Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Pamanhikan

WHQ and I have been engaged for nearly a month now. When her Mom came back from overseas, she "suggested" that me and my parents drop by for a visit. Uh-oh, I've been to WHQ's house lots of times, so I guess the visit is more for the parents. Do I hear "pamanhikan"?

Don't bother looking the word up in the dictionary because it's in Tagalog. It's a Filipino tradition (from the Spanish?) where the groom's family visits the bride's family to officially ask for her hand (and the person that goes with it) in marriage. I was really surprised when this was first mentioned because all along I thought just the engagement is enough. It's not like we had a formal engagement, but I did pop the question, and she said yes, and all the parents knew about this. On second thought, it's not a bad idea since the parent's haven't really met each other.

So what happens during a pamanhikan? Do I have to make the marriage proposal again? Should my dad talk to her parents? Should we bring along chickens and cows and offer them as gifts? Should I stay behind afterwards and mow their lawn? I really have no idea, but this is what we did. I, my parents and my brother (even number) set out to WHQ's house with a Michel's cake and some fruits. There, introductions were made and everybody sat down in the living room. There were some initial confusion as to who is supposed to serve the cake and tea to whom, but eventually, everybody had a share. The parents talked about "normal" topics about adjusting to life in Sydney, the weather, etc. Slowly, (or was it suddenly?), the topic shifted to the wedding date, church arrangements, where to have the reception, color motifs, etc. As it is already nearing lunchtime, we decided to continue the discussion over yum cha at the Crystal Seafood Restaurant.

And so ended the pamanhikan. Whew!

Not one to waste time, we pressed on to Parklea Markets after lunch to buy envelopes and stationery for the wedding invitation. Not an easy job, considering there are so many types and colors of envelopes and papers. Worse, WHQ can't decide whether to go for gold or green or purple or cream. Took her about an hour or so, but she managed to buy something.

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