Life as it happens. Time as it passes.

Archive for December, 2009

Forevermore: The Wedding Diary Edition (FINAL CHAPTER)

Top Ten Things I’m Now Ready To Do On My Wedding Day:

#1: I think I’m now ready to say these two words that mean a lifetime of commitment–‘I do’.

Here’s the final chapter of ‘Forevermore: The Story of RC and Cess’

Final Chapter: FOREVERMORE

Now, finally, here we are: the final chapter of this eight-year journey. And the truth is, trying to re-tell the story exactly as it happened is next to impossible. I’m just glad that my head and my heart captured as much as it can—unforgettable memories and moments that have brought us here, now, and forever.

I have always been guided by this one simple principle: life is an everyday learning experience. Everything is a visual aid, anybody can be your classmate, somebody can be your teacher, and nobody is exempted. I’m so glad eight years ago God found it in His good pleasure to put me and Cess beside each other in His seat plan. Since then, we’ve been seated together, learning together, teaching together, praying together. People and circumstances have tried to pull us apart, but God moved in mysterious ways, as He always does, to put me and Cess in the places where we are supposed to be—beside each other.

Soon, we will be moving on to the next class.

With barely a day for me as a bachelor, I cannot really tell what’s ahead for me as a husband. I pause to think for a moment what answers are out there for the questions that I have in me. And then I remember this song from one of our hymns:

‘…many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my Hand.’

My heart now suddenly feels an aura of peace as the music of that song lingers on for a while until it fades away. My mind then wanders away from the present on to the future—to a time when I am seated in a porch, on a rocking chair. My hair has turned from jet black to a hoary frost. The face that once had distinct features of a young preacher is now covered with wrinkles and creases. My fingers are now trembling—they could hardly type any of the words on the PC’s keyboard. Worse, my eyes cannot even see clearly what’s popping out of the PC’s. And the voice that once blended with a choric rendition now has hardly any use for humming a tune. These features are mere shadows of what was once a spirited, sibilant young man, ready to take on life as a vanquishing conqueror.

But beside him is a woman, also aged and withering. The lines on her face have almost covered her lips, which used to give off that radiant smile. Her eyes are now having a hard time counting how many kids—their grand kids—are in the yard beside their porch, playing and having fun. She slowly leans her head on the shoulder of her husband, just like how she used to do. She looks up to him, and with a faint voice she whispers to his ear and asks a question:

Ga, ano nga ulit yung kanta natin… yung theme song natin?’

This time, this question is more of a result of old age rather than an attempt at endearment. She asks, not because her heart has forgotten, but because her mind cannot remember anymore.

The old man, looking sweetly to his wife of more than 50 years, tries to recreate the melody in his head, and with all the strength and musicality left in his withering frame, he hums…

‘You were just a dream that I once knew, I never thought I would be right for you, I just can’t compare you with anything in this world…’

He pauses, inhales more breath, and with trembling hands he strokes her also silvered hair…

‘you’re all I need to be with…’



Forevermore: The Wedding Diary Edition (part 29.2)

Top Ten Things I’m Now Ready To Do On My Wedding Day:

#2: I think I’m now ready to take a road that has no turning back–family life.

Here’s the second to the concluding chapter of ‘Forevermore: The Story of RC and Cess’

Chapter 8: Crossing The Bridge

I’m quite sure it was two years ago when we started talking about getting married. But it was only after I bought her the engagement ring that we took a long, hard look at the prospect of taking this lifetime decision. As for me, I’ve always known what I’ve wanted—to grow old with her for the rest of my life.

But more than just popping the question, I was concerned about how prepared I am before I ask her if she would want to marry me. That maybe the reason why I never went through the whole ordeal of coming up with an elaborate way of proposing to her. I simply brought her with me to the wedding store, had her choose the ring that she so wanted, bought it, gave it to her, and simply whispered, ‘Now, after this you know what’s next right? I have no plans of turning back, so just so you know, I am marrying you.’

I guess that wasn’t a question at all.

And from the look of her face, I knew that was what she also wanted. No, she did not have the look of a surprised girl, with tears trickling down her cheeks for joy that finally, the man of her dreams is asking her to marry him. No, she was not venting some air into her lungs because of the fast beating of her heart after hearing a proposal. And no, she did not declare to all the living souls in that department store ‘Yes!’ She simply held my hand, leaned her lips to my ears and whispered, ‘let’s get something for dinner, shall we?’

We were not the cheesy type of partners who kill time watching those mushy rom-coms, or send sweet nothings through texts, or get sentimental over the where’s and the when’s of our moments together. If we get to recall, then we recall those moments. But both of us are very much occupied with our own separate responsibilities. Maybe that’s the reason why even if we don’t get to see each other as often as we want, we don’t miss each other too much. We are both committed to our own work, and we are committed to fulfilling them the best way we can. Since we both are guided by this principle, we have come to a mutual understanding about our jobs, and we both agree to be a complement, not a complication to what the other is doing.

