When art is turning into a happy reality right before you, you tear up. Art can indeed yield happiness, even amid the bad news we get every day.
That was how we felt last Saturday, May 25, tissue in one hand to catch the tear and camera phone in the other to catch the moment. With hundreds of others, we stood in the vast garden facing the sea and the calming blue sky of Bali—a collective witness to Quark Henares and Bianca Yuzon exchanging what, to us, were the most eloquent and stirring vows we’ve heard, unabashedly in love.
Quark and Bianca are known for their music, poetry, writing, filmmaking—pursuing their art on their own terms, not society’s, not mainstream culture. Their art is the independent, irrepressible voice of their era—hanging loose, honest, intense, encompassing, about relationship, self-identity, angst, or anything. For these, the couple have won recognition, a following, awards (Palanca awards for Quark, for instance).
That late afternoon at Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali, as summer heat (it’s way hotter in Manila than Bali) gave way to a comforting breeze, this young couple weren’t writing their art; they were living it, celebrating it with family, friends and such kindred spirits who flew to Bali for the milestone. They were about 300, many of them going at their own expense, from here, the US (Quark’s classmates at USC). This couple must really be well loved.
The groom’s father, businessman Atom Henares, who helmed the country’s iconic rock radio station, incredulously asked his son months before the wedding if they could gather 300 friends all the way in Bali. Surprise—as the wedding day drew closer, the number of guests stood to exceed 300.
And the guests were mostly those of Quark and Bianca. (It must have been the biggest gathering of Filipino rock/indie/alternative artists and musicians outside the country.)
Quark is the eldest of two children of Atom and Dr. Vicki Belo-Kho. (Vicki married Dr. Hayden Kho in 2017.) Both parents are well known, with Vicki permanently on the news radar for her bold strides in the beauty industry (her recent headline-hogging coup was performing the Thermage procedure on Floyd Mayweather), a fearless marketer and innovative practitioner.
Bianca is the daughter of Gil and Sylvia Yuzon. Gil is the founder of Leo Burnett, a pillar of the Philippine advertising industry, a poet and now, an Inquirer Lifestyle Senior section columnist. Even before Bianca could turn 10, he would bring her to the poetry conferences he attended; when she was eight, her book of poems was published.
But despite these high-wattage parents, Bali wasn’t about them, but about the young couple—their friends, most of them artists and musicians, saw to that.
At the welcome dinner on the eve of the wedding, we sat up listening to their friends talk about how indispensable these two have been in their lives.
They spoke of how Quark is the “boy version of Bianca,” to stress the couple’s compatibility and soul link. Fashion designer and iconoclast Mich Dulce (a “groomswoman” in the wedding), couldn’t rein in her emotions as she spoke of how Quark is the “brother I never had” and how she’s become dependent on him. It would turn out, this would be the oft-repeated refrain of their other friends.
The magazine-like invitation itself was a foretaste of how the wedding would turn into a gathering of the couple’s kindred spirits. It’s a well-written prose about the musicians and artists who have helped shape their art.
Of best man Diego Castillo and ninang Myrene Academia, Quark wrote: “I am who I am today because I was lucky enough to have spirit guides who not only taught me to appreciate excellent art, but to live a loving, authentic, rakenrol life.”
He wrote about the bands in his life such as Ciudad, about Diego Mapa, Coox Moreno, Edana, Jess Milner, Tom Well, TedMark, Kate Torralba, among others. Until she sang at the wedding reception, we didn’t know how good a voice Kate, whom we know as fashion designer, has (thanks for Joni Mitchell, Kate, the only song I could relate to that night)—“that ever-reliable ear-lender and shoulder to cry on when it comes to life, love and lyrics,” Quark wrote in the invite.
The reception on wedding night, in a huge tent at Alila, was one cool party, so communal, where the newlyweds themselves sang and performed. But before that came the toasts—we’ve never seen parents of newlyweds bare their souls as much as Atom and Vicki did.
Atom spoke about how the Belo clan was so happy to welcome this eldest grandchild who was thus named after his maternal grandfather, Enrique—nicknamed Quark, after the particle of the atom, his dad being, but of course, Atom.
Atom recalled how at age three, Quark already showed his inclination toward art. He could do no wrong by his maternal lola—until the day this toddler drew his own cartoon story on the wallpaper spanning the living and dining rooms of her house.
Vicki, who was fidgety the night before the wedding, afraid to speak before the gathering, read her prepared remarks—and ad-libbed, turning her spiel into a 16-minute riveting story.
She talked about her family’s interesting lives starting with the marital separation when Quark was only nine. “Overnight, you acted like the head of the family, taking to heart your dad’s advice to protect me and Cristalle, so that at night, you’d go around the house, seeing to it every door was locked. You were always by my side,” she said, as silence supplanted the merrymaking in the tent.
