Two weeks later and I am still on a wedding high as I write this article en route to Africa, of course! I am on a media trip with my good friend and fave travel buddy Pepper Teehankee.
I can’t believe our 25th anniversary video by Ian Cruz Films has had over 4.1 million views! I’ve never been tagged in so many photos and videos on Facebook and Instagram. As all this sinks in, I am touched by all the wonderful people who shared their talents to help my hubby Dennis and I achieve our African-inspired anniversary.
One such stellar talent is stylist extraordinaire Gideon Hermosa of The Events Studio, who brought Africa to Manila by transforming the Manila Polo Club into a “The Lion King” meets “Black Panther” kingdom.
Gideon successfully interpreted what we envisioned for the celebrations, and his attention to detail was remarkable, including candelabra and lamps by C&L Décor, dinnerware from Casa Luxia, chandeliers and light fixtures from Shop Rent Gala, tables and chairs from K&N Event Rentals, lounges from 18th Floristry and Formmand, and lights and sounds by LX Events Pro.
Adworks Graphics Design used the same patterns from our invitation and customized the dance floor, while life-size golden animal statues provided by Steven Tan of SM Aura put the exclamation point on Gideon’s remarkable production designs.
After Dennis and I renewed our vows at the Santuario de San Antonio, we were ushered to the reception.
Drumbeaters, dancers, puppeteers and animal performers welcomed our guests. We transformed the outdoor terrace into a Moroccan souk, with Cleopatra Aromatherapy, Adorno, Iskanddrkoc, Island Collection, Jer Shell Craft Creation and Jhaz Footwear.
Guests were given D&T play money to “spend” for their purchases to complete their bazaar experience. We had three amazing wedding cake centerpieces from Hearts & Bells, Penk Ching and Chef Castillo Fuentes.
Jelly Bellies provided face-painting services, while Zoobic Safari surprised guests with an umbrella cockatoo, Palawan bear cat, iguana and dwarf Burmese python. Carlo Mecate printed photos on canvas as souvenirs.
In the main cocktail area, we had pre-anniv photos by Metrophoto on a loop, while DJ Jennifer Lee spun her tracks. There were various photo op areas for guests to vogue and post, created by Cyndi Fernandez of Moss Manila and Ambiance by Pido Villanueva.
Various food stations were provided by Gardenia, French Baker, Lydia’s Lechon and Buddy’s, plus the animal-themed cotton candy Lollipuffs.
Alcohol was free-flowing all night, thanks to Sunny Ku of Mastermind, who arranged for Botanist, Casa Noble, Cointreau and Remy Martin, plus booths for Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Johnnie Walker and Teeling Scotch Whiskey.
Parade and dancing
Dennis and I took the time to change into new outfits, mine a beaded creation by Cherry Veric, his a suit jacket by Boy Kastner. We entered with a small parade that segued into dancing, care of a hundred kids from the Sisters of Mary Boys & Girls Town in Silang, Cavite, accompanied by the Vocalismo Choral Group, and capped off by a sunset display by Dragon Fireworks.
Host Gerard Sison started the program by announcing our beneficiary, Save Philippine Seas (@savephseas on Instagram), a marine conservation foundation we are working with to launch our “25 Reefs for 25 Years” campaign. This is an idea we want to focus on over the next few years, to find 25 reefs we can help protect, one for each year we have been married. It’s all fitting, since Dennis and I met scuba diving.
Our reception program started with our “Voyage to Africa” pre-anniv video, shot in Alphaland Balesin Island Club by Tim & Co. and Anggulo Films and directed by DJ Mike Lavarez, which continued on to more photos by Marty Ilagan, then a moving dance tribute by the Danspace Ballet School and my niece Tessa Rufino Tordesillas.
From there we had a family and friends dance number, choreographed by Batche Tan, featuring all our kids—Bryan with a Black Panther routine, and Jordan, Athena and Tinkay with a K-pop performance choreographed by Desuri Choi, all coming together with Shakira’s Waka Waka dance.
I snuck into a third outfit, a Neric Beltran pantsuit, for our finale, a dance by Dennis and I with Ellipsis, led by Nemrel Aquino, and featuring our best buddy Donnie Tantoco. Ann Ong provided my accessories, Steffy de Mylo made my shoes, and my hair and makeup was by the team of Carissa Medved, Barbara Bennett and Marvin Lee.
As in all weddings, there was time for speeches, but we also shared the moment with two other couples celebrating their 25th anniversaries as well, Freddie and Kaye Tiñga and Butch and Cris Albert.
I enjoyed the ones of my kids best—Bryan with his humorous Powerpoint, Jordan with her surprise film, and Athena with her magic lamp—all capped off by the Same Day Edit video by Ian Cruz Films. For the after party, Kate Torralba gave a spectacular performance.
There are still so many people to thank, as it took more than a village to put it all together. Tim Yap and JM Rodriguez cohosted and presented the Best Dressed Couple to Donnie and Crickette Tantoco, wearing Mark Bumgarner. Binky and Tracy Dizon of A2A Safari gave them a two-night stay at a luxury twin room at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa. Other winners received Hokkaido Tracks accommodations in Niseko-Hirafu, Japan, and gifts from Swatch and Usana. Special thanks to all our generous sponsors: Belo, Bench, Fila, Watsons and ZenZest.
Javi Martinez of Yaparazzi, Sheryl Songsong, Maggie Gineta and Claire Labadlabad did everything, from production to event management. The photogs and video crew were amazing—Metrophoto’s team, Oly Ruiz, Erron Ocampo, Dino Lara and Kiko Pascua, and Marty Ilagan and his crew.
Most of all, a big thank you to all our guests who gamely came in safari- and African-inspired outfits. Of course, the biggest thanks goes to God, for gracing us with good weather. Not a drop of rain fell despite the typhoon in the area.
All that makes me start to wonder: What will we do for our 30th anniversary?