Posted by: jinoe | April 18, 2008

The Pre-marital Chronicles – Pamanhikan… Whatda*!

By this time, our relatives and friends are very much aware of our engagement. We have seen people dropping by our wedding website and writing at our guestbook to wish us the best of luck. Wow. I needed that.

As we plan for the wedding, the details are starting to surface. One of the interesting question from the bride’s family is “When is the pamanhikan?”. I got blank upon hearing that. What is it anyway?

I have a very slight idea of what pamanhikan is. I just see them on TVs and movies. My cousins had that when they are about to get married. All I remember was I get to eat some food. I dont know what they really talked about. So I started searching for information in the internet.

Pamanhikan is an old Filipino tradition where the groom and his family formally asks the hand of the bride for marriage in front of the bride’s family. Pamanhikan is called Pamalahi in Ilonggo. Im not sure if Pakagon is also the right term. It’s like parents meeting the parents.

Oh that sounds easy until I read further.

Typically, the pamanhikan is held at the bride’s house during lunch or dinner. It is also customary for the groom’s family to bring is some food. Today, other couples have their pamanhikan in a neutral territory like restaurants. Or bring in a third person to facilitate in the discussion (parang retreat a!) or help ease the awkwardness in the meeting.

Now to the awkward part.

During the pamanhikan, the details of the wedding are discussed like wedding budget, expenses, guest lists, and more. Quennie and I struggle with those topics. How much more is this if discussed with our parents. I mean, we haven’t finalized things yet. We get stressed when people ask us about the venue, the date, the motif. And putting more people in the planning might get more stressful.

And what if our plans get ruined. Our parents might thrown in ideas from their retro bauls making it look more like its their wedding and not ours. They could get bossy and think that we are still their six-year-olds where they can tell us what to do. Right now, I’m thinking of a subtle way to tear down their retro talks when they start talking.

And finally, when will the pamanhikan happen. Our schedules are bit tight. I know its still a year before the wedding but I might have a business trip from July to August and Quennie might be assigned offshore from October to March. The wedding will be around April. Cool.Ā  So we thought it would be best if we do the pamanhikan when we go home to Bacolod this May.Ā  But they said, it is traditionally (I’m starting to hate this word) done 3-4 months before the wedding.Ā  Huh?!

And still more questions. Do I have to bring a dowry of fattened calves or native chickens from our farm? Do I have to chop firewood before the pamanhikan? Sing a harana?

Please help.



  1. hey, pamamanhikan does not necessarily mean you do all those things listed above. pamamanhikan might be important to your parents and que’s family because it’s a sign of respect. your parents of course want to be a part of your wedding so there is nothing wrong with listening to what they have to say. i don’t think pamamanhikan should be taken as if it’s something bad because it’s not. what you do during the pamamanhikan is still up to you. you don’t have to follow traditions. you just need to show your intent.

    Ahhh… that sounds comforting. šŸ˜€

  2. correct nyss.

    Pamanhikan now a days have been modernized. If the parents haven’t met in a formal occasion this will be an opportunity to formally introduce everyone. But if they have met already then it will just be a formality of engagement. Or like you said. Just eat and dine with the whole family.

    You also need to discuss who from the family will be coming in the wedding and who will be the ninangs and ninongs and most especially the place to hold the wedding….. the parents usually get to suggest.

    But in terms of the motif, reception, program and dates… it is usually discussed by the couple themselves. Suggestions from the family should be considered but not necessarily included in the wedding. Like you said…. it’s your wedding.

    Good Luck

    Hmmm… Daw anad ka na sa mga ano ni part haw?

  3. And still more questions. Do I have to bring a dowry of fattened calves or native chickens from our farm? Do I have to chop firewood before the pamanhikan? Sing a harana?

    – isa lang ang masasabi ko sayo pare… harana. kung paano ang pakulo mo, it doesnt matter. basta’t harana. yun lang. bow.

  4. wow congrats! i’ve checked your website and its awesome.. lagyan nyo pa ng pics and other weddign preps. pati invitation at design ng gown šŸ˜€

  5. discuss everything with the whole family pero sempre the decision would be between you and your bride! punta muna ako dun sa wedding site nyo at na intriga ako šŸ˜€

  6. hinde.. magdala ka ng lechon.. haha. mas masarap ang usapan kung masarap ang pagkain. gaganahan ang lahat, walang mainit ang ulo.. haha. [half-meant lang, matakaw lang kase talaga ko.. ;)]
    no dowry/ies – di na uso yun unless they ask for it. ahh. onga pala, bacolod kayo.. haha. mmm. good luck nalang! šŸ˜‰ korek sa pagkuha ng chicken sa farm dahil kelangan ang sangkaterbang inasal! šŸ˜‰

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