If it’s summer, it’s tuli time!

Learn Bisaya/Cebuano

It’s now summer time here in the Philippines and at this certain period of the year it does not only mean Holy Week and endless bonding of family and friends at the beach. It is pure and simple Tuli (Circumcision) Time! We scheduled my son’s circumcision, who is turning 9 this November, on the  2nd week of  April since it’s already school break, too. I accompanied him to the doctor’s office where the minor surgery was made and despite the anesthesia administered to him I still felt the great pain that my son had to endure all throughout the procedure.

While circumcision may be highly accepted and practiced here in the Philippines I was taken aback when I discovered that it is not entirely the case with some Western nations.  According to Wikipedia there are some countries who oppose it because it is considered as a pagan ritual while there are also religious denominations who require men to be circumcised in order to become its members.  Clearly it is not only considered as a medical practice but it also has cultural and religious significance for various races and ethnicities.

Waiting to get the deed done

Waiting to get the deed done

However, it is entirely good to know that the procedure can protect our children from the havocs of cancer specifically cancer of the cervix and the pelvis. It can also protect the male species from the dangers of HIV. While it is already a widespread practice in the US as well as in Canada to circumcise boys during infancy or shortly after they were born it is quite entirely different here in the Philippines.  Most of the boys are required to undergo the procedure in their pre-teen years, specifically during the ages of 11 or 12 years old. Although it is of the parents’ precaution to have their sons circumcised at an earlier age,  such as with our case, the pre-teen years are supposed to be  the more ideal one.  According to the doctor who did the surgery to my son, it is better for boys to be circumcised during such a pre-teen age because by that time the kids are already more able to take care of themselves and can handle the pain more tolerably.

Army performing circumcisions

Army performing circumcisions

For several years now an annual Operation Tuli happens in any particular barangay or community here in the Philippines. I consider it as a positive thing because it has become a highly acceptable routine for parents with pre-teen boys to voluntarily bring the kids to the health center or to a specific venue where Operation Tuli is being held. I think it has also increased the people’s awareness with regard to this very basic procedure for men which has been rightfully termed as a rite to passage and a rite to manhood.

A nephew of mine was also circumcised along with my son and he was 11 years old.  He has been pestering my sister, his mother, with regard to the circumcision thing as early as February. When I learned about his constant pestering a few weeks before their circumcision I asked him why was he so “makulit” (nagger) about it at all.  He pulled me aside and with not much ado whispered into my ears, “ Tata,( his monicker for Tita which means auntie) gusto na nako magpatuli ba! (I really wanted to be circumcised already!)  Kay ako ray ginakantiyawan sa akoang mga classmates kada mag-ihi ko sa CR! ( Because I have been the butt of my classmates’ jokes everytime I pee in the CR! ) SO!! That was actually his primary concern,  straight from my nephew’s mouth. A rather innocent statement but something that is really  BIG DEAL for him all along.

Post Author: SharonMae (2 Posts)

My full name is Sharon Mae Roquia- Calingasan and I am Sharon or Shawie to my friends and close buddies and Bebot to my family and relatives. My nickname is kinda queer, because it’s almost always a nickname for guys here in Davao but was I glad because Black Eyed Peas released this “Bebot” song which is supposed to mean a hot chick! Seriously, I am a full-time mother of two hyper boys ages 8 and 6 and wife to an adorable Cavitenio man named Joseph. I work part-time online as a writer/rewriter through Odesk although I still have to really explore my capacities as an online worker. My interests are music, performing arts such as interpretative dances and literary works mostly fiction. I simply love to sing! My friends always try to compare me with the singer Sharon Cuneta but I am a hundred and one percent sure that I’m way better than her! Ops, I’m only joking hehe! Music is very much a part of my life and I adore ballads, jazz and r&b repertoire. Most modern singers are to die for when it comes to talent but for me nothing can surpass the talent of the late Karen Carpenter. Sorry this is getting so lengthy I almost forgot it’s just a short bio and not an article for review! Before I forget, I’d like to add in here that I live in San Vicente Village, Panabo City although we sometimes stay at my hubby’s hometown in Cavite so that leaves us as a family with NPA( No Permanent Address) I guess!  I think this will suffice things for now, thank you so very much for giving me this opportunity to be a part of LIP!!


Comments

  1. Bryan G says

    I am afraid that your statements regarding circumcision giving protection from various diseases – especially HIV has yet to be proved. There is, however ,evidence that many children have been mutilated by the practice which can also cause death through infections. Circumcision is not practiced in many western countries except for some medical conditions which require it.

    • says

      Hi Bryan G, thanks a lot for your opinion. As I have said I was taken aback to know that in many western countries it is not practiced unless required but I entirely respect their stand on it.

  2. says

    So you drank the kool-aid and followed all the other lemmings. You should have done more research. See: http://www.circumcision.org/studies.htm
    You stated; “Most of the boys are required to undergo the procedure in their pre-teen years, specifically during the ages of 11 or 12 years old.” WHERE AND WHO REQUIRES THIS DISFIGURATION?
    While I know it is common in the PH for boy wanting to be like their peers, it is only ignorance that Filipinos allow this to continue.

    • Boon says

      Given a choice between a circumcised one and an uncircumcised one and the choice is clear LOL. I say let the women vote on this.

      • Jeffrey B. Garcia says

        @Boon – Why should the women decide? It’s the boys’ bodies, it’s their decision. There should not be a debate about that.

    • says

      Hi Chris, thanks for your comments. I know you were just speaking frankly about the topic. I just wanted to share about it and that it is something that is practiced here in our country, however, I completely respect the stand of other nationalities on this regard.

      • says

        The overwhelming majority of Christian denominations neither require nor encourage it. In fact, even the Catholic Church formally condemned the ritual observance of circumcision in an Ecumenical Council in 1442. The overwhelming majority of circumcisions now performed have little to do with religion, but are due to a wide variety of reasons, principally cultural and sociological.

