When I woke up last December 8, 2011- I knew it was going to be a long day. But I didn’t realize how quickly it would be over and in that in no time- my life would have been changed dramatically.

On that day, I married the man who stood up for me and stuck it out with me through hell and high in the last two years. That most beautiful day of my life was perfect because I married my one true love.

But because beautiful weddings are not made overnight, we spent more than a year preparing for our big day. I am proud to say that EVERYTHING we booked, we paid for ourselves. The two of us spent long hours at work and grabbed every opportunity that came our way just to be able to save up for the wedding we both dreamed about.

So let me thank our sponsors/ suppliers for all the help they extended.

1. San Agustin Church (Intramuros, Manila) ★★★★

Contact Details: (02) 527-4052 Ms. Belen

San Agustin is picture perfect inside, forget the facade shot because it’s been painted peach- making it look like an ordinary Church and not the 400 year old Church we know of. It is perfect for brides who dream of walking a long aisle on their wedding day.

Ms. Belen was very approachable from day 1 of our preps. If you book here, you can also avail of their pre-cana seminar for couples which only last for half a day inside the Church premises.

Because it’s an in-demand venue for weddings, we booked it at P22,000 last October 2010. When we came back this June 2011, their weddings are already pegged at P25,000 (One hour use of venue, simple flower arrangement, priest, choir)

The only downside of booking San Agustin are the extra charges- P1,000 for closed door effect (if brides want the Church door closed before her grand entrance), P400 per pair of additional Principal Sponsors in excess of the 6 pairs allowed by the Church, P1,000 for the permit to take photos from the choir loft, P4000 for upgrade of flowers (normal package only gives the couple flowers on the pew, if you want flowers on the aisle too you have to upgrade. Good thing, you can share the amount with other couples getting married before or after you on the same day).

2. Casa Blanca (Intramuros, Manila) ★★★★

Contact: (02) 527-4084

Casa Blanca is a perfect venue for Filipiniana weddings- the interior is like an old Spanish house with wooden windows. We were originally booked for Casa Manila Patio which was just downstairs, but because we got married in December and the weather was crazy, we transferred our reception venue to Casa Blanca to make sure no guests will be inconvenienced should it rain on our wedding day.

That’s us during our entrance on our wedding night. Notice the old school house feel of the venue.

P17,000 was a reasonable and cheap amount for a venue you can use for 10 hours (4hours setup time for caterers, 6hours party time for the couple). However we weren’t able to maximize our party time because we ended our reception early 🙂

If you intend to book here and have elder guests, there’s a passage you can use via White Knight Hotel Intramuros to make it easier for them to go up.

3. Bridal Gown and Entourage: Amonn Velasco ★★★

Contact: Amonn Velasco (02) 711-7140 or 0917-5751604

Amonn is a very nice supplier. He immediately knows what gown will look good on you and he offers it in a very affordable price. My gown was only P25,000 but it was adorned with swarovski crystals, not to forget my beautifully made bolero.

Entourage gowns were priced at only P3,000 each, P1,500 for flower girl dresses, Our mommy gowns were fabulous at P7,000 only 🙂

Many of my friends said my gown was simple and elegant- exactly what Amonn said he wanted me to look like on my wedding day.

The only problem I encountered with Amonn was he had too many clients he can actually forget about fitting schedules – which would be a problem for a bride and her entourage of course. On my wedding day, he wasn’t there too although he texted to say he was on his way.

 

4. Catering: Quido’s Grill ★★★

Contact: Ms. Gina Napolis 09175027472

If you’re looking for cheap but yummy food for your wedding- go book Ms. Gina Napolis. She does the best food, we even had 2 food tastings for free! Ms. Gina was very accommodating and helpful, also ready anytime to offer advice to make our wedding beautiful.

But affordable bookings can also cause you headaches- like what we encountered with her few days before our wedding day. She was demanding about her setup time but was also quick to ask for an apology later on.

On our wedding day, she delivered what was needed and expected of her- although we were wondering where the rest of our Kutsinta went!

Ms. Gina can customize a package for you based on your budget. You can also book cheap sounds and lights and projector services through her.

