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24.01.11; Money Monday; 09:49

No. of visits to the gym last week: 0. No. of workouts-from-home last week: 3.

I just survived the greatest challenge in my social calendar thus far: attending 4 weddings within 2 months. No reason would excuse me from being absent in these unions as they’re all close to my heart and I have a key role to play on their grand day. With a wide smile on my lips, allow me to recall how each beautiful wedding took place.

The de Guia-Basa Nuptials
4 December 2010
Theme: 1940s/post-war [and eco-friendly/sustainable]

 

The rite took place in Filipinas Heritage Library where the newlyweds’ family gathered to stand as witnesses and enjoy a sumptuous feast from Via Mare. As the wedding planner/host, I found it necessary to acquiant both sides of the family and asked them to recall what’s their best memory of the bride and/or groom within the context of travel. After all, we were seated in the oldest airport in the history of the country. We also engaged in a quiz game to test how well they know the couple. It was a blast!

The family and friends converge as we all listen to the guest of honor, Hon. Ted Baguilat, Jr. Photo by Kim.
 

The next leg was to introduce the family and friends before the guided tour in Ayala Museum. See, the couple had been very passionate about promoting patriotism and, just like what I felt the first time I explored the mentioned museum, it would truly ignite one’s appreciation of our rich culture. I would like to elaborate on the artifacts we marveled at and the discoveries we’ve made but that probably deserves a separate entry.

Our dead feet sprang back into life at the mention of reception in Travel Cafe Philippines in Greenbelt 5. Again, I asked everyone to introduce themselves and share their best merienda memory of the couple. The guests were also subjected to a quiz game but, this time, with harder mechanics. As a finisher, I asked everyone to express their messages and advice for the new road the newlyweds are about to take. Some of us managed to pen down those thoughts in a personalized postcard like I’ve asked them. But the delivery proved to be more tear-jerking than I imagined.

As the bride’s best friend, I know how she struggled to lick her own wounds from prior relationships. However, it was Alvin who remained loyal, supportive and loving no matter how initially fearful and untrusting she was in matters of the heart. In turn, the tigress in her mellowed down into a fierce feline. In my humble opinion, they really complemented each other.

Ok, tissue break, please!

The reception for the couple’s friends in Travel Cafe Philippines. Except for momentary tears of joy among us, it was all burps and laughter. Photo by Kim.

Best friends since 2003. Me, the bride Fristine and Grace. Who’s next to tie the knot? GRACE! Photo by Kim.
 


The Lebita-Chavez Nuptials
28 December 2010

The couple had been based in Singapore for the past few years. They flew down to Manila to exchange their marital vows for their family and friends to witness. They had to fly back immediately after. Until when they would work there, they are still undecided. With a bundle of joy coming out soon, I could only hope they would stay here for good.

Lex & Shey. Pre-nuptial photo in Singapore.

The wedding was held in San Agustin Church in Intramuros. Lex was already there to welcome us with such beaming eyes and sweet smile. He was such a portrait of contentment! That aura temporarily gave way to tearful bliss when Shey walked along the aisle. What a touching gesture from a “rock star” like him!

Reunion of sort among Team 6 members. L-R: Me, Anj, the groom Lex and Rohan. Can you imagine how mad it would have been if Atong were there, too? Photo by Diane.

The celebration continued in Villa Imaculada. Us guests haven’t seen one another in a long while so we indulged in a major gabfest. When we had our chance to dialogue with Lex again, he said he’s relieved that the wedding is over and he’s more excited with the baby’s arrival. How sweet.

And I get teary-eyed again!


The Caringal-Guianan Nuptials
5 January 2011

This wedding happened when the temperature in Baguio City made it to the headlines. With the winning combination of the unbearable cold and my typically demanding stomach, I fell prey to one gastronomical gratification to another. Which is REALLY bad when you just overindulged during the recent holidays. And it really manifested in my long gown how guilty I was of such!

The wedding mass was in St. Pio Chapel in La Trinidad, Benguet. Outside is a breathtaking view of the  multitude of green slopes below and the blue skies and cottony clouds above. It truly felt I was just an arm’s reach away from heaven! Needless to say, it was damn cold, too! 14:30 felt like 02:30 in the metro!
 

The reception venue: Bell Amphitheater in Camp John Hay. Have I told you it was 6 degrees that night?
 

After the mass, we proceeded to the hotel for some pre-reception preparations. In my case, throw away my high heels to change into my slip-on sneakers, change pads and – to my horror – have my back zipper taken care of. It pained me to see the bride and groom themselves ready to meet their eager guests while an undisclosed number of assistants huddled on my back. To quote one of them: “Akala ko sa bride ako mahihirapan. Sa emceee pala!” When it got resolved, we all dashed to the Amphitheater. The show must go on!

