Welcome to the Philippines: Panliligaw
March 11, 2022
Hey everyone! It’s a hot evening here in the Philippines. I wish it would rain a little bit to lessen the heat. 🥵 By the way, I have a question to all the ladies here who experienced courtship? Are you courted on the old traditional way? And to all the guys, which do you prefer when you court someone, the old or the modern way of courtship? Why I’m asking? Because this article is related to this topic.
Love is always been present since the beginning of time. It may be in different forms, ways, definitions and styles but they all point to one word - beautiful. Like any other country around the globe, they have their own traditions and customs in dating or courtship but out of all countries one stands out to have the richest and purest form of courting and that's the Philippines.
Filipinos are known to be caring people. They are very hospitable and mostly happy. They are also loving made before friends, family or lovers. But what makes Filipino love and courtship different from other countries?
Courting is called "panliligaw" in the Philippines where the suitor is called "manliligaw" and the one being pursued is called the "noliligawan." Filipinos are more discreet and conservative in terms of love and expressing feelings or attraction for one another. In the Filipino culture, love revolves around respect for the woman and family by strictly following the set of rulrs in pursuing a lady.
The "manliligaw" is expected to establish a friendship first. Making a drastic move will imply that they are aggressive or arrogant. To be fair, the "nililigawan" also need to follow a certain attitude when they are being chased and it is termed as "dalagang filipina." To be a dalagang filipina, the nililigawan need to be "mahinhin" or shy and "pakipot" which means they need to play hard to get. The nililigawan cannot show any direct interest to the guy who's pursuing them even if they really, really, really like him. It is known to be a virtue that is highly sought-after. So how did Filipino couples end up together before?
Traditional Filipino courtship
Find a go-betweener - since manliligaw can't approach the lady directly, they have to find the chosen one or a mutual friend of both of them that will basically help you out in your exciting journey of courtship and capturing the damsels heart
“Tuksuhan”or teasing - so you've established mutual friends now, those friends will tease that both of you look good together and they became amatchmaker and that's how things start forming where both of them realize that they are compatible and are interested in each other
“Sulatan” or write love letters - the manliligaw and nililigawan will write a letter to each other or basically exchange letters
“Harana” or serenade - it was a practice filipinos picked up from the Spaniards where in the night the man accompanied by his friends will sing a love song in front of the girls window as she looks out and listens to their performance.
“Paninilbihan” or acts of service - it is said when you are courting a Filipina, you are also courting her family. Filipinos really value their family so parents play a major role in their daughter's love life. The manliligaw is expected to visit your family to introduce himself and to show that he is really serious in winning the girl's heart. It is also a way for the parents to see if the man is sincere about being together with their daughter. After that the manliligaw is expected to do so more frequently while bringing “pasalubong” or gifts.
Courtship could take months or even years but after perseverance, patience and hard work with the approval of the parents and the girl saying yes, they would finally be “kasintahan” or lovers and eventually they would get married happily ever after. This went on for centuries but then the digital age has arrive. The invention of cell phones, gadgets and the Internet change lot of things as well as the art of courtship. The 21st century introduces texting and emails rather than letters. You can tell each other how you feel in an instant and online dating has been made. Filipinos are not limited to dating only Filipino citizens now. They can even date someone from the other side of the globe.
Everything has become fast-paced since then. Everything in an instant it can be friends yesterday lovers today and sadly maybe strangers tomorrow. Relationships these days don't always end up in marriage. Some much flirting and very temporary relationships now tend to be easy to lose as they are also easy to get not only in the Philippines as well as other countries around the world.
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