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What People Remember (and Praised) about our Wedding

Most newlywed or engaged couples would advise that come wedding day everything that was prepared for should be entrusted to God — “to let go and let God”. However, our take on this is that we should not only trust God on “the day” itself. We can always start with God from Day 1 of everything. I believe the reason why my husband and I had a beautiful wedding is because we lift everything to God from the start. We wanted to give God the spotlight on our big day because that’s a wedding should be. A wedding is not just about the bride and groom but also God who binds the two. Thus, the verse used commonly referenced during weddings,

A cord of three strands cannot easily broken. –  Ecclesiastes 4:12

The three strands represent God, the bride, and the groom. Sadly, with all the wedding trends that we have these days, God is commonly taken out of the big picture. 😦

My husband and I can only plan the wedding well, but it cannot be executed without the generosity, prayers, and labor of love from our ministry, friends, and families and the grace of God.

We chose the best suppliers we can afford and compromised on the things that we can. We may not be millionaires to afford such a wedding, but we believe that we are children of God, thus we know (and acted) in faith that we can pull off such a lovely wedding.

The following are the 6 things that people remember most and praised about our wedding:

1. The PLACE

We had our wedding preparations, ceremony, cocktails, and reception all in one place. Since our wedding falls on a Monday, we chose a place that’s near and convenient to our friends and families coming mostly from Metro Manila.

We booked Farm Hills Garden in Tagaytay way back February 2018 when the place was not completely developed yet. We booked it at first sight. Why? Because it is naturally lovely! The pine trees, the interior designs, the greenery, every little thing and corner is IG-worthy in Farm Hills. Their villas are themed per room (Scandinavian, Rustic, Tropical, Industrial, etc.) We stayed in five of their 12 villas, and everyone just loved their stay in the place. As to the ceremony area, the garden is plain and simple but is more than enough. Simplicity is beauty, always. For the pavilion and its styling, it was simply classy.

After the wedding, friends who see the photos and videos of our wedding said that the place is beautiful and picturesque. Those present in the wedding praised us for choosing the place. Some friends even want to have their weddings there too. Days after our wedding, our AE, Geanne, informed us that there are inquiries and ocular visits already for their place from people connected to us.

 

 

2. The PAGKAIN (FOOD)

This is definitely one of the things that guests will remember about the wedding, that’s why we made sure that the guests will remember ours in a positive way, and thankfully they did. The place and the catering are a package from Farm Hills Garden. The in-house chef, Chef Ryan,cooks deliciously well that each of our guests praised us for the food that was served. Not only the food taste good but the serving was generous too. Guests said that we never made them hungry from the cocktails to the dinner. Months after the wedding, some of my friends still cannot get over the menu of the wedding; they are even considering Chef Ryan to cater to their future events.

We are truly grateful that God led us to Farm Hills Garden. Up to the moment of writing this, the memory of my then fiancé holding my hand as we pray while scouting for a venue is still fresh with me. Truly, God was there with us from the start.

3. The PHOTOS & VIDEOS

We acted in faith and wisdom in this matter. We needed wisdom in this because the photos and videos are non-negotiable and non-compromising elements for us, and we definitely acted in faith knowing that we needed a lot of money for this.

While celebrity weddings are covered by creative teams amounting to almost half a million pesos, we spent only a hundred thousand pesos for our photos and videos. We didn’t get the top names in the wedding industry but we chose those who are best in their crafts. The price we paid may still be expensive for others and cheap for some. But, the shoot and the output was all worth it! Everyone who watched our AVPs and SDEs praised the photos and video. Until now, the views on our SDE keep on increasing. I guess our SDE is so awesome to the point that it is being used now as an advertisement by Vidlens.

More importantly, our friends, families, and guests loved working with the photo and Video team. They were not just professionals but they also acted out as friends.

Photo team: Ram Marcelo Photography

Video team: Vidlens

Ram Marcelo PhotographyRam Marcelo Photography

4. The PEOPLE

We only had 100 guests! But, Julius did not want the photo and video teams to eat crew meals, so the 16 of them were counted as well for the buffet, thus making our guests count to 116. Nowadays, 100 guests are already considered intimate, so everyone praised us for still keeping an intimate one. Our guests praised the wedding for the kind and polite volunteer coordinators, the superb service from the staff of Farm Hills Garden, the ever-friendly photographers/videographers (this is a must, so choose your photo/videographers wisely), and our cooperative entourage.

Truly, we can say that our wedding is beautiful not because it was our own, but because it was a celebration of our lives and love with the people who chose to celebrate with us and helped us make it beautiful.