        • Jeffrey B. Garcia says

          I agree with Chris. And sharonmae, the way you share the event is as if it’s some fun thing to view. I bet you wouldn’t say that if you were at the other end of the exposure. You have no idea, or are simply turning an ignorantly cruel blind eye, to the embarrassment, shame, pain, and trauma–the silent question of “why?” and the muted cries of “please stop!”–those boys are made to go through in the most undignified manner. That will scar their psyche, not just their bodies. I don’t get it… We induct boys early on to a life of violence and ignorant cruelty like this, and then we despise the men they become. Let me explain that: Violence begets violence. Once those young ones’ minds have been messed up with this, to whom do you think they’re going to take out their anger and frustration on?

  3. Boon says

    Yikes Circumcision at 8,9,0, 11 years plus years of age. In the states it happens within months of birth and it is done for medical reasons and nothing more. Muslims and Jews are required to have it but the reason eludes me.

  4. Dan says

    I will say this about this subject…….Those men who did not get or have a cirucmcision…enjoy sex way more than those that did…..reason.much more feeling down there…..and as far as not having the circumcision…does not mean you are per say you the man are proteted from HIV or any other disease…I sure am glad that my parents over 60 years ago chose not to have that done to me….and I sure have had my share of exciting moments over the years……so each to their own…but see no real reason for the procedure my self……..

    • says

      Hi Dan, thanks a lot for your sincere opinion on the topic and for sharing your views. Here in the Philippines it is not mandatory but a voluntary act. Appreciate your insights on the topic, have a great day!

      • Newfad says

        You say that it is voluntary – that is completely untrue. I had the unique experience of being an uncut filipino until I was 13 when my uncles found out. Once they found out that me and my 2 brothers (who were all canadian born) were uncircumcised we were pretty much ridiculed and my mother was pressured by “experts” – namely ignorant family members – including a Doctor and our local priest that we weren’t “men”. My older brother had complications during his circumcision and all three of us have horrible looking circumcisions. In fact most of the filipinos that I see that have gotten this awful procedure look like someone has taken a hacksaw to their penis!

        You’re stating that this “procedure” protects against cancer and HIV with very little proof on the subject. It shows absolute ignorance to say that getting a flap of skin removed will help protect against HIV.

        As well do you even live in the US or Canada? I live in Canada and circumcision is no longer an “mandatory” operation – in fact Doctors here recognize that it serves no purpose.

        People have also mentioned that circumcision is due to our Roman Catholic background – have you ever gone to Europe? Uncircumcised is the norm!

        Have you also heard that circumsizing women is a good thing too in muslim countries? Maybe we should start mutilating filipina’s to have them see what it feels like.

        I have always regretted that my mom gave in to peer pressure from my family to have this unnecessary procedure and I will never choose to have my children go thru it!

    • Biz Doc says

      hi dan,

      maybe a better point of view would be, will the partner/spouse of the circumcised enjoy it more than the partner/spouse of the uncircumcised ?

      not to get too technical but there is such a procedure for circumcision that retains a bulb of foreskin under the glans, which during intercourse actually serves as an additional stimulator for the female genitalia.

      what the filipino manhood lacks in length relative to better-endowed races are more than made up both by prowess and by that characteristic nub left behind after circumcision.

      if you don’t agree with this statement, go back to early american history in the southwest when filipinos were first mentioned. season filipino farm workers were often driven out of town by the white menfolk who discovered that their women tended to “socialize” with them a lot, if not running away with them outright.

      it prompted bar owners to put up signs on the window saying, “No Dogs or Filipinos Allowed.”

      that’s compelling proof right there on the “benefits” of circumcision! hehe ” )

      cheers,

      • Papa Duck says

        Biz

        I tend to agree with you being circumsized myself. Also hygenically i think its wise to get it done too. Take are Doc

        • says

          Hi, Biz— I think these days it’s a matter of choice. I have a five year old boy who is no circumcised. Yes, we did ask our local GP—erm, she’s a Filipina if there’s a weight to it. But anyway she said it’s our choice and it’s not really practiced here. We did inquire about hygiene as well. Basically these days it’s more cultural, social status etc.etc. apparently… But personally I belong in the older world, I would love my boy to have one. But this is his time not mine so he can do it if he wants to when his older.

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        Hey Biz, I am skeptical about what you said about the “bulb of foreskin” left under the glans after a “certain procedure of circumcision” serving as an “additional stimulator” for the woman during sexual intercourse. Correct me if I am wrong, how can the “bulb of foreskin” which is located UNDER the glans stimulate the clitoris which is located ABOVE the glans during “normal” intercourse? The couple has to be creative in their lovemaking positions in order for that extra skin hanging down under the glans make contact with the clitoris. True, also that vaginal stimulation plays a part in pleasuring the woman, but if you ask any woman, I am almost positive that they will tell you (unless you get slapped in the face first, hahahaha) that they achieve orgasm that much quicker with clitoral, rather than vaginal, stimulation. :)

        Regarding the Pinoy farm hands taking white women away from the white men, notably during the 30s in the Pacific Seaboard, I believe that the attraction the Pinoys receive from white women of the time has more to do with the women’s who, btw, were mostly bar hostesses, rejection of the white men of the time, who were, in general, unkempt and unhygienic, loud-mouthed, and ungentlemanly, than the loose skin hanging under the glans of the Pinoy’s penises. Hahahaha

        On the other hand, the Pinoy farm hands of the time “strut out like peacocks” when they go to town on weekends. They were for the most part, meticulous in appearance, dressed nattily in zoot suits with their thick, black hair slicked back, and knew how to treat women – a far cry from the white men who were generally seen by the white women as slobs.

          • says

            Hi Jeffrey – Just to let you know, Ricardo Sumilang was my alter ego in times past. Thank heavens he is no longer here. LOL I am not sure that I deserve such a lofty praise as I know many others in the LiP community contribute more than I do. I see LiP like the barrio sari-sari store of a bygone era located by the dusty national road where barrio men (and women) freshly washed of mud from the fields congregate at the end of each working day, drinking Marka Demonyo, enjoying pulutan and shooting the breeze until the break of dawn. As you may have noticed, Ricardo was one of the greatest bullsh…er of that era. LOL

    • ian says

      Dan says:

      May 19, 2011 at 6:24 am

      I will say this about this subject…….Those men who did not get or have a cirucmcision…enjoy sex way more than those that did…..

      Dan- obviously only men who have had sex before AND after circumcision can state what you say – since you have nothing to compare to !!

