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Filipino Flirting and Courtship during the Colonial Period

With Valentine's Day around the corner, one wonders how expressions of physical attraction and love were expressed by our foreparents. The harana (serenade) is of course, the manner by which the man expresses his love and admiration to the lady.The harana was an exclusively nocturnal practice. Because of the daytime tropical weather, the evening offers respite from the heat. It is the time when everybody comes alive, full of romantic ideas, and as is typical of Filipino nature, always ready to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones. It was during this old Philippines, before the widespread use of electricity, that haranawas at its ripest. In this endeavor, the most trusted instrument is the guitar with its intimate sound complementing Spanish-influenced songs, not to mention the breezy and quiet air of a tropical night. For a young man in colonial Philippines, it was certainly advantageous to possess musical abilities as it was often useful in wooing a Filipina woman. However, all is not lost if he lacks the talent. It was common practice to enlist friends as well as hire the best musicians in town. Thus, harana is not always a solitary endeavor. In fact, it was also considered a social event. For the endeavor to be successful either or both of these two instances have to happen: if the lady invites the man and his company inside for refreshments. It then becomes an impromptu mini-soiree; and if the lady joins in the singing. The man would have to wait until the young lady opened a window to listen. It would be up to her if she wanted to invite them in for some refreshment and to chat after the song. Even if they had been asked to come in, the suitor would not expect that he could have the chance of a private moment with his object of affection. It was highly likely that the parents would also be there to entertain the man and his friends The love song, romantic and slow in tempo, is an expression of his undying love, even if this was unrequited. Thus, the kundiman was born (from the term, "kung hindi man). It is a little known fact that some kundiman pieces, such as Maala-ala Mo Kaya (lyrics Jose Corazon de Jesus, music Constancio de

Guzman), Dahil sa Yo (lyrics Dominador Santiago, music Mike Velarde) are examples where the lady is invited to sing her part. In 1916, Dr. Juan V. Pagaspas, a doctor of philosophy from Indiana University and a much beloved educator in Tanauan, Batangas described the kundiman as "a pure Tagalog song which is usually very sentimental, so sentimental that if one should listen to it carefully watching the tenor of words and the way the voice is conducted to express the real meaning of the verses, he cannot but be conquered by a feeling of pity even so far as to shed tears." Dr. Francisco Santiago, the "Father of Filipino Musical Nationalism" declared in 1931 that thekundiman "is the love song par excellence of the Filipinos, the plaintive song which goes deepest into their hearts, song which brings them untold emotions." Ambeth Ocampo mentions Pascual Poblete's 1922 work, Patnubay ng Pagsinta, which sheds light to prewar courtship and flirting of Filipinos. A woman does not directly communicate to the man: she shows restraint, even disinterestedness even if she felt otherwise. She believed that the man will love her more if he is made to work hard before giving him what he wants. She may also convey her message through her handkerchief and handheld fan. Poblete mentions in detail the meanings behind the signs: SALITAAN SA PANYO CAHULUGAN

Ihaplos sa mga labi Ibig cong maquipagsulatan Ihaplos sa mga mata Lubhang nalulungcot aco Ihaplos sa kaliwang kamay Ikaw ay quinapopootan co Ihaplos sa dalawang pisngui Iniibig quita Bayaang malaglag Tayo i magcacaibigan Ipatong sa pisnguing canan Oo. Ipatong sa pisnguing caliwa Hindi. Ihaplos sa balicat Sumunod ca sa aquin Ihaplos sa dalawang mata Lubha cang ualang aua Ticlopin Ibig cong maquipagusap sa iyo Ticlopin ang mga dulo Hintain mo aco Pilipintin ng dalawang camay Pagpapaualang halaga Pilipitin sa camay na canan May ibang iniibig aco Pilipitin sa camay sa caliua Pagpasial co, ayao cong maquialam sa iyo Ibuhol sa hintuturo Mayroong casintahan aco Ibuhol sa susuotang singsing Mayroong asawa aco Ibuhol sa buong camay Aco ay sa iyo Paglaroan ang panyo Pinaualan quitang halaga


