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Tuesday, March 4, 2014



A serenade is a word with it's origin from French serenade
and from Italian serenata, an evening song. It is a musical
performance, one given by a lover to his sweetheart.

To the Gen Y (youth), a serenade seems awkward but for
the Filipinos of the 40's, 50's and 60's, the serenade is
quite a rapturous experience for the maidens.

The serenade is not a normal occurence in the cities but
generally in the provinces or rural areas where people
have more time for siesta, frolicking and fun. This happens
especially when younger maidens from other places
(baryo in Tagalog) visits a particular community in fiestas.

The news spread like wildfire that there arrived new visitors.
A group of young men will visit the home of these maidens
at about 7:30-8:00 pm. The time is crucial because at
6:00 pm, most homes conduct their Angelus prayers. Then,
supper commence.

Unlike in the west, where one has to ring beforehand to visit
a place, that is not necessary during those times. Aside from
that, the community is so closely knit that formalities are passe.

The time of the serenade now has begun. The one with the best
voice will lead the entrance serenade (song). Usually, the songs
are quite romantic, just like the likes of Julio Iglesias songs. An
example is "Blue Spanish Eyes" or "Yo Te Amo" (which means I
love you!) As the houses are huts, the window will be opened by
a narrow rod (not glass but nipa windows)

Here is the beautiful part! The maiden who is the object of the
serenade has to stand by the window as a gesture of courtesy. As
expected, one will hear giggles and sighs as usually they are about
fifteen to nineteen years old. It is just a romantic and sweet sight
and the music is just alluring.

After about three songs, the gentlemen will be invited up the house
and the ladies will offer an evening cuppa: coffee or chocolate with
sweet ricecakes or fruit jellies. The maidens will entertain them for
about an hour, then the men will politely bid goodbye because long
visits are considered to be bad manners.

Many unions in the rural areas started with a serenade. Old folks
tell their stories to their grandchildren on how they met their
grandfathers. There are no photo albums to document the
encounter, but the memories are always alive in the recesses of
their hearts and minds.

The serenade --- a wonderful Philippine tradition. Just perfect for
Valentines Day!
Cynthia Abegail

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