The emcees: Rene, Deo (he can sing, too!) and myself

Since we all subscribe to Murphy’s law and to the belief that red wine (or any type of alcohol) is good for the nervous heart, I prepared an open program (just an outline, no scripts). Much to Deo’s unease. He surprised us with his suggested lines before we left the Church. As a result, I obeyed my thirst for this in the hotel. Idaan na lang sa energy level! Kidding aside, nothing really prepared us for the major impediment in the release of sky lanterns and mechanics mishap for the bouquet-and-garter dance game.

If you still don’t believe how chilly it was, check out this slight tension over the release of sky lanterns. They won’t soar due to the fog! The REAL showstopper? Somebody attempted to douse the flame by throwing the nearest glassful of water he can get hold of. Turned out it was alcohol. Funny!

Any wedding host would most probably complain about call out for participants for the bouquet and garter toss. I was no exception. In a country where residents consider everyday as Oktoberfest and/or anytime is a good time to prepare for random star search try outs, it is contradicting that hardly anyone is a sport for a cool game like bouquet toss. Yes, Pinays are typically bashful in demonstrating their preferences – or feigning bashfulness until you die persisting – but their dislike of such game is no masquerade. Nobody wants to succumb to the pressure to get married next.

For some strange reason, bouquet tosses normally make my competitive nature resurface. It’s a fun game where nobody gets hurt. Bring it on!

That night, I was wrong to assume that my hosting stint gives me the immunity to this spectacle. To encourage other single ladies to join and, well, to repent for heading to the smoking area instead of the stage during the bouquet toss during the Lebita-Chavez wedding reception in Villa Imaculada, I positioned myself as a participant. Oha, emcee na, gamer pa!

So we modified the Trip to Jerusalem mechanics a little bit. We asked the single ladies and gents to dance in reverse motion outside the chairs. In each round, the lady and gent with no chair to sit on get kicked out of the game. Much to their relief. I think one girl just walked away without even trying to get seated and, when it  was down to the final head-to-head dance, the other girl just motioned for me to sit on the winning guy’s lap. It was not exactly a sweet victory, if you know what I mean.

After being announced as the “winner”, I froze in the realization that I would be immortalized in photos and videos with my long gown uplifted! I was donning a pair of leggings, hardly thermal, but it was there to keep me warm, and, like I’ve mentioned above, a pair of comfortable footwear that allowed me to serve as my co-hosts’ runner when needed. I was not sure if everybody else understood why exactly I was prominently displaying my lace gloves against my beet-red face, but, thanks to Rene’s reminder (over the microphone) that went “Please ignore the fact that Lorna is wearing leggings,” I was sure the entire nation was informed.

That mortifying moment of having the bride’s boss lift my long gown to expose my leggings and mismatched slip-on sneakers. It was worse than the pressure to find someone to marry right away!

Weddings are all about reunion. And so our college barkada [otherwise known as LARJ] did. L-R: Groom Kiko, bride Lienne, matron of honor Guia, Rene, me and Albert. Who’s next? My money’s on Albert!

Photos lifted from Lienne and Guia.

Since our graduation, I hardly got to hang out with Lienne that often anymore. It even became a recurring misfortune that she’d be in Manila whenever I visit the highlands and vice versa. Whenever she drops by and I’m available, she’s on business trip and/or  had limited time to catch up. However, it was amazing how we remained to mirror our crazy selves way back in college.

Unlike the boys, I never got to meet Kiko before the wedding. Except for that brief meeting in Greenbelt when they handed us the wedding invitation. Based on Lienne’s stories, he’s the type who wouldn’t have second thoughts about sacrificing his own comfort for his immediate family – as evidenced by his long-time employment in Dubai. With their plans to establish a well-knit family in Canada eventually, I can tell it won’t be that difficult for them. They both epitomize hardwork and eagerness for the future. I look forward to the day it would come into fruition.

Of course, a part of me wants to dissuade them from leaving us. But how could I be so selfish and keep my college best friend to myself when she was a portrait of immeasurable happiness on her wedding day? It was to declare that bygones are bygones and what lies ahead is a romantic adventure she and Kiko were destined to face.

Great, here comes the waterworks again!


The Pausanos-Israel Nuptials
16 January 2011
Theme: Vintage Filipiñana

 

When online-turned-real life friend Alistair posted an invitation for his private 3*rd bithday party in saGuijo in July 2006, I immediately confirmed my attendance and probed if I can bring some friends. His invite stated: “For my friends and friend’s friends, you are invited to…” Or something to that effect. It was pretty explicit but I wanted to make sure. His last mini-golf birthday party had a low turnout of attendees and I was trying to prevent it from happening again. Thankfully, he said yes, as long as they’re single ladies. “Ay, harot!” I muttered to myself. So I gathered all my live music-loving friends and/or saGuijo first-timers -yep, single ladies, as required –  for this rare experience.