CAHULUGAN Ibig kong magcanovio

Dalhing nacabitin sa camay na canan

Dalhing nacabitin sa camay na caliua Mayroong casintahan aco Ipaypay ng madalas Malaqui ang pag-ibig co sa yo! Ipaypay ng marahan Ualang halaga ca sa aquin! Itiklop ng bigla Quinapopootan quita! Bayaang malaglag Aco i tapat ang loob sa iyo Tacpan ang calahating mucha Sumunod ca sa aquin Bilangin ang mga tadyang Ibig cong magsalita sa iyo Paglaroan ang horlas Umiibig aco sa iba at iniibig naman aco Huag dalhin o ilagay sa bulsa Ayao cong maquipagligawan Loveletters were also exchanged by our foreparents. Again, Poblete mentions the use of invisible ink. Sticky substances like sap, milk or beer, when used in writing, can be read by the use of ground charcoal passing through it. letters with ink made of water and the local tawas can be deciphered by wetting or by exposing to sunlight. Letters using Ilocano vinegar or onion juice as ink may also be read when the letter is passed through fire. Flowers, accordingly, were also symbolically used in loveletters. Names of flowers were substituted for phrases and times. Of course, the young man and the woman had to know the secret vocabulary. The first person pronoun was written as isang dahon lamang, while the second person was written as dalawang dahon and the third person was written as tatlong dahon. Thus, Ang pag-ibig mo i nacamamatay sa aquin is written as Dalauang dahon ng mirto at Cicuta or Cagalingan mong magsalita ay nacasisisra nang loob co becomes Dalawang dahon nang Nintea blanca at Verbena. Such system of communicating was effective for their generation! Paninilbihan or service was also expected to be done by the young man. Doing household chores was a way to endear himself to the family of the woman, a concrete way of showing his sincere intention for her. He understands that in courting and hopefully marrying her, he enters into her family as well. Gentlemanliness was always a character associated with courtship.


HARANA, ni Carlos V. Francisco

Panliligaw or ligawan are the Tagalog terms for courtship, which in some parts of the Tagalog-speaking regions is synonymous with pandidiga or digahan (from Spanish diga, 'to say, express'). Manliligaw is the one who courts a girl; nililigawan is the one who is being courted. In Philippine culture, courtship is far more subdued and indirect unlike in some Western societies. A man who is interested in courting a woman has to be discreet and friendly at first, in order not to be seen as too presko or mayabang (aggressive or too presumptuous). Friendly dates are often the starting point, often with a group of other friends. Later, couples may go out on their own, but this is still to be done discreetly. If the couple has decided to come out in the open about their romance, they will tell their family and friends as well. In the Philippines, if a man wants to be taken seriously by a woman, he has to visit the latter's family and introduce himself formally to the parents of the girl. It is rather inappropriate to court a woman and formalize the relationship without informing the parents of the girl. It is always expected that the guy must show his face to the girl's family. And if a guy wants to be acceptable to the girl's family, he has to give pasalubong (gifts) every time he drops by her family's house. It is said that in the Philippines, courting a Filipina means courting her family as well. In courting a Filipina, the metaphor often used is that of playing baseball. The man is said to reach 'first base' if the girl accepts his proposal to go out on a date for the first time. Thereafter, going out on several dates is like reaching the second and third bases. A 'home-run' is one where the girl formally accepts the man's love, and they become magkasintahan (from sinta, love), a term for boyfriend-girlfriend. During the old times and in the rural areas of the Philippines, Filipino men would make harana (serenade) the women at night and sing songs of love and affection. This is basically a Spanish influence. The man is usually accompanied by his close friends who provide moral support for the guy, apart from singing with him. Filipino women are expected to be pakipot (playing hard to get) because it is seen as an appropriate behavior in a courtship dance. By being pakipot, the

girl tells the man that he has to work hard to win her love. It is also one way by which the Filipina will be able to measure the sincerity of her admirer. Some courtships could last years before the woman accepts the man's love. A traditional dalagang Pilipina (Filipinpa maiden) is someone who is mahinhin (modest, shy, with good upbringing, well-mannered) and does not show her admirer that she is also in love with him immediately. She is also not supposed to go out on a date with several men. The opposite of mahinhin is malandi (flirt), which is taboo in Filipino culture as far as courtship is concerned. After a long courtship, if the couple later decide to get married, there is the Filipino tradition of pamamanhikan (from panik, to go up the stairs of the house), where the man and his parents visit the woman's family and ask for her parents blessings to marry their daughter. It is also an occasion for the parents of the woman to get to know the parents of the man. During pamamanhikan, the man and his parents bring some pasalubong (gifts). It is also at this time that the wedding date is formally set, and the couple become engaged to get married.

