The Filipino Wedding Ritual

In the Philippines, The Families of the Bride and the Groom are the ones that get married.  For better or for worse… 

So they liked each other.

And That was the Start of a Looooong Process…

“So who is She?” asked His Family during Sunday lunch.

“Both the father and the mother are of Pampango descent.  Her older cousins live in this neighborhood.”

“I know them.”  declared the mother. 

“They are all big people in that family.  They eat too well.”

“The father was short and dark.  But his father, the sugar baron, was tall, fair, and imposing.  The ********** are Spanish mestizos.  They freely admit that they are descended from a Spanish friar.  But as usual, intermarried with Chinese mestizas.  The father’s mother was a wonderful lady: she was fair and fat.  Also of an old, venerable Pampango family.  Probably Chinese mestizos.”

“The mother is tall and pretty.  She is a capable businesswoman and does not care much for socializing.  The mother’s father was a businessman, always well-dressed, a dandy.  His sister was married to a B*renguer, an uncle of my cousins: your Tito D*ng and Tito B*t.  The mother’s side looks very Chinese:  they are tall, lean, and “chinita.”  None of them are fat.  Her first cousin is former Justice C*milo Qu*ason, a good friend of your Tito T*ddy [ also a former Justice ].”      

“What did she finish?”  the sister asked.

“She finished a double major of Japanese Studies and Business Management at De La Salle University.  Then her mother sent her to the Gemological Institute of America in California.  Jewelry is one of the mother’s businesses.”  He answered. 

“Jewelry… Then you will have to support her in style, hijo.”  advised the aunt.

“With your balls.”  added the brother. 

“She’s not that young… in her mid-20s right?  Why is she not married yet?  Is there something wrong?”

“Probably no.  She’s the youngest and the only daughter.  “Nina Bonita,” just like you…”  He said, pointing to his only sister. 

“They have a line of Insanity.”  cautioned the mother.  “They are so intelligent that they become insane.”

“They are a very rich family from Pampanga.  Papa and I traveled with them to Europe in the early 1960s.”  recalled the mother.

“But one does not hear very much of them these days.  They are low-key, like all of us.”  suggested the aunt. 

“She seems OK:  proper and conservative, just the way you like them, Mama.  At least, you won’t have objections to her family.  They seem to be very correct.  You flatly refused M*a for *ddie because her grandmother was the ‘querida’ [ mistress ] of her grandfather, actually the ‘lavandera’ [ laundrywoman ].”  suggested the sister.

“You also disapproved of ****** for *ddie.  She was nice, I got along with her… We enjoyed shopping together in Paris… The family is very well-off…”  added the sister.

“You don’t understand.”  the mother explained.  “That girl has been everywhere.  Literally.  Yes, her family is very well-off but it doesn’t mean that they have their morals right.  In the first place, their so-called ‘fortune’ was made during Marcos’ Martial Law, the father was a crony, and that does not impress me at all.  In fact, I find them distasteful.  They are definitely not our kind of people.”       

“Well, you wouldn’t let me court *sa, Mama.” the brother reminded the mother.  “She’s a nice girl.  Her family is every bit as ‘good,’ as ‘old,’ and as ‘conservative’ as ours.  But you disapproved of her because her parents are separated.  Because her father was a violent man who battered his wife… who would even shove her head into the *beep*…”

The aristocratic mother turned cold:  “I care very much about you, my children.  I don’t want any of you to end up with the wrong people.  Not even with the wrong right people.  In the future, you will understand why you must only marry the right insiders who understand our culture, our way of life.  You have to be with people like us.”    

“It’s too early to tell.  I still have reservations about this girl.  We have to find out more about her and her family.”  the mother declared.

And on the Other Side… the exact same thing was happening…

“So who is He?” asked Her Family during Sunday lunch.

“The father is from Bacolod and the mother is from Manila.”

“Everybody knows them.”  said the brother.

“That family is dark and ugly, aren’t they?”

“Yes… and No.  The father’s father, the sugar baron, was dark and ugly.  But the grandfather’s mother, an Al*nan,  came from a long line of beautiful women and handsome men famous in Bacolod.  That handsome politician with the beautiful daughters is a relative.  The father’s mother is a L*pez from Iloilo.  Yes, of that Clan.  That’s why they’re related to everybody there.”