5. OTD Coordinator: We’ll Take it For You Events ★★

Contact: Marj Gonzales 0917-6278478

We got our OTD coordinator a few weeks before our wedding day. We found WTIFY events on the internet and was convinced to book them after they gave us their package for only P8,000. Marj was very kind and always smiling when we would meet. The team also made very beautiful name cards for guests upon registration.

But on the wedding day itself, it was Meg who proved to be a more efficient coordinator. She wasn’t panicking and was cool right down the last minute.

6. The Rockin’ Duo ★★★★★

Contact: http://www.therockinduo.com

Backup photographer Vinz Matias and his brother VJ Matias (The Rockin’ Videographer) took very beautiful photos and wonderful videos for our wedding.

We were able to book them for an affordable price- but they are the kind of suppliers you book inexpensively but then you are given SUPERB service later. We are more than satisfied with the prenup video, same day edit and photos they took of us 🙂

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Young and promising VJ Matias (cinematographer) w/ talented brother photog Vinz Matias

Here’s a link to our one-of-a-kind prenup video http://vimeo.com/33342898 and our same day edit http://vimeo.com/33378456

Vinz and VJ we believe will surely go a loooong way in the wedding industry. Go book them guys! 🙂

7. Bottega Studio ★★★★★

Contact: Bottega Studio Facebook Image

Our FIRST Kiss as husband and wife. Photo taken by Mau Mauricio

Our main photographer Mau Mauricio and his wife Au Mauricio are very good friends of ours. Au (my makeup artist) was a schoolmate back in St. Theresa’s College. She and her husband Mau gave their services all for FREE as a wedding gift.

We were blessed because aside from having the coolest couple take our photos and do my makeup that day- we were blessed with a beautiful friendship starting to grow.

Mau took our most beautiful prenup shots in NLEX and Intramuros and was excellent too on our wedding day, tagging along 2 more assistant photographers! 🙂 Au meantime made me, my sisters and my Mom equally beautiful that day 🙂

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Me and my simple airbrush make up courtesy of Au Mauricio 🙂

8. Flowers: Seaworld Flower Shop ★★★★★

Contact: Joseph 0928-24111755

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Joseph was one of our best finds in Dangwa 🙂 He did my brother’s flowers on his wedding day, and he did an equally excellent job with our flowers for our wedding day. He also gave us freebies like an extra bridal bouquet for throwing, petals and free bridal car flowers 🙂

9. Tañong Chorale ★★★★★

Contact: Gerry Olaguer 0915-2140647

If you’re looking for the perfect wedding performers and chorale, go book Marikina’s pride- Tañong Chorale 🙂 There were only nine of them singing but their angelic voices reverberated throughout San Agustin. Kuya Gerry is very friendly and will suggest more beautiful and apt wedding songs too 🙂

10. Wink Invitation★★★★★

Contact: http://www.wink.com.ph

Our wedding invite design was drawn by my sister Pampy. But we had it printed through Wink Invites, who also did a perfect job for our invites 🙂 They made it look like an old paper too 🙂

Cindy of Wink Invites was a very helpful and efficient account manager 🙂

11. Wedding Rings: Marry Me bridal shop ★★★★★

Location: Market, Market Taguig

We found the perfect wedding ring in this shop. Although we had to travel to Taguig to fit and get the rings, it was all worth it for our two-toned and affordable wedding rings 🙂

12. DIY

Of course our wedding didn’t come without do-it-yourself stuff such as our place cards, goodie bags, table numbers, reception signages, banderitas, menu cards and thank you stickers 🙂

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My husband painstakingly cut those wood and painted them to turn them into table numbers.

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We packed the goodies, my friend Gelas did the place cards glued to the goodie bags.

ImageHubby also did these signages marked as Eder at Lia 🙂 

Aside from these suppliers, we also have our friends Janeca, Thea and Gelas to thank for all the pre-wedding assistance they willingly gave us 🙂 Thanks girls for helping us out plan the details.

