Mae Jacolo Aguilar"apple"
Mae Jacolo Aguilar”apple”, B.S. Nursing from West Negros University (2010)
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This article is about our deep rooted Filipino Culture and its essence applied to everyday  life as seen in ordinary folks like my self as a Filipino. Other cultures might have different views on romanticism, courtship and relationships, but this is not about them. This is the Filipino Culture, raw and still alive…

During the 19th century in Spanish Philippines, there was a set of body language expressed by courted women to communicate with their suitors. These are non-verbal cues which Ambeth Ocampo referred to as “fan language”. These are called as such because the woman conveys her messages through silent movements that involve a hand-held fan. Examples of such speechless communication are as follows: a courted woman covering half of her face would like her suitor to follow her; counting the ribs of the folding fan sends out a message that the lady would like to have a conversation with her admirer; holding the fan using the right hand would mean the woman is willing to have a boyfriend, while carrying the fan with the left hand signifies that she already has a lover and thus no longer available; fanning vigorously symbolizes that the lady has deep feelings for a gentleman, while fanning slowly tells that the woman courted does not have any feelings for the suitor; putting the fan aside signals that the lady does not want to be wooed by the man; and the abrupt closing of a fan means the woman dislikes the man.

The Harana first gained popularity in the early part of the Spanish Period. Its influence comes from folk Music of Spain and the Mariachi sounds of Mexico. It is a traditional form of courtship music in which a man woos a woman by singing underneath her window at night. It is widely practiced in many parts of the Philippines with a set of protocols, a code of conduct, and a specific style of music. Harana itself uses mainly Hispanic protocols in music, although its origins lie in the old pre-colonial Philippine musical styles which still practised around the country (See Also Kapanirong style of the Maguindanao of Mindanao). The main instrument used for Harana is the Guitar, played by the courter, although other string instruments such as the Ukulele and less frequiently, the Violin and Trumpets are also used.

The word harana has derived from the Spanish string instrument of the same name. It resembles a guitar, but is smaller in nature.


‘Harana was a traditional form of courtship in the Philippines.Traditionally, the suitor will visit the house of the girl he is trying to woo, and sing by her window until she comes out to either accept or deny him. The suitor may or may not be accompanied, but usually his companions will be playing a guitar or back up vocals as he sings. Ideally, the dalaga or young lass will come to the window and invite her suitor to come inside.

Inside, the father and daughter will sit in the living room where the suitor will stay standing unless given permission to sit. If the suitor wishes to make a good first impression, he must already have pasalubong or gifts for the girl’s family. At the living room, though the daughter is present, the father will do all the talking and interrogate the suitor about his family history, aspirations, current economic status, and intentions with his daughter.


Harana is an exclusively nocturnal practice. Because of the daytime tropical weather, the evening offers respite from the heat. It is the time when everybody comes alive, full of romantic ideas, and as is typical of Filipino nature, always ready to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones. It was during this old Philippines, before the widespread use of electricity, that harana was at its ripest.

I guess the Art of Harana will always be a part of us Filipinos. My husband though never attempted to serenade me in the middle of the night, sure paid respect to my Parents while he was still courting me. Showing up at our door step humbly asking for my Father’s permission so we can go out on a date or at times be with friends on a night out. I remember he would use to drive 30 km every single day, back and forth so he could pick me up at home and drop me by the Hospital where I was an intern. It is all about respect and genuine intentions to begin with. Sure we have adopted to modern ways of courtship but the essence of Harana is still there somehow.



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http://www.haranathemovie.com/whatisharana.html; http://floranteaguilar.com/artofharana/

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© Copyright 2018 Mae Jacolo Aguilar”apple”. All rights reserved. Any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the Author/publisher.

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Mae Jacolo Aguilar”apple”THE MULTI- TOPIC BLOG- writes about personal interests& passion.specializing on HUMAN BEHAVIOR. elicits toxic reaction by annoyance.certified weirdo& a nurse

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