The Barkada

August 05, 2013

Think your husband's spending way too much time with his buddies? Read on to find out why a man's barkada is so important.

I think it started in prehistoric times. Women would stay by the caves to care for the young and prepare the food that has been harvested. Men would get their gear ready, sharpen their spears, and gather as one to hunt for the tribe's next meal. The social role gets passed on from one generation to the next and then gets hard-wired into our DNA. A few thousand generations later, men still act the same way: We like gear, and we have a barkada (buddies).

Before you dismiss the barkada as just a bunch of your husband's drinking buddies, you might want to know why they're so important to your man. I think that, to understand men, it's important to understand the role of this social group in their lives. A barkada is...

A second family

Men have many circles of friends, but only one barkada. If you ever doubted the ability of men to stay loyal, just look at how they've stuck it out with the barkada for so long. Some groups are made up of friends from grade school and high school; others are made up of work friends. Whatever the composition or origin, note that your man has chosen this set of friends to call his second family - that's why they call each other "bro".

A connection to past

The glue that keeps this rag tag group of men together is shared history. Just listen to their conversation. If it's a high school barkada, they'll inevitably go back to the glory days when they had bad hair, pimples, and braces. For high school friends it's bringing up stories about their funny teachers or how they survived difficult subjects or their crushes. That's a starting point and then a year after year worth of adventures is adding up - keeping them together. That's why the stories of the past are told and retold again and again. It's the origin story. It's the reaffirmation of the ties that bind them.

A sanctuary

Ladies - let me tell you this: Sometimes the world is too much for men. Traffic, office politics, shaky business conditions, and even national politics are things that men take seriously - sometimes too seriously. The barkada is that group of fellow men that your man can be with and just be. They talk about work and how business is, what the latest gear is or what the inside news is on the latest corruption scandal or who the current crush ng bayan is. then they progress or regress back to the stories of their youth. And in between the stories of teenage pranks, high school nicknames, and trials survived, men forget their worries.  They become like teenage boys again and return to a time when the world was a less-complicated place. If you listen, the conversation will probably not increase your knowledge about the world. But if you look at what's happening underneath, you'll see a group of men who have shared their lives with each other, emotionally adopting each other as brothers by calling themselves a barkada. You wouldn't want to take that away from him, would you?

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