      • Gary says

        “obviously only men who have had sex before AND after circumcision can state what you say – since you have nothing to compare to”

        Personally I would think that a guy would have more feeling pre-circumcision, however, there is no possible way to compare one person’s sensation to another’s, whether one is circumcised or not. That’s just ridiculous. There is no way to gauge whether sex feels better to one person than to another.

        Regarding HIV transmission, there does seem to be evidence that the risk of transmission of HIV to circumcised men during straight, heterosexual intercourse is less than to non-circumcised men.

        I am not a parent, but if I did have a son, I would strongly object. That being said, I don’t think it significantly harms a guy, and if it’s socially expected, then a guy might feel better about himself if circumcised. Doing the procedure at anytime past infancy seems awfully, ummm, I have no words :-D

    • says

      Hello Filipino Friend – Perhaps you did not notice, but on the comment area it asks nicely for you to use your “real name” when commenting here, and I doubt that “Filipino Friend” is your real name.

      As for your comment, in many ways I agree. However, you yourself are doing the same thing that you are complaining about by grouping all foreigners as one. Not all “non-Filipinos” do what you are saying, yet you seem to be saying it is the case for everybody who is not Filipino.

      • Jeffrey B. Garcia says

        MindanaoBob, I am a Filipino. But let me tell you, I am with you. You tell that Filipino Friend dude! He needs to be re-educated regarding Genital Integrity and how it is a HUMAN RIGHT of every child, boy or girl. Anyways, I think the same people he’s quoting from are the very same who have recently admitted that circumcision does not prevent hiv at all, and that what it does is in fact expose the male body to greater risks of sexually transmitted diseases. They are basing their latest opinion on the fact the US has the greatest rate of male circumcision in the western world yet also has the greatest number of hiv cases.

  5. says

     Circumcision is not reserved for young boys only — In many parts of the world, especially Africa and the Arab nations, young girls are also circumcised. With girls, it is usually called appropriately “Female Genital Mutilation” (FGM).

    
The purpose of FGM is to curb the sexual desire of girls and women and preserve their “sexual honor” before marriage. The massive mutilation is irreversible and extremely painful, and is usually done to young girls.

Practiced in Indonesia, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, amongst others, FGM is carried out with knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades. The mutilation is usually done without anesthetics. Instruments are usually not sterile. Mortality is high.

    The practice has dreadful costs: many girls die afterwards, the survivors suffer their whole life from the psychological and medical consequences of the operation. All are traumatized and suffer from adverse health effects during marriage and pregnancy.

    I, for one, see no logic in waiting until a boy is 11, and able to feel and remember the pain involved, when it could easily be done, as in my case, shortly after birth where the child has NO recollection of the event.

    • says

      Hi Rich321, thanks so much for sharing valuable info. I have read sometime ago in Readers Digest about a Sudanese supermodel who spoke about the risks of FGM and the suffering she experienced from it.

      Thanks for your candid opinions, have a nice day!

  6. Andrew Molina says

    I grew up in the Philippines and immigrated to the States when I was 13. I was circumcised when I was 12 along with two cousins in the Philippines. I do remember it being a traumatic experience at the time, but I got over it pretty quickly and it hardly crosses my mind nowadays. Just as a matter of preference, I’m glad I’m circumcised regardless of when it happened.

    I used to never tell anyone here in the States about when I got circumcised because of all the negative reactions I received. However, I’ve done some growing up since and accept the fact that this is part of my past, my heritage, and that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. This practice is so wrapped up in the Filipino culture that I don’t see it changing anytime soon. It is a rite of passage to manhood, and for better or for worse, it is one of the things that foster a sense of tradition, belonging, and community in the Philippines. Unless you’ve been a part of it, it’s hard to comprehend.

  7. says

    Hi sharonmae – you sure didn’t shy away from what can be a controversial subject. Thank you for the cultural lesson. Good job on your first article (I think it is your first anyway).

  8. Andrew Molina says

    I second Randy C. Good job on your first article! It’s an interesting subject well worth discussing.

  9. says

    There is zero evidence that circumcision has any medical benefits.

    The care and cleaning of the male sexual organ, uncircumcised, is still easier and quicker than that of the female sexual organ.

    Circumcision is a cultural and religious observance dating back thousands of years to the time of Abraham, possibly earlier.

    The first documented proof of circumcision not based in religious texts is in ancient Egypt.

    Thank G-d I have no sons yet! Oh, the pain!

  10. El Moro says

    Circumcision and having tattoo probably are products of culture and tradition. I wonder which is more painful?…

    • says

      Hi El Moro, thanks for dropping by. I cannot entirely explain with profoundness with regard your question as I am a female but judging from what I witnessed during my son’ s circumcision I can conclude it’s a notch higher than pain from getting a tattoo. However, this is only based on personal observation. :) Have a great day!

      • El Moro says

        Thanks Sharonmae for your reply. I fully understand your explanation. Anyway, I posted the question about the degree of pain between circumcision and tattooing for the purpose of highlighting the fact that these are two cultural (and religious) practices which date back since time immemorial. Explanations as to why these are being done and why should be not are multiple to the point that experts are born overnight. For me, it takes one to experience it and keep the lesson to him/her self. I am circumcised and my parents did not force me to do it. It was my choice during my teen age days. Well, I am happy for it. It both meet the “form and function” requirements. LOL. As for Tattoo? No, I won’t try it. I think its more painful and besides I don’t think I have use for it. I’m not an artist or a rock star anyway…

      • says

        Sharonmae, Why do some boys when being circed,seem to not have much pain and others scream and fight to not be done? One mother brought in her 3 sons, all would be done by the same nurse. One boy never acted like it hurt and the other boys had to be restrained. After it was over, they all were very happy to have the new look and seemed to like it.

        • Jeffrey B. Garcia says

          Maria, that’s simple. Not everybody has the same threshold for pain. And that seemingly happy look after the procedure? That’s not enjoyment, that’s denial. Denial that you’ve been made to suffer, denial that you’ve been shamed into belonging to a second class gender-race, denial that you’re crying inside. Not everything is as it seems. Sometimes you have to take a look from the inside out to have a real understanding.

  11. james browning says

    hello sharonmae , good article I have sevrel nephews in the Philippines and I did not know they waited untill they reached that age, I myself am glad my parents had mine when I was a baby, but I do respect other cultures and I am sure some of there reasons are valid, all and all good article and I hope to read more of your post.