Online resources say that Harana is a tradition form of courtship where a man serenades a woman by singing at her window at night. This man is usually accompanied by his close friends for moral support as well as assistance in the singing part. If the guy has no talent in the singing department, he could hire the best musicians in town. Its either the lady would let him and his friends inside her house for refreshments (I saw this on the TV show), or the lady would join in singing. With that, theharana is considered successful. My father told me that it was the in thing during their time. It was when people were always ready to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones, and this harana thing was one of the barkadas gig. I dont know though if he

did this while he was courting my mother. But for sure, my father could sing. HA! Im kind of sad to notice that this supposedly-big-event is not anymore (or, rarely) practiced at present. Where have all the love songs gone? The guitar-plucking skills? The never-mind-my-voice-as-long-as-I-could-singyou-a-song attitude? Nah.. Its been replaced with modern courtship practices such as
a. thru text msg

(check! LOL),

(check! haha), c. thru IMs in Yahoo! messenger/Skype, and so on.. Yes dearest reader, that fast. Therefore, instant relationship at that! Now, Im wondering if theres still anybody out there whod be willing to do this? I doubt. Guys would just label this as so old-fashioned. I say, definitely not!
b. thru PMs in Facebook/Friendster

I am totally liking this tradition. I think that harana is a sign of a young mans genuine love. Im looking forward to experiencing this myself. *laughs* If not, I am soooo gonna ask my future boyfie to do it! If all else fails, I will blackmail Hopiaaa to do it! Bleh~~ He could do it over the phone. HA HA!

The root of the word, courtship, derives from an ancient Indo-European term, gher, which directly translated means to grasp or enclose.

What Is Courtship?
Courtship is experiencing the blessing of God by loving the Lord Jesus Christ and honoring both sets of parents. The purpose of courtship is to determine a couples readiness for marriage and to discern the will of God for a covenant marriage that will benefit the world. While the actual manifestation of a courtship relationship will vary because no two couples are alike, one of the primary motivations behind courtship (as opposed to dating) is the protection of the emotions of those involved until the time when it is clearly Gods will to proceed into marriage.

Foundational Principles of Courtship

1. Ensure the blessing of God The greatest asset of any person or marriage is Gods blessing. The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22). No couple will have a happy or prosperous marriage without the blessing of the Lord. If God does not bless them, the devourer will damage and destroy their present and future joy and potential. A blessed marriage is described in the following passage: Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table (Psalm 128). 2. Love the Lord Jesus Christ Every believer is in a covenant relationship with the Lord and with all other believers. Therefore, the decisions of one believer affect every member of the Body of Christ. If we say we love the Lord, we must realize how our actions demonstrate our love for Him and others. One way of loving God and others is to keep the commands of Christ, especially as they relate to marriage. Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (John 14:15, 21). Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him (I John 2:35). 3. Honor parents The foundational command for the happiness and success of any marriage is Honour thy father and thy mother (Exodus 20:12). God emphasized the seriousness of this command by giving the following penalty for breaking it: For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him (Leviticus 20:9). There are more than ten Hebrew words describing various degrees of cursing, from a violent assigning to eternal condemnation to a mild disrespect. The word used in this command is the milder term qalal, which simply means to make light of and to bring into contempt. Jesus singled out this command and reaffirmed it as well as the judgment that went with it.For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death (Matthew 15:4). He went on to condemn the Pharisees for giving lip service to this commandment, but then making it null and void by man-made traditions. (See Matthew 15:6.) It is impossible for a coupleregardless of their ageto keep this commandment if they refuse to listen to the counsel and cautions of their parents on the matter of marriage.

If we say that a person over eighteen years of age has the legal right to make his own marriage decisions, regardless of whether those decisions please his parents or not, we are making the Law of God of no effect by our traditions. The commandment does not say Honor parents only if they are believers, nor does it mean that to honor is always to obey. If parents command a son or daughter to marry outside of Gods will, that son or daughter must respectfully refuse to carry out their wishes. To violate this command is to experience generations of grief and iniquity. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it (Proverbs 30:17). Paul pointed out that although this is the fifth commandment in the Decalogue, it is the first command to have a promise attached to it: Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth [good health and prosperity] (Ephesians 6:23). God has entrusted to the parents, and especially to the father, the responsibility to give the daughter in marriage. Most wedding ceremonies affirm this fact when the minister asks,Who gives this woman to this man? (See also Exodus 22:1617; I Corinthians 7:38.) 4. Determine marriage readiness There are many practical considerations that parents need to evaluate before giving their blessing to a marriage.

