Making no bones about love
Newlyweds David Endriga and Catherine Huang.
Photos by Joanne Rae Ramirez

Making no bones about love

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - May 23, 2019 - 12:00am

The bride’s radiant mother Nedy Rustia Tantoco shed happy tears while waiting for her only daughter by the altar, while her father, Anthony Cheng Huang, was seen wiping his eyes with a white handkerchief, as he waited for his daughter a few meters up the red-carpeted aisle.

David and Catherine Endriga with (from left) Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr., Anthony Huang and Nedy Tantoco.

A couple of minutes past 2 p.m., just as stated in the wedding invitation, the huge wooden doors of the Santuario de San Antonio Church in Makati City were slowly opened to reveal a veiled bride in a Maria Clara, standing tall and statuesque on the threshold. Slowly, to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV, 1007, Prelude), Catherine Tantoco Huang, beautiful and regal, walked to take her father’s arm before walking down the aisle, abloom with bouquets of roses with sampaguita garlands dangling, to meet Dr. David Endriga by the altar.

Anton Huang and Nedy Tantoco.

As the voices of the Madrigal Singers filled the church, the couple recited their vows — he, in a resplendent baritone and she, in a clear and demure voice — in a Mass concelebrated by Fr. Carmelo Caluag and Fr. Adolfo Dacanay, S.J.

The bride wore Jojie Lloren, while the bride’s mother Nedy and the groom’s mother Tessie wore Criselda Lontok, as did the godmothers. The dapper groom and the male members of the entourage wore tuxedoes by Mel Meer of Bergamo.

The newlyweds with their principal sponsors. (From left) Clara Ramona, Flordelys Soledad, Ping Valencia, Babette Aquino Benoit, Cathy Lee, Marilou Pineda, Dr. Florentino Aquino, Rico Tantoco, Ricardo Tan, Dr. Richard Tiongco, Dr. Rolando Puno and Dr. Jose Martin Paiso.

The church and altar were bedecked in a simply elegant arrangement of flowers — nothing overpowering or ostentatious. Some 500 guests were present at the church, with the groom marching down the aisle at exactly 2:01 p.m., the mother of the bride at 2:04 p.m.

In his homily, Father Caluag told the couple and their guests, “Number one, love is always a mission. And as such, love is always action oriented. And finally, love is a legacy.”

The table centerpiece by Rustan’s Flower Shop at the wedding reception.

“Certainly, for the two of you, it is your mission to love one another. Love is a mission. And your love today fulfills that mission,” he said.

“The second point is love is an action. You must live your life loving each other and loving others beyond your union. According to St. Ignatius of Loyola, love is expressed in deeds. Not just in the big moments, but in an ordinary way, looking after each other’s needs,” Caluag continued.

Kathy Huang and daughter Mckenzie.

He said love is a legacy, a legacy from Christ. He exhorted the couple to show through their love for each other and their love for the community, Christ’s own love.

The exchange of vows was very traditional, very heartfelt. When the Mass and the photographs were over, the happy couple marched down the aisle to the music of Handel and were met with pink and green ribbon wands by the driveway.

The author with the newlyweds.

“It was the first time I cried at any of my children’s weddings,” Nedy told me. Her eldest son Anton is married to Nina Herrera and second son Michael, to Kathy Yap.

*  *  *

The reception, like the wedding Mass, was the picture of understated elegance. Each table’s centerpiece was a labor of love by Rustan’s Flower Shop, with pink and white the predominant colors. The couple showed they were in step with each other during their first dance, to the beat of The First Time by Robin Beck. David is an orthopedic surgeon, specializing in spine surgery while Catherine is general manager of Marks & Spencer. David is the son of former Cultural Center of the Philippines president Baltazar Endriga.

Rico Tantoco and Marilou Pineda.

Dinner was Norwegian salmon tartare, cream of mushroom soup, tamarind sorbet, chargrilled Angus beef tenderloin and Filipino leche flan.

In a speech after dinner, the father of the bride said, “I am thrilled for Catherine that she has finally found the man she wants to share her life with.”

Lulu Rodriguez and Dr. Becky Singson.

“David is outgoing, Catherine is friendly but shy. But as they say, opposites attract.”

 He said he and his daughter agreed on one thing, “Catherine and I did agree on what mattered most — her partner in life. Everything else will be decided by God and destiny.”

Juancho Robles and Pinky Tobiano.

*  *  *

(You may e-mail me at me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

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