    • says

      Hi James Browning, appreciate your comments. You are indeed right, it is a highly cultural thing with valid reasons that should be respected. Thanks and have a great day! :)

  12. says

    I just had a revelation!

    I should write a song!

    Let’s write a chorus right now!

    “If it’s summer time, it’s tuli time
    let me get it done, I’ll stand in line
    Let there be the heat, let there be the rain
    Let there be the knife, I don’t feel the pain

    Anybody want to finish the song?

  13. says

    Wow. Maybe you can learn something new every day. I checked out that CDC link FF linked above and clearly accoding to that website…there is indeed scientific evidence that being circumsised does lower the rate of HIV infection. They have studies listed.
    Like a lot of American boys I was circumsised as a baby. But, in HIV education in my American high school and college that was never mentioned. I can see why. It could be seen as irresponsible protection from a deadly serious disease. Still I’d rather know the truth.

  14. malcolm says

    Hi
    Circumcision, unless on medical grounds, is totally wrong and is mutilation of the body which can lead to all sorts of medical problems. Ask the child if they want it done…of course they don`t .
    Malcolm

  15. Bryan G says

    My oldest son was circumcised for medical reasons – in Scotland where the practice is not common,he caught some kind of infection and suffered weeks of pain. I saw the results of this going wrong in a modern sterile hospital – how much greater the chance of infection in third world conditions. I have done some reading and research on this – there are conflicting opinions as to the benefits but there are some studies that say it increases the risk of male to female HIV transmission. As far as the female equivalent is concerned it is a barbarous practice which most countries outlaw. In the countries where it is practiced it is claimed to be an Islamic requirement – it is nothing of the kind ,there is no justification for this in Islam.
    As far as male circumcision is concerned, parents should be aware that there are risks as with all surgery and it should not be taken lightly – for myself ,it would only be done if there were medical reasons for it. I am a great believer in the maxim ‘If it aint broke dont fix it’.

  16. Jim Hannah says

    Hmmm. It’s a brave subject for sure. There is no logical reason for circumcision unless it is medically desirable, that’s how I see it. I have many Filipino friends who allow it to happen to their children, and I suspect that will continue for many generations yet, because the children and parents alike are conditioned to see it as a rite-of-passage. I guess it’s a bit like believing in God really; people generally do it because their parents did it.

    I guess the main thing is that it’s not (usually) harmful, and so we should have bigger issues to deal with in the world before we make an issue out of this one.

    I thought I’d do a little research as to what percentage of Men worldwide are circumcised, and the consensus across various sites is that it’s about 30%, mainly Jewish and Muslim men. I came across an interesting statement on Answers.com which I would like to share though, purely for entertainment:

    “Circumcision is very common in Israel, where there is a large Jewish population”
    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_percentage_of_circumcised_men#ixzz1MnULUe3P

  17. Jack says

    Sharonmae, I am still in my first year living full time here, and when my wife announced one Sunday morning a few weeks ago that two of our nephews were going in that morning for some kind of mass circumcision event, it came as a real surprise to me. In the U.S., I believe most doctors nowadays — at least the ones I know — regard it as a religious superstition with no medical benefit. I did my best to talk them out of the idea, without success — it sure does seem to be deeply entrenched in the local culture.
    Seeing what happened with our two nephews made me even more convinced that this is a really bad idea. Our nephews were stuck in the house wearing only t-shirts for most of a week before they healed up enough to put pants on again. Kids of that age have very little concept of hygiene — at least in our case my wife is a nurse, so they got disinfected and dressings changed periodically, but I can’t begin to imagine what happens in families living in crowded and unsanitary conditions where there is no one with the skills to take care of these kids properly — I would bet the infection rate is quite high.
    As for the idea of circumcision being protection against AIDS, I don’t think that one holds water — if someone isn’t having sex with HIV positive partners, there’s no AIDS risk to protect against, and if they are, surely no one would suggest that being circumcised is a substitute for a condom (or, better yet, being more careful about who they have sex with).
    I am a guest in this country and it isn’t my place to try to change the culture, but I have to say that on this one I will continue to try to persuade my family members not to do it.
    Jack

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      ” I am a guest in this country and it isn’t my place to try to change the culture, but I have to say that on this one I will continue to try to persuade my family members not to do it.”

      Lots of luck, Jack, I can tell you right now, as noble as your intentions are, it would be a losing battle. Circumcision is deeply entrenched in Filipino culture, and as the article stated, it is a rite of passage for Filipino boys. Woe to the Filipino boy who remains uncircumcised, for he will be the butt of jokes. If you are a Filipino teenager, there is probably nothing more embarassing than to be called, “Supot” (uncircumcised). The procedure is more peer-pressure and culture-driven than anything else, in my opinion.

      • Jeffrey B. Garcia says

        Thank you, Jack. It’s not a losing battle, maybe a long one. Culture is man-made. And like anything made by man, it can be changed. It can be flexed to the relevance of the times.

  18. Bob New York says

    I believe when I was born ( a ” few ” decades ago ” ) circumscision of male babies was almost a routine practice. It seems opinions and the validity on this topic have changed in recent years and for many reasons as it keeps comming up in many places and articles.

    I was kind of surprised when I first learned of ” Tuli ” in The Philippines although I would not criticise it as it seems to be part of the culture. How many times have I read that as a visitor or foriegn resident no matter what you say or do you are not really going to change anything. I would just accept something like ” Tuli ” as a cultural difference from the USA. I have read that it is like a rite of passage for the male Filipino and possibly even some kind of celebration.

    It might be interesting to learn some of the history and background of how ” Tuli ” as applied to The Philippines came about.

    • says

      hi Bob New York, thanks for your opinions. Your suggestion regarding history and background of “tuli” in the Phils. well noted, I think that would be a great topic. Maybe in that light other nationalities will also come to understand more why the practice became deeply ingrained in the local culture.

