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A Memoir of A Wedding In The 90’s: A Silver Wedding Anniversary Celebration Amid A Pandemic

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon when their wedding was held in the 90’s in an area where there was a non-stop hustle and bustle of the vibrant heart of the city, and where everything was at fingertips. That’s no other than the erstwhile hip and trendy Malate district, the breeding ground of everyone attempting to be on top of everything! You name it, Malate has it: from bars to restaurants, from a small scale entrepreneur to a CEO of a large corporation, from motels to high end hotels, from wannabes to renowned and celebrated fashion designers, from sitting on a bench in small park spaces to strolling/walking along the bay walk of the Manila Bay with a lasting charm of its sunset view, and from one of the oldest catholic schools to an adjacent antiquated facade of a Parish Church. Malate was considered as the business and cultural hub for Manilenyos during those days, where bars and restaurants thrived and succeeded (until changes have been made), and where “Thanks God It’s Friday (TGIF), saan ang gimik mamaya (or where’s the gimmick later) was one of the buzzwords! That was during those times when digital high-tech camera, high speed internet, and smart phones were non-existent and when facebook and twitter were still being conceived by their creators. Ahh, that was the era of the late 80’s and the 90’s where some of its music and eclectic fashion trends are still being played and worn these days, respectively. Ahhh, such reminiscence of those memorable years of their life, the 90’s where they have been emotionally and socially acquainted with!

After the once in a blue moon date nights to hang around, unwind and cool down the stressful effect of hours at work normally at the Malate area (Cafe Adriatico, Hard Rock Cafe, and Aristocrat as it was in close proximity to where their offices were located), “Alon” and “Monon” decided to tie the knot and put a ring on their fingers in a simple ceremony at the Our Lady of Remedies Church or the famous baroque-style Malate Church in Manila. Apart from being familiar with the said Church (as they occasionally drop by the Church on certain days to hear mass and receive other sacraments), it was also convenient to make it a venue for their wedding considering its location and accessibility.

The Holy Mass was officiated by Fr. Louie Castaneda of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB). Although Malate Church is run by the Columban Fathers, an SDB clergy was personally invited by the bride’s family to preside the Holy Mass. The couple was privileged to have Fr. Louie in their wedding with the beautiful homily and the seven fold special blessings for the couple and for everyone at the end of the mass, which were inscribed on the personalized Nuptial Mass brochure for their marriage offered by one of the bride’s kins.

Our Lady of Remedies, pray for us.

The wedding ceremony was so basic, they kept it as simple as possible yet holy, that was actually meant to be! The Church had no elaborate wedding decorations, but just simple vases filled with white blooms using basic floral arrangements: two main vases placed on the sides of the altar and beside the kneeling bench where the couple kneels or stands before the altar, and beside the Church pews. It was both of them who planned for it, the invitation, the venue, the official photographer (with a DVD bonus of the event), the wedding attires, and the bouquet of flowers for the bride and the members of the bridal entourage. Would you believe that their wedding attire (bride and groom) were made by the owner/dressmaker of one of the wedding gown shops along the streets of Quiapo, just beside Quiapo Church? Oh yeah, they proudly donned the inexpensive bridal creations of the skillful hands of a humble yet professional wedding gown/barong tagalog lady maker. The bride truly loved her wedding gown with a Filipinana bell sleeves embellished with set stones, beads and laces. The groom wore the traditional Jusi Pina Barong Tagalog.

The members of the entourage were mostly related to the bride and groom, either a family member, a friend, schoolmate, colleague or an officemate. As they worked on the preparations during weekends and took a leave of absence from their office duties few days before the wedding date, they felt the pressure and the tensions as a result of the hectic wedding celebration. They decided not to bother their respective families in the preparation to make it simpler and to keep things at bay.

