A Small Civil Affair
Hi, I'm Jason. I got married last June 28,
2001 to my best friend Pang. For a guy who shoots wedding videos
I thought I knew a lot about the event. I found out otherwise. Very
few experiences in life can be fun, irritating, ecstatic, exhausting,
happy, tense, exciting, festive, time-consuming, nerve-wracking,
bankbook-draining, and tummy-filling all at the same time.
The Storm Before the Calm
Inexplicably, relationships take a turn for
the worse, weeks before the big day. We got on each other's nerves
more often than usual. Little things that you would normally let
pass become "issues". The operative word is "IRRITATE".
I personally think that men handle these times more coolly than
women. After all, all we have to say is "yes, honey (whatever
you say)." Unfortunately, this cool and easy-going manner is
easily mistaken as "non-involvement" and "apathy".
But boys will be boys and it is quite difficult to feign interest
over the subtle differences of baby and powder blue.
Soon, the excitement and anticipation over
the event turns into general malaise and a "let's get this
over" attitude (only because you couldn't decide between carrot
Ours was a small civil affair held at the Manila City Hall. I do
admit that it's considerably less grueling to execute than a church
wedding. Not that I've married before, but I've heard countless
of brides disclosing their woes and worries. BUT, I must emphasize,
it was neither a walk in the park as I expected it to be.
For some strange reason, despite the bickering
and never-ending arguments about the planning, the preparation all
boiled down to one day, June 27. I'd like to see you beat that.
First, we set out to get the most essential
part of the event, the rings of course. I knew next to nothing about
them nor any other piece of jewelry for that matter. The only other
time I recall wearing a ring was in college, a skull with wings
number courtesy of Tony Perez. Ahh, if I could only convince Pang
to get two at Silverworks. Looking at my wedding band now, I'm thankful
It was my first time to set foot in Ongpin,
with my bride and a friend who knows gold and the area. We went
to a store she was a "suki" in and checked out the merchandise.
I've never seen so much gold in all it's shapes and sizes! I felt
like I was in a P Diddy video.
Now I am not a rich man, but if there was
anything I was going to spend on, it was going to be the rings.
Armed with a hefty sum of cash culled from a hectic May-June wedding
shoot sked, we sought out to pick the pair of our choice. After
much deliberation we eventually found three rings to our liking.
The third ring, an engagement ring was part of the set. And with
a little hardball bargaining we got all three. I was happy with
the rings and my bride got an engagement rock to boot. Talk about
having your cake and eating it too! Yum.
Feed the Hungry
From Ongpin, we went straight to SM Manila,
the logical choice for the reception. Pang and I kidded about reserving
seats in a fastfood joint like McDonald's or Wendy's to cut cost.
Then we found ourselves walking in a restaurant specializing in
Filipino dishes. They had this great buffet menu for a reasonable
amount but the clincher was that it was eat all you can! We reserved
seats for twenty people and paid the fee. The total transaction
time was fifteen minutes.
No wedding is complete without the cake. And
even if Pang said it was okay not to have one, I insisted. We checked
out the designs in Red Ribbon (nope, there was no Cake Concepts
branch in SM Manila). We really wanted a small fondant cake so it
would look more "wedding-y". But they couldn't do it in
twenty-four hours, too bad, so we settled for an icing filled-cake
which absolutely looked cute in the picture. Again, IN THE PICTURE.
(more on this later)
Look the Part
By this time, I was a bit tired from all the
walking around but more things had to be done. It was time to look
for a dress for her and a shirt for me. Early on, I originally intended
to simply wear something decent from my closet. I specifically remember
saying it his way over the phone, "Ako ng bahala, kahit ano
na lang." However this "don't-worry-about-it" mindset
was mistakenly interpreted as "You-don't-care-about-what-you're-going-to-wear-means
Needless to say, a fight and a broken window ensued.
I learned my lesson, so there I was happily
picking a shirt in Glorietta. It was quick and painless, a simple
white polo did the trick. But I couldn't say the same for Pang.
After going out for two years I should have been prepared. But men
never get used to these things. It was just one silly dress. One.
My feet were aching, I was hungry and exhausted but we still had
to scour all the shops in the mall so she could pick the one. I
would have gladly just stayed at Figaro for coffee while she shopped.
But of course doing so would mean I wasn't enthusiastic about the
event again. And so to avoid any arguments the eve of the big day,
I plastered a look of genuine interest and concern over the dresses
she tried on, playing the pseudo-fashion consultant until she was
able to pick the one she wanted.
Thereafter, we met our respective families
for a nice evening of dinner and talk. We proudly showed off our
wares and talked about the adventures of the day. The great thing
about that dinner was that everybody was getting along with everybody
else. There was absolutely none of the usual "in-laws"
troubles. And it wasn't just between me and her parents or the other
way around. My mom and her mom hit it off like long time "kumares".