  19. KeithF says

    Rather then play into the brewing hornets nest, I will just share our experience. Our older son was born in Gensan. Yes, in the states boys are circumcised as infants, usually before leaving the hospital if the parents so wish. Many times a nurse will do it on the departure day. My wife and I talked about it and agreed we wanted it done before they came to the states, so while at the hospital anyway, it seemed like the perfect time.
    Little did I know, we had to find a surgeon, reserve an operating room, and answer about 50 questions on why we were doing this to our baby. Something that takes little time and that nurses routinely perform here in the states, took us 4 days to arrange. All turned out well, and as an infant we know he will not remember any discomfort like 9-12 year old boys will. ;)

    • says

      I don’t know if circumcision has any medical benefits. But I had my son circumcised because his dad was circumcised. Most of the men in his and my family are circumcised. We decided to get it over with before we left the hospital right after his birth because we did not have to pay extra for the procedure, since it was covered by insurance as long as it’s done before leaving the hospital. If we have it done later in his life, we would have to pay US$800-1,000 co-pay, that is if we have insurance, and more if we don’t.

  20. says

    The practice is certainly based on religion – Jan 1 used to be celebrated by Christians as the Feast for the Circumcision of Christ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_the_Circumcision_of_Christ

    And if Jesus Christ was circumcised, why shouldn’t you be, too?

    More, following the custom of naming people based on what the feast was (either an event or of a saint) on the day they were born, people have been named Circumcision, so one hears stories of an aunt named Tita Tule.

    And Jack, while foreigners (in the Philippines) are excused from being circumcised, it would be a great catastrophe for your nephews (if they are Filipinos planning to stay in the Philippines and most probably marrying Filipinas) if they should remain uncircumcised. The practice is so embedded in Filipino culture that the Cebuano word for uncircumcised is a taunt. And whatever mistakes, failures or shortcomings, or, worse, “un-manly” actions your nephews would do or have, will be attributed their being uncircumcised. It’s wrong, but that is what the culture is. ;-)

    With a little prodding, I can describe the gory details of the different ways I remember circumcision was being done during the time I had mine…

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        “With a little prodding, I can describe the gory details of the different ways I remember circumcision was being done during the time I had mine…”

        Here’s a forceful shove, Bdul. We’re all ears about the different ways circumcission was being done during the time you had yours. Allow me to tell mine first, but to be clear, I had mine done at the provincial hospital and the doctor and nurses there did a botched up job that my Mom had to take me to my doctor in Manila to correct the mistake done at the provincial hospital.

        This is how circumcission was being done in my barrio during my time. The boy is taken to the river bank, usually by cousins and friends, generally of the same age, to meet the “mang-tutule” (the person performing the circumcission). The undersized penis is laid out on a flat rock, the foreskin is stretched out, a razor blade is held against the exposed skin, and in one fell swoop, the “mang-tutule” strikes the razor blade with a rock with enough force to split the skin wide open. Just like that, in a “split” second, it’s done. No anesthesia, no sterile pads, no medicine. Nothing. The whimpering boy is then taken to the river to wash off the blood, then the “mang-tutule” spits out tobacco ground from his mouth and applies it to the wound.

        To make matters worse for the crying boy, not from the scene, he sees a bunch of scantily-clad young girls bathing in the river. The boy is only human, so begins the natural stirrings occuring at the point where it should not yet be stirred, considering the circumstances. How cruel can sometimes nature be? :) The whole thing is all taken in good humor. It’s part of Filipino culture handed down from generation to generation.

        So, good luck to those who think they can change the culture. :)

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          Correction: Sentence in the above post should read, “To make matters worse for the crying boy, not FAR from the scene, he sees a bunch of scantily-clad young girls bathing in the river.”

          • Jonathan says

            Ricardo,

            Yes, that type of circumcision are for tough boys, hehehe, no not me, I went to a doctor to make “tule”, with anesthesia and all. But the hard part is, when I realized how pretty and gorgeous the nurse was, it started to you-know-what and it hurts! Hahahah! Anyways, young boys are not advised to look at girls when you had your cirmcumsion done to avoid the pain, because “mangangamatis yan” and so they say in Tagalog.

            • Ricardo Sumilang says

              I know what you mean, Jonathan. I had mine done at the Zambales provincial hospital when I was 10, and it was pretty hard to act nonchalant when a bunch of pretty nurses are gathered around you on the operating table, giggling and carrying on. To make matters worse, my uncle who accompanied me to the hospital (he was close to my age) persuaded me to go to the movies afterwards. Can’t remember the name of the movie, pretty sure it wasn’t “bomba”, but there were enough pretty girls in the film to give me “kamatis.” Sure was painful. LOL

              • Jonathan says

                Oh man, you got the guts to watch the movies after that?? I must be some kind of sissy, hahah, coz after anestheisa worned out I was crying for my mama…lol..Nice memories though, no regrets at all!

        • Papa Duck says

          Ricardo,

          I got shivers just reading about it. An awful lot of suffering, thats cruel having those girls swimming nearby. But your right, it will never get changed. Thats culture and culture lasts forever. Have a nice day.

        • donn says

          sir ricardo,

          in our town we call this procedure as “pokpok” and i was circumcised this way. .and for the boys, it has a more “macho” effect as oppose to those procedure done by a doctor.hehehe so for “anesthesia” , you only need a block of ice (which you can buy for P1 during those times), then punch a hole in it big enough to squeeze your pen_s into it, wait to numb while chewing on guava leaves to be spit when the “labaha” splits the expose skin and thats it..so you only need an ice and guava leaves nothing more.. it sure was a hell of a fun doing something only once for the rest of your lives, even at a tender age of 8 and doing it with friends and cousins sure well generates lots of laugh during one of those “inumans” after all those years that you havent seen each other.hehehe was i traumatize?not at all..would i do it again should a need arise even at the age of 35?i say lets get it on!!!hehehe oh memories…

          donn

          • Jonathan says

            Donn,

            Do it again at the age of 35??? Lol, “makunat na yan”, you will need a chainsaw or butcher’s knife for that foreskin.. :)

          • Ricardo Sumilang says

            Donn, where in the Philippines are you from? Your mention of “pokpok”, “labaha”, and guava leaves jogged my memories back to those days. You are right, we called it “pokpok” in Zambales also, and it was a “labaha” (shaving razor), to put it more accurately, not a razor blade, that was used to cut the foreskin. Also, it was chewed guava leaves that were applied to the wound to stanch the bleeding, not ground tobacco, as I have described above. As for the ice, I don’t recall it being used in my days, but it’s a heck of an idea in place of anesthesia – another amazing example of Filipino ingenuity.

