A wedding in the family
BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2018 - 12:00am

I have always felt that there is something special and unique about a Filipino wedding. It is usually family-centered; and guests come from all over the world reflecting the Filipino diaspora.

My son, Roel recently married Agnes Agcaoili after a romantic story that is worth retelling in a romance novel. He is already 43 years old. Frankly, there were many times that we had thought he would never get married. Luckily he finally found the right girl, proving that love and marriage can come at any age.

The couple decided to have a simple marriage – simple by Filipino terms. Very few friends were invited and most of the guests were relatives who came from the United States, Australia, Singapore and Negros Occidental, hometown of the groom’s father. The wedding was held in the parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary  in Antipolo; and, the reception was in Le Blanc Hotel and Resort. 

There were many emotional highlights during the wedding. But, I thought it was worth sharing with my readers the personal vows written by the couple (except for six lines): and the wedding message of the mother of the groom – Neni Sta. Romana Cruz. Here are the personal vows:

“Agnes: Nung pinagpala tayo’t muling pinagtagpo matapos ang dalawampu’t tatlong taon, sabi mo sakin, ‘Ngayon lang yan.’

Nguni’t sa araw araw nating pagsasama, napaintindi mo sa akin na ang samahang magpakailanman ay binubuo ng magkasabay na paglingon sa bawa’t kahapon, matatag na pag-alalay sa isa’t isa habang binibilang ang mga di mabilang na ngayon, at buong loob na pagharap, nang magkapiling, sa walang katapusang bukas.

Sa hirap at ginhawa,kalusugan at allergies,
sakit ng ulo o patabang puso
sumpong at saya. Ipinapangako ko, Palaging ikaw at ako.  Parating tayo.

Hanggang bumaklas ang bawa’t hugis at anyo, Hanggang lumipas ang dalang gulo ng bawa’t bagyo,

Hanggang sa dulo ng mundo Hanggang maubos ang ubo Hanggang gumulong ang luhaHanggang mahulog ang tala

Masdan mo aking mata ‘Di mo ba nakikita?

Agnes, pinakamatalik na kasangga’t kaibigan, Kabiyak ng aking puso’t kaluluwa,Habang buhay, Magpakailanman, Mamahalin kita, Wala nang iba.”

“Roel, Nung pinagpala tayo’t muling pinagtagpo matapos ang dalawampu’t tatlong taon, sabi ko sayo, ‘Ngayon lang yan.’

Nguni’t sa araw-araw nating paguusap, pagkikita at pagsasama, napatunayan mo na hindi lang panandalian ang iyong pagmamahal, pag-respeto at pag-alaga sa akin. Sa apat na taon nating pagsasama, hindi ito nagbago, lalo lang lumalim at tumatag. Kaya’t nakasisiguro ako nasa bawa’t kahinaan at pangangailangan, makakasama kita, at makakasama mo ako.

Sa hirap at ginhawa, kalusugan at acid reflux, sakit ng ulo o patabang puso,sumpong at saya. Ipinapangako ko, Palaging ikaw at ako, Roel, Parating tayo.

Hanggang humimbing ang araw at ang bawa’t gabi, Hanggang kumupas ang kulay ng bawa’t sandali,

Hanggang sa dulo ng mundo Hanggang maubos ang ubo Hanggang gumulong ang luha Hanggang mahulog ang tala

Masdan mo aking mata’Di mo ba nakikita?

Roel, pinakamatalik na kasangga’t kaibigan, Kabiyak ng aking puso’t kaluluwa, Habang buhay, Magpakailanman, Mamahalin kita, 
Wala nang iba.”

The following lines are from the Eraserheads’ famous song Alapaap:

Hanggang sa dulo ng mundo/ Hanggang maubos ang ubo Hanggang gumulong ang luha/Hanggang mahulog ang tala

Masdan mo aking mata ‘Di mo ba nakikita?  

Here is the special message by the groom’s mother:

“What a special day this is for Roel and Agnes.  A classic  love story of college classmates who only found each other again after many decades. There has to be a special reason, a special design, a special plan to bring the two of you together.

Daddy and I wish you a happy life together, with your son Kirk, your beloved  toy poodles Harley and Bruce (sorry, Kirk for mentioning you in the same breath), a life full of wonderful memories and love that will see you through life’s  challenges. You have both gone through so much and have emerged as stronger, wiser, better persons. 

And we are pleased that in these many months of your relationship, we can see the good you have brought out in one another. 

It is hard to see Roel now ready to be the head of a family, because I still am fresh with memories of his GS and HS years in La Salle Zobel, where I had weekly conferences with his teachers.  I had asked the teacher if he could see the board better with his glasses and she asked, Oh, does he wear them? True enough, I would find his eyeglasses on the bougainvillea shrubs at home. He was clever and cunning and discovered Santa’s presents in a secret hiding place even long before Santa was ready to deliver them. He has not quite forgotten nor forgiven me for throwing out his gold mine of a comic book collection to our bote dyaryo suki, hoping that he would focus more on schoolwork.

Agnes, sorry if you are changing your mind after these revelations – but it is now too late, happily for Roel.

Roel is of course a totally different person today with such a way with words that his father and I envy. Roel, may you continue to be the man, the partner that a wonderful woman like Agnes deserves. May you be fast and true friends forever.

Knowing how words are important to both of you, let me offer you the last lines of a poem one of your former literature professors wrote – R. Zamora Linmark

That’s the closest to my idea of love:  watching the skyline, making out, making mistakes, making believe desire means it’s with somebody else, then breaking up, and forgiveness that comes right before take-off. What more can one want? A lover who loves me as much as rain… 

And also… 

An American Indian Marriage Blessing

Now you will feel no rain,

for each of you will be shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold,

for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no loneliness.

Now you are two persons

but there is only one life before you.

 Go now to your dwelling

To enter into the days

Of your life together.

And may your days be good and long upon the earth.”

Creative writing classes for kids and teens

Young Writers’ Hangout on November 24, Dec. 1 and 8 (1:30 pm-3 pm; stand-alone sessions) at Fully Booked BGC. For details and registration,  email writethingsph@gmail.com.

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Email: elfrencruz@gmail.com

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