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!  ♥

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

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!  ♥

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! ♥

Cebu Food Trip: American Diner Feels at Luncheonette

It was one of those (many) moments when I’d crave for good bacon.

I begged my husband to take me anywhere just as long as I get to devour crisp, juicy strips of the sinful meat. Lucky for me, he never complains whenever I have this specific yet vague food requests. He actually enjoys the challenge.

We ended up at Luncheonette. We were on or way home from work so it was just accessible, being located at Robinsons Cybergate. We always had it in our list of places to try and my craving was a sound excuse to finally tick it off the list.

Luncheonette is part of the trusted Abaca Group, alongside Maya, Tavolata and others, so we knew right then that we were in good hands.

The first thing that I noticed was the Continue reading

Carcar Food Destination: A Taste of Heritage at 1878 Restaurant

Turning old, private homes into restos has been a welcoming treat for food enthusiasts in Cebu. We’ve seen a lot of this in the city and a quick trip to the outskirts will tell us that this trend is spreading like wildfire altogether—much to our delight of course!

We occasionally head to DM’s hometown, Carcar, on weekends. Some few weekends ago, we stopped by the new “must-visit” spot in town, the 1878 Restaurant. We’ve been seeing it in our news feed so we thought of checking it out since we were already there and it was just walking distance from his aunt’s home.

My lovely mom, charmed by the quaint facade.

It’s not at all a surprise to see old houses in this town. In fact, DM’s family lineage has a couple of century-old houses still standing to this day, one of which has been declared a national heritage. Structures like this has always been part of Carcar’s charm.

1878 is an ancestral home of the Sato family and as you guessed it, the house was built in 1878. You’re welcomed into the secret garden-ish door and right away you’ll notice the stoned walls, heavy wooden furniture, and hanging plants and bulbs everywhere.

Notice the upcycled tires.

Continue reading

The Thrifty Bride: 8 Ways to Save on Your Wedding Expenses

It’s just the third month into the new year but I already know at least seven couples who have been engaged! With my own wedding just less than a year ago, it’s a welcome treat that friends come to me for queries on processes, supplier referrals, and even tips. It makes me feel useful as I know how confusing planning a wedding can be.

Throughout the process of sharing Pinterest boards, Google spreadsheets, article links, and retelling the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of wedding planning, I came up with a list of the different ways you can cut your wedding cost. I had to be un-influenced so I made sure not to search online for other tips and to only rely on my experience. This way, it’s honest and more relatable to brides-to-be, especially in Cebu.

So here goes:

Look for a White Dress, Not a Wedding Dress
This was one of the things I was really overwhelmed with. When you start looking for a wedding dress, you’ll realize the huge discrepancy of bridal dresses vs. regular bridesmaid dresses or any dress for that matter. I actually tried an experiment wherein I asked for a quote for a white party dress and then later asked for a quote for a bridal gown. Aesthetically they didn’t differ much but labeling it as a bridal dress really made a big difference. If you find a regular dress that you feel like walking down the aisle in, grab it! Remember Kitchie Nadal’s 800-peso wedding dress? It’s all about feeling confident in it.  Another trick you can try is to purchase your own fabric and then have your dress sewn by an expert seamstress. Nothing says personalized more than that!

Get an On-the-Day Coordinator Instead of a Full Planner
First of all, don’t get me wrong, you can very well ask assistance from your most reliable girl friends or family members. I did and it went well. But as many a movies have taught us, it’s not always ideal to have a friend do the entire wedding planning for you, unless if that friend does events planning professionally. Aside from the fact that it will only create superfluous drama between the two of you, individuals who are not used to this kind of responsibility can get lost in all the commotion and may not be as comfortable with dealing with the suppliers as a professional coordinator would. I have truly learned that the best gift you can give to yourself on your wedding day is a coordinator. Like really! I heard of brides who had to deal with last-minute calls from caterers or other vendors while in the middle of being made up because some things did not go as planned. Now you wouldn’t want that, do you? No BS but I honestly did not feel any disarray on my wedding day because I had a coordinator who dealt with them. To save cost, hire an on-the-day coordinator to oversee the flow of the entire day instead of getting a full planner. Your on-the-day coordinator will most likely be hands-on even days before the actual day. You won’t really be needing any professional help with bookings or meetings months before the wedding. You only need one day to be a stress-free bride.  

DIY Whatever You Can
Do-it-yourself weddings have become a trend not only because it’s a great way to express your creativity but also because it’s an excellent means to save cash. I applied as much DIY as my prowess and time would allow me on my wedding and it remains to be one of the smartest things I’ve done in my life! There are lot of items that you can DIY. Buy some Continue reading