Topic |  


Topic |  

sundry-thumbby Jes B. Tirol


Last Sunday I was discussing about same-sex marriage, which is now allowed in some countries in the world.  The main advocates of the same sex marriage are the homosexuals and the lesbians.

It is now accepted in science that there are sexual variances in humans, plants, animals, and insects that are brought about by nature.  The human sexual variants argued that it is not their fault that they are variants and demanded that they will be treated as such and allowed to enjoy their peculiar way of life.


Luckily or unluckily, some countries in the world have passed laws to allow the sexual variants to enjoy their way of life.  However, the main religions of the world still oppose the same sex marriage.

To assuage uneasy feelings and add more understanding about sexual variance, let us talk about some peculiar situations that      occur in biology such as hermaphrodites and peculiar behaviors that occur during pregnancies.


Hermaphrodites are plants, animals, or insects that have both the male and female reproductive organs.  The Sugboánon language has already the equivalent term, sibinsibínan.  The hermaphroditic organ is sibinsíbin in Binisayâ.

Therefore the Bisayans already know about hermaphrodites even before the coming of the Spaniards or Americans.



Agamic is the term used in biology for reproduction without the union of the two sexes or the asexual reproduction by splitting, as banana plants.  The Sugboánon language has already the equivalent term, síping.  Those that can reproduce by the agamic process is called sipíngan.



Pica is a morbid appetite for unusual or unfit food, occurring in some cases of hysteria and pregnancy.  The Sugboánon term for pica is ngálà or ngä.

We are very familiar with stories about husbands being requested by their pregnant wives to obtain fruits that are out of season.



Couvade (koo-vad) is equivalent to námkon in Binisayâ.  The Bisayan term ngálà and nàmkon is usually used interchangeably.  However, there is a difference.  Ngálà can only refer to unusual or queer desires of a pregnant woman.  Nàmkon cannotes a biological change in the body.  It can also apply to the husband or the wife.


We are very familiar with stories about husbands who vomit, eat unusual foods, or do queer things when their wife becomes pregnant and the wife did not exhibit anything unusual.

A námkon is a kind of psychosomatic behavior.  Psychosomatic means a condition that what the mind think will cause the body to change to conform to the thought.  We hear of stories that a child has a pink spot because when pregnant, the wife or husband nanámkon sa tambis (water apple).

Couvade or námkon can be manifested in many forms.  In the Travels of Marco Polo, he related an unusual practice of a tribe in what is now Western Yunan in China.

After the wife delivers the child, the child will be washed and wrapped in clothes.  Immediately the husband will lie on the bed with the child and will not get up for a period of forty (40) days, except for personal necessity.  (Laurence Bergreen, “Marco Polo”, First Vintage Books Edition, 2008, p. 188).  Marco Polo did not say who will feed the child.  He only said that the wife will feed the husband.

Modern anthropologists confirm that what Marco Polo had seen occurred also in diverse places like Africa, Japan, India, and the natives of America.  (Bergreen, p. 189).

A medical research was conducted in year 2002 by two Canadian doctors.  They observed that the expectant father produce hormonal changes during the pregnancy of their wife.  They noticed changes in the men’s level of the hormone prolactin, which is the hormone involved in the production of milk.  In other words, the body of the men imitated the bodily changes of the pregnant wife associated to motherhood.  (Bergreen, p. 189).

Therefore it is probable that in Marco Polo’s story it was the husband that suckled the child.  That was why during his time nobody will believe the strange stories of Marco Polo.

There is yet no medical explanation why the body of the husband will imitate the bodily changes of the wife.  Suffice it to say that it has been scientifically observed that a couvade (namkon) by the husband sometimes occurs.

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