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Meeting the Parents

The Tradition

Pamamanhikan is a Filipino pre-wedding tradition dating from Spanish colonial times, if I'm not mistaken. In this tradition, the groom with his parents visit the bride's house and formally request her hand in marriage.

The word "pamamanhikan" originated from the root word "panik" meaning "to go up the stairs."

Carpio Ancestral House in Sta. Rita, Pampanga
Image Credits to Wikimedia Commons
During those times, the living spaces were placed on the second floor of the house while the ground floor serves as storage area.



Nipa Hut in Magdalena, Laguna
Image Credits to Wikimedia Commons
Even the humble "bahay kubo" or hut is raised from the ground. This way, anyone entering the house will have to climb stairs.


Our Version

In our case, we opted to do the "pamamanhikan" in a restaurant. Our house, in its present condition, would not allow us to have guests. In addition to that, the dogs will be barking at the guests all evening. That isn't an ideal scenario.

A photo posted by Kye Felix (@sleepwalkingscarlet) on


Years within our relationship, I'm already familiar with his family and he's well acquainted with mine. It seemed unnecessary, but formally meeting with our parents proved how serious our intentions are of marriage.

It's a good thing we have parents who are not total strangers. Our mothers have already known each other through the church. It was easy for them to get along. They both like sewing curtains and pillowcases, shopping for clothes, and taking care of plants. Though our fathers rarely meet, they do have common interests as well. For starters, they're both Ilocano.

Our "pamamanhikan" is different from what I see in movies. In old Filipino movies, meeting the parents could mean separation for the lovers. If the lady comes from a wealthy family and her boyfriend is an average guy, the lady's parents quickly disapprove the union, sends the guy away, even threatens to send him to jail. In other movies wherein the man is wealthy and the lady is from the lower classes, the lady's parents immediately approve the marriage.

We're so relieved to not have this kind of drama in this day and age. Social statuses are not as important. Our parents are agreeable and seem to compliment each other. We discussed the details of the wedding from the venue, to the catering, the outfits, the guest list... We also talked about issues not related to the wedding, had a few laughs. It was nice going home after that evening knowing that our parents support us. This is a good start.

In this century when more teenagers decide not to take life seriously with their YOLO and swag-idolizing attitudes, I still hope for this custom to continue. To have a man ask your parents for your hand, and for your parents to approve and accept him as their future son-in-law - this is one of the best gifts a girl can have.

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