Let me start this column with my 25th wedding anniversary vows, as I said them on June 24, exactly two-and-a half-decades ago to the day and in the same church, Santuario de San Antonio:
“Dennis, my darling! Twenty-five years, babe! By God’s grace, we did it! When I said yes to you 25 years ago, I had no idea where time would bring us. Now, 25 years later, I am bursting with joy at the great adventure that the years have brought. We didn’t always follow the rules. Sometimes we even pushed the rules to the limit. The one thing that is sure is that I love you more today than I did 25 years ago, and I know that I will love you more tomorrow.
“You are the most secure man I know. You allowed me to become the best version of myself with your constant support, your stabilizing influence, and your quiet strength. Our differences did not break us, but magnified and enlarged us. You have been a great husband to me and a wonderful father to our four children. It is because you have such a big heart. You love without limits. And I have loved you, too, every single day for the past 9,125 days of my life. I will continue to love you all the days of my life. You are my heart’s most precious treasure; a treasure without measure.
“So, once again, I take you, Dennis, to be my husband to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance. I do! I do! I do!”
To end my vows and to lighten my very emotional state, I broke into song, one of the Carpenters’ popular songs. My frog-like singing had everyone in stitches, including the officiating priests, Fr. Reu Jose Galoy, OFM, who presided over the ceremony, Fr. Fernando Suarez, Fr. Efren Jimenez, OFM, Fr. Baltazar Obico, OFM, and Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag.
Father Tito shared our personal answers to questions he had sent us earlier, and interjected them with his insightful spiritual wisdom. He touched everyone with his beautiful homily.
Weddings and anniversaries are always a whirlwind. I had to watch the same-day edit (or SDE) of the video afterward to fully appreciate the entire event. I loved the SDE produced by Ian Cruz Films, especially seeing many family and friends who were present at our original wedding in 1994. Special thanks to the two photography teams, Erron Ocampo of Metro Photo and Marty Ilagan, who always do a great job.
Our Ninong Robbie Delgado and Ninang Maribel Ongpin were part of the original entourage, and formed the core of the 25 sponsors we chose for our silver anniversary. I was amazed that Ninang Maribel still fit into her original gown!
The other sponsors were family members, including Andrew and Myda Prieto and Paolo and Ria Prieto.
Close friends from my travel group TropAfrica, Rajo Laurel, Malu Gamboa and Tim Yap, and from my Acacia Bible prayer group Felix and Grace Ang, Donnie and Crickette Tantoco, and Dr. Hayden Kho and Dr. Vicki Belo (who walked down the aisle with cute Scarlet), all of whom were especially selected to be our role models of unconditional love.
Our Red Charity Gala partners Freddie and Kaye Tiñga, and our Fila family Cris Albert and Anton San Diego, represented our love for charity and sports.
All about family
Dennis chose his longtime classmate and friend Joel Torre and his wife Cristy to include a pair from his side. To complete the 25 sponsors, we chose Ed and Mila Lacson and Zaldy and Nova Veluz who have the same zest for family love.
Since the anniversary was all about family, we chose to have family sets as bridemaids and groomsmen march down the aisle. We had Carlo and Digzy Umali with their son Caleb, Blake and Divine Go with their son Baz, Cristalle Belo-Pitt and son Hunter, Jojo Ongsiako with granddaughter Miya, Raymond and Anna Rufino with sons Stefano, Francisco and Rafaello, and Andrew and Alexi Tarvis with baby Mave.
The beautiful ceremony was so heartfelt and joyous. My ex-classmate Girlie Sison made sure all the details of the Eucharistic ceremony were complete. I was able to have the amazing Vocalismo Chorale Group led by Lester Delgado to sing some gospel music at the Mass. Music director Rony Fortich even composed our special wedding march, arranged with Disney songs.
Our favorite designer Rajo Laurel made our matching ensemble, and I asked Mark Shandar to create a special crown to match my beautiful festive gown.
My bouquet was executed by Gideon Hermosa. The church setting and flowers were done by the always amazing Robert Blancaflor.
And that’s all the space I have for this week. Please indulge me. Next week, more on the festivities.