If poetry is “the food of love”, then consider serving a feast of Filipino love poems. Reciting the work of a Filipino poet to your beloved can add romance to your wedding ceremony, reception, and the anniversaries after. You are honoring your love story by sharing an intimate part of yourself: your cultural roots.
Of course, poetry can be as varied as love, coming in different forms. But no matter the rhythm, style, or imagery used, a poem is meant to make you feel. Intensely. Wholly. So, allow it to express in words the devotion, affection, and adoration you feel for the love of your life.
Reading poetry in its original language is ideal. It can help you connect with the soul of a piece, and by extension, the person reciting it. Of course, there are over a hundred Philippine languages and even more poems to choose from so this may be a challenge.
Below, we’ve put together some English-language poems by Filipino poets as the starting point of your search.
“To The Man I Married” by Angela Manalang-Gloria: A Filipino Love Poem For A Wholesome, Nurturing Love
Cyril & Aga on their wedding day, sharing a quiet moment by the still waters of Seattle. (Earrings, Sinta & Co. | Makeup & hair, Luxe Artistry | Lashes, Rose Luxury Beauty | Bouquet, Love Theory Floral Co. | Photographer, Almida Meyer Photography | Day-of Coordinator, Athena's Weddings & Special Events | Venue, WithinSodo)
For a love that sustains you day-to-day, you can turn to “To the Man I Married” by Angela Manalang-Gloria. In this poem, the speaker equates their partner’s love to the grounding and life-giving earth:
“You are my earth and all the earth implies:
The gravity that ballasts me in space,
The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries
For food and shelter against devouring days.”
In four stanzas, we see a vivid truth: love is precious despite, or maybe even because, of its finite nature. Love gives us a reflection of the infinite. As the poem ends with a vow, the speaker confesses they cannot love like the boundless sea:
“But I can love you with a love
As finite as the wave that dies
And dying holds from crest to crest
The blue of everlasting skies.”
Read “To the Man I Married” to revel in passion that nurtures you and to be inspired to make your love count for a lifetime.
“When The World Shall Come To Its End” by José García Villa: A Filipino Love Poem For The Power Couple
The lighting of a unity candle is a traditional wedding rite, symbolizing the merging of two lives. Photo by Enrique.
If you believe you and your partner share a love so powerful it could wrestle with God, and find yourself constantly sending dark humor memes to each other, read “When The World Shall Come To Its End” by Jose Garcia Villa.
Originally published in 1942, this brief poem speaks to the kind of bond that can overcome the trials and tribulations of The Times We Live In:
“When the world shall come to its endOn the world’s last Love I’ll stand.”
“He shall not be able to put out Love at all.O I'll guard it, guard it, guard it!And the world cannot die with Love glowing, burning,O the world cannot die out at all.”
“4 Seasons” by Abby Orbeta: A Filipino Love Poem For Your Slow Burn Romance
For the wedding of Pricilla & July, they pulled inspiration from the Philippines to design every detail: floral arrangements, wedding ceremony, jewelry, and more. (Photography, MXT VISUALS | Planning, Premier Soirees)
For the couple whose love came as a delicious plot twist, enjoy “4 Seasons” by Abby Orbeta. This piece evokes the warm surprise of love, how it can change through time and knit together two souls:
“But each laugh gave the world some color and brought us to Spring.This is where we got to know each other, grew together along with the plants and the trees.Intertwined in the heat and Summer.Dancing to the songs only we can hear.”
“We begin to lose track of the seasons
The changing of colors,even the transition from heat to coldWe remained in each other,dancing to the songs only we can hear.”
“Huh. So this is what it feels like to love.” Originally written and performed in Filipino, Orbeta later translated their poem to English on their blog.
“Vows (for a gay wedding)” by Joseph O. Legaspi: A Filipino Love Poem For A Bond That Transcends Barriers
Joseph O. Legaspi captures the essence of queer love in “Vows (for a gay wedding).” He writes, “It is most incandescent.”
In the poem, the speaker vows to be brave despite the fear and judgement projected upon their love. This is for the love that makes you not just want to scream from the rooftops, but to soar above them altogether:
“We’ll leap over the waters and barbaric rooftops.You embrace my resilient metropolis.I adore your nourishing wilderness.I vow to love you in primal ways.I vow to love you in infinite forms.”
Tender, unashamed, and appropriately titled, “Vows (for a gay wedding)” is an ideal prelude for the exchange of your vows:
“In our separateness and composites.To dust and stars and the ever after.”
Legaspi speaks to the nuances of queer love, which can keep you safe in its embrace, bring you on wild adventures, and surpass eternity all at once.
“An Ecology of Love” by Fidelito C. Cortes: A Filipino Love Poem For The One Who Swept You Away
In Filipino culture, rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck and fortune. Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich.
“An Ecology of Love” by Fidelito C. Cortes is for the yearners. But even if you or your partner weren’t once a secret admirer, an expert at pining for the other, this poem from 1989 may still hit home for you.
Cortes uses nature imagery to underline the unpredictable but intense strength of love. This poem is for the love that blooms because it is simply its nature to do so:
“What is rain, then, but a kindof fertile love, which we withholdby being too formal? What is thewest wind but a breath of rich weatherthat brings us together? The worlddoes what we ask, as it bends us.If the river narrows to a stream,love will force a confluence.If men uncaringly gougethe atmosphere, love’s vaporswill swaddle them. If steam covers upthe sky, love’s wings will fan it away.”
Featured in “One Hundred Love Poems: Philippine Love Poetry Since 1905,” “An Ecology of Love” can be read among the trees, beneath the stars, or by the waves.
Often marked with tearful speeches and grand vows, weddings are the perfect place to proclaim your love through verse. Sharing Filipino poems is another way to strengthen your bond with your partner and your heritage.
Whether your love finds rests on the crest of the ocean waves or carries you to exciting places on the spring breeze, we hope you find the words that echo in your heart.
Cover photo by Irina Kaminskaya.