“Now, the mother’s side is generally good looking.  Her father, the former Justice of the Supreme Court, was of English descent.  But all that was left of the Englishman was the nose.  Now, the mother’s mother was a de los R*yes, a famously attractive family from Cavite and Binondo.  They were very rich.   They have produced very beautiful women and rather handsome men.  A cousin, the beautiful and statuesque M*rgarita, married the unattractive **** ********* and produced five beautiful daughters.  They are cousins of that hopeless actress.”         

“What did he finish?”  the mother asked.

“Business Management at Ateneo de Manila University.  Master’s in Finance at Boston University.  He’s pursuing further graduate studies in the US… Northwestern, MIT, Wharton, I don’t know yet.”  She said.

“He can support you then, with those qualifications…”  declared the uncle.

“In style?”  asked the aunt.

“He’s in his mid-30s, right?  Why isn’t he married yet?  Are you sure he isn’t gay?  Or crazy?”

“Nooooo.  I guess he’s just careful.”  She countered.

“Careful my ass.”  snapped the playboy brother.

“They have a line of Insanity.” cautioned the uncle.

“The father’s side.”  added the brother.

“Also the mother’s.  On her father’s side.  Intelligence bordering on Eccentricity.”  said the uncle.

“They’re supposed to be very rich:  his father is the son of a Negros sugar baron.  The mother has inherited a lot of real estate in Manila.”  continued the uncle.

“But he is not proud of his father’s side, for some reason.  He is very proud of his mother’s side, actually his mother’s maternal side.  It is where the bulk of their real estate comes from…”  She said.

“He seems alright.  At least, he is not like the last one, the one who had proposed marriage to every single girl that he had dated…”  said another brother.

“Oh that one!” laughed the brother.  “He was nuts but he had Style.  Talk about ‘good family’… He would take her to lunch at Punta Fuego, to Rustan’s in the afternoon, and Baguio for dinner.  I was told that his siblings adored you.  The grandmother too, the widow of the former Justice M*ntemayor.  But as his first cousin ******* — who is also our second cousin — wailed:  ‘Of course I want her to marry one of my cousins and become a de L*on… but not that one!!!’  Well… why not him???”

She stuck her tongue out and pretended to belch.  “No way.  He drools at every passing skirt.”    

“Why don’t you just marry ******* Si*pno?  True, he looks like the Cheshire cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland.’  But he’s absolutely crazy about you!  So you can henpeck him all you want.  He says that he will put up a “National Bookstore” just for you.  He says he will smother you with jewels, which you like.  And his family is the richest in Dagupan… You can have all the crabs and prawns that you want!”  suggested the brother.

She did like crabs and prawns very much, so that was a thought. 

“Ngek.”  She winced.  She still had romantic illusions.  She would prefer a poor handsome husband over a rich unattractive one anytime.  But there was nothing wrong with a rich handsome husband, was there?     

“It’s too early anyway.  I still have reservations about this boy.  We have to find out more about him and his family.”  declared the mother.      

He proposed marriage, and She accepted.

And that was the start of an even looooonger process…




  1. JLB said,

    April 20, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Dear Toto,

    It’s a pity that you were only exposed to the “dark” side of the L*zares Clan when you went to Negros Occidental. Their side of that family ( the one you are familiar with ) is noted for being dark. I agree. Their side, being “dark,” does not represent how the other L*zareses look. There are a lot of very beautiful, glamorous, and very light-skinned L*zares women ( the same Enrica Alunan de L*zares branch ) who are the second cousins of your friend who lives in the Encarnacion L*zares de Panlilio house in Talisay.

    I beg to disagree with your statement that the Lacson women are the ones noted for their beauty and natural elegance in Bacolod. The Lacsons are not the only prominent clan in Bacolod noted for beauty and elegance. I wish i can show you pictures but that’s beside the point. I hope we can disagree without being disagreeable. Thank you.

  2. April 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm


    I would think that the Lacson ladies are the ones noted for their beauty and natural elegance in Bacolod…

    Toto Gonzalez

  3. April 20, 2008 at 3:59 pm


    You’re brill.

    Toto Gonzalez

  4. JLB said,

    April 19, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    The older and younger generation of Lizares women are noted for their beauty in Bacolod. Most have very light skin… although some branches do have dark skin.

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