            Yeah, Donn, those were fond memories of the good, old days in the province when everything were so much simpler. So nice to relive those memories with old friends during a “tagay” session in front of the barrio sari sari store at dusk when the barrio comes alive.

  21. Marcel says

    can protect our children from the havocs of cancer specifically cancer of the cervix and the pelvis. It can also protect the male species from the dangers of HIV

    Holy crap, where did you get this nonsense!
    I did not finish reading entire article and I had to respond.
    I work in health care and so much disinformation should not be published anywhere!!!

  22. Lea says

    SharonMae,

    Welcome and congratualtions for becoming a contributor here in LIP! Thanks for bringing this issue up. Evidently, any personal preferences is always a good discussion topic. :) Just like Keith above, as a parent, I will also share my experience on this one.

    Not until when I was pregnant with my son, I personally didn’t know that in the US, they do it as early as infancy. I mean, among other things that I didn’t know. :) Being born and raised in the Philippines, I witnessed relatives, neighbors and schoolmates endured pain, and wearing adult (long) t-shirts as cover-ups. :) Though my husband and I already made up our mind, I still did some readings then, and the more it became easier for me to decide. Our PCP also explained the pros and cons. Anyway, he did the procedure when my son was 3 days old, 2 days before we checked out from the hospital. When he did it, I only heard my son cried for about a minute or 2, and that was it. Glad that we did it then, because my son is turning 8 this June and knowing that he’s “allergic” to pain, that will not be easy.

  23. Marcel says

    On the topic of circumcision itself:

    I am quite opposed to it. In the past there have been many studies done claiming that it has many medical benefits. (Same like drug companies have made to order studies performed on effectiveness of their drugs). Nowadays most studies show minimal benefit. Actually, considering possible complications like infections and inflammation causing badly scarring or even loss of appendage, there is not much reason to perform this barbaric procedure these days. Circumcision can have some benefits in less developed counties with lower hygiene standards and more diseases, otherwise it remains as one of the manifestations of religious believes that is deeply entrenched in peoples minds and has no place in 21st. century. According to latest studies even in USA, country overrun by Christians, number of newborn circumcised is much lower then in the past. In a few decades there will be lot more uncircumcised men than circumcised.
    Food for thought for believers, if we were made in gods image, how come there is a need by humans to change gods perfect design?

  24. Isagani Cruz says

    Although I am myself circumcised, I think circumcision is barbaric at best. There have been a couple of posts stating that a child who was circumcised shortly after birth doesn’t even remember. However, there have been studies showing an increase in stress hormone (cortisol) levels when neonates are circumcised. The grown-up child might not remember, but still you’re subjecting him (as a baby) to an enormous amount of stress during the process. Circumcision is not something for the parents to decide — let the child make that call. Lastly, the American Academy of Pediatrics states: “Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”

    • Lea says

      What if your parents asked you then, do you think you were capable of making decision at that time? Don’t you think it’s still going to end up with parents making decision to their sons?

      I read the one you’re talking about here: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;103/3/686

      However, it did say after that….
      “In the case of circumcision, in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child’s current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child. To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision. It is legitimate for parents to take into account cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions, in addition to the medical factors, when making this decision.”

      So, what you call barbaric now, may not be barbaric to your parents then.

      • Isagani Cruz says

        The memories are tattooed on my brain: I didn’t want to have it done, but they pretty much forced me to do it. While I love my parents, I stick to my point that the practice is barbaric. What my parents thought (or did not think) back then is inconsequential.

  25. Rob says

    I can imagine the ridicule and taunts from the other kids if you where a boy and did not
    go along with the rest of the gang. The social stigma of not being circumcised
    for a teenager could be cruel.
    Thanks for sharing this insight on Philippine culture

    • says

      Hi Rob thanks for your comments. Honestly, I was expecting that this topic can earn a lot of reaction (both positive and negative). I do not mean to malign any race but was just sharing an experience that is considered as c0mmon here in the country during the summer time. As a first timer in the roster of guest writers here in this web mag this sure is one baptism of fire (so to say!) But I deeply appreciate all of the opinions and views of the readers. Hope you’re having a great day!! :)

  26. Kevin Kasperbauer says

    Hi Sharon Mae,
    I read this web site nearly daily, but comment rarely. As I’m sure you’ve learned after a day of comments from readers; in this 21st century, the countries with the most advanced medical systems such as the USA and European nations, do not see any medical reason to perform circumcision. But cultural ties and practices are very strong everywhere, and in the USA it is a common practice still for it to be done if the boy’s father and the other males in the family have it.

    Your article is about having it done on your son at an unusually early age – 9 years old. His doctor said that early is better. With that being said, here is the thing about it that I don’t quite understand. Why not just do it at birth, when the boy is two or three days old? That is the normal case in the USA (for those that want their sons circumcised.)

    My sons and their cousins and friends were all circumcised as infants, it’s the only thing they’ve ever known, and it’s all they’ve ever seen. In other words, because they’ve never seen an uncircumcised penis they think theirs is natural and don’t even know there is such a thing as circumcised or uncircumcised.

    They have never had the emotional trauma associated with the procedure, any memories of pain, or experienced teasing or humiliation from any other boys. If I have a son born in the Philippines, that’s what I’ll do. I’ve often wondered, “Why wait,” if it is going to be done anyway?

    As you saw from earlier comments, among “modern western minds” many think to “mutilate” someone’s body with circumcision for no medical reason is barbaric, so I expect I may take some heat from my comments. But we pierce girls’ ears for no other reason than for looks also. It can be said that even if there isn’t a medical reason for circumcision, there isn’t a true medical reason against it either.

  27. Kevin Kasperbauer says

    Hi again,

    There was something I forgot to mention. The percentage of people against any circumcision is growing in the most advanced countries. San Francisco, California, where many residents think they are the most forward thinking in the world, circumcision itself will be on the ballot this November.

    This November, voters will decide whether to make circumcision illegal in San Francisco to any boy under the age of 18.

    Here’s a link to a story about it in the country’s leading business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703509104576331672328164768.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

    • says

      Hi Kevin thanks a lot for sharing your views on the topic and for sharing the info regarding Californians voting on the illegality of the procedure. Have a nice day!

