Friday, November 26, 2010


By: Prof. Manolo Ballug & Jena Isle

The betrothal practice in Kalinga - specifically Taloctoc - is done by having a "contract" between parents for the marriage of their children. The practice is binding among the natives.

It starts of when a family decides to have its son or daughter be betrothed to another by sending an emissary who should be a respected and influential member of the community. This emissary must at least know how to sing the "ullalim" as it is through this that he would make the initial proposal. In most cases, the proposal is accepted by the other family.

When the proposal is accepted, the emissary would go back to the proposing family and everyone would be informed about the acceptance. An announcer from each family would go around and inform all of their relatives and the community, and everyone would be invited to the celebration. The date of the celebration should have been previously approved by both concerned parties, this is to officially inform everyone in the community about the contract.

During the day of the celebration,the emissary from the girl's family would go to the house of the boy as early as 6 AM to officially announce the celebration. All the relatives of the boy should be there to receive the emissary. As soon as the emissary arrives, the father of the boy would instruct any of his relatives to slaughter a pig in order to entertain the emissary with "ullalim" until such time that the breakfast is ready.

After breakfast, all the male relatives of the boy would line up and one of them would carry the head of the butchered pig; this is called the "lungos". This is then taken then to the house of the girl to signify the start of the celebration and to manifest acceptance of the marriage proposal.

The emissary would then lead the march followed by the boy, who must carry a bundle of firewood. All of the male relatives would also carry bundles of wood or one of the 6 musical instrument called " patonggok". This 6 musical instrument would produce rhythmic sounds. The "patonggok" is made from bamboo and are whittled to regularly, decreasing sizes, from 1 & 1/2 foot to 6 inches in length. The alternate beating of the "patonggok", which would produce a melodious sound that would accompany the group to the girl's house. The sounds are loud enough for the whole village to hear, thereby prompting them to go to the celebration.

All the relatives of the girl will gather at the girl's house and wait for the marching men. As soon as the marching group arrives at the girl's house, an important, influential and respected "ullalim" singer would officially present the boy to the girl's family.


A man from the girl's family who should also be a good "ullalim" singer, would sing the acceptance of the boy into the girl's family. This will signal the start of the celebrations. A program would follow with "ullalims", "salidsids" ( courtship dance), "salip" (wedding dance) and the "tadok" (dance for all).

Other activities may be initiated, like games for children and adults, while "basi" (native wine from sugar cane) is available for the men, and cakes for the women. More pigs, cows or carabaos are slaughtered and everyone in the village would be invited to take part in the festivities. The meat is boiled in one big cauldron without any salt or condiment and that is it. The feast usually lasts a whole day and is considered a holiday in the village, that means everyone is expected to be there. It is considered improper and impolite to be away working on such an occasion. The old folk from both parties would be discussing the future security of their betrothed children.

During the enforcement of the contract, the betrothed children must not pronounce or state the names of each other's close relatives (father, mother, siblings and first cousins) as it is believed that this would cause the persons to get ill with boils. This practice is called "paniyao". The parents are expected to share with each other whatever things they have like vegetables, sugar, clothes, salt, bread , etc.

When the betrothed children become grown-ups, they are expected to help their respective father and mother-in-law in any way they could. The boy would gather firewood, fish and fetch water for the girl, while the girl is also expected to cook, wash and clean the house. In some instances when the father-in-law is too old to work, the boy is required to live with him to help out with work . The parent's boy, on the other hand are expected to take care of the girl as their own, through financial assistance and the like.

In rare cases where the "contract" is broken, especially on the part of the boy, he would be required to replace the animals which were slaughtered during the celebration, or he would have to pay in cash. This is a unique contract in which the whole village is a witness.


The lovely picture is provided by Camille of Memoirs of a Med Student. She is a 22 yr - old, Med student who has interests in books, movies , food and - believe it or not - PC games and basketball.

Aside from pursuing Medicine, she also puts aside time to watch movies and to read books by Coelho and other well known authors.
Her blog is very stimulating because of the diverse interests that Camille has. Go visit her blog at Memoirs of a Med Student.


peregrinus said...

Why would a parent enter into a "contract" with another parent for the marriage of their children?

Virginia Gaces said...

It's an old tradition. They want to be able to ensure their child's future. This is also done in India and as per statistics, most of these type of marriages survived.

Strawberry Girl said...

Oh my!! How interesting, sometimes I wonder if this might be the better way (then again at other times I don't like this way at all) ;D


Still I love reading about other cultures like this.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.


sant said...

its really interesting to come across this type of contract among the parents

Virginia Gaces said...

Hi Strawberry girl,

It has its advantages and disadvantages. But according to statistics, there are more couples with arranged marriages who stayed together longer than those with love marriages.

Virginia Gaces said...

Hi Sant,

Yes, it is well respected by the native folk.

travel insurance said...

So many variations of old traditional and unique in south east Asia and very interesting to know

josie said...

Thank you for sharing the traditions of our old folks, do they still practice it till now?

Pinoy Around the World said...

grabe! this is my first time to read about something like this in the Kalinga culture. Thanks for sharing it, my friend.

Virginia Gaces said...

Hi Travel insurance,

Yes, a very unique culture, indeed. Thanks and happy blog hopping.

Virginia Gaces said...

Hi Josie,

There are still a few who practice it. It has been ingrained in the native folk that it would be difficult to eradicate it completely.

All the best.

Virginia Gaces said...

Hi Mathe,

It's not really as "unfeeling" as it sounds. Do you know that couples under this arrangement grew to love each other more? And their divorce rates are lower. Becaue they went into the marriage with just one expectation in mind: that the man will provide and the woman will attend to the house; so this expecation is almost always fulfilled and more, so most marriages experienced no frustrations.

Thanks for your visit Mathe.

Pasyalera said...

Really such a unique culture. Thanks for sharing. :)

Empty Streets said...

Dropping by to check out what is new to read over here :) Keep safe and healthy always :) xoxo

Virginia Gaces said...

Hi Pasyalera,

It's truly unique and rich too.

Hi empty streets,

Wait for my pictures of the Kalinga brave coming soon. Happy blog hopping. I invite you to visit my other blogs.

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