Another Early Marriage Custom

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Today’s menfolk have no idea what the pagan macho had to undergo to win a bride. Going back to the time of Urduja and Lakandula’s grandmother, beside the bigay-kaya, the man was required to make other special compensatory gifts. Such as: a certain sum to the girl’s mother (for sleepless nights in rearing her daughter from birth), another sum to her father (who usually asked for a dowry equal to what he had given to the girl’s mother), and still another to her wet-nurse (for having fed the bride as an infant with milk from her own breast.)

To top it all, if his family could not put up the negotiated dowry, he had to undergo a period of servitude (paninilbihan) in the girl’s household until he had earned enough for the wedding. It was also called subok, a test of his love and fortitude.

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Source:

Alvina, C. & Sta. Maria, F. 1987. Essays on Philippine Culture.

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