Filipinos are known for their endearing customs and traditions that are deeply rooted in Philippine culture. These customs and traditions differentiate Filipinos from other nationalities. While some were influenced by colonial rule, these unmistakable norms and practices have made Filipinos who they are and stand out.
In fact, our love for our beloved Pinas is deeply rooted in these characteristic habits. They are so conventional and inseparable to being Filipino that teleseryes have etched them into their storylines and narratives as we all watch in delight. Let us look at some of the Filipino customs and traditions portrayed in Kapamilya teleseryes.
1. Celebrating Fiestas
Our festiveness is seen in the fiestas held in local provinces and towns across the country to celebrate the feast day of their patron saint. This is held to give thanks to the patron saint for the many blessings the town and its people have received. Also, a fiesta is held to help strengthen the camaraderie of the community through games and activities. In FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, Cardo (Coco Martin) arranged a fiesta themed party for Lola Flora’s (Susan Roces) 79th birthday. The party accurately depicted how fiesta are celebrated in the Philippines. Folk dances were performed such as pandango sa ilaw, tinikling and maglalatik.
2. Singing the Harana
A practice we inherited from Spain, the harana is something we as Filipinos are very fond of, as it brings so much kilig especially to those witnessing it. When a man would court a woman, he would surprise her by standing in front of her house, with a guitarist or a whole band or singing group in tow to serenade her with a heartfelt song specially dedicated to her. This would precede his actual visit to her house and meet her family already smitten with kilig. In Since I Found You, Nathan (Piolo Pascual) made a grand version of the harana in trying to woo his beloved intern Dani (Arci Munoz). Not only did he sing her favorite song “Prinsesa,” he brought along the popular band Gracenote to back him up.
3. The Proposal
While this custom isn’t really specific to Pinoys, since this is done all over, this still is a tradition followed by a lot of Filipinos when a man seeks the hand of the woman he loves in marriage: the proposal. When he is sure she is the one he wants to spend forever with, he would kneel in front of her, present the engagement ring, and pop the question, “Will you marry me?” In Sana Dalawa Ang Puso, Leo (Robin Padilla) proposed to Lisa (Jodi Sta. Maria) amidst all their problems. He got down on one knee, and presented the engagement ring he bought for her. Lisa hesitated at first because of their struggles as a couple, yet she still had let her heart win and said yes in the end.
After a man had proposed to a woman and she said yes, the couple shall soon prepare for the act of pamamanhikan. In the pamamanhikan, the couple should set a date wherein the soon-to-be-husband will visit the house of his soon-to-be-wife, together with his family. Usually, the man goes with his parents to perform this act. But in the absence of the man’s parents, he may bring any close relative or the people who fostered him through his childhood. This act is done for the two soon-to-be-united families to meet up and get to know each other. Here also is where the parents together with the engaged couple arranges wedding preparations. In FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, Cardo brought his Lola Flora and Lolo Delfin (Jaime Fabregas) to perform the act of pamamanhikan to Alyanna’s family. They contributed some food for the family dinner, which were personally cooked by Lola Flora. The two families ate together and communed well with each other.
While the widely accepted funeral tradition is mostly based on the Catholic faith, other customary practices existed even before the colonial period. Some are based on tribal beliefs, while others on ethnic sub-cultures that have endured for thousands of years. With the hit fantasy series Bagani being based on Filipino mythology and beliefs, the rituals we witness seem to conform to Filipino tradition in its rich history. Here we see a solemn, poignant funeral ceremony for the slain Mayari (Sofia Andres), who is being laid on a raft with leafy ornaments and fixtures. A moment of silence , commemorating Mayari’s heroic deeds was done amid a brief ritual before they let go of her body on the raft to drift at sea
While some consider such customs and traditions “old school,” “obsolete,” “old fashioned,” or worse “ancient,” these still define who we are as Filipinos. While modern times dictate change in the way we do things, we still have to strive to treasure them as distinctive Pinoy practices we need to be proud of as it shows our people’s best values.