV. Labor. On the farms, the peasant women, sewing the clothes, etc. may also help the men in the lighter work at the field. They do not plow, nor do they generally take the animals to pasture, but they help in sowing the seeds, in pulling up weeds, and in harvesting the rice. They also sometimes draw water from the wells.

Most of those connected with the laundering of clothes in Batangas are women. A great many wage-earning servants are also women.

V. Miscellaneous. We must not forget the seamstresses and dressmakers who sew the dresses for women and children as well as some of the simpler garments of men.

There are many women who are unwilling to stay idle in the intervals between the regular hours of house-work, and not having enough leisure to keep a “tienda” contrive little devices for earning money. Sometimes, they make little native cakes and send their servants or young children to peddle these. Sometimes, they sew a

[p. 4]

little for their neighbors, receiving a few silver coins for their work. In towns where weaving is an important industry as in Lipa, women spend their leisure hours knotting fibers of abaca.

Widows and old maids and such married women as have good-for-nothing husbands usually manage their land and other property.

In conclusion, we may state that in Batangas province, women have as many money-making activities as the men.

Notes and references:
Transcribed form “Economic Activities of the Women of Batangas Province,” by Tarcila Malabanan, written 1916, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Next Post Previous Post