Also, Tita Nenette for our beautiful and yummy Pandan flavored wedding cake! 🙂 Also, Franny for the yummy red velvet and chocolate cupcakes given to the guests. We also wanna thank John Consulta for our bridal car and driving for us to the hotel 🙂 Thank you, Mariz Umali and Raffy Tima for being our wedding reception hosts.

My sister Eila and Pampy for the help and the love- Eila for reading during the mass and Pampy for doing our invites and offering during the ceremony.

My friend Kara David and Janeca for serving as readers too, my friend Des for being our lector.

Thank you to our strict but very funny priest Fr. Cesar Marin, SJ 🙂 Also to our principal sponsors for all the help and the wonderful, wonderful presents! 🙂

Of course, special thanks to my college barkada, my best friend Anafe, high school buds Nice, Gelas, Almira and my family (mommy especially) and del Castillo family for being so supportive throughout the preparations 🙂

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Guests said, they loved our wedding for its simplicity and for being truly heartfelt. 🙂 We had the best time of our life because we got married- and you were all there to witness it.

Thank you so much,

Mrs. Lia del Castillo

The Diva is now Mrs. Del Castillo 🙂

Wala lang.

Dati, akala ko pag sinabi mong love- nagbabago, kumukupas, nawawala rin ‘yan. Isang bagay na tulad ng maraming bagay, nauuso at nalalaos din pag nagtagal.

Sa dinami-dami na rin kasi ng dinaanan ng puso kong ito- kumbaga sa boxing, naknock out na ko ng ilang beses.

Maraming beses ng nagpakatanga. Maraming beses ng naisahan. Mangilan-ngilan beses na rin na naiwan.

Bugbog-sarado na, pero tulad ng marami- bumabangon, nangangarap na isang araw, darating yung isang klase ng love na magbabago ng tingin ko sa mundo.

Tapos dumating ka. Hanep sa timing.

Pakipot pa sa una, paayaw-ayaw pa. Pero dahil sadyang tinamaan lang talaga ako, ayun nagpakahulog ako sayo. Ang di ko na natutong puso, na-inlove na naman at naniniwalang eto na ‘yun.

Hindi mo ako masisisi kung wala akong kapaguran. Tulad ng marami, madalas kahit yung simpleng idea lang na may nagmamahal at minamahal ka- daig na nun ang kahit ilang milyong jackpot sa Lotto. Minsan, para sa iba, kahit yun lang masayang-masaya na sila.

Isa ako sa mga taong tulad nila. Mababaw ang kasiyahan. Makita lang kita, marinig ko lang ang boses mo, high na high na ako.

Ang hindi ko lang maintindihan, ay kung paanong sa sungit at moody kong ito- natatagalan mo ako. Pag tinotopak, nakikipag-away na lang bigla. Sa sobrang takot mawala ka, halos mamatay sa kakaduda.

Hindi ko akalain, na sa kabila ng maraming kapalpakan ng ugali ko, sa daming beses na sablay ako sa ‘yo, nakukuha mo pang mahalin ako.

Pwede pala talaga ‘yun- na may isang taong nandyan lang umaraw man o umulan. Na kahit anong mangyari, di ka iiwan. Posible pala na habang tumatagal kayo magkasama- hindi nagbabago yung kilig, yung lambing sa araw-araw. Pwede naman pala makakita ng tao na kahit anong gawin mo- hindi magbabago ang pagtingin sayo. Yung tipong kahit napakataba mo na, tadtad ka na ng tigyawat sa mukha o jologs mo na manamit- hindi sya mahihiyang ipagsigawan sa mundo na ikaw lang, ikaw lang ang mahal nya.

Bulag na kung bulag. Pero sabi nga nila, love is blind naman. E ano ngayon kung corny, ano ngayon kung baduy- di naman yan love kung hindi alinman sa dalawang yan ang nararamdaman mo pag naiinlove ka, diba?

Dati, akala ko pag sinabi mong love- nagbabago, kumukupas, nawawala rin ‘yan. Isang bagay na tulad ng maraming bagay, nauuso at nalalaos din pag nagtagal.

