#1 Best Guide: What Is Harana In The Philippines?

What Is Harana In The Philippines

“What is harana?” That’s the question I get all the time from foreigners when I tell them I’m a native Filipina. Whether it’s expats visiting my home country or friends from abroad who have heard I’m in a relationship with someone back in the Philippines, there’s always curiosity around this one word – harana.

On one of my earliest dates, I remember when the guy would showing up at my house one night to harana me. I’d get asked excited questions about what the word meant and what the tradition entailed whenever I shared the story. Though the practice has changed over the years, harana remains an iconic part of romantic courtship and dating culture in my homeland.

So what exactly does this mysterious aspect in the Filipino culture entail that makes foreigners so curious? Let’s get to know more about it and some Tagalog words in this exclusive guide.

What Is Harana

What Is Harana?

At its core, harana is the long-standing tradition of a Filipino man or the manliligaw wooing and romantically serenading the woman he desires from underneath her bedroom window in the middle of the night. Yup, you read that right – he literally goes to her house while she sleeps, stands outside in the evening with his guitar or ukulele in hand, and starts passionately singing classic kundiman love songs in hopes of sweeping her off her feet.

The harana first gained popularity in the early part of the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. The tradition traces its origins to the influx of stringed instruments like guitars and ukuleles that arrived from Spain. Filipino men quickly adopted these as tools of courtship and romance.

Beyond just getting the girl, harana has a deeper cultural purpose – it reflects the performance of traditional gender roles in Filipino dating scripts. It allows masculine expression through the pursuit, while emphasizing feminine qualities of being the passive recipient of romantic intentions. The songs and poetry reveal the sensitivity of the suitor underneath as well.

Using guitar for harana

What Are The Stages Of Harana?

Harana may seem like a spontaneous romantic gesture, but the traditional form actually follows distinct phases. Understanding the stages provides insight into this elaborate courtship dance.

Panawagan (Calling Out)

As the term suggests, this is when the man stands outside the woman’s window and announces his presence through song. The panawagan repertoire politely implores the woman to open her window and to listen

Pagtatapat (Proposal)

If the woman opens her window, it signals permission to approach and to start singing underneath her window. Inside the house, under the watchful eyes of chaperones, the suitor launches into pagtatapat songs. This is his chance to directly declare admiration of the woman’s beauty and character. He may also ask to formally court or date her.

Panagutan (Response)

After the man finishes his pagtatapat song set, the woman is encouraged to respond with a song of her own. In traditional practice, gifted female singers often got serenaded the most as their musical replies carried status. Her song conveys either acceptance or polite rejection of the courtship invitation.

Pamaalam (Farewell)

Regardless of the woman’s response, evening haranas end without intimate contact or displays under the constraints of conservative Filipino values. The suitor respectfully thanks the hosts, says farewell through song, and departs without expectations – keeping interactions shy and innocent.

Is Harana Still Practiced Today?

Well, from my perspective as a native Filipina, I would say it’s complicated. The days of every young man breaking out a guitar and heading to his crush’s house in the middle of the night are long gone. But before you get disappointed, let me add – the spirit and custom have evolved to fit modern times!

How you WILL see harana’s influence today is in more subtle, contemporary versions. Lovestruck young Pinoy men still romance the apple of their eye by dedicating song performances to their crushes in school or community events. Officemates might whip out an acoustic ballad during a colleague’s despedida (farewell party).

What Are The Classic Harana Songs?

No Filipino serenade is complete without the essential musical element – the classic harana song repertoire. These romantic ballads serve as the soundtrack to setting the mood and conveying meaning.

When it comes to traditional songs, the most iconic oldies are by composer Ruben Tagalog like “Look Out the Window, My Love” and “How Sorrowful is the Night.” Their lyrical themes perfectly align with the harana stages, from inviting the woman to open her window to convey the sadness of being apart.

Today, among Filipino youth and students, contemporary harana songs you might hear at a campus serenade include pop originals like “Mahika” by Janine Berdin, “Pasilyo” by SunKissed Lola, and “Binibini” by Zack Tubaldo. The sound is more modern with electronic beats mixed in, but the essence of romance prevails in the lyrics.

So while the songs may change with the times, the idea of courting through songs will always be part of the Filipino culture.

Easy Phrases For Harana

Now this is my favorite part to share – how you too can participate in harana by learning key Tagalog romantic expressions! Even just mastering a few choice phrases to pepper in shows effort.

“Mano po, Ma’am/Sir”

This means “Bless me, Ma’am/Sir” and is used when arriving at the house to politely ask for attention and acknowledge parents/elders. Say it while taking their hand gently to your forehead in the traditional mano custom.

“Puwede po bang haranahin ang aking minamahal?”

This means “May I please sing a song for my beloved?” and should be said when asking permission at the start of the serenade to dedicate a song.

“Puwede ba kitang yayain sa isang date?”

Meaning “May I invite you on a date?”, this is used when asking for a formal date afterward. Make sure to listen respectively if declined.

“Naiintindihan ko po. Salamat pa rin sa iyong oras.”

Say this gracious line meaning “I understand, still thank you for your time” if she says no to the date invite above. Showing respect is key!

Sing Your Favorite Love Song In Tagalog Now!

I hope this deep dive has shown you how the tradition of harana reveals passion, creativity, and commitment as pillars of Filipino courtship. By understanding its place in our culture’s rich history and values around romance, you can better connect with your Pinay partner too.

So go on, pick your favorite classic love song, and translate it into Tagalog for an impromptu musical moment with your special someone! No grand gestures or public performances are required – even just taking her hand and dedicating a sincere lyric or two as you dance in your living room let her know your dedication spans language and culture.

Want to level up your serenading game? Apps like Ling can help you quickly master Tagalog pronunciation and popular love song lyrics. Downloading just a few key phrases equips you to surprise her with a little harana magic spontaneously anytime. Give it a try now!

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