I wrote this piece before the untimely death of my father on May 26, 2015. It’s unfortunate he did not get the chance to read this. This is a tribute to his marriage to my mom. -Abet
Wedding anniversaries are not a celebration of perfect marriages. We all know there is no such thing. Rather, it’s a celebration of imperfect couples choosing to stay together despite the problems and imperfections.
My parents, Boy and Perla Rana, should have been celebrating their 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary exactly today. But it was not meant to be. The date was June 7, 1965 when they exchanged I dos. But I guess it wasn’t a wedding the kind of wedding my parents had envisioned.
My hometown in Lumban, Laguna played an pivotal rode in the marriage of my folks. It was the mid-1960s, way before I was even conceived, when my dad accompanied my mom to his hometown as she stood as ninang in the baptism of the eldest child (Ate Cecil) of my dad’s older brother (Tito Celso). Mom had to spend the night in Lumban before they head back to Aurora province where my mom’s parents stay. My mom then was staying in a dorm in Manila with her brother (Tito Ben). When she didn’t come home that night, my Tito immediately sent a telegram to my Lolo (Sixto Capiral) saying my mom eloped (tanan) with my dad. When Lolo got word that his eldest daughter spent the night with her boyfriend (never mind the fact that my mom’s younger sister, Tita Bebot, was with them the whole time), he commanded that my dad marry my mom.
Yes, just like in the old black & white Tagalog movies. You can say it’s pikot (shotgun wedding) only if my dad didn’t like to marry my mom. But he did. Maybe not exactly in that scenario, but she’s the one he wanted to marry. Sadly, I don’t remember seeing any of my parent’s wedding pictures growing up. I don’t think there was any since it was an “unexpected” wedding. What I remember seeing is a group shot of the couple with their friends in Lumban celebrating their union.
So growing up, I hear my mom saying she want to celebrate their 25th Silver Wedding so she can finally wear a wedding gown and walk down the aisle. But it wasn’t meant to be. 1990 was a time when their relationship wasn’t exactly rosy. My mom went to the States while my dad stayed in Manila but he was not living with us.
But their physical separation wasn’t for long, they got back together. It was also the time when their kids have graduated from college and started to get married to start their own family. Then grand kids came along.
We knew my mom still wants to get to experience a wedding as she said she wants her grandkids to be the bearers and flower girls. But 50 years seem like a long wait.
So in 2005, during their 40th ruby wedding anniversary, we booked The Coconut Palace and the mini-chapel within the complex to finally hold the wedding that my mom has been looking forward to have. We all pitched in to contribute. With my eldest brother Fol standing as the official photographer and our supplier friends in W@W helping create the outdoor luau party we envisioned, my parents finally got to invite their family and friends to their own wedding. It was finally a fulfillment of my mom’s dream wedding.
Another 10 years came by and talks about their golden wedding anniversary came up. Everyone unanimously agreed that we hold it in a cruise this time and make it a strictly family affair. But June was out of the question since the kids got classes. So we looked for a date where everyone was free and that was the weekend of Holy Week.
Weeks before, the grown-ups agreed to pool our money and pledged to shed off some pounds with the pot going to the Biggest Loser. It’s part of the motivation to lose some weight so they can dress up for the wedding.
From Manila, the entire family took a flight to Hong Kong. At HKIA, we met my with sister, her family from Australia, and my OFW/expat nephew from Korea before we went on board the cruise.
It was more of a vacation really than a wedding. The upper deck of the ship was closed exclusively for our family one afternoon while we were docked in Taiwan for the golden ceremony. The captain of the ship was there to officiate the ceremony. And the rest of the afternoon was spent taking pictures.
Since we didn’t have any wedding supplier with us and Kuya Fol wasn’t with us anymore, the rest of the family took turns to be the photographer, thanks also to the trusty tripod. The shoot lasted longer than the ceremony itself. Hehe!
Three round tables were reserved to us at Genting Palace for the reception dinner.
It was an unforgettable experience for the whole family. All credit goes to the groom for wanting to make his bride happy, along with the rest of the family.
Happy 50th wedding anniversary, Papa and Mommy! Half a century is a feat that not all married couples are privileged to celebrate. Thank you for choosing to celebrate it with family when you guys could have easily spent it without us.
Cheers to the re-newlyweds!