C. Courtship and Marriage
Kalon - This is the traditional way of courtship among the Ibaloy. When a young man is interested in a girl, he will ask and older person to visit the girl and ask her if she wants to marry the young man. If the girl agrees, the wedding will immediately follow.
Kaising – This is another way of courtship where the parents of the girl and the boy decide that the two should marry. In most cases this agreement is reached when the children are still young. To conclude the agreement, the parents will butcher one or two four-legged animals like pigs, carabaos or cows. For young couples, a young pig or cow may be butchered. The elders called panglakayen or mambunong (religious practitioner) will bless the animals and the ceremony. This ceremony is performed to let everyone in the community know that when the boy and girl reach the age of maturity, they will be married to each other.
Another ritual is performed when the couple are of age to signify that they can now live as husband and wife. Animals butchered for the feast are cows, carabaos and pigs which come in pairs of male and female. Before the meat is served, boiled gabi and camote are given. After the feast, a piece or pieces of raw meat are distributed to the guests to bring home.
One reason for the kaising practice is that when the boy and girl are married, the parents’ remain within the two families. Another is that this is also a way of strengthening the friendship between tribes and to resolve conflict between two clans or families.
The party that breaks away from the agreement has to repay all expenses incurred. They also suffer public censure.
Sihop/suhong (Forced marriage) – There are several reasons for this kind of marriage. When a girl becomes deformed or disabled as a result of an incident caused by the boy during their youth. Whether the incident was intentional or accidental, the boy is constrained to marry the girl when they grow up.
Parents decide who their children should marry. The young couple are kept in a cage-like structure or a room until both agree that they should get married or the marriage is consummated. They are usually kept in the room for three days. The person who refuses will be penalized.
Kalon – This type of parental arrangement is not enforced. If any or both refuse,
no marriage rituals take place. However, the parents and community exert effort to convince the couple.
A couple lives with the groom’s parents until the groom is able to build his own house.