In the Philippines, it is said that when two people get married, they are actually marrying both of their families together. Thus, the “pamamanhikan”, or in Ilonggo, “pamalaye” is considered as one of the “steps” a traditional couple undergoes before marriage.
I have asked some married friends what they did during the pamalaye. Some said, it was just for formality since the two families have already known each other for so long. Others said, it was just a casual family affair, with small chitchats and lots of food. Another even told me they had organized a family outing.
Ours went like this.
I had to take a leave from my work in Manila so I can prepare as the host family for the pamamanhikan. Sept. 9, 2011, Friday, I flew to Bacolod.
My brother, from Los Banos; my sister, from Makati; and my Lola from Manila, caught the first flight out of Manila to Bacolod the next day, Sept. 10, 2011.
Mon and his family (dad, mom, sister, and two nephews) met at NAIA Terminal 3 around noon of Sept. 10. Mon was just staying in Alabang while his family left Bataan at dawn. They arrived in Bacolod at around 2pm.
My mother and I fetched them at the airport. We went straight to the Eroreco house for a semi-formal introduction since it was the first time our families have met. Mon’s family brought us a box of tinapang bangus and puto from Bataan!
We had merienda at Bob’s before checking Mon and his family in their hotel. Everybody needed rest from the long travel.
At around 6pm, we went to the Bakyas family house to proceed with the formal pamalaye. I was surprised seeing everybody there. All of the titas (father side) were there, along with some cousins. Tito Rex was the designated master chef, as usual.
After welcoming Mon’s family into our home, Mama began the formal meeting by introducing our family to Mon’s family, telling some stories in between. In response, Mon’s father told some stories of their own family as well. The intros went smoothly, though it was surprisingly (or un-surprisingly? knowing my mother…) too formal for me. Haha! I can only imagine how Mon felt.
Mon then formally asked my mother for permission to marry me. After some lengthy “advise from the elders” my mother said yes! Yey! Though, my mother got teary eyed in between, with my father being gone and maybe partly because, well, I am her eldest.
After the “talks” was the much awaited feast!
Mon particularly requested for 2 dishes: Cansi (Ilonggo bulalo), adobo nga pusit nga itom ang sabaw (squid adobo with black ink). Apart from these two that Mon requested, Tito Rex’s menu for the night also included sizzling scallops and sinugba nga bangus. For panghimagas (dessert) we had puto na may itlog na maalat (rice steam cakes with salted eggs) straight from Bataan! Everything was delicious!
After dinner, we chatted a bit. Not long after, we went back to the hotel and to Eroreco.
Everyone was happy that night.
P.S. The only regret I had was that I forgot to document the whole thing! I should have given my camera to my sister. Darn.
At least I have this.
(Family pic of the Bob’s merienda.)