Then she recounted with gratitude how Quark, a well-known filmmaker by then, literally rushed to her side, as the media mobbed her during a controversy, and trained his crew’s cameras on the media instead.
“I may not be the best mother,” she told the groom, “but I pray only the best for you.”
Then she asked the couple to make Jesus the third party in their marriage.
The bride’s father read a poem he wrote, “The Things You Are.”
Quark and Bianca met at a Christmas party three years ago. “I had just gotten back from recording music in London,” Bianca told us. “I was talking to Martin de Padua, a high school friend from La Salle Zobel, who happened to be Quark’s cousin. Quark joined in on the conversation.” They hit it off.
“We found out we both studied at the New York Film Academy at some point… Before we knew it, we were exchanging emails, and Quark was inviting me to his DJ gigs, and the rest is history. He told me he loved me for the first time by singing McCartney’s ‘Silly Love Songs’ with his band Perfect Sound Forever at Route 196 on May 7, 2016.”
So three years later, last May 25, Bianca, in a billowy white ballgown she herself designed, walked the garden aisle, as Quark, waiting at the altar, wiped away his tears, his eyes crying, his face smiling.
Excerpts from their vows:
Quark: “When I think of marrying you, a certain rush of adrenaline surges through me, like I can’t wait for this to happen. It’s that sort of gigil when you’re about to go onstage and all the fear and trepidation goes away.
“Bianca, you came at a time when I wasn’t looking for anything, and I just wanted to have fun…
“I look back at myself then, and am amazed how much you’ve brought into my life. I didn’t even know what mindfulness meant!…
“In my head I have a list of things I love about you. #57: the way you actually sit animals down and have conversations with them when they misbehave. #32: that lovely laugh of yours that sounds fake… #104: the way I see the world through your eyes.”
Then he said his vows, in part here:
“I promise to sit and listen when you break into song more, instead of automatically doing second voice…
“I promise to stay out for shorter periods of time, and gig less, because let’s face it—there’s a reason for me to go home earlier now.
“I promise to nurture and support that spark in you that gives you passion—that part about creating music, that part about being an artist….
“Today I feel like I’ve gained not only a wife, a best friend, a person to be weird with; but also her wonderful family and friends, who I’ve learned to fall in love with as well. And I really wish you could see yourself the way we see you, because we are the luckiest people in the world.”
Bianca’s vows, in part:
“…Sometimes I catch myself in awe at all you are, and yet being with you has become the most natural thing. You are the love I never saw coming, but somehow knew was out there all along…
“In the time we’ve gotten to know each other, you have loved me not just for my light, but you’ve accepted and constantly try to understand the dark parts of my being and history and baggage (and I don’t just mean being an emo kid in high school)… I hope you know that the more layers we peel away together, the more I get to know you, the more I love you for your yin and yang as well…
“…Being with you is the embodiment of what my dad has taught me growing up: to lean not on our own understanding, but to trust in God’s plan. To flow with what comes next.
“You are an answered prayer, a manifestation of all that is good. You are my best friend, my home, my sanctuary…
“I promise to heal and protect you as best as I can: from the proverbial demigorgons, Bob, and white walkers of the real world that come in the form of stress, haters/online trolls, soft drinks, and negativity.
‘To be loyal like a Mormont, honor and love you: purely and deeply
‘To respect you, to support you and fight for your dreams, what you say you see in your sleep
‘To remind you of your light when the going gets tough and you feel like a ghost in the shell
“To be your best friend and partner and crime like Wayne and Roland in ‘True Detective Season 3’
“To bring balance like Avatar Korra, the sweet spot between what is fun and what must be done. Not to change you but to learn, grow and evolve with you, to remind us to connect to Spirit…
“I promise to continue to traverse the different worlds with you, but do what I can so that this one remains your favorite one. To remind you that home is each other, and not where we happen to be….
“Unlike anything anyone’s ever shown, I promise to love you in a way all my own….”
Even if you didn’t know your “Game of Thrones” and your comics characters, you must admit, these vows—even if excerpted—show how writers in love can eclipse the physical beauty of Bali.
Entourage: Principal sponsors: Bishop Manny Carlos, Charo Yujuico, Myrene Academia, Mariella Cancio, Alice Eduardo, Trina Yujuico-Kalaw, Joji Alonso, Mark Cancio;
Candle: Cristalle Belo-Pitt, Justin Pitt; Veil: Celine Willard, Chris Costello; Cord: Sharon See, Mihk Vergara; Best Man: Diego Castillo; Maid of honor: Camille Juco