Co-planner & Coordinator: Dara Obog

Host: Jeff dela Cruz

5. The POETIC Vows and Songs

Our friends from the Music Ministry were volunteer musicians for our wedding.

“Wala na. Finish na!”, were their words when I told them what songs we would like them to play. The singer and the musicians all agreed that the line-up of Danao and Dancel was amazing. When I walked down the aisle with Ebe’s Bawat Daan, even the singer started to cry. Our theme song, Hanggang Wala ng Bukas was also played at the recessional. I also made sure that the songs played on the wedding will be the same songs on the SDEs. After the wedding, my friends from UP said that it was such an Ebe Dancel soundtrack wedding. The songs added all the feels.

Wedding Singer: Princess Royon

Musicians: Joseph, Aaron, and Archie

The poet in me was also unleashed in my wedding vow. After the wedding, our friends (specially brothers in Christ) said that the Tagalog vows were amazing and truly remarkable. I still receive compliments until now, and I like that most of them were able to memorize some of the lines. The most favorite was,

Mahal, hindi mo kailangang magpaka-bayani, dahil simula ngayon, ikaw na ang aking bayan; pagsisilbihan kita at ipaglalaban.

Ram Marcelo Photography

6. The PREACHING

Yes! You’ve read that right – the preaching on our wedding ceremony was praised by our guests. While some couples do not give much importance on what will be preached on their big day and some guests do not pay much attention to the ceremony at all, we made sure that God will be glorified in every event of our wedding. Amazingly, almost every guest said that they loved the preaching on our wedding ceremony. God’s Words were highlighted on our big day!

Officiating Minister: Pastor Ryan Gidor of Victory Christian Fellowship – Alabang

At the end of the celebration, we are forever thankful not only because we were blessed with a beautiful wedding but because we were able to give the glory to God – the One who deserves all the praises for our wedding.

Ram Marcelo Photography

Our wedding is not just about our union but a day that glorifies the Lord, the Author of our love story.

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A Glimpse of Our Haven

Three days from now I’ll be a 1-month old wife. Hurrahhh!!! It still feels like it was only yesterday when we were just planning our garden wedding (click on this link for our wedding SDE).

As I’ve shared in my recent posts, our courtship, dating, and wedding preparations all happened in just one year. BUT, even if I was 95% sure that my boyfriend then (now husband) is the one for me, there were times before we wed that I needed to question my decision of saying “yes” to him. The questioning was more of an act of securing wisdom rather than doubting.

Entering married life needs a firm decision of changing our lives, not just our surname and status. That’s why I had to question my emotions back then. Was it so high that I’m so giddy to be married? Or, was it so low that it made me needy for a marriage? Thankfully, my emotions then were balanced that I was able to squeeze wisdom in it.

December 2017 when Julius (my husband) and I came out in the public as a couple. When January 2018 came, I needed to ask him, “What’s your vision for your future?” His response didn’t sound and feel right for me. I was troubled and disappointed to the point that I considered a breakup. Why? Because I don’t think I can be with a man who doesn’t have a clear vision in life. I told Julius that I cannot marry him if he still don’t know where he wants to go. I love him but I don’t want to be lost with him. If he is uncertain of his future, then my future and our children’s future will be at risk.

A man who doesn’t have a vision for his life is worst than a blind man.

That’s why we, women, should never be with a man who will only tell us “let’s just go with the flow.” Clearly that man (probably a boy) don’t have a vision. Either you’ll get yourself drown with him or you’ll get tired floating to the unknown.

Thankfully, Julius responded in faith and actions. His responses were assurance that I will not face the unknown tomorrow blindly with him. Thus, the wedding was pursued.

During our wedding preparations, Julius found an amazing vision for his future (which is the same as mine). While searching for a wedding venue, the very first one we visited was Our Haven Events Place in Indang, Cavite. The owners of the place are very much accomodating and kind. They have a lovely home turned into a bed & breakfast and now an event place with a swimming pool, outdoor area for team building activities, a tree house, an amphitheater, and more bed & breakfast rooms to accomodate more guests. If I’m not mistaken it’s more than a 2-hectare area surrounded by trees and pineapples.

It was such a haven in the middle of the woods. We really wanted to get married there but because our wedding fall on a Monday and it is a bit far from the Metro, we opted for a nearer venue. Still, Julius and I decided to have our prenup photoshoot there.