    • says

      Hi Cy, thanks for dropping by. I am sure they are and qualified to perform the procedure. My son and nephew’s procedure was performed by a doctor in the hospital. Have a nice day!

  28. chris says

    Hi sharonmae ,well to put it bluntly i am el natural if we can put it that way ,while circumcision is a cultural thing in the philipines it is being shied away from in western nations ,there have been cases of chldren being somewhat devastated whislt undergoing this proceedure ,i must admit my sone was not done and neither was my father ,the risk of contracting disease by not being done seems somewhat unusual ,however in a tropical enviroment the risk of infection is somewhat greater if the area is not kept clean as a friend of mine found when in the army and he was 32 when he was done ,being as it is a big thing in the philipines may explain that when in public toilets there it always seeemed that the guy next to me was having a peak while doing our buisness i dont know but i did comment on it to my now wife when there ,i am 52 and have not had any dramas at all in regards of hygene and as i told my son keep yourself clean and the girls will love you ,
    chris

  29. says

    Hi Chris, thanks a lot for sharing your views on the topic. While this practice is something that is deeply ingrained in our culture I completely understand and respect the stand of other nationalities regarding this. In reference to earlier comments made by Filipinos it seems it is more of the peer pressure thing. My apologies if I cannot entirely expound on the procedure itself as I am a female but I sincerely appreciate your opinions on the topic. Have a great day!

      • Jim Hannah says

        Well, I am wondering, since we are on the topic, what is a woman’s preference, cut or uncut? This is not to invoke a detailed discussion mind you, but I wonder? Of course, most filipino girls will not have seen an uncut version I guess.

        • says

          Hi Jim Hannah, thanks for dropping by. I think it would differ from one woman to another. You are right, most Filipinas among others are used to the “cut version” so I guess that leaves quite little comparison. However, a friend did shared that between the cut and uncut there was not much difference with regard to sensation (in reference to her personal accounts) so I guess that may as well answer a big part of the query (I sure hope so?! :)

  30. Alan Hettinger says

    This is something i feel very strongly about. I will not have my son circumcised. it is a completely uncessesary thing to have done. Mine was forced upon me at birth so i had no say in the matter. I will not force this upon my son and give him the choice of what he wants done. I dont care what you call it. Genitile mutilation i an infant or child is still a violation of human rights in my book.

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      Human rights violation? Wow! Why not also leave the umbilical cord alone and just wrap it around the baby because cutting it would constitute violating the baby’s human rights. Hahaha I know this is a stupid remark but I couldn’t help myself. LOL LOL LOL

      Seriously, though, the article describes circumcision strictly in the Philippine context and nowhere else. The practice is widely accepted in the Philippines and deeply ingrained in Filipino culture, so, please don’t call it “human rights violation”, even if it may be considered as such in the West and by the ACLU. I think the Philippines is a long way from becoming a “progressive” thinking country like the San Franciscans are. :)

  31. Heidi says

    A family friend had their son circumcized at age 15. He was getting infections, and after the cicrumciion, no more problems. It was for health reasons.

  32. Hudson says

    I’m just glad my son was born in the US. I just can’t imagine getting a circumision at the age of 12 OMG! You can’t find a doctor to do a circumsision on an infant? How about a Rabbi? Just wondering :)

  33. Katty says

    Hi!

    I think this procedure is more on a country’s Tradition and Culture. Japan do not practice circumcision and they think this is not necessary. If I will have a boy I will let him decide if He wants to be circumcised or not.
    But If you live in the Philippines I think this is a must thing to do for boys before reaching teen ager years. Ouch! To become a MAN. :D

    • Jim Hannah says

      Perhaps a more basic look at this would be beneficial? Do you die or get ill if it’s not done? No. Well, there’s the answer, it ain’t necessary; it’s just a bad habit that arose in times when people were uneducated as to the purpose of such a thing, and it became ingrained in culture. Personally, if I were a woman, I still wouldn’t go near an unwashed one even if it was cut.

      It’s interesting though, that approximately 30% of the world’s men are uncircumcised, so who are the 70%? I don’t know about the Chinese, do they do it?

  34. Steven Hark says

    I presume Jews and Arabs introduced circumcision because sand under a foreskin must be hell. Regarding the Philippines, I have talked with several people about circumcision here and the main reason, other than the so-called “right of passage”, is for hygienic reasons as it seems that Filipinas generally don’t trust the standards of hygiene of their men which, considering the masses of poor housing here, is probably true. I also subscribe to the conspiratory theory that circumcision is a fiendish plot by women to reduce our pleasure. Removal of a foreskin exposes the glans to air all the time causing a severe loss of sensitivity in the nerve endings. And most doctors – yes, even Philippines doctors, decry such unnecessary operations because of complications – if the foreskin ain’t tight, leave it alone – but wash, wash, wash.

