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A romantic Meranaw wedding

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MAIKA and her groom, Bin Khalifa Lucman “Jimboy” Pansar.

Soraya Hanifa “Maika” Adiong, daughter of Lanao del Sur Governor Bombit Adiong and my late best friend Raifa Raki-in, made a most resplendent bride when she married her 20-year-old groom, Bin Khalifa Lucman “Jimboy” Pansar, in Cagayan de Oro City this month.

Maika and Jimboy chose to have a traditional but modern Meranaw wedding and made sure they adhered to customs to make it intimate and memorable.

Among the rites observed was the kawing, which has the groom announcing his intentions to Bombit, the father of the bride. Jimboy pledged his loyalty and support for Maika in front of his future father-in-law, the leader of prayers called the “imam” and the wedding guests.

The ceremony was held at the Xavier Estates Clubhouse.

When Governor Adiong accepted the groom’s commitment, they went to the bride’s shelter for the batal or the affirmation of the marriage.
The house of Maika’s grandparents (mother side) served as the batal.

Following the custom in Meranaw Islamic weddings, Jimboy touched Maika’s forehead as a formality.

The lovely couple were then driven back to the clubhouse for the reception. There, the couple received blessings from both the father of the groom, Butig Mayor Dimnatang Labay Pansar, and the father of the bride, Governor Adiong.

Maika looked stunning in a white embroidered lace gown and hijab (headdress) which was designed by Manila-based Elizabeth Hallie. Jimboy was clad in a modern black tunic with silver embroidery and a matching wedding taqiyahor cap.

The family of the groom wore traditional Meranaw attire while the bride’s friends and family were garbed in formal contemporary attire.

Among the principal sponsors were Senators Miguel Zubiri, Cynthia Villar, Ronald de la Rosa, former Gensan Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio and Anak-Mindanao partylist’s Amihilda Sangcopan. Other principal sponsors including Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Tolentino, Bong Go, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Grace Poe sent their proxies.

Wedding of the year

No doubt, the Adiong-Pansar nuptials was Mindanao’s wedding of the year.

The list of sponsors and guests included an array of congressmen, diplomats, governors and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ministers.

Also present were the bride’s relatives such as former Governor Soraya A. Adiong, former Assistant Secretary Mocamad Maglangit Raki-in Sr. and Maramanai Sani-Raki-in, Princess Monjierra Alonto Dissini, Bai Normallah Alonto Lucman and Diamond Lucman.

Also seen at the reception were Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman and other high-profile Lanao mayors and congressmen.

Opulence marked the wedding reception. The ballroom was adorned with swags of diaphanous fabrics, fringes of ribbons, garlands and cutwork lanterns on the ceiling. White panels of carved okir (curlicued patterns) and mamandiang (a special Meranaw wedding fabric) gave the venue a distinctive look that was unmistakably Meranaw.

And as a tribute to Maika’s mother, the late Raifa Rakiin, each table was adorned with red roses, which was the favorite flower of the bride’s mother.

Also, on display were the dowries, which included a brand-new Ford Ranger Raptor!

The menu was composed of pollo ajillo, roast beef, grilled tanguigue and braised mixed vegetables.

The wedding cake was created by Cake Mapping Philippines, which is the favorite wedding decorator of so many celebrities.

It was a joyous affair. Everyone at the reception were elated over the union. Maika’s brother, Miko Adiong, gave his blessing: “We are happy that our Princess is getting married to the man who has proven that he’s capable of loving and taking care of our sister the way we do.”

Soraya Hanifa “Maika” Adiong (right), daughter of Lanao del Sur Governor Bombit Adiong (left).

A love story

I, for one, was so happy to be witness to this beautiful wedding. The mother of the bride had been a close friend and the last time I saw her alive was three years ago, also at a wedding. At that time, it was their son who married.

When I received the invitation from Governor Bombit Adiong, I was deeply moved. I hadn’t seen the Adiong children since the passing of their mother.. I dropped everything in Manila so I could witness this solemn rite in Cagayan de Oro.

It was worth the effort to see the lovely bride — the daughter of the two friends whom I adore — marry the great love of her life.

When Jimboy met Maika, it was at a family gathering. He was 17 and she was 20. They learned they were fourth cousins. Although he was attracted to her, he felt too shy to make his move.

As it happened, they were both students at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. He got to know her better at an outreach program for children studying at the madrasah (Islamic religious school). The program was organized by a Muslim organization in Xavier. Jimboy was then the org president and the program was coincidently sponsored by Maika’s brother, Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mujam Raki-in Adiong.

Jimboy fell for what he described as “Maika’s bare-faced simplicity and inner beauty.”

“She had all the reasons in the world to be arrogant but she was so humble and sincere,” he said.

Thus, Jimboy asked permission from Maika’s father and brothers to court her. Their respective families, however, advised the couple to finish their studies first before getting serious.

They did just that and now the newlyweds have started with their new lives together. Maika will be running the family business while Jimboy will be attending law school. A businesswoman and lawyer make a great combination, indeed!

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