Native Marriage Customs in Batangas Province by Tomas Mabilañgan, 1915 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Native Marriage Customs in Batangas Province by Tomas Mabilañgan, 1915 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Native Marriage Customs in Batangas Province by Tomas Mabilañgan, 1915

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1915 ethnographic paper written by one Tomas Mabilangan from .jpeg scans of the originals made available by the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. Corrections for grammar had been made in certain parts but no attempt was made to rewrite the original paper. Original pagination is indicated for citation purposes.

Henry Otley-Beyer Collection

[Cover page.]

Tagalog Paper No. 50.
(Folklore #157)


Tomas Mabilañgan
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  1. TAGALOG: Santo Tomas, Province of Batangas, Luzon.
  2. Social Customs: Marriage.

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June 16, 1915.

[p. 1]


Tomas Mabilangan.

The location of Batangas, being in the southern part of Luzon, makes it possible for the Batanguenios to possess different characteristics from the Filipinos. The system of marriage is one of them. Marriage, according to these people, is the pairing of a male and a female for lifelong duration. This is shown by the fact that monogamy is the only system among the Batanguenios. The method of selection is also typical. A male Batanguenio, when he wishes to marry, does not only choose a fine, attractive woman but also a woman who is not related to is parents or to himself.

As soon as he sees a woman suited to his taste, he at once consults his parents for approval. In cast the parents reject her, the gentleman is expected to look for another. But if they consent, then the gentleman continues to love her. Now, he must show the parents of the lady that he is in love with their daughter. Such [a] method is done by helping her parents to cultivate the farm, to pound rice, to get water for them and to accomplish everything pertaining to their work. At the same time, his parents are supposed to visit the house of the lady, and talk with her parents. Sometimes, cigarettes, wine, and buyo are offered. Then, both parents talk and discuss the matter concerning the love which the gentleman is offering.

When both parties favor the matter, the girl’s mother fixes

[p. 2]

a certain day for the gentleman to live with them and to serve them. This serving and helping his becoming “bianan” is called “silve,” meaning to serve or serving. It is quite interesting to notice that there is a superstition connected with the beginning of serving day. Usually, serving begins at the night when it is full moon. The people believe that a couple becomes rich at once if “silve” starts at full moon. At about eight o’clock, the parents and relatives of the gentleman bring water, fuel, bread, and fruits. Customarily, these are distributed among the relatives of the lady, showing an “ala-ala” or remembrance to them. That night, happiness takes place. Ladies and gentlemen assemble and the orchestra is invited. If [the] orchestra is not available, then the “pandanguhan” takes its place. “Awit” or songs are heard during the night. Such is performed by an old man or woman who is well-versed in that kind of “awit.” The performance is accompanied by a simple guitar or a “cordion.” [accordion] After three or four hours, the visitors go home and the gentleman is given to the parents of the lady. The girl’s parents are now responsible for the gentleman. They consider him a real son. They command him and give him all the kinds of work. Within one week or less, it is customary for the parents of the gentleman to bring the girl’s father and mother some presents. They are called “regalo.” Likewise, the “regalo” is distributed among the relatives of the lady.

In some parts of Batangas, the duration of the “silve” is quite long while in some other parts, it is very short, the longest

[p. 3]

being one year amd the shortest one month. It is believed that the object of long duration of “silve” is to prove whether the gentlman is going to be faithful or not. Sometimes, a long extent of silve is avoided by giving the lady’s parents “abuloy” or “bilang,” according to the discretion of the girl’s family. The “abuloy” or “bilang” (gift) may either be a carabao, cow, horse, a piece of land, jewel, or a sum of money, depending upon the desire of the lady’s family. In my own locality, Sto. Tomas, the extent is between three and six months.

Now, for the sake of time, let us consider here that “silve” is already over, and lead our minds in the day of celebration. It is the duty of the girl’s guardian to notify the other parents of the wedding day two weeks before the celebration. The object of the announcement is, of course, to let them prepare for the coming festivity. However, both parties prepare especially when the celebration shall become very happy; but it is always expected that the gentleman’s party prepares more. Now comes the wedding day. In the morning, everybody seems to be happy. The lady prepares and wears all the clothes she can possible get. The becoming couple go to church to receive the benediction. In going to church, the bride and her companions, being all well-dressed, are accompanied by their an orchestra or a band. This is also true when they go home. The festivity is held in the house of the bride. The happies part of the day begins at nine o’clock. The hired orchestra plays, while ladies and gentlemen are dancing. Again, if the orchestra is not

[p. 4]

available, the “pandango” and “subli” (a kind of dance) comes into use. In some localities, the modern dances are not yet practiced. At about eleven o’clock, the people prepare for a dinner. After the dinner, dancing, a concert, songs, and speeches take place again. Everybody seems satisfied. In the afternoon, the visitors go home. The bride prepares to go to the house of the bridegroom. This is called “lipat” or to transfer. In going, she is accompanied by all the relatives of her husband. Then, the night comes and there is also preparation in honor of the coming bride.

For two days, the bride does not see her husband. On the fourth day, the bridegroom decides to go to his house to meet his wife. Now, then the newly married couple is expected to become a new family. They are supposed to cooperate in struggling for the existence of their life. The woman stays in the house, as a housekeeper and the man goes out in search of the family’s needs.

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Native Marriage Customs in Batangas Province,” by Tomas Mabilangan, 1915, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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