The Value of the “Firstborn”

In the Philippines, as in other countries, great value, weight or importance is placed upon the firstborn child in the family.  As the firstborn (eldest) son or daughter, the panganay (Tagalog) or kinamaguangan (Cebuano) is traditionally raised up to be a kind of surrogate father or mother to help take care of the younger siblings.  This was the practice especially when Filipino families were large.

The kakâ, as Tagalogs address the eldest sibling in the family, often helps discipline the younger siblings.  In some cases the kakâ is expected, or chooses, to help in supporting the schooling of their siblings.  Some firstborn here have ended up becoming old maids or old bachelors while thus supporting their siblings and, in some cases, their elderly or sickly parents, too.