Trinidad: The vows


I HAVE a massive hangover.

A major one.

Not from overdrinking, mind you, but from Buen’s and Chiara’s wedding last week.

The wedding was really beautiful, the church dreamily styled. Two serene white angels flanked the entrance. And just inside, a lovely flowery arch preceded rows of pedestaled white flowers all the way to the altar.

The bride’s entrance was really grand.

The nine-piece ensemble of the Philippine Air Force played a few bars of the classic wedding march before they drifted into a touching instrumental rendition of “A Thousand Years.”

I started tearing up then, images crowding my mind, of Chiara growing up, all those intimate conversations, of having to share her now. She’s not just my daughter, business partner, student, mentor, but my best friend.

It’s a wonder I kept my control.

But then I looked at the church’s closing doors, and I was brought back to the wedding.

The lights dimmed. Fog rose from the floor, and when the haze dispersed after what felt like an eternity for me, the doors opened. Slowly.

And then Chiara entered, her smile beatific. I could see she was delighted. It finally dawned on me, the depth of what she felt for Buen. What could I do then but smile and be happy for her?

I felt even better when Reverend Father Emil Santos quoted from the Bible, that “the man will leave his father and mother and be with his wife. “Good for me,” I thought. It is not the woman who will leave the mother. I couldn’t stop smiling by then.

The Reverend Father’s almost poetic sermon touched on humanity and divinity. “It is not by chance you are here, Buen and Chiara... There must have been a touch of the divine.”

How apt. Their love story certainly has a touch of the divine. There is more to it than just boy meets girl, they fall in love. Maybe I’ll tell you in the Valentine’s issue.

Suffice it to say that I asked for guidance when they first started dating. Several times. I asked the angels to send me white roses if they would have a happy ending. If I should not interfere.

And the angels did send me. Not just once. Those were unforgettable moments.

“I knew you were the one, oddly enough, at the moment we had a misunderstanding.” Chiara said in her wedding vows. “It was when I was torn between holding on and letting go, but then, I came to the point where I could not imagine my life without you in it.”

Voice breaking, she continues, “you have given my life more meaning.”

I remember those days, watching her go through heartbreak. I felt lost myself, wanting to ease her sadness, deciding whether to tell her to go, or stay.

I hadn’t even gotten to ask the angels for a sign yet, when out of the blue, Pauline Leung Cuyuca of Gardens of Sunrise Cabins, gave me white roses.

This was the reminder. Stay out. They’ll be okay. So I tried my best to hold back and keep my mouth shut.

Listening to Buen’s vows at the wedding, I know they will be okay. “I pledge to love you more each day,” he said. “A part of me still cannot believe that I am the one who gets to marry you.”

Watching the same day edit video and slide show prepared by Smartworks Creatives of Pampanga, I saw I wasn’t the only one tearing up throughout the ceremony.

Buen was, too, just as Chiara entered the church. It was sweet of him, wiping her tears while she spoke her vows. Many guests were photographed teary eyed. Even Buen’s mom Lourdes Parungao Datu, while she was walking down the aisle.

Kudos to Retired Lt. Gen Christie Datu, Buen’s Dad, for his attention to detail in ensuring the success of the celebration. He orchestrated the church arrangements and upped the bar, providing the divine sounding PAF ensemble, as well as being the go-to guy. He made this dream wedding possible.

I also would recommend that everyone get Constantine Visperas for the perfectly executed ceremony. The reception is another story. Let’s talk about it in another article.

I loved that the Smart Works team led by Hervee Faustino captured exactly the moods and the feelings during the wedding. They have artistic shots, not snapshots. And, as a photo hobbyist, I knew I made the right choice. I loved that I was photogenic too, hahaha. I would highly recommend their expert and artistic services.

King George Bueno went above and beyond his role as the official designer of the fabulous gowns for the bride, the entourage, my gown and some of the sponsors. Like family, he was there to provide support where it was needed, completing the angel buttonieres, finishing tasks, soothing my panic.

Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon Dra Leizel Diso and her staff of three did a wonderful job with hair and make-up. We were all beautified. She was also my co-stylist at the prenup shot with Hervee and Ronel S. Tongol. I’ll tell you about this also later.

Bernard Dalusong of Country Blossoms did the impressive styling of both the church and the venue.

Very busy James Melton Capati took care of the reception arrangements at Royce Hotel.

Pauline and Charles Cuyuca III prepared all the lovely bouquets for Chiara and the whole entourage. I know they were made with love, and a touch of the divine. White roses galore. And blue to match the motif.

I fully appreciate everyone from different parts of the Philippines and the world who took the time and effort to travel to be with Buen and Chiara on their wedding day.

Maid of honor Dominique Batenga and groom’s man Jaypee Mapanao missed their flight to Hong Kong to be at the wedding.

Master Aa rescheduled his flight to Singapore which had been booked months ago. And even though he was near exhaustion because of the activities before the wedding, he was a stalwart of brotherly support, patience and love.

Sigh. I still have a hangover. Wouldn’t you too? After all the stress, and all the commotion? And after hearing their vows?

Chiara says, “Buen... Everything feels right. Everything falls into place. With you, I feel more blessed by the universe. With you, I am home...”

And Buen, “Chiara... in your eyes, I’ve found my home. In your heart, I’ve found my love. In your soul, I’ve found my mate ... “

Sigh. Double sigh. Swoon.

To watch the slide show prepared by Smart Works, click on this link:

For the same day edit:


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