In western culture, when a guy pops the question “will you marry me?” and the girl says “yes”, wedding plans soon roll out. But in the Philippines where people have strong family ties and great respect for the family’s opinions, before even reaching step one of planning the wedding, the guy almost always need to seek the approval of the girl’s family first thus the “pamamanhikan”.
Pamamanhikan is nothing like the “meet the parents” set-up since most Filipino women introduces the guys they are dating even before they officially become a couple. The Filipino family is very strict and protective of the girls in the family that’s why from the start; they expect the guys courting to have the courage and respect to introduce themselves and their intentions towards the girl.
Pamamanhikan is when the guy together with his family (parents and siblings) visits the home of the girl, to formally announce his intention to marry the girl in front of his family. Sometimes, the pamamanhikan affair may also be done outside like in a reserved venue or restaurant. The guy would invite the rest of the important family members and make the announcement there. Once the family accepts, the wedding’s important details are settled at this point and become a family decision instead of the couple’s alone. These are common situations seen in Filipino weddings or any other important events in one’s life: any preparation and decision always becomes a family affair.