I teach Filipino literature so I know what Pamamanhikan is.  Aside from the relevance of this word in my teaching life, I too know that this signals many things to the couple.  It means an announcement to get married, a kick-off to wedding planning, and a family commitment to bring a girl and a boy down the altar.

Aside from the technical and cultural aspect of this wonderful Filipino custom, I also know couples who got stressed over this getting together.   Who would not be nervous, right?  Kaya naman, Bry and myself really included this in our prayer time together.  We know how important this is for us-- especially for Bry who is very mindful of our relationship with each other’s parents from the very beginning.

Along side with our desire to make this day significant and “perfect”, we started working on the preps we have to make.  Good thing, we had a chance to visit Baguio so we asked Pastor Gerson how Pamamanhikan (the Christian way—because we believe this is not only a Filipino tradition) exactly happens.  He also gave a few tips (particularly to Bryan) and suggestions for the meet-up.  After knowing of who should speak and what one must say, we decided on the banquet our families will be sharing. This actually took planning and long funny talks!   We had to consider what one eats, can bring and should prepare.  By 10 pm before the big night, we were able to finalizeJ.  At last!

Hours before the Pamamanhikan, Bryan and I made several phone calls — asking and updating each other’s whereabouts and situations (Bryan picked his parents from the airport).  The last phone call was made and I knew they were just 5 minutes away.  Okay, this is it.  Dub dub dub dub dub….

The opening of the door, pag-mamano and greetings were quick that I was not able to process that Bryan’s parents were already seated on our dining table.  Whew!  While Bry, I and Mama were reheating the Igado (YUM) that his father cooked from Ilocos, his parents leisurely talked with Pastor Vernon and his wife and Papa.  After 10 minutes, I found us sharing meals and stories.  Ayan, less pawis na.  I am starting to relax.

After the desserts, we went down to the sala where Inay was also waiting (I fetched Inay from Alfonso).  We formed a small circle and Pastor Vernon facilitated the talk.  Since we were already mid wedding planning and our parents have been consulted several times in the past, the Pamamanhikan of Bryan’s family was not that “specific” anymore.  His father first spoke and let my family know of their intentions for the visit.  Then Bryan’s mom , Inay, Mama, Bryan said a thing or two too. 

 I witnessed how both families are more than willing to have each of us as their own son and daughter.  I heard promises, stories, wishes and prayers. I saw stares of sincerity, happy parents, and oneness of desires. I remember laughters, Bry’s caress of assurance on my shoulder, warmth in my heart.  I felt God and his affirmation to our prayers that indeed,  this marriage came from Him.    

 So that was Pamamanhikan. Ganun pala yun.  This is an evidence that God moves in our traditions and culture too.  Today, as I type this, I praise God that I am a Filipino.  I am definitely a happier “bride-to-be-Pinay”.

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