¡Mi familia maravillosa!
Exactly a year ago today, our dreams finally came true — a wedding that was 14 years in the making!
Our wedding rings on my wife’s Filipiniana bouquet composed of sampaguita, gumamela, ylang-ylang, pandacaqui, camia, and champaca flowers. The bouquet was designed by renowned florist Serge Igonia, a native San Pedrense.
If there is one most important thing that we learned on that beautiful Friday the 13th wedding, it is this: the weddings of today are focused on the couples, but traditional weddings are focused on the wedding itself, that it is a covenant between God and the newly weds, thus emphasizing that a wedding is not merely a ritualistic union but a holy sacrament. A wedding is not your usual earthly event.
But wedding receptions? Oh, yeah! That’s the newly wed couple’s preferable moment to shine! 😀
Yeyette and I agreed to have our wedding reception held at our adoptive hometown, and at a place just near the church so as not to tire our guests. Jardín de San Pedro was the obvious choice. Aside from being very near the church, we really dig its name because it’s very Filipino. We have already been to the place when Krystal’s elementary graduation rites were held in 2012. I immediately had a liking for it because of the natural ambiance and the “Filipino feel” of the place. And yes, as its name connotes, it is really filled with sampaguita flowering plants. It is unmistakably a clear nod to San Pedro Tunasán’s title as the country’s sampaguita capital. That first visit to Jardín de San Pedro provided a positive impression upon me which further spurred my dreams of pursuing that belated wedding which I have been planning on my mind for years.
When we first consulted the Legaspi Family, the owners of the venue, the menu offering they showed to us were not to our liking because not Filipino. All meals were “International” (pot roast beef with gravy, caesar salad, penne bolognese, etc.) and “Chinese” (shrimp with quail eggs, crispy canton noodles with crab meat sauce, corn and kani soup, etc.). The packages were completely out of sync to our Mozarabic Rite wedding. But we’re glad that the Legaspis could think out of the box. Although unavailable, they opted to customize their wedding packages for us! So on our next meeting, we were delighted to see an updated menu of theirs which since then included a buffet that is completely Filipino.
We also planned on other stuff: the decors, the sound system, and everything else. We requested the theme to be as Filipino as possible. What I had in mind was not to have the usual wedding reception which people today are accustomed to. I had in mind of reviving, at least for a day, the nearly forgotten “<em>tertulia filipina</em>”.
Tertulia literally means a social gathering. But in the Filipino sense, it was not just a social gathering where people eat and discuss. At a time when there was still no television, radio, or Internet, Filipinos celebrated arts and culture during such gatherings. In a tertulia filipina, there is much poetry reading, music, and dancing. So again, as in our church wedding where the focus was on our union as a covenant, I decided to put the focus on the event itself instead of us bride and groom. The event was the “<em>bida</em>”, not exactly us. We took the opportunity to introduce to our friends and relatives how “partying” was like during the Spanish and early US period.
We are Filipinos. We’re not US citizens. We’re not Chinese. Neither are Japanese, Indians. etc. So why celebrate with that kind of theme?
A revival of cultural pieties is what we did. And we hope we got the message through.
And yes, we had no wedding planners. I planned all this (Yeyette and our dear college friend Michael Lim had a small role, hehe!). Who knows? I could be your next wedding planner — so long the theme is Filipiniana. 😀
Sampaguita buds all over the tables. We’re not called the sampaguita capital for nothing. 🙂
Our modest two-layered wedding cake crowned with santán flowers.
Classic sorbetes to welcome our guests. It was a bestseller!
My mother-in-law checking out the vintage decorations.
Our dear college buddy, Michael Vincent U. Lim, hosted our tertulia filipina wedding reception.
Mayor Lourdes Catáquiz graciously welcomes our guests, most of whom are from out of town.
With the wedding sponsors. L-R: Former Mayor Calixto Catáquiz, the groom, the bride, Señor Guillermo Gómez, and Señora Josefina Láus de Alas
L-R: Former Mayor Calex and his wife, incumbent Mayor Lourdes Catáquiz, the groom, the bride, and Señor Gómez.
Musical prodigy Satcheil Amamangpang and young church historian Jesson Allerite perform several Filipino folk songs in Spanish. They were also part of the four-man choir during our wedding.
L-R: my sister Jennifer Alas, my dad Josefino Alas, my cousin Cuya Ángelo Joseph Carcallas, my maternal grandmother Norma Soriano, my daughter Krystal, my cousin Paolo Raphael Balicao, my cousin Jam Alas, Jennifer’s fiancé Chock de Guzmán, and dad’s cousin Uncle Joel Évora.
L-R: Yeyette’s sister Kathleen Diezon, my father-in-law Jaime Perey, Tita V-Beth Atienza, my mother-in-law Teresa Perey, Tita V-Beth’s friend Liez de León, and Kathleen’s daughter Krishna. The two gentlemen behind my mother-in-law are Yeyette’s stylists.
Jardín de San Pedro customized a Filipino meal upon our request. The package included: menudo, pancít cantón guisado, oven baked chicken lemon grass, rellenong bañgús, Jardín de San Pedro beef steak Tagalog, steamed rice, leche flan, buco pandán, and sago & gulaman.
Poet-musician Joms Púnay delivers his Tagalog verses “Sa Bus” and “Bituín“.
Flamenco dancer and indie actress Jameela Pérez reads her Spanish poem “En Mis Ojos Hasta Que Me Levanto“.
Pinay Poet Imee Rabang delivers her English poem “Every Night”.
Veteran flamenco dancers Kenneth Gaerlán and Valerie Devulder wow the audience with their moves.
My cousin Josh Alas (right) and his instructor Leo Laher (left) performing Johann Pachelbel’s famous “Canon in D major”.
Joms backs up the violinists with his guitar strums.
Joms Púnay on guitars, Roxanne Guivencán on vocals, and Bernard Cadawas on the cajón. This nameless band from Paeté performed several acoustic performances, among them the Chavacano hit song “¿Por que?.”
Dancing with my wonderful bride to this tune!
Kenneth and Jam in a powerful performance!
You get to hear my cousin Jam over at Magic 89.9, but she doesn’t sing there like what she did here! And it’s damn high-pitched I thought I’d never get to use my ears again afterwards! On this photo, me and her brother Josh troll her without her knowledge!
Yeyette’s friend Arlene Umali serenaded us with her a cappella rendition of “Gaano Co Icáo Camahál”, one of our favorite Tagalog love songs.
Closing remarks, acknowledgments, and a bit of long overdue drama. 🙂
¡Gracias, gracias, muchísimas gracias!
1) Please CLICK HERE to view all of our photos!
2) Please CLICK HERE to read part 2.
3) Please CLICK HERE to read part 1.
¡Enaltecer la familia para la gloria más alta de Dios!