People & Inspiration

The Six Fix: Filipino Ligaw Traditions And How They've Changed

The Six Fix: Filipino Ligaw Traditions And How They've Changed



You've probably heard it from your grandparents time and again—dating isn't what it used to be when they were younger. The Filipino ligaw traditions of the olden days may be long gone for us, but that doesn't mean they've been forgotten. Sure, we all just nod our heads when our lolas start to say how the times have changed. It does make you think, however, of what it would be like if ligaw still somehow existed. That's why we've rounded up some of the most popular Pinoy courtship traditions and how they've changed for our generation!

1. The Harana

Then: Who doesn't want to be serenaded by the man who's after her heart? It takes major guts for a guy to do this (especially for those who don't usually sing at all); but, through a simple harana, you'll also be able to see how willing he is to go to different lengths just to show you how much he loves you.

On The Wings Of Love Outtake: Harana Bloopers

Now: No harana, no problem! These days, dedicating a Spotify playlist or posting a cover of her favorite song on YouTube will do the trick. Plus pogi points if your efforts go viral on Twitter or Facebook, too!


2. The Paalam

Then: You know that a guy has extremely genuine feelings for you when he asks permission from your parents to date you. It means he isn't afraid to involve the most important people in your life in your relationship and he wants to earn your parents' trust and respect. With this, he basically guarantees that he has nothing but good intentions for you now that he knows he's accountable to your folks.

Now: While dating may have become more super casual these days, there are still guys out there who know how much it matters to parents to know about their daughters' relationships. If you happen to date this kind of guy, it's easier to know you're in good hands!


3. The Pakitang Gilas

Then: Back in the day, men were required to impress a girl and her family by helping around their home—cooking meals, fetching water, and gathering wood just to prove his love and earn their trust. This serves as a "test" of his love for the girl and gives him a chance to win her heart as well as her family's.

Now:  Guys today may no longer do this anymore, but they still have their own way of making a good impression such as treating the girl's family out to dinner or offering them a ride when they need one. 


3. The Love Letters

Then: Don't we all just miss those days when love was expressed in pen and paper instead of emojis and text messages? There's just something about old-school love letters that melt our hearts. Unlike other forms of electronic messaging, love letters can't be deleted and don't demand immediate responses that will compromise the quality of thought–making it more romantic and full of emotions.

Now:  Now, couples can express their feelings easier with social media. A declaration of love on Instagram, a sweet Snapchat, or a kilig Facebook post is the new norm. Talking to your partner is no longer as difficult as before because she's always just one click away!

4. The Pasalubong

Then: In the good ol' days, it was a requirement for a guy to pursue not just the heart of the girl he's courting, but also the parents of the love of his life. Rather than taking the girl out for a date, a guy gets to know a girl by making frequent visits to her home and getting to know her family in the process—and one way of showing courtesy to the girl's parents is bringing pasalubong for them whenever the guys visits. 

Now: While this is no longer a requirement, trust that your girl's mom or dad will surely appreciate a guy who makes an effort to do this. Whether or not you still believe in ligaw, this will surely earn you major brownie points with the 'rents! 


5. The Pamamanhikan

Then: When the guy and girl think it's time for them to settle down, the first thing a guy does is to ask his girlfriend's parents for her hand in marriage and proposes to her in their presence. It's beautiful in a sense that the guy shows the intention of establishing his relationship with his future in-laws and including them in their lives to remind them that he's not taking away their daughter, but they're just gaining a new son. If that's not romantic, then we don't know what is. 

Now: It may be done in different ways now, but pamamanhikan is still a tradition most Filipino families practice. It's not just ligaw, after all—we're talking marriage here!

6. The Maria Clara Way

Then: Back in the day, girls were expected not to show their feelings easily toward their suitors even if they already feel the same way because they're expected to be "reserved" and "demure" by playing "hard to get." Young couples usually go through a long-term courtship to see if the guy is really deserving of the girl's heart, and guys can only hear their matamis na oo after proving that they're worthy of it. This strategy usually prompts the guy to go the extra mile and is the best way to see if he is truly serious in committing himself to the relationship or not.

Now:  These days, many don't believe in courtship anymore as it's believed to be a "front" for both guys and girls. After all, why prolong the dating unecessarily when they think they already know each other well enough or are already prepared to enter into a relationship with each other, right?

What do you think about the differences between old-school courtship and today's modern dating? And which one do you prefer? We'd love to know your thoughts! Share it with us in the comments below!


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Photograph from Movie Pilot (Shane West) and ABS-CBN News (Sitsirya). GIFs from Make A Gif (James Reid), GIPHY (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, TV Land, Pride and Prejudice).




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