CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- After 16 years of living together, a couple finally said “I do,” during the City Government’s “Kasalan Balen” (citywide mass wedding) held last Sunday at Heroes Park.

For lack of financial resources, elderly couple Abraham Cruz and Edna Laure never dreamt of getting married and “tying the knot” legally.

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The couple was part of 103 brides and grooms who tied the knot during the grand ceremony culminating the city’s “Kaganapan 2010” or its 9th Cityhood Charter Anniversary celebrations.

The mass civil wedding, which came complete with a free reception for their sponsors and guests, had all the works of an “engrandeng kasalan” (grand wedding), including bouquets for the brides, cakes, wine, a pair of white doves, a brief program with serenades, souvenir photographs and gifts from the City Council dished out by Councilor Alex Patio and Kaganapan 2010 Chairman Angelo David.

The evening garden rite was officiated by Mayor Oscar Rodriguez while Vice Mayor Edwin Santiago, Councilors Jimmy Lazatin, Rose Calimlim, Reden Halili, Ruping Dumlao, Dein Henson, and City Council aspirants Dr. Letty Yap, Jet Teodoro, Jun Lutero, and Nong Carbral, together with City Administrator Ferdinand Caylao stood as sponsors for the couples.

“Maraming salamat po sa inyo mayor at sa siyudad ng San Fernando. Sa wakes, nakasal na rin po kami. Talaga pong wala kaming pera kaya ng malaman ko itong kasalan na ito ay tinanong ko ang kasama ko at sabi ko nga sa kanya ‘Love, pakakasalan mo ba ako? Kung hindi ay magbalot-balot ka na,’ pero pumayag naman siya.” said the Cruz bride.

Rodriguez, for his part, told the couples during the wedding rites to uphold the sacred vows of matrimony.

“Ang kasal ay sagrado. Walang urungan ito at ito ay isang uri ng kulungan na hindi matatakasan. Pagkatapos nito ay sana, patuloy kayong magmahalan at hindi maghiwalay,” he said.

Rodriguez told Sun.Star Pampanga after the ceremonies that the mass wedding was held as part of the City Government’s program of providing decency and a morally upright life for Fernandinos.

Due to the large number of couples wishing to take their vows, Community Affairs Division head Donny Sayre said the City Government is mulling for another mass wedding come May 1 this year.

“This is to accommodate the huge number of those who want to get married through the City Government. Already, we are processing their documents so we can register as many as we can, especially those relocated at Northville 14,” Sayre said.