Island Romance: Braving the Storm for Gersam and Bianca’s Magical Malapascua Wedding

“It really was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever witnessed,” I thought to myself as I watched the peaceful water under the not-so starry evening sky while holding the first cocktail drink I’ve had in over two years. That moment felt so good.

A complete opposite of everything that happened just hours ago.

Credits to Air Balloon Project for all photos used in this post.

Almost 24 hours earlier: I remember still being up at 1:00AM. I had just put my adorable late sleeper of a baby to bed and my husband was out with his friends. He’s mostly a taong bahay so I really didn’t mind him coming home late. Although if I had to be completely honest, it was really because I was getting ready for an off-island overnight trip and that would mean he’d be with our little monster all alone for the first time ever, straight for 48 hours. Complexity level? Let’s just say our baby couldn’t sleep at night without me. In other words, poor daddy needed an advanced breather.

I was packing while putting on hair rollers. In two hours I would have to leave to catch the bus for Maya port,  where a pump boat will take me to the picturesque Malapascua. There, I’ll be witnessing the wedding my dear friend, Bianca and her college sweetheart, Gersam.

My plus one for the event was my ever spontaneous BFF Lovely. She willingly agreed to come with me since my husband needed to be with our son. Ironically, the last trip we had together was six years ago when she took me to her hometown Bohol, an equally captivating island, where we went on a tour amid a storm. This time, we were also braving an incredibly bad weather en route to the beach wedding.

Vague bus ride, broken boaties, delayed trips, irate passengers, and a lot of stomach-churning sea waves later, we arrived at Malapascua safe and sound. It was right before lunch time and only a few hours before the ceremony. My other friends were already waiting for us, they too had their share of “adventure” the night before when the wind was much more dreadful, which may or may not include hopping on a giant styrofoam to get on a boat. It was my second time to go to Malapascua, the first was really sunny so it was not as buwis-buhay” as we jokingly label.

It turned out to be a day of “I hope it stays sunny” to “I hope the rain would stop” to “Thank God it stopped!”

Bianca and Gersam however remained unfazed by the changing of weather. At least from our point of view, the two looked so divine and oh so in love!

In true island fashion, the newlywedsand the bridal party left the church and arrived at the reception venue via adorned pump boats.

Bianca was the type of bride who knew what she wanted, who had envisioned what her big day would look like, but was very open to suggestions here and there. The result was a stunning set-up at a cove with tall coconut trees hovering over charming Instagrammable pieces. It was a good balance of rustic and boho, while still highlighting the classy bride that Bianca was.

Tip: Separate tier cakes are easier to transport for destination weddings.

Despite the stormy sky the night before, enough stars shown bright for the evening’s celebration. It was a huge and fun gathering of family, relatives, and friends who traveled from different parts of the country and from across the globe to celebrate the couple who have found each other when they were only university students at UP Cebu.

Destination weddings are not easy to pull off but this couple made it look so easy, evident in the way they showcased their dance moves that night!

In the end, we could all agree that it was a worthwhile trip to a worthwhile sanctuary for a worthwhile couple.

Gersam X Bianca Wedding
Malapascua Island, Cebu
December 18, 2016
Photo: Air Balloon Project
Video: Franzarrogante Films (WATCH the couple’s SDE here!)
Styling : First of April
Coordination : Khendi Garcia-Ramirez | Wedding Errands Cebu
HMUA: Liz Cinco
Lights and sounds: iShow Cebu

And oh, here’s me doing my secondary sponsor duty!

Cheers to destination weddings! Cheers to windy celebrations! And cheers to all December couples!  ♥

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DIY Project: Personalizing Christmas Stockings from an P88-Store

My father always tells people that I was one child that never believed in Santa Claus. He also said that I used to watch wresting on TV and kept telling my brother that I was so sure they were all acting. But that didn’t mean I never enjoyed such fictional characters, Hulk Hogan included.

I remember looking forward to getting my candies from our Christmas stocking the next day when I hear my dad come home late at night because I knew he had sneaked them. Now married, my husband is a strong believer of the Santa Claus tradition. I don’t think I’m supposed to reveal this but he actually believed the good ole jolly man existed until he was ten years old! Isn’t he precious?

Anyway, that makes me totally on board with passing on the tradition to our little one, who’s turning three years old two days before Christmas! And right now he’s at the age of really appreciating presents, from unwrapping boxes to pulling out the item to saying “thank you.” It’s now his turn to get quite excited to wake up every morning. Everyone in the house takes turn in secretly putting simple gifts inside his stocking and you know it’s the grandparents’ turn when Santa is giving more than one item!

But since all my siblings (a Christmas miracle to have them all in one city!) are coming home for the holidays with their families, mom and I decided to put up more socks for the other little tots. I knew I was going to personalize them but I did not expect to get them at a really low price. Apparently, all stockings are out of stock by this time of the year in the big shops. So I ended up—and thankfully—at Daiso, a Japanese store of thingamabobs, where I scored not just 1 but 4 stockings for only PHP 176.00!