And so, if you ask either of us, we never really went to the formalities of an actual engagement. We simply held on to each other’s words, went on with our own separate responsibilities, kept ourselves occupied by our individual tasks, and just waited until we arrived at the bridge that we needed to cross.


Forevermore: The Wedding Diary Edition (part 29.1)

Top Ten Things I’m Now Ready To Do On My Wedding Day:

#3: I think I’m now ready to plan for my future a little bit farther than what I used to as a bachelor. Among many things, that plan for my future includes raising a God-fearing family.

So many positive things happened yesterday, and I am just stoked by how things have been turning out for the good. All lights are green for me and Cess right now, at 3 DAYS LEFT BEFORE THE BIG WEDDING!

First off, I went to Headway at Robinson’s Ermita for my last haircut as a bachelor. When I found out that they had a package that includes facial cleansing and body massage, I immediately grabbed it. And for the first time ever in my life, I lifted myself from off the barber’s seat and felt like a different man. *intro music* ♪♫I feel good… tananananananan…♪♫

And then in the evening, me and Cess finally had our heart-to-heart pre-wedding counseling with our senior pastor, Dr. Benny Abante, Jr., congressman of the 6th district of Manila.

For preachers like us, we value the wisdom and counsel of our senior pastor, especially when it comes to starting, raising, and providing for a family. And that evening talk we had with our senior pastor was one of the happiest moments in my life. It was one of the few moments where I was tearing up for joy, although I managed to keep the tears from rolling down. I’ve always looked forward to having that conversation since Cess and I started out. The idea of having that talk alone was just exciting. But it was only last night that I realized how much more wonderful the actual talk was. I think me and Cess started on the right foot for our married life with that counseling session we had.

That talk was also a privilege for me to show my gratitude to my pastor by treating him to a dinner at UCC Rockwell. It’s an honor that I get to treat a man like him for dinner. Also with us that night was his wife Ms. Marie, who also happens to be my elementary school directress and currently Cess’ boss, Rich, their daughter and our maid of honor, and his son Fog, one of our secondary sponsors, and a student of mine.

Finally, the wedding decorations are now set for the Big W! Our decoration team, composed of Jean Duatin, Stephanie Pascua, and Zaldy Basinang are now prepping the stuff they’ll be needing for Monday. I saw their plans and I am very excited at how the church will look like on that day!

Well guys, this is my final weekday as a bachelor. Three days from now, I’ll be a new man. And I am at loss for words to describe how excited, thrilled and enthusiastic I am, not just for the ceremonies, but for the very life that I will soon be living as a husband.

Tomorrow, we will be going to Tagaytay for the final floral preps for the designs. Tomorrow’s blog will be a continuation of this one as a closing post for the Wedding in the Making. And finally on Sunday, I will be posting my 30th and final entry for this edition. It will feature the Top Sign that I am Ready To get Married, and the closing chapter of ‘Forevermore: the story of RC and Cess.’

Hold on to your seats guys… the best is yet to come!

Forevermore: The Wedding Diary Edition (part 28)

Top Ten Things I’m Now Ready To Do On My Wedding Day:

#4: I think I’m now ready for these exclusive titles: ‘breadwinner,’ ‘man in the house,’ ‘head of the family.’ More importantly, I think I’m now ready for what they all mean–responsibility and commitment.

The interior decoration team are meeting today to finalize the design for Monday…

…*wink, wink*


I was just talking to my senior pastor, and he gave his go signal for some details during the wedding that concern decorum and protocol inside the church sanctuary. For us, the place of worship keeps and exudes its aura of sanctity and solemnity, especially during weddings. As we have invited some of our friends and relatives coming from different faiths, we would want them to understand and respect some of the important aspects of such an occasion. I think we won’t be having much of a problem with that.

As for the bridal car, I would like to especially thank Mrs. Tess Liwanag for lending us her white Nissan X-Trail as Cess’ vehicle. It was such a nice gesture coming from my former Sunday School Teacher and adviser to allow us to use her car on Monday. Don’t worry Atet. We’ll take care of the car!

I’m due to pay the barong and the other suit today. Thank God the funds just came in right on time.

Well, guys, allow me to take a much needed nap for a while. I haven’t had a decent wink since last Tuesday, due to the work load that I still have to tackle on the week before my wedding. I guess a deserve to steal some time off my break and recharge my frame for a bit.

Keep in touch!

Forevermore: The Wedding Diary Edition (part 27)

Top Ten Things I’m Now Ready To Do On My Wedding Day:

#5: I think I’m now ready to wear the most envied barong on December 21… wait… I think the barong is ready to be worn by the most envied man on December 21.

