NICOLAS Bahio and Wendell Alburo have been living together for five years and are raising two toddlers. Lack of money and Wendell’s age kept them from tying the knot.
But yesterday, the young couple from Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City exchanged vows in a mass civil wedding organized by the Pag-ibig Fund.
“Pasalamat gyud mi kay nakatipid mi. (We are grateful because we only spent little),” said Wendell, a 19-year-old factory worker who was 16 when she started living with the gasoline station cashier.
More than 200 couples tied the knot during the mass wedding organized by the Pag-ibig Fund, a government owned housing finance corporation.
Vice President Jejomar Binay served as the principal sponsor, while Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes officiated the wedding rites at the JCentre Mall Convention Hall.
Nicolas, 24, and Wendell, both members of Pag-ibig Fund, said they only spent around P1,500 for the wedding, using the money to get the required documents.
But the couple, who have two sons, ages three and one, also plans to have a church wedding soon, saying they want blessing from church.
The Pag-ibig Fund has been holding the mass wedding, dubbed “I Do, I Do! Araw ng Pag-ibig” since 2012, benefitting more than 10,000 couples nationwide.
Yesterday, more than 3,000 pairs around the country joined the mass wedding, held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila and in other venues in 21 provinces.
The venues included the Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City and the Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga, Albay.
Lawyer Darlene Marie Berberabe, president and chief executive officer of Pag-ibig Fund, urged the newly-wed couples to fulfill their membership duties.
“As the couples level up their partnership by getting married, they likewise solidify their partnership with us by becoming responsible Pag-ibig members,” she said in a press statement.
The corporation has 14.76 members, who have deposited savings amounting to P28 billion. Membership with Pag-ibig Fund is mandatory for all Filipino workers.
Binay, in a speech, give the couples advice on married life.
“Huwag ninyong kalimutan ang pagmamahal sa inyong asawa. Alagaan po ninyo ito at hayaang palaging nangingibabaw ang pagtitiwala at respeto sa isat-isa (Don’t forget your love for your life. Take care of that love and let trust and respect for each other prevail),” he said.