The wedding reception was held at the nearby Aristocrat Restaurant, few steps away – a walking distance from the Church. While the food was not as opulent as those served in 5-star hotels, it was decent enough to fill everyone’s tummy. Who would believe that of the expenses they’ve incurred, the food still took the biggest chunk of the pie! They would have wanted for their guests to have a fancy meal, but they adopted a practical way of doing it, remember the saying “live within your means”? They did it! (Note: while they carried fascinating titles in their jobs, the corresponding monetary benefits were not that as lucrative as their position titles during those days!). Besides, it was on a weekday and some of the guests may have to go back to work, as such no partying and drinking ensued, which kept things even simpler. They didn’t have any idea at that time that Aristocrat is known for serving quality food and is one of the oldest restaurants in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, a historical marker was given to and was installed in 2013 at the restaurant by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), in recognition of their contribution to Philippine culture. Isn’t that A-MA-ZING that their reception was held in a place hailed as one of the icons in the country’s cultural history? (SMILE)

After “congratulations” and “best wishes” to the newly weds, and the latter in return appreciated and gave thanks the guests for the time and effort just to grace their memorable day, everyone safely went home. The couple spent the night at the Sofitel Grand Boulevard Hotel (formerly Silahis International Hotel) and stopped by the Church the following day to offer the bride’s bouquet of flowers to Our Lady of Remedies. And the rest remained an equally important part of their marriage history!!!

Twenty five (25) years thereafter, the couple looked forward to celebrating their Silver Wedding Anniversary. They would have wanted to enjoy and celebrate their marriage with a bang(!), however, they were constrained to do so due to the current unfortunate situation the world is faced with. With the Covid-19 pandemic still going on, the couple believed that celebration of this kind of event during these trying times may not be prudent no matter how important and meaningful it may be.

Nevertheless, the couple took the chance to commemorate their anniversary in the comfort of their home even amidst the pandemic as it was a milestone in their life – spending a quarter of century with each other, against all odds- that was something! With a simple bouquet of flowers, a touch of decors, filled with self-inflating silver and gold foil balloons of letters and numbers hanged on the wall (via Lazada), the couple felt the rush of excitement each and every time they looked at what they’ve done.

As to the food, they prepared a simple one, ordered a couple of dishes, and left it at that. Everything was perfect, just right for celebrating their wedding anniversary, in the midst of the pandemic. Yahoo, their teamwork worked anew – their expectations for the celebration turned into a reality!!!

It’s been more than 2 decades since they have seen some of those who have attended their wedding. Some have gone abroad; some have moved to other workplaces and the rest they have no idea of their whereabouts. There’s tinge of nostalgia, a mixture of emotions, joy and happiness, remembering those moments, the younger “them” who have so many dreams in life. Life continued to be pretty hectic for both of them. Surely, they have changed, they have grown up and grown older.

People and things have changed. Even the places they frequently went to have been changed for aesthetic purposes. And for them, while they do recognize that people, things and places do change, LIFE still must go on. As they commemorate their Silver Wedding Anniversary, they have realized that there are so much things to be grateful about. What they did on their Anniversary? Basically, they prayed for everyone after hearing mass (family, old and new friends who have been supportive of them along the way), thanked God for their marriage life for the past 25 years (for the wondrous blessings and for the many opportunities to be of help to others during those years without expecting any return), and sought for God’s mercy to give them more years and decades to be able to continue do good things in life. What gives them pleasure are the amazing graces and blessings that the Almighty God has given them. They are appreciative and thankful for all these and would like to share these blessings, the skills and talents that God has entrusted to them, to those in dire need, those who needed it most to offer to God in return all these blessings for praise and glory.

To dear readers, My Useful Tips would like to share her rough version of the song “It Might Be You” by Stephen Bishop which also happened to be the theme song of the movie “Tootsie”. The song may have some connection to the couple – but nah, this song is dedicated to all of you guys who have been supporting MUTC in any way you can. So lounge around and enjoy. Feel free to listen to the song! Apologies for the sharps and flats, and the struggle in playing the guitar (lol)!!!

A blessed, happy, healthy and prosperous 25th Wedding Anniversary to you both, Alon and Monon! May God bless you and fill your life with more love, good health, long good life and happiness. Amen. Love you both- Greetings From My Useful Tips!!!

Thank you for your time. May God bless us all.

p.s. The couple would like to extend their warm regards and gratefulness to their Godparents wherever they may be (Ninang Cris, Ninang Chil, Ninang Justice Rose, Ninang Yoly, Ninang Chiqui, Ninong Sam, and to their other Ninongs. Same thing goes to the other members of the entourage. May our dear Lord God continue to bless you all and always.

(The ABC’s of Marriage asawa-serye) continues…..

(photos are for My Useful Tips only. Reproduction and use of these are prohibited. kindly contact admin if need be. Thanks.)

ccto: re. featured photo and the photo of the Malate Church. thanks lots)