Buy 1 take 1 for only PHP 88.00.

Since the stockings are already in glittering shade, I decided to simply add the kids’ names and that would be it. The only things you need are:

  • twine
  • glue
  • hardbound book/heaving object
  • and the ability to finish it despite having a toddler who keeps interrupting

Simply stick the twine using a glue to the fabric, spelling out the names or any design you want to do. Before it Continue reading

Spontaneous Tagaytay Getaway: The Charm of The Carmelence Lodge, A Toddler’s Sky Ranch Experience

It really was an unplanned trip.

Well, the trip to Manila was totally planned as I needed to report to the company headquarters for my orientation and training for my new role. But the weekend getaway to Tagaytay was spontaneous. It was our last weekend in Manila and since the past days were more of business (as it should), we wanted to go somewhere special for our toddler in tow.

Initially we considered the zoo or the ocean park but since we were all late sleepers and therefore woke up at noon, it was impractical to go to those places for only half the day. So, my sister suggested that we go to Tagaytay! I have to be honest, I was really hoping she’d suggest it but I didn’t want to bring it up because of the bad weather. It was so sweet of her to offer to drive us there even if she did not intend to stay overnight with us.

So before she changed her mind, I instantly went online to book. I ended up booking a quaint cottage-designed inn, The Carmelence Lodge. To save my sister from driving long hours back and forth, my husband volunteered to be behind the wheel instead. He was already enjoying the drive in a new environment anyway.

Because it was already late in the afternoon when we decided to take the trip, we arrived at our destination past dinner time. The lodge did not disappoint. Beneath the dark sky, it still stole my heart. I felt like whoever designed this place had me in mind.

We headed to grab dinner, which was easy since the lodge was located in the town proper.

My rule when in another city is to only eat at places that are not found at home. Hap Chan offered good comfort food amid the windy evening.

Despite the evening’s light rain, the morning that followed was lovely! Blue skies were hovering the now vivid purple structure. Breakfast was served at the patio. The food itself was nothing extraordinary, but the ambiance was perfect. It was extra lovely, thanks to the fact that Continue reading

Vlog: Road Trip and Food Trip in Southern Cebu

Every year, the family goes on a road trip down south to pay a visit to our dearly departed. The cemetery we go to in Argao, being privately owned by the clan elders, has always been a serene place to spend the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day holidays. It’s refreshing to be away from the city and the crowd for a few hours, and surrounded by loved ones—living and dead at that.

This time was a bit different. I went with a mission to see how many food I could try along the way.

I was asked if I could do a vlog for a page which is  almost my namesake. It was something I’ve never done before so I was naturally hesitant. After a lot of encouragement from a few best friends, I took the plunge and was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Documenting a journey and editing it to come up with a story brings a certain kind excitement, much like writing but different.

So here it is, the foods you can try on a road trip down south for kalag-kalag. Enjoy and check out The Queen City of the South, Cebu City page for more Cebu features!  ♥

30 Things I Realized Learning Upon Turning 30

I’m used to being young.

I grew up being the youngest of five siblings and was always one of the babies during family gatherings. I started working right after graduation, making me one of the youngest members of any teams. Even today, I’m considered to be one of the few “millennials” at work.

I remember looking at female colleagues who were in their late twenties with so much admiration, thinking about how much they must have already known about life, how many times their hearts must have been broken, and how many times they emerged tougher. Heck, I even thought I’d be married by 25, because I thought I’d be mature enough when I reached a quarter of a century.

And then my very own mid-twenties arrived and I found myself still engaging in petty arguments, throwing tantrums when I’m hungry, and hiding chocolates behind my closet because I didn’t want to share them with my older brother.

Now, I’m turning the big three-oh in less than 12 hours and it’s hard to believe how the years easily went by. My lifestyle, my energy, priorities, and beliefs have changed a lot since I turned 18. It’s sad dwelling into the things that I should have done while I was younger, but it’s exciting to think about the bigger things that await me now that I am equipped with three decades worth of roller-coaster experience.

While I do not claim to be as wise as I should be at this point and while I still believe that youth is all in the mind, allow me to share my favorite life lessons learned in the past 29 years as I official make my mark into adulthood. From beauty regimen rues to being betrayed by a best friend, I include here things that I sorely—but not regrettably—learned the hard way.

  1. Sleep as much as you can while you still can. I told my husband that my only birthday wish this year is to be able to sleep the entire day.
  2. Do not ever start shaving your legs or arms or underarm or any body part. If you really must get rid of unwanted hair, go for waxing. It can be painful but worth it.
  3. Give your hair and your nails a breather. Go for the natural look whenever you can.
  4. Arrange your clothes by color, it will make dressing up in the morning a little faster.
  5. Do not buy what you do not need. You’re only wasting money, closet space, and adding to the earth’s rubbish.
  6. Never socialize by talking about your political views.
  7. “Joking” about asking for a gift or pasalubong is never funny.
  8. It’s never too late to develop a new skill. Two years later you’ll look back at the moment when you would have wanted to learn something and realize that the two years would have been enough to make you good at that something.
  9. The most crucial decision you may have to make as a teenager is  Continue reading

Wedding Inspiration: Greggy and Sunshine’s Boho Reggae Wedding

First of all, this is a total throwback.