Does the young man have moral purity and victory over lust? (Involvement in pornography will make it impossible for him to love his wife.) Does the young man realize that in marriage he must give control of his body to his wife and she must submit to him? (See I Corinthians 7:4.) Is the young man sanctifying himself by engrafting Scripture into his heart and soul, so that he can cleanse his wife by the Word? (See Ephesians 5:2526.) Does the young man have the character and the skills to support a marriage and family? What proof does he have of this? Are both parties free of bitterness and guilt so they can leave father and mother and cleave to each other? Does the young man have a clear purpose in life that his wife can support? Are both parties living in total openness and in genuine love? (See I John 2:10.)

5. Discern Gods will Since God has given the father of the girl the responsibility to protect her purity (see Deuteronomy 22:15) and the father of the young man the responsibility to evaluate his sons wisdom (see Proverbs 10:1), Gods first line of direction will be through them.

However, even though all of the parents give their blessing, the marriage may still not be Gods will. For example, if one party is an unbeliever, marriage to that person would violate Scripture. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14). Also, if the son or daughter has been called by God to more years of single service, an appeal should be made to their parents for their blessing. In any case, the parents cannot force a marriage, because the individual has the final say. (See Genesis 24:58, Matthew 19:1012, I Corinthians 7:2537, and
Isaiah 56:18.)

If one party has been married and divorced, and the previous partner is still living, it would not be Gods will for that individual to marry another person. (See Luke 16:18, Romans 7:13, I Corinthians 7,
Malachi 2:1316, Mark 10:112, Matthew 5:2732, and Matthew 19:112.)

Note: The exception clause does not mean what many today think it means. When the disciples understood it, they exclaimed, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry (Matthew 19:10). 6. Establish a covenant marriage Marriage is not a contract between two people; it is a sacred covenant between two people, two families, and God, with witnesses to the vows. A covenant marriage is joined by God and continues till death do us part. In a covenant relationship, there is no tolerance of competing affections in either party. God has serious consequences for those who violate their covenant vows. (See Ecclesiastes 5:17, Proverbs 6:2335,
Romans 7:13, Romans 1:3132, etc.)

Any minister who allows for divorce and remarriage, but leads a couple in the vows till death do us part, must answer to God for lying to Him and causing a couple to lie to God. It would be more appropriate to vow till divorce do us part, although that would violate a covenant relationship and reveal a lack of genuine love. 7. Benefit the world Paul points out that all believers are of the spiritual seed of Abraham. God blessed Abraham and said, through thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 28:14). Jesus said to His disciples, Ye are the salt of the earth Ye are the light of the world(Matthew 5:13 14). Paul also instructed us, As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). Those who are married with the blessing of God and their parents are heirs together of the grace of life (I Peter 3:7) and can raise up sons and daughters who are mighty in Gods Spirit. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed (Psalm 112:12).

The actual pattern of a courtship relationship will vary from one couple to another, because no two couples or situations are the same. However, any courtship would benefit by incorporating the principles listed above. One of the valuable rewards of courtship is the protection of emotions that are stirred up by physical and emotional interaction, until the time when it is clearly Gods will to proceed into marriage. If, during the time of courtship, one party realizes that this is not Gods will and ends the relationship, it can still be regarded as a successful courtship, because God directed and the individuals were not damaged.

Filipino Courtship Customs - How to court a Filipina

When it comes to courting in Filipino culture, you have to be more indirect than in Western societies. Filipino courtship usually last for a long period of time. An engagement, for example, often lasts for several years and as far as marriage is concerned, it is viewed as a lifetime commitment. However due to the profileration of online dating services, many lovers skip courting altogether as in cases of love at first sight or arranged marriage. First Stage: Friendly Start Usually the beginning of a relationship starts with a casual date. The couple will go out together in public places and will be accompanied by mutual friends. During this stage of courting there will be no public displays of affection, the man has to be discreet and friendly or he will be slapped with a tag of being too stuck up or aloof. At this point of time, it is too early for physical contact such as kissing or holding hands. Second Stage: Tactful Dating That is the second stage of Filipino courtship whereby the courting couple would go out together without the company of their friends. Again, the main point is being discreet.