  35. Craig says

    Hello..
    I must admit.. i know exactly how your neiphew felt about being teased. But mine was for the opposite reason. As part native american.. our family does the all natural thing. No boys in my family is circumcized. As a boy born in the late ’60s to early ’70s here in the USA. It was very normall practice to be circumcized at birth. My parents had to actually argue with the doctors and even threaten him to NOT cut me.
    However, growing up, from early age of about 6yrs old.. i played lots of sports.. wich also means lots of shower rooms, with lots of other boys. And i was the only kid in the 5 sports that i played.. who was not circumcized. I got very familiar with all the other boys staring and curious why i looked different than them.
    Sometimes they would tease me.. and even ask “What happened to you?” After some years or so of this teasing.. when i was about 9yrs old.. i finally had enough. And started to tell them answers and the hard truths.
    I know it was not right to see the fear and shock on those other boys faces… when im answering them…. i pull the skin back and show them.. “see.. mine is all there.. but your parents cut part of yours off… ” They deny it in fear, and swear thiers has not been cut off.. but i tell them “Seriously.. ask your parents.. they did.. they had doctor cut part of y0ur penis off!!!” Many boys went home with curiousity and fear in thier eyes.. and most asked their parents. Many parents came to practices upset at what i told there kids.. cause they not plan to explain those things to their children yet. My father told them.. then you should teach your kids to be nice and not tease others about their bodies. Raise your kids better.. and you would not have to explain NOW.
    And i have spent many years.. and have read many studies, etc.. on the topic over my life. As far as i can tell.. yes. there are some pros and cons.. But most actuall true medical reasons that are in favor of being cut off.. can be fixed by just teaching the child to wash, wash, and wash it again.. keep it very clean. And the problems of having the skin is fixed. And studies have shown that having it cut does make it less sensitive because of the years of air, clothes, etc.. rubbing against those sensors. So, as long as parents teach their children to clean it well… and take this very very serious, i have never found any actuall reason for a human to have theirs cut off.
    Now.. times have changed… and it is not as demanded or normall practice as it used to be, here in the USA. As far as i can tell.. much of this change has come from the public allowing more “taboo” subject to be common place in discussion. (Just like the orgasmic pleasures mentioned earlier… can any of you imagine the outrage of those statements, if they where made in a public area 30yrs ago??) lol I think its just a matter of more openly discussed and debated..along with better education allowed over time.. and now the USA has changed from what it was. I beleive in time.. perhaps the Phils will do the same.. as they decide in thier own minds and time, and better education for them to make better informed decision. Ive mentioned before on this site,my wife and a few of her friends actually was taught and believed that a man could not even get a lady pregnant, if he was not circumcized. lol Im sure there are many subject that are taught different according to what part of the Phils you are in, and what schools. Only time will tell.
    I must also tell there is only 1 thing that i have ever found for it to be a slight negative to have the skin still there. I found it is very difficult and even somewhat very frustrating, to apply and use a condom with the skin there. Either have to pull the skin over the head.. and put condom on.. and then not much feeling.. or pull skin down for feeling.. but then during.. the skin slides forward.. and condom almost comes off or risk of coming off complete.
    Its very very frustrating.. however… it is also a simple fix… by simply not being the naughty young man that i was.. and NOT having sex with ladies untill you are in serious relationship or married with them. lol Just thought i would mention the only 1 thing i ever found to be a negetive about having the skin.

    Ok.. ok.. like always.. i seem to type a novel. Sorry so long. But very good subject.. and many nice links that people have added. By the way.. i also have 2 sons now.. and they also are natural the way that humans are born.

    Craig

    • Ricardo Sumilang says

      “And studies have shown that having it cut does make it less sensitive because of the years of air, clothes, etc.. rubbing against those sensors.”

      I think we are all barking up the wrong tree. In my opinion, the level of pleasure obtained during sex is a function of the human brain, not whether the penis is circumcised or not.

      • ian says

        Ricardo- if what you say is true then there is probably no need to have actual sex- just let your brain imagine that you are having great sex !! lol
        However, I;m one of those old fashioned kind of guys who prefers to do it with a partner !

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          Read carefully what I posted, Ian. I said, “the level of pleasure obtained DURING SEX…” That means, with a partner, not with your hand. LOL

  36. ian says

    Good post Craig !! Some things NEED to be talked about ! Its amazing that so many people still have a reluctance to talk about something as basic and natural -and important- as our own bodies. I understand that women in general talk about such intimate things- but just try and get another guy to discuss the problems of using a condom over a long foreskin [ no- not all foreskins are created equally !! lol] and you will mostly see a look of horror on his face ! So of course many grow up with a schoolyard education [ usually wrong !] passing for health info.

  37. Goran Bockman says

    Congratulations on having had your son circumsized! I’m surprized though to learn that this is a widespread practice in a Catholic country; could it be a remnant from Muslim times? Jews and Muslims are circumsized in remembrance of Abraham’s covenant with God, as he circumsized himself in his 90ies as a sacrifice to God and as a sign of the new covenant.

    Those who claim that sex is more enjoyable if uncircumsized are wrong in my opinion. I had the procedure done in my 40ies, as I converted to Islam and I have to say that, apart from the benefits of hygiene etc. it greatly improved the sex too.

  38. ian says

    The article that Goran posted is from the Gilgal Society, which offers no less than 19 books FOR SALE on the topic of circumcision. [ yes I am aware that the society itself is non-profit- so where does all the money go?]

    • Hudson says

      As in any non-profit, they are of course not allowed to show “profit” on the books. However they are allowed to have a surplus. I would suspect that there is very little surplus after all the salaries are paid, if you know what I mean.

      • ian says

        Hudson- I know exactly what you mean !!! lol My point of course being is that I tend to be suspicious of articles that can be seen as self serving ie in order for the admin to get paid huge salaries.
        This article was not from an independant source nor in the American Medical journal.

  39. Bastian says

    I can only say that I regret not to have been circumcised in my preteen years. I was circumcised at 15 for phimosis. And that had nothing to do with a “rite of passage”. The shaving of my pubic hair by a nurse before the operation was rather humilating. I really envy the many guys for whom circumcision is a regular part of growing up. That’s how it should be! Wish I had been circumcised earlier.

  40. says

    Sharon Mae, I’ll probably get flamed for saying this but I really belive you gave your son a fine gift by getting him circumcised. I didnt circ my son and was totaly sorry after he had many foreskin problems such as infections and phimosis. There does not have to be any pain while they get the procedure if proper pain meds are used. Most guys are glad to be circed and if asked, the majority will tell you that they are very happy with it. With the women that I have discussed this with, almost all prefer that men get circed. I like to read your site!!

  41. says

    My nephew had the procedure at age 10 and he and his mother was very proud. The nurse in their small village has taken care of this for the boys for about 20 some years. He insisted on showing me his new look and I must say, it has no extra skin left! I wonder if he will be too tight! The nurse insists that boys should have no extra left. I know more than one man that has slightly painful erections and I think she should rethink her ideas on this otherwise I think it helps males to avoid infections.

  42. Lynn says

    I don’t understand why Filipinos still practice tuli. The Philippines is a Catholic country. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly forbids nontherapeutic body modification and mutilation, which tuli is. It has no medical benefits and leaves the male sex organ disfigured. If Filipinos are “Catholic enough” to ban abortion and same-sex marriae, why aren’t they Catholic enough to ban tuli? Perhaps Filipinos aren’t as dedicated to Catholicism as they like to think they are.

  43. Jeffrey B. Garcia says

    Circumcision is rape. It’s no longer relevant religious, cultural, or otherwise. It should stop now!

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