My friends who were with us when we visited the place for our prenup photoshoot said that driving there gave them “the feels” in one part of the movie Crazy Rich Asians. I can’t agree with them because I haven’t watched it yet. But, they too loved the place. It is good for intimate or large garden weddings and will surely suit all themes. Aside from events, Our Haven is perfect for staycations, picnics, teambuildings, and glamping! This is why I highly recommend the place. Check out their social media pages below to see more of its beauty.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/OurHavenIndang/

Instagram – https://instagram.com/ourhaven.indang?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=75m9al1p5z9i

Our Haven Events Place is so captivating that it becomes an instrument for Julius to have a glimpse of our family’s future. He now envisions to have a home with a beautiful garden and a backyard farm as lovely (may be not as big) as the one in Our Haven’s, where the two of us can retire and welcome family, friends, missionaries, and guests. We can work together now to build that retirement home (or business) in God’s perfect time (and provisions).

My then boyfriend’s vision is aligned with mine. If it wasn’t, then I wouldn’t marry him. Why? Because two different people with different visions will definitely go to different directions.

Our shared vision from God is an assurance that the two of us can be one.

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All photos are from Ram Marcelo Photography, our official wedding photographer.

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Homebound

Julius and I met October 8, 2017 and we got married October 8, 2018. JUST ONE YEAR of friendship and love, then we wed.

Some people, specially those who are not of the same faith, ask me about why do I marry Julius given that I only knew him for a year.

Some even asked, “Are you pregnant?” Of course, I am not and I will not marry just because I’m one (my mom will kill me).

Others consider that our wedding is just a “head-over-heels” decision. But, everyone close to us gave us their blessings, even God blessed us so much to pull off a beautiful wedding.

Some are worried for me that I might end up marrying someone I barely know.

BUT, Julius was never a stranger to me. When I met him on the night of my birthday last year, I didn’t have that butterflies in the stomach kind of feeling. I didn’t went “gaga” or crazy, madly, deeply in love. “Kilig” was (still is) there but I was rational that my life, in all aspects, was not even altered by his coming (I got to balance my acads and work amazingly well with him). I’m not anxious about how I would look like in front of him or worry about what he’ll think of me. I was calm and at peace and not crazy and emotional.

As days passed by in our friendship, I knew I’m already home. Home, for me, is where I can find peace, where I can rest on, where I can feel secured all the time, where I look forward to at the end of every day, where I can be vulnerable with, where I can be my truest self (far from the prying and judging eyes of this world). A home is where I am safe and loved unconditionally.

When I met Julius, he does not make me feel like a teenage girl with raging hormones and is giddy whenever she’s with her “crush”, rather Julius made me feel like a school girl running home, excited to tell her parents how her day went by.

Yes, Julius was never a stranger. He will always be a family to me, and with him is where I will always belong.

Marrying him is running fast, homebound.

I looked high and low, and didn’t find him. And then the night watchmen found me as they patrolled the darkened city. “Have you seen my dear lost love?” I asked. No sooner had I left them than I found him, found my dear lost love. I threw my arms around him and held him tight, wouldn’t let him go until I had him home again, safe at home beside the fire.

– Song of Solomon‬ ‭3:1-4, MSG

Our wedding photos courtesy of Ram Marcelo Photography

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Same Time Last Year

Same time last year, I received a prophecy. It was a declaration from God, telling me of a new and blooming season.

Same time last year, I started going back to school, as one of the full-time scholars in DLSU-Manila under the Ford Foundation.

Same time last year, I was determined with improving my body — went back to the gym.

Same time last year, I started investing on make-ups.

Same time last year, I spent majority of my weekends volunteering in the church ministry and youth empowerment.

Same time last year, I was discipling young women to walk in love with Lord.

Same time last year, I was putting up creative ideas for this website.

Same time last year, I was preparing for my 28th birthday.

Same time last year, I started telling my friends about a “man” I’m starting to like.

This year, I’m turning a year older…

– entering a fruitful season

– finishing my last term in DLSU-Manila

– with so much weight gain

– and eyebags (no more time for concealers)

– in hiatus with the ministry and social advocacies

– still inspiring young girls to raise and keep their standards high (according to the ways of the Lord)

– keeping up with this website

– preparing for my coming 29th birthday

– AND marrying the man I started to like same time last year.

But, there’s something MORE with what happened same time last year.

Same time last year, I was focused in balancing my work, studies, self-improvement, and advocacies. All of these things at once, when suddenly, my attention was caught by a man. I started thinking of him countless of times in a day and speaking about him to anyone I converse with.

Same time last year, my heart was overwhelmed by this man that I started to pray to God concerning him. I told God that if this man is not good for me, then He should take him out of my way (every day). To my surprise, God did move him out of my way.