That fateful night, I introduced the birthday boy to tens of my girlfriends. Before the party ended, he expressed his interest in Ina. I wasn’t sure if she heard wind chimes on top of live tunes from Trigger Bliss, Whatevuritakes or Salindiwa that night but, judging on how frequent they hang out together after that night – with or without me – the attraction was indeed reciprocated. Should I take credit for something cosmic like this? Yes? Sige na nga.

Bride Ina, groom Alistair and baby Bunny. They love to say: “Si Lorna ang may sala!” Sure, the blame is on me! But NOT on my goddaughter-to-be.

So…things had to change. From twosome (two girlfriends) to threesome (one couple with a third wheel). From my occasional bouts of jealousy towards Alistair to full acceptance of an unstoppable love. From being a houseguest to a family member. It’s like I can never keep Ina to myself anymore; I’ve been welcomed as a mainstay of the Pausanos home. I have a new mum in Tita Connie, new set of brothers in Ino, TJ and Vince, new furballs in Matilda and her kids. Spending time with them served as a constant reminder of how important it is to have a family.

And so will Ina and Alistair. As soon as the bride walked down the aisle in San Miguel Church and caught sight of her emotional mum, I felt my tears welled up. It was so fresh I had to dab the corner of my eyes again as I type these. I’m just so happy for them both! I’m so happy that Tita Connie will soon have a new baby to spoil rotten! I can recall her baby-related one-liners over the dining table and her kids played deaf when it’s their turn.

No matter how hard we try to suppress it, there’s always something tearjerking about weddings. A touching moment between the bride and her mum, Tita Cocoon.

After the exchange of “I do’s” in the Church, we all proceeded to La Cocina de Tita Moning, an ancestral home nearby. While the newlyweds busied themselves with mandatory picture-taking, the guests were treated to wines, finger foods, tour of the house (I backed out after a few rooms, my feet can’t take it anymore) and lomo cameras.

The next thing we knew, we secondary sponsors were being introduced in the garden area to commence the program. Right after serving the appetizers, the emcees started calling out  the single ladies. Bouquet toss!  So soon!  [I wished this wedding took place ahead of Lienne’s so I can apply this tip to my drafted program.] This time, my legs were uncovered and my feet suffered from the 4-inch platforms that matched the maid of honor’s. Tiis ganda! I was more than ready to welcome garters and hands down there. But the cosmos find it unfitting for me to get the bouquet – without my leggings and sneakers on. Oh, well.

From second-degree friends to super friends! Something tells me the fun times don’t end in this photo opp.
L-R: Zarah, Kat, Joey and myself. 

Photos lifted from Tita Connie and Joey.
 

This wedding also allowed me to make new friends! Although the bride asked me months in advance to channel Maria Clara on the wedding day in compliance to their vintage Filipiñana theme, I found it unbelievably hard to be prim and proper. I’m grateful for the conversations – ranging from animated blabs to maboteng usapan –  I’ve had with each lady that night. And for the gabfests that are yet to come! But somebody got extreeeeeemely lucky to score an instant date…


I can read your mind. You must be intrigued to know when will I follow suit.

Well, there’s a back story after the bouquet-and-garter dance game you might want to know. For the countless friends who told me: “Foreigner guy ang bagay sa’yo!”, you will be eager to hear this. Ready?

Damian Ball left right after the bouquet-and-garter game and, most importantly, he’s NOT into girls.

Ask me “Kailan ka ikakasal?” again and I got two words for you.

Bwiset ka!

It’s almost effortless to yield to self-pity when you get invites to back-to-back weddings like what I endured, especially when you had a long history of non-successful dating and recent instance of acute heartache. Pleeeease don’t fish for details anymore!

Singlehood is a fun stage — even much-deserved if you came out from a nasty relationship. It will push you to discover more about yourself, appreciate your strengths, flaws and all, aim for improvement and learn to be stronger as nobody else can be that reliable. In any order. However, this relationship with oneself can also get wearisome; there will be instances you just want to be taken care of and you need to have someone to exclusively celebrate with for the never-ending battles won and lost. And the cycle continues — there’d be days you’d rather be alone and on top of things.

Needless to say, I sometimes question why the Universe won’t fill my “vaccum” and make this world a better place to live in. In that order. What’s wrong with me? Am I still NOT an image of self-love? Am I the worst person on eath today? Am I the destined maniac who would fulfill the prophesy of Word War III?

OK, before I get to activate the closet drama queen in full swing, allow me to admit I’m still a work in progress. Especially after learning the Master – Mission – Mate hierarchy. I still hunger for ways on how see my enhanced self. Yes, I’m not yet ready. Thank you if you think I appear to be super ready already. But there’s a lot more internal work to do. Please please keep those fingers crossed for me.

But…it doesn’t hurt to find someone reeeeally interesting along the way, you know.