Of course, I was nervous. And of course, Jojo was nervous.
Mom was hypertensive the whole week last week. His Dad was discharged only last Tuesday. His inang binyag also wanted to go with them, depending on her work schedule and trip to Boracay.
But it pushed through anyway.
It wasn't what I expected... then again, I didn't really know what to expect.
Our parents didn't even ask us anything... if we're sure about our decision, are we financially secure, do we love each other, what kind of wedding and reception do we hope for, do we expect anything from them, will we sponsor their gowns and what-have-you's, etc.
Although of course, they confirmed the date (Dec. 28) and the venue (Paco Park) and the day (Wednesday).
Seemingly a sign of good luck, Jojo's Inang Binyag (who will also be our Inang Kasal, as is our tradition) was married at Paco Park!!! So she regalled us about how she demanded to start walking from the gate because she wanted a looong walk down the aisle.
Our parents offered some advice... mainly, about how marriage is not something you drop like a hot potato in the times you find yourself not liking your spouse anymore... or when times are rough.
Our parents also assured us they'd be there to guide us and support us... because no parent can really turn their backs on their children.
And there was talk of NPAs, Masbate political dynasties and assassinations, FPJ, old age complaints, etc.
And yes, my Dad fell asleep several times during the pamamanhikan... much to the laughter of everybody when my uncle nudges him to wake up.
And yes, my uncle monopolized the conversation. He took after my grandpa, who, bless his soul, was fortunately already dead, otherwise the pamamanhikan might have lasted through the night. It was hilarious actually... since his wife already kept on pulling at his sleeve to stop talking... (my aunt assured me she'd have my cousin berate him about it).
It was weirdly funny and awkward, I know, for everyone... because the first hour, my uncle talked about anything and everything... as if the Arevalo family called on him to pay their respects. When Jojo and I decided to just talk to our mothers, who were exchanging stories and side comments as if they're old friends (thank heavens!!!), it was only then that my uncle remembered that it was MY pamamanhikan.
And so he started to drone on and on about marriage and self-sacrifice. I forgot how it ended with jueteng... but still, it was a lengthy speech.
Good thing that my beloved's family came there prepared for anything... and were good sports actually. They 'suffered' my uncle's advices and admonitions with good grace and humor...
And I can't say I was chagrined by what happened... because my uncle went there to do his part... as the eldest among my dad's siblings, he was the one that gave us blessing... and the one who officially welcomed Jojo and his family to our family.
And typically, there were lots of food.
Failed to take pics of my mom's cooking... her veggies were a hit though. Her sinaing na tilapia was also a hit. Jojo's Mom prepared orange spare ribs and seafood bolabaisse.
There was cake and buko pandan, but of course, my nieces and nephews (Pyro being the most behaved already, eventhough everybody had to keep running after him while listening to his incessant babbling... and this observation from Jojo's sister) refused to go back home for their afternoon nap without convincing me to buy ice cream too.
Jojo's Dad's intro:
Kami po ay nagpunta ngayon dito, dahil kinausap po ako ng aking anak na gusto na nyang lumagay sa tahimik. First time po naming mamanhikan, kaya po kung may pagkukulang kami, kayo na po ang bahalang magpuno.
My Dad's reply:
First time din naming merong namamanhikan samin eh.
My Tita's reply:
Sakin kayo magtanong, naka-dalawang pamamanhikan na ako.
Jojo's Dad's comment:
Kami ni Misis, dumaan kami sa panahong kailangan naming maghati ng miki bihon, kasi yun lang ang kaya namin. Ngayong binabalik-balikan ko yun, masarap alalahanin na kahit minsan, hindi ako nakakita ng pagsisimangot sa mukha nya
(as a supplement to my uncle's reminder about WANTS... and that we should be vigilant about it)
My parents were generally quiet... yes. I think they both believed that my uncle already delivered more than our family's quota.
Mom told me later: "Ikaw ha, wag mong sisirain yung pagtitiwala sayo ng parents ni Jojo. Ang babait pala nila."
My cousin's wife comment:
Mec, magaganda pala magiging anak nyo ni Jojo eh, ang gaganda ng mga kapatid nya oh!
Jojo's sister's comment:
Kuya, bakit ang liit ni Pyro?
Hindi sya maliit, malalaki lang talaga tayo.
Jojo's Mom asked me whether i've already seen my Baby's BABY BOOK. I said I haven't enjoyed his baby pics yet. Jojo's Mom told me:
"Ay tingnan mo yung Baby book nya, ang cute-cute nya nung bata pa sya. Ngayong malaki sya na lang naman naging ganyan itsura nya eh."
Jojo's Mom tells my family that they've been advicing Jojo to pursue a career in the US after he graduated, since he's in IT and they have lots of relatives in California.
Jojo replies... "Eh walang MEC dun eh..."
I'm also happy to say that our families were all impressed with our Unity Coins... ones we bought the previous day at the Wedding Expo.
Pamamanhikan is a very old Filipino custom. Traditionally, the men in the groom's family accompanies him and his parents to formally ask the bride's hand in marriage from her parents. They bring food, and usually, the bride's other relatives are also present.
My father's family have observed this tradition very rigidly. They've even gone as far as Zamboanga just to ask for someone's hand... which was why it was so very important that Jojo, whose family didn't really observe it, would exert the extra effort for me.
Pamamanhikan is a wonderful, beautiful ritual... of two families agreeing to be one.