Filipino women do not like the courtship process to be fast. Filipino girls are expected to play hard to get because their culture deemed it as an appropriate behavior when they are being courted. A Filipino girl would never reveal her admiration for the man immediately. Playing hard to get is one of the way which Filipino women measure the sincerity of her courting partner. This will also demostrate to the man that he has to work hard to win her love. Some courtships may last for years before the woman accepts her admirers love and they become 'magkasintahan', a term for boyfriend-girlfriend. Third Stage: Making the Relationship Public After some time the couple may decide to make their romance known to their family and friends. Every man who wants to be taken seriously by a Filipino girl is advised to visit her family and introduce himself formally to her parents. It would be inappropriate to court a Filipino girl and formalize the relationship without informing the girls parents. There is a unspoken rule here that says: When courting a Filipino girl, you are not just courting her but you are courting the entire family as well . Following this rule will help you earn her respect by entrusting her family with high regard. There are certain traditions that have to be observed when visiting the Filipino girl's family. For example, if the man wants to be accepted by the girls family, he has to give out small presents every time he visits her family's house. You can always ask any questions regarding which traditions you should observe with her older siblings in the family. Final Stage: Engagement and Marriage After spending a period of time with your Filipino girl and if you decided to get married, the first thing you should do is ask the girls parents for her hand. You can find out more in 'Filipino Wedding Customs'. When courting a Filipino woman you will find out that she is demure and reserved even when she has great feelings for you. This is a part of her culture and even for a Western man there is no way around that. You should treat your Filipino girl with respect and woo her with your heart. You would be surprised that your life will be more enriching and fulfilled as you have never imagined.

Courtship in the Philippines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Traditional courtship in the Philippines is described as a "far more subdued and indirect"[1] approach compared to Western orWesternized cultures. It involves "phases" or "stages" inherent to Philippine society and culture.[1][2] Evident in courtship in thePhilippines is the practice of singing romantic love songs, reciting poems, writing letters, and gift-giving.[3] This respect extends to the Filipino womans family members. The proper rules and standards in traditional Filipino courtship are set by Philippine society.[4]

1 General overview 2 Other courtship practices

o o o o o o

2.1 Tagalog and Ilocos regions 2.2 Pangasinan region 2.3 Apayao region 2.4 Palawan region 2.5 Visayas region 2.6 Mindanao region

3 19th-century Hispanic Philippines 4 Modern-day influences 5 See also 6 References 7 External links



Often, a Filipino male suitor expresses his interest to a woman in a discreet and friendly manner in order to avoid being perceived as very "presumptuous or aggressive" or arrogant.[2] Culturally, another gentlemanly way of seeking the attention of a woman is not to be done by the admirer by approaching her in the street to casually ask for her address or telephone number.[4] Although having a series of friendly dates is the normal starting point in the Filipino way of courting, this may also begin through the process of "teasing", a process of "pairing off" a potential teenage or adult couple. The teasing is done by peers or friends of the couple being matched. The teasing practice assists in discerning the actual feelings of the male and the female involved. Traditionally, a Filipino woman is "shy and secretive" about her feelings for a suitor. On the other hand, the Filipino man fears rejection by a woman and would like to avoid losing face and embarrassment. This

