Saturday, April 4, 2009
Going through Pamamanhikan
I've gone through two pamamanhikans. One was for my sister who was lucky coz she was in the US when her fiance's family came over to ask her hand for marriage. The other one was for my brother where the whole clan trooped to Pangasinan. I don't really remember much of it since I was just about 11 or 12 years old back then.
So when my Mom nonchalantly reminded me that I had to go through the same thing I immediately told Sweetie about it. We prepared by doing some research about it and he briefed his parents on what to do.
But nothing really prepares you for it.
I was quite normal earlier in the day, but at the scheduled arrival of Sweetie and his parents drew near I felt anxious and started to hyperventilate. All the nightmare stories I heard about pamamanhikans started to replay in my mind. A friend's story about her recent pamamanhikan terrorized me. Sweetie was also very anxious and this reflected in his Plurks.
I settled for a pale pink dress since that's what bride-to-be's usually wear based on some Youtube videos I checked out. I wanted to wear an off-white dress, but it was suddenly 2 sizes too big for me! My Mom was busy with the food and she normally doesn't want me around the area for that, so I just hung-out online while waiting for Sweetie to arrive.
I was already having symptoms of an impending asthma attack when one of my Titos arrived. I was really surprised since my Mom didn't tell me he was arriving. And then Sweetie arrived while I was ushering in my Tito and Tita. I was already in a panic then since I was surprised with my Titos arrival. I forgot that my Mom prefers to have all her brothers and sisters around during pamamanhikans.
And then things were a blur after that. Introductions were made and then the elders settled down to chat a bit. They immediately switched to speaking in Bicol after just a few minutes and then they started talking about common friends. Eventually they started to trace the family tree just to be sure that we aren't related. (My brother had quite a scare about this during his pamamanhikan).
We had dinner first and sat on a separate table. After several servings of food, Sweetie and I were called to the "elders table". It was actually Miguel who broke the ice by asking, "Start na ba?" Everybody laughed and then fell silent. Then Sweetie's Dad did the opening by saying, "Maaaring nagkakaintindihan na ang mga bata..." and then Sweetie took over and said his intentions. My Dad's answer was, "O kuha na kayo ng kutsilyo, hinihingi pala kamay ni Aileen."
I did not know if I wanted to laugh or cry then.
I just said, "So Dad ano na?" And my Dad fell silent for a long time before he answered. I thought he was going to cry. I was teary eyed when he gave his answer. He asked us first if we had thought about it thoroughly. We both said yes. My Dad then gave us some advice and emphasized that it would really crush them if this did not work. My Mom and Sweetie's parents also gave some words of wisdom and then we started talking about the wedding arrangements.
I know I should not have doubted that my Dad would give his blessing, but for a few moments there I thought he wouldn't. I know it's very hard for him since I'm his youngest child and my colorful life certainly made him more over-protective. I couldn't speak last night because I was trying hard to keep my tears from falling, but I wanted to say that I believe my parents have raised me properly and have equiped me to make this work and that they should not worry about it because we will not disappoint them.
It may have taken me a long time to settle, but I know God has chosen the right one for me.