Love is a pot of unsold anthuriums

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. - The Philippine Star
Love is a pot of unsold anthuriums
Sealed with a kiss. Hannah Jarmin and Marc Oplado tie the knot at St. Benedict Parish in Silang, Cavite.
Büm D. Tenorio

It was love in the time of the pandemic. Even when the virus was wreaking havoc in 2020, its might was no match to the love that blossomed between Marc Oplado and Hannah Jarmin — two strangers who found love in a pot of anthurium renaissance, golden chain trees and other ornamental plants.

Times were uncertain due to the onslaught of COVID-19 but Marc was certain in his mission to find a variety of golden tree chain. He just turned into a plantito, after his return to Alaminos, Laguna in 2020 from Shenzhen, China where he worked as an architect since 2016.

Hannah, on the other hand, while working from home as a business development manager for a private company in Makati, utilized her green thumb and started a small plant business.

“I met Hannah during the pandemic (September 2020). I was into collecting plants and at that particular moment I was searching for a specific tree species, the golden chain tree. One of my suppliers told me to try my luck in UPLB and look for a certain Marina Catipon (a known plant enthusiast and former president of the Los Baños Horticulture Society). I found her house in a compound shared by two families. I went on with my routine and browsed Tita Marina’s garden,” began Marc, who also said he was reeling from a past failed relationship that time.

Marc and Hannah with the bride’s parents Manolo and Larcy Jarmin and siblings Sara and Martin.

Marc found the tree he was looking for — Lopantheralactescens or golden chain tree — in the garden of Marina, sister of Hanna’s dad, Manolo Jarmin. He bought three trees.

Marc was so fascinated about the many rare plants before him that he continued to explore the expanse of the property, not knowing that he was in a different garden already. It was the garden of Hanna’s family.

A pot of anthurium renaissance caught his fancy. Larcy Jarmin, mother of Hannah, attended to him but because the pot of plant belonged to Hannah’s collection, Larcy asked her daughter to come out of the house to answer Marc’s queries.

(From left) Jiji Cebrero, Larcy Jarmin, Ricky Cebrero, Alexandra Cabrera and the author.

Hannah said, “My mom called me several times. At first I didn’t even want to go out since I was not feeling well. When I finally got out of the house, I met Marc. He then asked for my Instagram account so we could connect with each other. And he started to send me messages on IG from the first time we met and would visit me at home almost every day. And the rest is history.”

And it is history witnessed by man and God at St. Benedict Parish in Ayala Westgrove recently when Marc and Hannah, in an exquisite Francis Libiran gown, tied the knot in a solemn ceremony officiated by Fr. Drans Nolasco, who became Marc’s good friend when he was studying in Don Bosco.

Principal sponsors (from left) Frances Yu, Ma. Angustia Antonio, Jaena Cebrero (proxy for Liza Cruz), Marina Catipon and Glenda Barretto with Ma. Paz Malubay (back row).

Reception followed at Lakehall at Nena’s Sanctuary in Sta. Elena Golf and Country Club Estate where a glorious Via Mare lunch was served. The reception hall was decorated with the Marc’s rare collection of variegated Philodendron stenolobum, variegated Philodendron billietiae and variegated Tupidanthus. Giveaways were potted rare plants.

“The best part of having Marc as my husband is having a best friend and partner in one. He just understands how I envision life and all its aspects. We share the same language when it comes to our plans and values. It feels like I’ve been blessed big time after waiting for decades to finally have someone I can truly depend on. Life is so much better with him as my husband,” Hannah said.

“I was actually a loner and a very discreet individual. I had been living in Shenzhen, China since 2006 and spent a majority of the time alone. When I met Hannah, I started to open up my life again and allowed myself to be vulnerable. I found a real partner in Hannah; finally there was someone to share my life and experiences with. I’m grateful to her for trusting me and not judging me for my faults and my weaknesses, but rather being gentle with me and filling in the holes in my life. I’m thankful to have finally found a person that I can share new memories and someone who also shares the same values, principles and love for God and family,” said Marc.

Secondary sponsors (from left) Martin John Jarmin, Martin Jeremiah Jarmin, Julliane Pierre Oplado, Carmel Oplado-Alog, Germen Cuyos and Angelli Thea Dulu.

“I knew and felt that it was God who led me to her and He was the one who orchestrated everything. That’s probably why our relationship evolved into a much deeper bond which I was really at peace and contented with,” he added.

As for the potted anthurium renaissance that Marc was eyeing in the garden of Hannah, he did not buy it. It has remained unsold. From the start, Marc felt it was a future he wanted to buy for Hannah. And the pot of anthurium renaissance is still in their possession to witness their new life as husband and wife. *

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