HomeManilavol. 8 no. 1 (2012)

Table Wars: Home Economics Becomes an Accidental Advocate for Philippine Culture, 1904-1922

Felice Prudente Santamaria

Discipline: Philippine History



Home Economics, a relatively new academic discipline when it was introduced into the Philippine public school curriculum in 1904, was supposed to teach the practical application of science to homemaking. Pioneering American teachers, recognizing the unique influence Filipinas had in society sought to direct that female power particularly in the family setting. Initial classroom material, particularly for nutrition and dietetics, failed to wean taste buds from native preferences to Americanized savors. As teaching strategies appropriate to the Filipina were shaped, textbooks with recipes of native foods, both those for everyday and those for special occasion, were disseminated across the archipelago. Cuisine is a valuable component of culture. Domestic science might have unexpectedly strengthened Filipino identity while influencing women to become modern homemakers.