‘The Wedding of the Century’

President Fidel Ramos, one of the Principal Sponsors, congratulates Vilma Santos and Ralph Recto. Then, the newlyweds thank the big crowd that attended the wedding.
STAR/ File

It was billed ‘The Wedding of the Century,’ the event attended by pomp and circumstance.

On Dec. 11, 1992, at around 2 p.m, at the San Sebastian Cathedral, in Lipa, Batangas, Ralph Recto and Vilma Santos exchanged wedding vows.

Vilma’s gown was designed by Danilo Franco

It was a union of politics and showbiz. Ralph is the grandson of the great nationalist senator, Don Claro M. Recto. Vilma was (still is) movie queen, the Star for All Seasons.

Who’s who in government, politics, business, media and showbiz attended the church ceremony and the reception which followed that night at The Manila Hotel.

Despite the pomp and circumstance, ‘The Wedding of the Century’ was solemn and elegant.

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The newlyweds with President Ramos and Dr. Loi Ejercito Estrada (Principal Sponsor) with Mother Lily Monteverde (Principal Sponsor, leftmost)
Photos from the collection of Danny Dolor and Alan Tramb

According to The STAR story...

Like her well-scripted movies, Vilma Santos and Ralph Recto’s wedding last Friday at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa City, Batangas ran according to the well-laid plan drawn up by a wedding executive committee that started regular brainstorming as early as three months ago. There was hardly any hitch, or loophole. Everything fell into place.

‘Lahat ng detalye nasunod,’ said Danny Dolor, member of the execom, in whose vacation house in the outskirts of Lipa City the bride slept on the eve of the wedding and changed into her fabulous wedding gown.

As expected, the wedding was a grand event in Lipa City and the neighboring places (and, for that matter, in the whole country). Some classes were suspended and students spilled into the streets around the Cathedral, adding to the growing multitude coming from all over. By the time wedding ceremony started, some 20,000 curious onlookers had gathered in the churchyard. Inside the Cathedral (all doors were closed), it was solemn; outside, well, it was as if an instant carnival had sprung up. Still, the crowd was under control.

Lawyer/ producer Espiridion Laxa and Marichu ‘Manay Ichu’ Maceda, Principal Sponsors

Lipa Archbishop Marian Gaviola officiated at wedding rites and started the concelebrated Mass which was finished by Bishop Salvador Quizon, assisted by 10 other priests. The homily was delivered by Monsignor Alfredo Madlangbayan.

Danny’s rest house, where Vilma slept and dressed up

Danny Dolor’s Tribung Pinoy sang Francisco Santiago’s Ave Maria during the Offertory and Francisco Buencamino’s Ave Maria during the Communion, alternating with a 500-member Boys Choir (from the St. Francis Major and Minor Seminary and Oblates of St. Joseph Seminary, conducted by Fr. Bong Panganiban) which sang Our Father, Alleluia and Great Amen, among others.

Salvador Laurel, Principal Sponsor

Ralph and Vilma have a son, Christian Ryan, a La Salle graduate.  — RKC

Vice President Joseph Estrada
The newlyweds, Ralph and Vilma
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Recto with, from left, Vilma’s brother Sonny and mother Milagros Santos, and Ralph’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Raffy Recto (nee Carmen Gonzalez


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