Clash of Spirits: The History of Power and Sugar Planter by Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr.

By Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr.

This article illuminates the oral traditions of the Philippines and the convergence of capitalism and the indigenous spirit international. the writer examines the social kin, cultural meanings and political struggles surrounding the increase of sugar haciendas on Negros in the course of the past due Spanish colonial interval, and their next transformation less than the aegis of the yank colonial country. Drawing on oral background, interviews and a wide range of assets culled from information in Spain, the U.S., the uk and the Philippines, the writer reconstructs the emergence of a sugar-planter type and its strategic maneuvers to realize hegemony. The booklet portrays neighborhood actors taking an energetic position in shaping the exterior forces that impinge on their lives. It examines hacienda existence from the indigenous standpoint of magic and spirit ideals, reinterpreting a number of severe stages of Philippine background within the approach. via reading mythic stories as bearers of ancient awareness, the writer explores the complicated interactions among neighborhood tradition, international interventions, and capitalist marketplace forces.

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It is my contention that the characteristics of the folkloric engkantos 34 chapter 2 have been culled from the friars’ idealized physiognomy and their historic sacerdotal misdemeanors. The engkanto belief mirrored those Caucasians dispersed throughout the islands who, because of their extremely small number, could hardly be considered as constituting a community in any given locality. In their imposing presence, the friars laid down new rules of the social game only they could break. They demanded silence in the rectory but broke it with their own noisy gatherings; their orders had to be obeyed lest the indio receive a severe beating; and their cravings for sexual gratification could not be spurned.

The mental construct of capital-as-evil was thus fashioned in the dialectics of a specific historical and structural conjuncture in which merchant capitalism was intertwined with the activities of multiple actors across the globe engaging in rumors, rituals, and revolutions the consequences of which were mediated in the colony by the Catholic establishment. The association of capital with evil was not intrinsic to the commodity form, as Michael Taussig (1980) has argued in the Latin American case, as though commodity relations could be abstracted from their historical embeddedness.

5 The features and qualities ascribed to these imagined preternatural entities are particularly revealing, the first in the list being an exemplary case. In a pioneering paper on “The Engkanto Belief,” the Jesuit Francisco Demetrio presents a portrait of the engkanto based on some eightyseven folk narratives obtained from the Visayas and northern Mindanao (Demetrio 1968). 6 Demetrio adds: Though beautiful and fairskinned, engkantos are said to be romantically attracted to a brown-skinned girl or boy.

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