Four months ago we were in Manila to attend a friend’s wedding. A few days ago we just got back from Pinas where we attended yet another wedding, this time involving one of the family. I wrote in my personal journal that I’ve attended enough weddings to last me a lifetime and the next time I attend another wedding would be too soon – and yet seeing the smiles on the bride and groom as they exchanged their vows is simply priceless. Probably worth another trip home. But on the other side of the coin, weddings in the Philippines are yet another occasion where disgusting Filipino manners (or lack of it) are displayed at their ugliest.
Topping my list of disagreeable Filipino habits at weddings: dashing for the exit once they’ve had their full. Weddings are a far cry from fiestas or birthday parties, and yet some people could not even manage to show the social courtesy of lingering until the end of the program. In our own wedding, for instance, half the attendees disappeared even before we started the wine-toasting. It took us more than a year of preparation just to make sure that that one special moment in our lives will be enjoyable – and people couldn’t even sit still for more than two hours. Next on my list: skipping the ceremony and just showing up at the reception. Unless there is a very good, damning reason why you can’t attend the ceremony, shame on you if you think that the wedding is just a place to eat! In most weddings that I’ve attended, the number of people at the ceremony was only a handful, mostly involving the direct relatives and the wedding entourage. Other nasty habits, albeit minor ones: social faux pas of not wearing the appropriate attire (one guy at my wedding showed up in a hawaiian shirt!), not making the social courtesy of responding to an RSVP invitation, and not coming on time (typical of Filipinos to make a pa-bongga grand entrance).
I’m not saying that all Filipinos show these kinds of habits at every wedding, but I sure wish that every attendee will remember the reason for the occasion – for the couple to have the most memorable day of their lives, the day that they become known as husband and wife. Would it hurt to show some social etiquette? How often does one get married, anyway (of course it’s a different matter if you’re Elizabeth Taylor)?