To flee, or not to flee : intersections of paid domestic work and insurgency in Central Visayas

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Canuday, Jose Jowel P. DPhil(Oxon)


Since the 1970s, a huge segment of the Bohol population, including the maids and other residents of Sitio Sibol, has been forced to seek employment outside the province. Past studies of domestic work often reach a conclusion tying paid household work and poverty as the only possible explanation for engaging in domestic service. Our understanding of their condition is confined within the limited discourse of domestic labor exploitation and its general assumptions of household workers as exploited and undervalued. This study presents an expansion of the discussion of paid domestic work which includes conditions of insurgency and counter-insurgency that partly played an instrumental role in shaping the maids experience.This thesis asks the following questions: how does the changing context in the community affect the emergence and proliferation of domestic work? How did entry to paid domestic work shape the consciousness and practices prior and under conditions of long running political insurgency? Conversely, how did the sitios everyday experience of poverty and insurgency shape the imagining and making of maids and paid domestic work? How did the experience of insurgency and paid domestic work underlie and form relations inside and outside the sitio?This thesis traces back the communitys history, its landscapes, and as embodied by the lives and journeys of the maids and other residents in the sitio. It analyzes both individual and collective experiences, attitudes and practices to better their conditions. Informed by ethnographic research among former and current maids, and their community of Sitio Sibol, paid domestic work, which appears to be invisible, chaotic and disorganized employment, is actually the complex outcome of efforts of persons in action immersed in the practical world and everyday life as they strive to live with dignity and maximize opportunities even in oppressive and conflict-ridden situations.


The A5.A45 2017