The First Ever Traditional B'laan Wedding Ritual I Witnessed

It was a beautiful Saturday morning when we visited Kinilis, in Polomolok. I was with Nanards and two visiting friends from Davao City, Emi, and her American husband, Joshua. They wanted to go see the kafe balos because it has been very famous now, and they wanted to invest into the business.

Sir Fred mentioned there was a tribal wedding that very day so it was a fortunate day for us to witness something different, a customary tribal wedding rite.

We went inside the house for they explained to us that the traditional B'laan wedding is being held inside the house of the bride where the couple has to sit on a mat and surrounded by relatives and witnesses.

The bride was very beautiful that day, she was adorned with T'nalak inspired accessories, and her hair was placed with a beautiful headdress made of brass. Her hips was surrounded by a brass belt where hundreds of small bells were making noise each time she moves. And she was fully clothed in a colorful B'laan attire, and some shawl to depict marriage in transition that time. The groom was also wearing a B'laan hat and wore white with a little T'nalak inspired accessories as well.

The ritual already started when we arrived, and it was the concluding part that we witnessed, the chieftain asked the parents on what advice they will give the new couple, and the representative from the local civil registry was there to document the wedding in the book of registry he was holding formalized by the signing of the marriage contract.

It was my 4th visit to the place and I was surprised when they called on me to sign on the papers to witness the wedding of the couple. I guess it was because they already knew me that well. So I happily obliged, and was made instant ninang (godmother) to the new B'laan couple.

Signing my name on the marriage contract

Prayers were given by the two pastors right after the ceremony. The B'laan ritual was done before we arrived and the concluding prayers were given by Pastor Fred and the officiating minister (if you call it that).

After the wedding, there was jubilation outside where this old lady danced the B'laan traditional dance. She was very graceful to the tempo of the paglong, an instrument they played while the wedding was going on.

Congratulations to Weng and Cristy! May your tribe increase.

Customs and tradition, one thing we are very rich with as a country. I am proud that least, in my lifetime, I am able to witness such wedding, and I hope and pray that the people will continue preserving the culture and the heritage that is truly Filipino, despite the modernization that's slowly eating our patronage, and even our passion for what is anciently good.


JessQ said…
CONGRATULATIONS, Maninay!! The bride and the groom will forever be thankful they've got you to record their most memorable event. It would be remembered not only by those present, but even by every Filipino who reads this charming article, even through the years. Hurrahhh!!
sheng said…
@JessQ: Thank you for your nice words, Jess. It was an awesome experience. The way they handled the event was very different from the way we handled it, it was very simple, yet, very rewarding.
kg said…
sheng, pang ninang material ka na? he he!

you're lucky to have witnessed such an event. that's a good experience, witnessing a part of another's culture.
SunnyToast said…
congrats! How I wish I can witness such customary tribal wedding rite....for sure my camera will be all smiling:)
Anonymous said…
that is so cool sheng! i have always wanted to get to know the tribes in this country kaso walang opportunity pero interesado ko. ang galing bute ka pa!
pamatayhomesick said…
gaya ni sunny toast- isa sa magandang kuhanan ang traditional na parte ng pag iisang dibdib.
Anonymous said…
this is one of the things that make me want to be part of National Geographic! :) we all should be thanking you sheng for being able to document even just a part of this. i wish, though, that the old woman could also pass the tradition of dancing and the dresses/accessories to the next generation and that the younger ones would realize how important these things are for their own personal and the Filipino identity.
jeanny said…
Musta na Ninang Sheng :-)

I wish to witness that kind of marriage. Simple yet very meaningful.

Photo Cache said…
this is an educational post. thanks for sharing.
witsandnuts said…
This is a very informative post. I thank you big time for blogging about this. And the bonus was that you were a ninang!
kg said…
gusto ko din maka experience ng kakaibang wedding...pupunta nga ako dyan! hehe!

miss you sheng!

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