The Death of ‘Ligaw’: Towards a New Way of Growing Relationships


It’s like Romeo professing his adoration for Juliet in the balcony, except each word is accompanied by the gentle strumming of the guitar. I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard from our parents or relatives how they experienced the traditional serenade—with them lamenting how it’s almost non-existent today. Harana used to be a part of the norm when a man is courting a lady as a sweet gesture to sweep her off her feet.

However, times do change, and along with it, societal customs, so the good ol’ way of courtship—otherwise known as Ligaw—has become obsolete in the face of technology that facilitates instant connections and interaction between lovelorn people.

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But all these traditional romantic practices of trying to woo our object of affection by giving him or her flowers or chocolates might be gone for the better.

Building a serious relationship is more than just trying to please someone

More than just trying to score pogi points or attaining ganda goals (a cringe-worthy term I came up with as I’m not aware of the female counterpart of pogi points) by marketing ourselves as an attractive individual who can live up to what our beloved wants, we should change our ways of courting someone such that it is directed toward knowing and eventually accepting our potential partner.

I’m not espousing the idea that we all abandon ways of trying to make our special someone happy and bare all our flaws from the very beginning. After all, to have our feelings reciprocated, we must exert effort to make that happen.

However, we might focus too much on the means that we forget the reason we’re dating someone in the first place: we are in search of a partner who will keep up with all our quirks, may they be good or bad. If all goes well during your first date and you’d like to strike a chance with your future lover, then your next moves should be more than just trying to impress him or her.

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Both parties must be ready to enter into a journey of discovering each other’s personality, preferences, and limitations. There’s no three-month rule here in place—pressure is the last thing that you’ll want because it takes time (a lot of it) to truly know someone.

Moreover, I cannot emphasize how vital communication is to your relationship, and if you don’t make yourself clear or you don’t reveal your real intentions, then don’t be surprised if your journey gets rocky early on. Speaking of beating around the bush…

Playing hard-to-get or can be a hit-or-miss

As for the person being courted, there is an advice passed on to this day which disturbs me: “Don’t give your sweet yes immediately and you should make your suitors work hard for it.” Seriously, what is this for? You’re not a prized possession—you’re a living, breathing person. Your lover should value you for who you are, not only because of all the trouble they got through just to be with you.

A healthy relationship is a two-way street. Its cliché quality does not diminish its truth: both of you are givers and takers. If you’d like to reciprocate someone else’s feelings, say it. If you don’t, say it as well out of respect. No one likes getting their time wasted, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

There is nothing wrong with being direct with the person who likes you, but just because they have feelings for you doesn’t mean you can demand anything from them instantly.

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When it comes to determining-the-relationship (DTR) talks, you have to accept and understand whether they’re in the same boat as you when it comes to making progress on your relationship. This is also an opportunity for you to work on your patience, which will definitely play a huge part in the next stages of your journey.

Committing becomes challenging once the honeymoon stage is over

If both of you decide to get into a relationship at the end of your discovery journey, then congratulations! Well, not really. This isn’t the end of a rainbow where there’s a pot of gold waiting for you. Problems will become more complicated, tears will be shed, and hearts will be torn apart. This is not to say that things will definitely get uglier in the long run—but that successful relationships are actually not just made up of sugary stories. In fact, it is defined by the sorrowful sacrifices that we’re willing to make.

Undeniably, it is emotion whose great force pushes us to pursue our chosen one, but it is a great mistake to completely rely on it when we’re deciding to enter or stay in a relationship. While there are traits that our beloved possesses which initially attracted us in the first place, to reduce them to only those traits is to dehumanize them. We have imperfections and so does our partner. The sooner we accept this the easier it is not to see those flaws as a room for disappointment.

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Remember, the best approach is to see the other person (whether it is the one courting or the one being courted) as a normal human being, dressed in strengths and weaknesses that differ from what we have. Patience, forgiveness, and acceptance are underrated values needed to nourish a relationship. To continue loving someone is to know that you will constantly forgive and accept them for all their shortcomings.

It’s easy to feel sentimental over something that used to be part of our culture, but if we’re to commit ourselves to improving our current life conditions concerning the area of love, then we might as well do more than just thinking about where to bring our partner for our next date.

Finally, if things don’t work out in the end with your potential partner, life simply goes on. How interesting is it that we simply pass by strangers every day in this populous world, and yet we spent a meaningful amount of time to give this person a fraction of our life? From this encounter, we might gather heartache, but most importantly, we earn experience that gives us lessons on love and lets us know ourselves better.

Who knows, someone else might be waiting around the corner, playing the guitar, with no one to whom he or she will dedicate that newly written song yet.

A sociology graduate and philosophy dilettante who loves music (ranging from Black Sabbath to Beethoven), old-school anime, non-competitive running, and surreal webcomics.


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