Buti na lang dumating ka. Buti na lang nakilala kita. Kahit kunin na nila lahat ng kayamanan at wala ng matira para sa akin– basta sa akin ka lang habangbuhay, ako na ang magiging pinakamasaya sa mundo.

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Faith, Hope and Love

“Have faith little one
‘Til your hopes and your wishes come true
You must try to be brave little one
Someone’s waiting to love you”
-Excerpt from Someone’s Waiting For You

One day, I told myself, I wouldn’t have to cry when I hear my favorite song. One day, I wouldn’t have to just imagine that forever was possible, because I’d be one living proof.  One day, I told myself, I would speak of faith, hope and love- and know better.

A year ago I took my biggest leap of faith- with eyes shut, I took the plunge in one love. Without looking back, I jumped right in and left everything behind. Some people said I was crazy, that I was a fool. Others hated me for my guts, while others cursed me for the pain I have caused them.

While the rest of the world put their eyes on my every move, I literally turned my back against the world. Instead I took his hand and walked away.

IF you will call that risk my biggest mistake in life, I wouldn’t mind being wrong. I wouldn’t mind being wrong with him, because that biggest mistake was the best gift I have given myself.

I did not only free myself from the bonds of an ugly past, but I also opened my life to a whole lot of possibilities- including the fulfillment of a childhood dream to work as a Journalist.

After faith, we both hoped we could last and weather all the storms together- and with love, here we are a year later, still together and maybe, getting even stronger.

IT is not about one’s stature in life, or about one’s education – but about understanding, patience and love. Maybe too much love to keep it the way it has always been. Our only consolation from the momentary you-and-me-against-the-world phase we went through, was that through it all, not one of us wanted to give up. While things got rough, the more we held on and always, finding enough reason to make it work.

It certainly wasn’t the kind of love you dream about when you were younger, not any sort of a fairy tale — my knight in shining armor this time didn’t come in fancy clothes or expensive car. Instead I fell in love after 2 barbecue sticks and a long-stemmed rose wrapped in brown paper. It only took one lowly driver to make me say yes again in love, and actually believe that this time it will and can last forever.

One day, I told myself, I wouldn’t have to cry when I hear my favorite song. One day, I wouldn’t have to just imagine that forever was possible, because I’d be one living proof.  One day, I told myself, I would speak of faith, hope and love- and know better.

I am sure that day has come. And I will mark my words tonight believing that is true, that this is the one — with faith, hope and love.

 

***Happy anniversary, sweetheart. I will always have more than 1,031 reasons to smile. I love you.

 

Finding love again

When the world came crashing down on me, he held my hand. How can I not love this man?

He and I are opposites – he can ride ferriswheels and roller coaster rides laughing while I die inside of fear; he drives around and bikes and swims while I fold up at the thought of each of these. He likes Jackie Chan and I don’t get it. He is quiet and I am not. He couldn’t eat any meal without making his own sawsawan (sili with patis) while I don’t dip any dish in any sauce at all.

These may really be very trivial stuff but isn’t it that it’s the small things that make a lot of difference?

It’s in these small things that we measure patience, understanding, trust and love.

I went against my fear and rode the space shuttle ride in Enchanted Kingdom because he said he was just there beside me. And though I threw up afterwards, it was the happiest 30 seconds of fear in my life.

Just recently I granted his request to dip myself underwater for a few seconds to slowly conquer my hydrophobia, he held my hand through that ordeal.

I am blessed, as always to have found this kind of love. But I feel I am being blessed even more because it was he that was given to me.

My life could have been written differently by now, but thanks to fate, my love we found each other just in time. I couldn’t have forgiven myself if I made that mistake of choosing someone else.

Second Chances :)

I’m not a believer of second chances. Well, at least when it comes to love.

With what just happened to me recently career-wise, I am now a convert. Yes to second chances. Yes to taking risks. Yes to God’s wonderful plan for us, if we just let Him.
Yes, I am back, Kapuso.

Gosh, the last time I used this photo was March 2008 when I left GMA7. Now, I am re-posting the photo as a Kapuso balikbayan in 2010. Thank you, Lord. 🙂 Thank you!