teasing phase actually helps in circumventing such an embarrassing predicament because formal courtship has not yet officially started. Furthermore, this "testing phase" also helps a man who could be " torpe", a Filipino term for a suitor who is shy, "stupid", and feels cowardly, and is innocent and nave in how to court a woman. However, this type of admirer could overcome his shyness and naivety by asking for the help of a "human bridge", typically a mutual friend of both the suitor and the admired, or a close friend of both families. [2][4] The "human bridge" acts as the suitor's communicator.[2] Through this "human-bridge", the bachelor can also ask permission to visit the woman at home from the bachelorette's father. As a norm, the couple will not be left alone with each other during this first home visit, because formal introductions to family members are done, which may be performed by the "human bridge". Informal conversation also takes place.[4] During this preliminary evaluation period, the Filipino woman will either deny her feelings (or the absence of feelings for the suitor) and avoids her admirer, or does not become angry because of the teasing and encourages the suitor instead. The suitor stops the courtship if he is quite sure that the woman does not reciprocate. But once the female encourages the suitor to continue, the "teasing stage" comes to a close and a "serious stage" of Philippine courtship begins. It is within this stage where the couple engages in a series of group dates, chaperoned dates,[4] or private dates.[1] The couple later on decides to come out into the open and reveals the status of their relationship to family members, relatives, and friends. The serious suitor or boyfriend visits the family of the woman he admires/courts or girlfriend in order to formally introduce himself, particularly to the lady's parents. Bringing gifts or pasalubong[4] (which may include flowers, with cards, or letters, and the like) is also typical. Courting a woman in the Philippines is described as a courtship that also includes courting the woman's family.[5][6] The actual boyfriend-girlfriend relationship may also result from such formal visits. In the past, particularly in a rural courtship setting, a Filipino man, accompanied by friends, would engage in serenading the woman he adores at night. This serenading practice was an influence adopted by the Filipinos from the Spaniards.[2] During the courtship process, a traditional Filipina is expected to play "hard to get", to act as if not interested, to be not flirty, and show utmost restraint, modesty, shyness, good upbringing, be well-mannered, demure, and reserved despite having great feelings for her admirer;[1][4] a behavior culturally considered appropriate while being courted. This behavior serves as a tool in measuring the admirer's sincerity and seriousness. In addition to the woman's culturally appropriate behavior, she is not supposed to have dates with several admirers simultaneously. Dating couples are expected to be conservative and not perform public displays of affection for each other. Traditionally, some courtship may last a number of years before the Filipino woman accepts her suitor as a boyfriend.[1][2][3]Conservativeness, together with repressing emotions and affection, was inherited by the Filipino woman from the colonial period under the Spaniards, a characteristic referred to as the Maria Clara attitude.[3] After the girlfriend-boyfriend stage, engagement, and marriage follows. With regards to the engagement and pre-marriage stages, Filipino tradition dictates that the man and his parents perform

the pamamanhikan[4] or pamanhikan[6] (literally, a Tagalog word that means "to go up the stairs of the house" of the girlfriend and her parents; pamamanhikan is known as tampa or danon to the Ilocanos, as pasaguli to the Palaweos, and as kapamalai to the Maranaos[6]). This is where and when the man and his parent's formally ask the lady's hand[4] and blessings from her parents in order to marry. This is when the formal introduction of the man's parents and woman's parents happens. Apart from presents, the Cebuano version of the pamamanhikan includes bringing in musicians.[6] After setting the date of the wedding and the dowry,[4] the couple is considered officially engaged.[2] The dowry, as a norm in the Philippines, is provided by the grooms family.[4] For the Filipino people, marriage is a union of two families, not just of two persons. Therefore, marrying well "enhances the good name" of both families.[3]


courtship practices
and Ilocos regions


A Tagalog couple as depicted in theBoxer Codex of the 16th century.

A depiction of a mestizo couple from the Tagalog region during the 19th century.

Apart from the general background explained above, there are other similar and unique courting practices adhered to by Filipinos in other different regions of the Philippine archipelago. In the island of Luzon, the Ilocanos also perform serenading, known to them as tapat[6] (literally, "to be in front of" the home of the courted woman), which is similar to the harana[4] and also to thebalagtasan of the Tagalogs. The suitor begins singing a romantic song, then the courted lady responds by singing too.[3] Rooster courtship is also another form of courting in Luzon. In this type of courtship, the rooster is assigned that task of being a "middleman", a "negotiator", or a "go-between", wherein the male chicken is left to stay in the home of the courted to crow every single morning for the admired lady's family.[3] In the province of Bulacan in Central Luzon, the Bulaqueos have a kind of courtship known as the naninilong (from the Tagalog word silong or "basement"). At midnight, the suitor goes beneath the nipa hut, a house that is elevated by bamboo poles, then prickles the admired woman by using a pointed object. Once the prickling caught the attention of the sleeping lady, the couple would be conversing in whispers. [3] The Ifugao of northern Luzon practices a courtship called ca-i-sing (this practice is known as theebgan to the Kalinga tribes and as pangis to the Tingguian tribes), wherein males and females are separated into "houses". The house for the Filipino males is called the Ato, while the house for Filipino females is known as the olog or agamang. The males visit the females in the olog the "bethrotal house" to sing romantic songs. The females reply to these songs also through singing. The ongoing courtship ritual is overseen by a married elder or a childless widow who keeps the parents of the participating males and females well informed of the progress of the courtship process.[6] After the courtship process, the Batangueos of Batangas has a peculiar tradition performed on the eve of the wedding. A procession, composed of the grooms mother, father, relatives,godfathers, godmothers, bridesmaids, and groomsmen, occurs. Their purpose is to bring the cooking ingredients for the celebration to the brides home, where refreshments await them.[6]



