After I read “A revealing map of the countries that are most and least tolerant of homosexuality” by Max Fisher where the writer said that he doesn’t know why Philippines has a high level of tolerance toward gays even if it’s a conservative Catholic country, I decided to write to Mr. Fisher in order to explain the interesting parts of Philippine culture and its treatment of gays. I just sent it last night, so I don’t know if he’ll reply. Anyway, here are the parts of my e-mail (I kind of revised it a bit for this blog):
Remember that the Catholic religion wasn’t the original religion of the Filipinos. It was brought by the Spaniards and imposed on the people. Even if many consider themselves Catholic, there is a phenomenon called split-level Catholicism wherein the individual retains non-Catholic beliefs even if they identify themselves as Catholic. These pre-Spanish beliefs could be one of the reasons why there is tolerance when it comes to gays. Why is that so? Let me talk about the babaylans.