Masculinity and the ‘Holy Child’ of the Birhen sa Balintawak

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The Birhen sa Balintawak is the first indigenous representation of the ‘Virgin-with-child’ in the Philippines. Associated with the revolutionary movement of the Katipunan and promoted by Gregorio Aglipay, a revolutionary priest and a founding figure of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, this representation of Mary is connected with the political and religious emancipation of the Philippines. This paper explores the construction of the masculinity of the child that accompanies its mother, arguing that its description and depiction both serve to uplift a particular kind of Filipino (revolutionary) masculinity by legitimizing it religiously and to interpret the Christian tradition in an equally indigenous as revolutionary sense. The paper draws on Aglipay’s 1926 Novenario of the Motherland as its central source.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-96
Number of pages21
JournalReligion and Gender
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Jesus, Religion, Gender.


  • Jesus
  • Philippines
  • Iglesia Filipina Independiente
  • Birhen sa Balintawak
  • Postcolonialism
  • Contextual biblical interpretation
  • Gregorio Aglipay
  • New Testament
  • Theology
  • Religion


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