Trivia Corner

TINUHA, or Marriage without the Benefit of Courtship

In Samar, otherwise known as "the land of the fierce Waray-warays," customs continue to cling on like vines to age-old beliefs with stubborn tenacity. They refuse to die. Nowhere is this more evident than in their courtship and marriage practices. Semi-primitive customs are still fashionable there. Modernism seems unable to contain them.

Courtship may take the form of Pakighiruhimangraw, or teasing or flirting.

Pakipagharampang is the broaching of a marriage proposal; this is their version of the Pamanhikan of the Tagalogs or the Tampa of the Ilocanos. Which means that a Parayakan, or an emissary is sent to propose a wedding match.

Among other things, the Parayakan must be endowed with the following qualities: a sweet smile, charismatic voice, glib tongue, ready wit, charming disposition, winsome ways and suave personality. He must also be versed in the art of winning love. Being good at Siday, or poetry, will come in handy, as some of the exchanges are poetical in nature.

A successful performance in the Pakipagharampang results in the next stage of courtship which is the Pamalaye, whose sole agenda is the bargaining of the Bugay, or dowry. This session is attended by elders, some of them relatives, others not. Feasting and drinking occasions it. The fact that the presence of the prospective bridegroom and his father is here to be noted somehow formalizes and makes official whatever has been taken up in the Pakipagharampang.

Tinuha, or "marriage without benefit of courtship" is the name of this marriage. It is arranged solely by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom among themselves for and in behalf of their respective children.

The option of dowry is, however, retained. This is something that's never dispensed with, ever.

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Anima, N. 1975. Courtship and Marriage Practices among Philippine Tribes. La Loma: Omar.