The day ended, we were tired yet happy.
I couldn't sleep that night. I thought I was
going to hit the bed like a sack of kamote but I didn't. I was excited
and anxious. It was the last night of my bachelorhood. Questions
popped up like thought balloons in comics. Will I be a good husband?
Will I screw it up? Will we cut it? How will I provide? Most importantly,
who'll wash the dishes?
But all the apprehensions about marrying were
wiped away when I simply thought I was marrying Pang, the one person
who knows me inside and out, the good the bad and the ugly, the
one person who was with me constantly in failure and triumph, the
one person with whom I feel most loved.
And the thought comforted me to sleep.
All Roads Lead to Manila City Hall
The morning of June 28 was a comedy of errors.
The ceremony was set at ten in the morning so I woke up early to
get a haircut. I planned to look dashingly handsome that day. My
bride deserved nothing less. My tiny condo unit bustled with activity.
Everybody was excited. Too excited I suppose because in a very rare
instance, my mother, with a flat iron, burned the pair of pants
I was supposed to wear. I wasn't at all affected by the incident,
I simply pulled out another pair and off we went (only later did
I realize that blue pants and a white polo was a bad combination,
they said I looked like a high school kid cutting class).
By NOT getting run over by a speeding train
(our able driver got us smack in the middle of a railroad track
in a full stop), we were able to get to the City Hall in one piece.
The place was a circus, literally. There was
a brass band honking out their version of Hawaii Five-O while majorettes
were busy twirling away. There was a dizzying crowd situated at
the quadrangle of the city hall. Right at the center was the reason
for all the commotion, Manny Pacquiao!, basking in his two minute's
worth of glory from his recently won title fight.
Thinking about my wedding day, and the countless
wedding days I've shot, I realized that no matter how you plan every
minute detail of the event, something always comes up unexpected,
be it rain, a bad sound system or a roaring brass band. It's all
a matter of taking everything tongue in cheek.
Is this Guy for Real
We found our way to the attorney's small office
which had a breathtaking view of Manila's traffic. And just like
the recollections of the couples I've shot in the past, the proceedings
were a blur. The only distinct memory I have is holding Pang's hand,
staring at her eyes and saying I do.
Romantic eh? But that's not what really happened.
Actually, we were trying hard not to laugh because the attorney\reverend
was spewing out his words in a monotonous drawl much like Kuya Cesar.
I bit my tongue so hard and I could see Pang just looking straight
down. The witnesses around us also had this sly smile on their faces.
It was a riot!
Feed the Hungry (part 2)
Amid the din of the chanting horde we trooped
our way to SM Manila. And yes, we fed the hungry to their stomach's
delight. Contrary to the norm when brides and grooms fail to even
taste the reception food which they paid for, we gorged ourselves
with all the pusit, hito, mangga't bagoong, halo-halo, shrimp, and
liempo (in no particular order), that our tummys' could accommodate.
The lunch was festive and pleasurable. Everybody was enjoying each
other's company. The wedding was not merely the union of two people
but the merging of two families.
We capped the afternoon with a cake-cutting
ceremony. Unfortunately, the cake was a minor disappointment (I
told you it looked good in the picture). The "cake" was
actually a mass of overly saccharine icing topped with a bride-
groom figurine made of plaster. Worse, the figurine resembled deformed
blobs with splotches of color more than us. At least the chocolate
interior was edible.
Everybody went on their own way while I and my new wife spent the
rest of the afternoon doing what we like best, malling! We ended
up buying an oven toaster for ourselves and a nifty pair of Italian
shoes for moi (I spent so much on everything, I just had to buy
something for myself, it's an illness!).
At the End of the Day
There we were, lying on the bed . . . talking.
Regaling ourselves with the day's events, recalling how it was in
the past, how we were starting out, musing how we would become,
what lies ahead. Finally, it was over. The tension and anxiety dissipated.
Everything turned out alright.
For all the troubles we went through preparing
for this wedding, it all boils down to the warm hugs and the sweet
kisses, to the endless conversations about anything and everything,
to the tampuhans and suyuans, being together for the rest of our
lives as husband and wife. And of course, the sex doesn't hurt either.
I'm gonna be a dad this October! Pang and
I are very excited. We're going to name the baby Alaric Jakob. Tell
you all about it when the big day comes.
We married June and will be having a baby
October, save yourself some trouble and don't do the math. All things
happen for a reason. 'Nuff said.
= = = = =
About the couple: Jason Magbanua is a wedding videographer who after attending so many of
his clients wedding, decided to jump in the bandwagon himself. Jason
is now officially out of the 'bachelors' market' effective June 28,
2001 when he married Pang.