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Philippine Marriage Customs Essay

The Filipino people have strange marriage customs. Among the Mangyans in the southern end of Oriental Mindoro, courtship takes a romantic flavor. Under the magic splendor of the moonlight, young man takes his native guitar and blanket, goes to the girl’s hut, and sings to her. The girl comes out and goes with him to a forest. There, in some secluded spot, the man spread out a mat. The girl lies on it, while her suitor sits at her side pouring out his feelings in love songs the whole night through. The maid answers him in songs also. When the girl finally gives her consent, the two go to the girl’s parents for their blessings.

In the Bicol lagpitaw (slingshot) custom, the parents of the boy propose by letter. The other party answers verbally or in writing. Sometimes, a son learns that he has proposed and been accepted only on his wedding day.

One of the easiest and quickest marriage ceremonies in the Philippines are performed among the Bagobos in Mindanao. Portions of rice are laid out on a banana leaf. Then the bride and bridegroom serve each other some rice, bump their heads together and are pronounced married.

Up north in Benguet, Mountain Province, Cupid wears a G-string; he is usually an older man armed with plenty of gab. It is during kanyaos that the Benguet Cupid begins to feel the match itch. Warmed up by the ricewine, the impish oldster known as kalon scouts for a prospect from among the men of marriageable age: from 16 up. The “chosen” would be enlightened on the joys of matrimony and the horrors of bachelorhood. After the victim has been properly “softened” he has only to name the girl and the rest would be taken care of by the matchmaker.

In the land of the Ibanags, when a young man’s fancy turns to love, his father turns poet. Usually, the father’s first concern is the right time for their sons to marry, usually between the ages of 16 and 18. The parents decide who will be the right girl. They employ the help of two respected and prominent friends to do the actual proposing. These two men called kumakagon intercept for the boy’s parents. On an appointed day, they go to the girl’s parents to ask for her hand in marriage.

Marriages among the Batangans of Mindoro are partly by parental arrangement and partly by choice of groom and bride. When a child is born, the prospective bride or groom simply signifies his or her intention by telling the parents, “he or she is mine.” In this manner, the newborn becomes bethroted, without the cumbersome formalities of signing contracts or requiring witnesses.

When the child is big enough to leave the parents, for instance at age three or four, the prospective husband or wife, as the case may be, claims it from the parents. Thereafter he or she cares for the child until it is mature enough for parenthood.

In Sulu, the wedding, usually attended by relatives of the bride and the bridegroom dressed in very bright and flowing custom”s, climaxes months of careful preparation and negotiations between families. To them, marriage units not only two persons but two families as well.

The Kalinga marriage is celebrated with a feast. The boy’s parents usually ask for presents from the girl’s parents. These are given as soon s the wedding is performed. Divorce is allowed. If this happens, the girl returns the dowry, usually resulting in a long family feud and a lot of vengeful killing.

In Oton, Iloilo, it used to be the custom that both the bride and the groom have to cope with the wedding preparations or the timetable for planning marriage.

Some Morong people who adhere to their marriage customs don’t simply announce any day for their marriage or wedding day. They believe that a wedding on Thursday brings suffering and sacrifices; on Friday some losses; Saturday will bring bad licks. For wealth, Morong people wed on Monday, Tuesday for health. But above all, they usually wed on Wednesday for good luck.

In Quezon, a young man desiring to take a maiden for his wife must first be put to a test. He lives with the maiden’s family but he has to show the best he can along all lines of work. He must be the first one to wake up in the morning. Every water container in the house should be filled before everyone gets up, a pot of coffee should have been boiled and firewood properly ready for cooking.

After breakfast he goes to the kaingin and there he works until the sun is overhead. The rest of the day is spent either in the kaingin or in some other useful work. This trial marriage usually lasts several years.


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