In Pangasinan, the Pangasinenses utilizes the taga-amo, which literally means "tamer", a form of love potions or charms which can be rubbed to the skin of the admired. It can also be in the form of drinkable potions. The suitor may also resort to the use of palabas, meaning show ordrama, wherein the Filipino woman succumbs to revealing her love to her suitor, who at one time will pretend or act as if he will be committing suicide if the lady does not divulge her true feelings.[3]



The Apayaos allow the practice of sleeping together during the night. This is known as liberal courtship or mahal-alay in the vernacular. This form of courting assists in assessing the womans feeling for her lover.[3]



In Palawan, the Palaweos or Palawanons perform courtship through the use of love riddles. This is known as the pasaguli. The purpose of the love riddles is to assess the sentiments of the parents of both suitor and admirer. After this "riddle courtship", the discussion proceeds to the pabalic (can also be spelled as pabalik), to settle the price or form of the dowry that will be received by the courted woman from the courting man.[3]



When courting, the Cebuanos also resort to serenading, which is known locally as balak. They also write love letters that are sent via a trusted friend or a relative of the courted woman. Presents are not only given to the woman being courted, but also to her relatives. Similar to the practice in the Pangasinan region, as mentioned above, the Cebuanos also use love potions to win the affection of the Filipino woman.[3] People from Leyte performs the pangagad[6] or paninilbihan or "servitude",[4] instead of paying a form of dowry[6] during the courtship period. In this form of courting, the Filipino suitor accomplishes household and farm chores for the family of the Filipino woman. The service normally lasts for approximately a year before the man and woman can get married.[3] The Tagalogs of Luzon also refers to this courtship custom as paninilbihan meaning "being of service", but is also referred to as subok meaning a trial or test period for the serving suitor. The Bicolanos of Luzon's Bicol region, call this custom as the pamianan.[6]



A Yakan couple from Mindanao performing a wedding dance.

Reckless courtship, known in the vernacular as palabas, sarakahan tupul, ormagpasumbahi, is practiced by the Tausog people of Mindanao. Similar to the palabasversion practiced in Luzon island, a suitor would threaten to stab his heart while in front of the courted womans father. If the father of the woman refuses to give her daughters hand to the suitor, the suitor is smitten by a knife.[3] The Bagobos, on the other hand, sends a knife or a spear as a gift to the home of the courted woman for inspection. Accepting the weapon is equivalent to accepting the Filipino mans romantic intention and advances.[3] Pre-arranged marriages and betrothals are common to Filipino Muslims. These formal engagements are arranged by the parents of men and the women. This also involves discussions regarding the price and the form of the dowry.[3] The Tausog people proclaims that a wedding, a celebration or announcement known as the pangalay, will occur by playing percussive musical instruments such as the gabbang, the kulintang, and the agong. The wedding is officiated by an Imam. Readings from the Quran is a part of the ceremony, as well as the placement of the groom's fingerprint over the bride's forehead.[6]


Hispanic Philippines

During the 19th century in Spanish Philippines, there was a set of body language expressed by courted women to communicate with their suitors. These are non-verbal cues whichAmbeth Ocampo referred to as "fan language". These are called as such because the woman conveys her messages through silent movements that involve a hand-held fan. Examples of such speechless communication are as follows: a courted woman covering half of her face would like her suitor to follow her; counting the ribs of the folding fan sends out a message that the lady would like to have a conversation with her admirer; holding the fan using the right hand would mean the woman is willing to have a boyfriend, while carrying the fan with the left hand signifies that she already has a lover and thus no longer available; fanning vigorously symbolizes that the lady has deep feelings for a gentleman, while fanning slowly tells that the woman courted does not have any feelings for the suitor; putting the fan aside signals that the lady does not want to be wooed by the man; and the abrupt closing of a fan means the woman dislikes the man.[7]