Same time last year, I was selfish to tell God that I really want this man, but He already took him away. God just answered my prayers, right? But, it hurts.

Same time last year, I was sort of heartbroken because my “crush” whom I never get the name, was already gone. Ouch!

Same time last year, I was about to move on and accept that God did not want me to know that man.

Same time last year, I told God my birthday prayer — I want the same man (who was gone) to return and ask for my name. I’m really pushy and hardheaded at times. (Don’t imitate me young ladies.)

Same time last year, God proved that His delays are not His denials. I’ve met the man I liked on the night of my birthday, just liked how I prayed for.

This year, I’m marrying the man I’d prayed for and patiently waited for.

So many things did happen in a year. I had to sacrifice a lot of things, but God is faithful. The losses are nothing compared to the gains.

Same time last year, I was a praying single woman. This year, I am a praying fiancé. Next year, I will be a prayerful wife.

The prophecy of God last year of a blooming season of flowers is now about to be fulfilled.

What’s next after the flowers? The fruits! I can’t help but be expectant and hopeful, knowing that God is there in all of my life’s seasons.

Photos are taken by Ram Marcelo Photography

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A Call for Help

Infinity War Spoiler Alert!

One of the scenes I liked in the Avengers: Infinity War movie is when Mr. Tony Stark looked up the number of Steve Rogers on his phone to call him for help. We, Avengers fans, know that Iron Man and Captain America were not really in speaking terms as they parted with unsettled issues in their last encounter. Based on the face of Tony Stark, he was having a hard time if he would really call Steve and so it wasn’t him who called (but the intent was already there).

Another favorite scene is when Tony Stark told Spidey that he didn’t like being with him in his mission to rescue Dr. Strange (because he thinks it’s dangerous for the boy). But, he let the boy help him still by including him in his plans and giving him tasks.

Tony Stark, a fictional superhero who is known to be super wealthy, famous, powerful, and intelligent, but knows when and how to call for help, even if he had a hard time doing so.

Asking for help is not easy for many of us because of our pride. When we are so full of ourselves, when we think we can do all things, and/or when we think we are always better than others, calling for help is not part of our actions.

Why would we ask for help when we think that we are better than others? Why would we ask for help when we think we are the strongest? Why would we ask for help when we think we can solve our problems by ourselves alone?

Our pride deceives us of who we really are. Pride makes us believe that we are the best, the greatest, the strongest, and awesomest, if there is such a word.

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

– Galatians 6:3, ESV

Let me share with you one of the things I loved the most about a real life “tagaligtas” (savior).

Given his profession, his body built, the trainings and challenges he overcame, the life struggles he surpassed, and the workforce he belonged to, a man like my Cardo have all the reasons to think he is strong, great, and/or awesome. But, he is not. He did not even want to talk about him being a member of a special force. Instead, Cardo is more comfortable telling me about his weaknesses.

The #CardoWhoSavesMyDay can admit that he also needs Saving. He knows he needs help at times. He is honest that he has weak points. He knows when he needs rebukes and openly accepts corrections. Moreso, he would humbly asks for prayers because he knows that God is the greatest in his life. That’s my Cardo!

I couldn’t boast that I’m marrying someone who is the strongest and the best. But, I can delight on the fact that a man like my Cardo is teachable and humble. I can see a better future with this man, knowing that he isn’t proud and that he can co-labor with a woman like me, his future helpmeet.

I think Ms. Potts felt the same way with Tony. She is not intimidated with who Tony is or what he is capable of, because with her, the well-known poweful Iron Man becomes vulnerable.

Images are grabbed from Google.

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Pray for a Man who Prays

I’m writing this as I’m about to sleep after being prayed over by my fiancé on the phone. My heart is so full, that I just can’t contain how blessed I am to have someone praying for me and with me.

Exactly a month ago, my fiancé went back to his original mission assignment. Ever since the day he left, there is no morning that he missed waking me up with words of encouragement; there is no day that he missed saying “I prayed for you, Mahal”; and there is no night that he did not pray for me over the phone.

I’m not a prayerful woman. In fact, if there’s a ministry in church that I can’t join in that would be the intercessory. I’m not into lengthy prayers. I did not set a specific time for prayers, neither carry with me a list of prayers and petitions. But, I do make sure that I get to have a quiet time to pray and talk to God intently everyday.

Things changed when I started dating out my fiancé. With his line of work, as a Police Officer, I have become prayerful. I need to be his prayer warrior. But more than that, he is leading me closer to God, and I believe it’s enough reason to pray even more.