By now, I must have made it clear how much I love weddings! And when friends ask me for tips on wedding planning, I always find myself having them watch a wedding video of a vibrant, do-it-yourself wedding that I know of.

It’s the wedding of my dear friend, Shine. I met her at work, where we were together in the same team, with another good friend who did my engagement shoot. It took me weeks before realizing that she was the Sunshine of a song I know from years back. The song, which was her namesake, was released by Bambu Spliff, where she played vocals alongside her husband, Gregory. If you’re a true blue Cebuano, you pretty much know this reggae band. Needless to say, music played an important role in Greggy and Shine’s love story.

Fast forward to 2012, the free-spirited sweethearts said their vows in a rustic, bohemian-reggae inspired wedding.

Upon learning of my engagement, Shine was quick to provide tips and share her own experience of the whole planning. She gave me the brilliant idea of having my own dress tailored at a lower price by buying my own fabric, as she did in her own wedding.

She was an avid DIY bride herself, doing her own make-up, making centerpieces through old wine bottles, and even creating her own floral arrangement! The bonbonnières were jars of jam with a whimsical tag, “Spread the Love. Thank you for JAMming with us!” See what they did there? One couldn’t really tell how much DIY or how budget-friendly the wedding was just by looking at it because it simply looked so fun and fascinating.

Official photos were taken by Erickson Herrera while the video was done by Tiano Evangelista, who’s bassist for Junior Kilat, also a prominent Cebu band. Both were good friends of the couple. It really was a celebration filled with loved ones, as Shine would recall.

And oh, the bride and groom sing an original composition in the video!

Now enjoy, get inspired as I did, and eat your heart out at how unforgettable the musical entertainment must have been on that magical night! ♥

10 Things I’ve Learned On My 10th Month of Marriage

Few weeks ago marked our 10th wedding monthsary. We did not celebrate it as DM and I are never the monthly kind of celebrators. The last wedding-related celebration we had was for our .5 anniversary months ago, when we had a lovely intimate dinner. Now we are hoping to finally have some alone time for our first anniversary come July.

Unlike a monthly tally, we both believe that years are worth celebrating. And as we celebrate a milestone in our young marriage, I look back at the times I exuberantly told my friends how well things are going whenever they ask about life after the wedding. At the same time, I realize how I tell the same people how exhausted I am with having to deal with another human being for the rest of eternity!

All smiles, but what’s life after the wedding? Photo by Airballoon Project.

It’s true what our wise elders say, marriage really is not a walk in the park. While there are a lot more experienced people whom you should listen to when it comes to golden words on how to strengthen a union, allow me to share my two cents on what marriage means for someone who’s new at it.

1. Marriage means learning to cook or at least attempting to. As young girls, we are taught that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and thus we are encouraged to be handy around the kitchen. But modern society has also empowered us not to be stereotyped. True and true. I agree with both but here’s my honest opinion: At the beginning of the relationship, your man must know you enough to realize if you do not cook and he must accept it. That’s the type of relationship I have with my husband. I know he understands. But at the same time, if this is the case, this also makes your effort of trying to cook for your better half even more appreciated. You see, boys (and girls) are raised by mothers who always cooked for them. So home-cooked meals will always be synonymous to comfort and love. DM is a food enthusiast who loves to cook but he always expresses gratitude whenever I try to prepare something for him, even the most basic fried meal!


2. Marriage means learning to be a good listener. Among other things you need to learn in marriage is being a good listener. I often find myself going on and on on just about anything, from my friend’s engagement to my work complaints while my husband patiently listens. But when it’s his turn to talk about how he’s feeling so stressed and exhausted lately, I shake him off by saying he’s only overthinking. I realized one day (only because he told me straight up) that this can turn into bottled up emotions which will eventually be toxic in your relationship. Let him talk. If he wants to talk about the Cavs and Warriors, then so be it. You’ll have your turn to talk about Riverdale later.

3. Marriage means giving your partner time for his/her hobbies. While we’re in the topic of NBA, always be reminded that boys will always be boys. My husband likes cars, video games, sports, the whole big boy package. I’m actually grateful that he has his interests and hobbies because I understand how men need some release just like how some women resort to pampering and shopping. Plus, I’d really rather have him stay at home playing PS4 all day than having  to wonder what time he’d be home after a beer night with friends. A happy wife is a happy life. But you know what can make a happy wife? A happy husband that wants to reciprocate his wife’s tolerance!


4. Marriage means never losing the intimacy. We’ve heard about this and it’s very true. There will be days that, with all the things that go through your mind while you’re busy #adulting, you will forget about your spouse. Don’t. Don’t forget to Continue reading