I just came from my latest check-up on the house, and finally, it’s all cleared and ready for occupancy. I’m dropping by my parents’ house later to pick up the linoleum for the flooring. Hopefully, mom and dad would just give to me the old but still elegant carpet that they’re no longer using.

We’re also due to pay the last remaining balance for the reception, as well as make arrangements with Diners’ Dreemhaus to prepare a meal exclusively for our senior pastor, Dr. Benny Abante, Jr. He is diabetic, and he is very careful with the food prepared before him. That’s why to all our MBBC members who are planning to invite the pastor to your reception, here’s your checklist:

1. No pork or read meat. Just fish or chicken;

2. No sugar or salt added. If it’s a meal using sweet and sour sauce, use Splenda for the sweetener;

3. Brown rice is preferred. No refined white rice, please;

4. If the place serves pasta, it would be much more wonderful for him (he likes pasta), plus of course virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar;

Well, we’re down to the LAST FIVE DAYS of prep time before the Big W. I look at the previous blog post, and I guess I can things done before weekend. We’re off to Tagaytay on Saturday to pick up the flowers and some other floral arrangements. I have yet to hear from our design and decoration team what are their final plans for the church sanctuary. After today, I could safely say I would have unloaded more than half of this week’s burden.

For those of you waiting for the final chapter of ‘Forevermore: The Story of RC and Cess’ it will be coming out on Saturday and Sunday’s post. You would not want to miss that.

Forevermore: The Wedding Diary Edition (part 26)

Top Ten Things I’m Now Ready To Do On My Wedding Day:

#6: I think I’m now ready to live with a new-found family–my in-laws.

It’s six days to go, guys. At this point in time, sharpness of mind has never been this crucial and more important than at any time in the last couple of months of preparation. My Starbucks Planner is getting more and more doodled on as the days pass. I wouldn’t want to miss out on any important detail for the Big W.

So, through this post, I am reminding myself of what else I need to tackle:

1. The Bridal Car;

2. Protocols for our Church Sanctuary ;

3. Scheduling and final instructions for the videographers and photographers;

4. Meeting with the decoration committee;

5. Finalizing of all legal documents such as contracts and licenses;

6. Full payment for the reception;

7. Full payment for my wardrobe;

8. Altar backdrop;

9. Giveaways;

10. House move-in;

11. Reception program;

I definitely must single out my best man and planner Crisant Dema-ala and one of our bridesmaids, Onlee Lacambra, who stayed up late last night until wee hours of the morning today, just finalizing some of the details for the reception programme. More people are due to be added to the list of my acknowledgments, but I want to shout out their names first.

They’re planning to put up a mini-exhibit of all our memorabilia for the last eight years. Included in this will be my mini-series ‘Forevermore: The Story of RC and Cess.’ For all of you who followed the story, if you think you’ve read the last of the chapters, wait ’til you read the two concluding chapters on Saturday and Sunday. I decided to include a wrap-up story that would be the fitting ending to this eight-year journey that’s now ready to take on forever.

Forevermore: The Wedding Diary Edition (part 25)

Top Ten Things I’m Now Ready To Do On My Wedding Day:

#7: I think I’m now ready to stop texting Cess ‘good morning. I love you’ every morning, after eight solid years. By next week, I’ll be telling it to her in person, and for the rest of my every waking moment.

Well, I just arrived from Tacloban via PR 392, together with my senior pastor, after a successful anniversary of our 9-year old work there. Upon arrival, we went straight here to church, waited a few more minutes, before me and the rest of the staff were all cleared to go ahead with our respective tasks for the day. For me, that means, getting back at the preps for the Big W. After all, I am now on my FINAL WEEK AS A BACHELOR!

This is my last Monday blog as a single guy.

Among the many things that happened over the previous week-end, my wardrobe is finally done, courtesy of Ms. Miles Almiñe, Capt. Arnel Almiñe, and their dad. I haven’t seen it yet personally, but Cess saw it already last night. She said they’d look so good on me, she’d run up the altar come our wedding day! Awww… exaggeratingly sweet! =)

Thanks also to all of those who dropped by my Facebook wall and the previous post before this one, and checked out the pre-nup photos. Thanks again to my official photographer, Obed Cutaran.

I wish I could write on, but my body is begging for a rest right now. We still have staff meeting, and I will still be prepping up some stuff for our caroling nights starting tomorrow evening.

But before that, you have got to see this one first.

Sweet November


Sweet December

Move over, Keanu and Charlize!

’til then, guys!

Forevermore: The Wedding Diary Edition (part 24)

Top Ten Things I’m Now Ready To Do On My Wedding Day:

#8: I think I’m now ready to include ‘house rent,’ ‘electricity,’ and ‘water bills’ in my monthly budget… as a husband.
Well, the long waited pre-nup pics are up! Credit goes to Mr. Obed Cutaran, one of the best upstart rookie photographers in the metropolis. Check these out!