I’ve said before that I’m not a holiday/celebration kind of guy.
Halloween is my least favorite day of the year.

Valentines day is up there with it.

I know not everyone feels this way…but for me…


But this email is more about relationships than it is about Valentines day and I found it quite interesting…

Julia (my content OFS) writes:
Valentine’s Day is one of those celebrations we’ve learned from the US. Because of that, we celebrate it pretty much the same way, with flowers, hearts, and cupids. Couples would go out on dates and love songs playing everywhere.

The jaded part of my brain thinks Valentine’s is just a marketing campaign designed to sell more flowers and chocolate. But the romantic in me appreciates the love and courtship traditions that come out in full force on this day. Here are some of those traditions.

1. Harana. It’s the serenade tradition where young men sing to single women as a form of courtship.

Traditionally, it’s done at night outside the girl’s home. Sometimes accompanied by his friends, the man would sing ballads while playing the guitar.

Nowadays, it’s not safe or practical to do that. The modern Harana would have the man serenading the girl on their break in school or at work. If you can’t sing or play the guitar, you can hire a Harana service where professionals can sing for you.

2. Umakyat ng Ligaw. It means to court someone romantically. But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

When a man woos a woman directly, this is traditionally considered disrespectful. Direct courtship implies that your intentions are not honorable.

The proper way to do it is to court a woman AND her family. You visit the girl at her home (usually at night or on the weekends, when everybody is at home) and bring gifts for everyone. You have to try to win the girl’s affections while winning her family’s approval.

Yes, it’s as uncomfortable as it sounds. There’s nothing more romantic than being interrogated by the parents of the person you want to date.

That’s why we find the “Meet the Parents” movies so amusing. We can relate, but we’re also relieved that we’re done with that meeting early.

Now, most Filipinos date. But a modern adaptation of this is still practiced by some. The guy goes to the girl’s house (and vice versa), is introduced to the family, and announces their intentions to date.

You can still date even if you’re not introduced to the family. But it’s polite to do the introductions first before you start dating.

I like this adaptation as a parent.  I can’t stop my daughter from dating when she comes of age. I would want to know who my child is dating.

3. Level of in-laws. That’s the name I made up for the unspoken rule of what to call the parents of your partner at different stages of the relationship. I included this on the list because many people change their relationship status after Valentine’s Day.

You’re never supposed to call the parents of your partner by their first name. It’s considered rude. Instead, you use honorifics depending on where you are in the relationship.

  • Casual dating: Use the formal Mr. and Mrs. Last Name or the more informal Aling [Mom’s First Name] and Manong/Mang [Dad’s First Name] depending on their preference.
  • Serious relationship: You call them Tito (Uncle) and Tita (Aunt). Why use Tito and Tita? It signals the level of closeness. You’re not really family, but you’re always welcome in their home.
  • Married: You call your in-laws Mom and Dad or Mama and Papa, depending on their preference. They’d be in the same level of importance or closeness as your parents.

What happens if the relationship ends? Etiquette states that you can keep using the last honorific. Suppose the relationship was serious, but you broke up before getting married. In that case, you may continue calling your ex’s parents “Tito” and “Tita” when you see them socially.

I call my in-laws mom and dad. At first it was uncomfortable…but they’re so good that it didn’t take long to become easy.