First International Conference of Young Urban Researchers (FICYUrb)
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Romeo Galang, Jr.

Religious Practices and their Social Implication in Early 17th-Century Manila

Romeo Galang, Jr.
Department of Arts Studies, University of the Philippines, D

     Full text: Paper removed by author
     Last modified: May 16, 2007
     Presentation date: 06/11/2007 11:30 AM in ISCTE-II B201
     (View Schedule)

Manila in the 16th-century was a thriving entrepot of cultures, with lively communities of Asians living within the fortified city, as helpers, bakers and church servants. The latter exemplifies the role of race, since church singers came from the native population, while the musicians, in the case of the churches of Santo Domingo and the Jesuits, were black slaves. Recent researches show that the slave woodwind players and the church and choir helpers were being sought from south-east Asian centres like Malacca and Goa, when Acapulco in New Spain failed to provide them during the annual Manila galleon trade. An equally significant aspect concerns the Europeans' patronage of the arts, as shown by the role played by the high-ranking people in the city, through the confraternities, in endowing the churches with musicians and singers. A microcosm of the slaves' lives, the black slaves in particular, is presented, dealing on how they were treated by the confraternity members, who alloted rations for their housing, clothing and monthly subsistence. The effect of the church's prohibition on slavery is exemplified in cases of emancipated slaves in the early 17th century. The paper traces the life of the slaves until their freedom, through fleeting references to them, and its outcome in the context of an urban capital city. In a way, artists in colonial Manila show how marginalized peoples made in-roads into the core of the dominant peoples', i.e. Europeans', lives, as exemplified in religion, through the arts.

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