I’m also not a patient woman. I would easily lose my temper and snap over petty things. One time we were caught in a very stressful situation. I started ranting, complaining, and saying things negatively at my fiancé. Instead of firing back, he held my hand and started praying. I don’t know how to respond to that. Our situation turned upside down. I can’t help but thank him for pointing my focus back to God and not on our circumstances.

I like my fiancé’s cheesy lines, but I love his prayers more. Kilig will fade, but faith and love remains.

When things get tough, a man’s muscles will not guarantee his strength to carry on. But, a man’s faith is an assurance that he will not be shaken.

If you would ask me if I have a “prayerful” characteristic in my husband-to-be checklist, the answer is “no”. Shame on me. But, I’m thankful that God gave me the things I didn’t ask for in a man.

Ladies and Gents, don’t be like me; pray for someone who prays.

Prayer is the way we communicate to God. Isn’t it amazing to have someone who talks to God concerning you?

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When Love Casts Out Fear (The Wedding Proposal (Part I)

It was a typical Saturday wherein I have to teach for 9 hours straight. I woke up with Cardo’s morning call since he has been my alarm clock for the past 4 months and my constant encourager/reminder of “Para Sa Bayan” because I don’t have the will to go to work on that day. There was really nothing unusual for that’s our day to day morning habit.

The night before I told him that he can sit in my class if he’s not on duty, which he excitedly agreed. I was waiting for him to bring me my lunch (he does that every Saturday) and then have him in my class, but then he told me that he can’t leave the barracks yet.

I was about to have my lunch break when an official from Cardo’s company together with two of his closest buddies in complete uniform came in to the faculty room. Seeing their serious faces and hearing a made-up story from them made my heart beat fast.

If it was not his officer, I would have taken things lightly. But, I know who they were and how precious their time, so I really sense the urgency. I was thinking why would this officer bother pick me up when he could have send someone else? It must be something urgent.

Although their faces are very familiar and they are like friends to me, they were so formal like they were really on a mission. I was asking them what really happened but they said we will just discuss later. They did not even smile at me or joke around me like they used to everyday.

My mom was there with me and she was calm but does not seem to be happy with them picking me up, so they reassured her until she relented.

At those times, I’m really scared but I couldn’t cry. All I ever wanted was to see my Cardo as soon as possible to know if he’s doing fine.

They escorted me out of the faculty room to the university gym. It was already a scene because we came from the 3rd floor and passed 4 Colleges already. There were so many people staring at us, but I maintained my composure. I was trying to smile at his buddies to look for their reassurance but to no avail.

Upon reaching the parking lot, they said we should just wait for the police mobile. (I am now sure that I was really anxious that time because I did not even bother to ask what vehicle brought them to the campus.) After almost 5 minutes, the three of them moved far from me then I heard the loudest cheer behind. I turned around and suddenly everyone and everything surrounding me was a blur. My eyes were fixed at the sight of my lover in his complete uniform with a bouquet of roses in his hands.

I was the happiest, not because I was already thinking that he might “officially” propose but because my fear has subside already. Cardo was there smiling at me, and I know he will save me from the badnews that his comrades have told me. Indeed, #CardoSavesTheDay.

My fear eventually fades as my lover came near me. There is really no fear in love.

After handing me the flowers, Cardo went on his knees, opened a red box with a diamond ring, and asked, “Will you marry me?

He was shaking as he puts the ring on my finger. I know in spite of his shy, he was the happiest man alive at that time. He was flashing his smile that I love the most, and it was enough to calm me and reassure me that everything was fine with him. The badnews was just part of the surprise.

After saying “Yes” to him, all I can ever say was, “Papa, tinakot nila ako” then continue crying on his chest while all the people around us are still cheering.

Months from now, I will be walking again behind these men (this time in an aisle) for they will be part of the wedding entourage as my Cardo waits in the altar (no longer hiding in the parking lot).

The one thing that the Lord told me before Cardo’s proposal is, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The Lord knows that I might fear being left behind as Cardo will be reassigned soon, so His assurance came to my rescue. How can I not be so sure of what will happen when God already secured me of His presence in our lives? Truly, when God gives, He adds no trouble in it.

By the way, 2 weeks before the actual proposal, God already showed me in a dream that Cardo proposed to me inside our home.

One week after the dream, Cardo talked to my mother and asked for my hands in marriage. So, I already knew that the proposal is on its way. However, I never expect that it will come in such a surprise.

When I allowed God to write my love story, I am sure that it will be the best one. True enough, our story is the best one I can ever share!