Honeymooning: Palawan

June 24 – 28, 2014

Day 1

We took the late night RORO boat ( a cheaper alternative) out of Bacolod straight to Dumangas Port in Ilo-Ilo. It’s a good thing Montenegro lines have scheduled boats as early as 12 midnight and the best part is it only costs P128/ person (roughly $3/each). These boats may or may not have air-conditioning, I say ‘may or may not’ because they do have the AC system but most of the  time they’re broken and it takes a while for them to have it repaired. Montenegro lines will tell you that the trip will take 2 hours but our trip only took an hour and 45 minutes so by  1:45 am we were already at the Dumangas Port and we had to wait  10- 15 minutes for our van service to arrive since we asked him to be there at 2 am. If you’re taking the first few early morning trips, I suggest you arrange for someone to pick you up because it’s hard to commute or look for service at the port going to Ilo-Ilo City (or wherever it is you plan to go) at that particular time. We were able to get the van at P1,200 for 11 of us.

The road from Dumangas to Ilo-Ilo City proper was dark at 2 am, it took us  45 minutes up to an hour to reach the airport but the only problem was they wouldn’t allow us to enter the airport vicinity just yet. If I remember it correctly, we had to wait until 4:00 am (or maybe 4:30 am) before they let us in. The Ilo-Ilo International Airport was clean and quite impressive in terms of service there were some areas that had free Wi-Fi and the waiting lounge was cool and comfortable. We were way early for our 7:15 am Cebu Pacific flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Hello, Puerto Princesa!!!

The honeymooners made it safe to Puerto Princesa! 🙂

Ramas- Mendezona invades Palawan. Woohoo!

We stayed in a transient house that could accommodate all 11 of us. The owner who also is a doctor was referred by Ninang Ofel, my mom’s sister. Rooms were roughly P800-P1,000/ night, they vary depending on the room….not bad for a big family like mine.

The mall to be in Palawan….Robinsons.

Of course my siblings had to get their Potato Corner and Thirsty green mango shake fix.

He found a gigantic slipper and he just had to do this…IN PUBLIC!!!! Maaaaarrrrccccccoooooo. :O

We decided to relax the first day and just explore the city of Puerto Princesa which included buying groceries a.k.a chips and bottled water, going to the mall and eating in Max’s Fried Chicken. (haha, my parents were craving for Good O’l Max). We also had to get the permit for the Underground River tour we were planning for the next day, other people can have a travel agency process it for them but it’s cheaper to do it yourself.

Make sure to visit the PPUR office at the City Coliseum, their operating hours are as follows:

Monday to Friday: 8AM to 4PM – No lunch break.

Saturday & Sunday: 8AM to 12PM, 1PM to 5PM

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And here are the rates for the Cave Entrance:

Local

Adult (21-59 y.0)- P175.oo

Minor (13 – 20 y.o)- P100.00

3-12 y.o- P75.00

Foreign

Adult- P250.00

Minor- P150.00

During the night, we tried experiencing the Baragatan Festival of Palawan but there were too many people and we weren’t feeling festive enough to deal with the crowd so we just circled the place quickly and went home.

Day 2

We took a service van from Puerto Princesa to Barangay Sabang, an hour and a half more or less from Palawan’s city proper and had a quick stopover at Barangay Buenavista. They have a view deck overseeing the Karst Mountains and some rice paddies, it was indeed a breath of fresh air.

Our quick stop to the loo…the banyos were pretty o.k.

Shopping for souvenirs already, Pauline?

Trying the ‘selfie pod’ with the family

A photo with the husband

We made it to Sabang Port in one piece.

This is the part where you take a 10-15 minute boat ride to the Underground River, you won’t even notice the length of the ride because of the spectacular sites along the way.

Boat A (AnnMarie, Angelie, Me, Marc and Nicole)

…and Boat B. (Mom, Pop, Paulo, Pauline and John)

Ramas-Mendezonas made it to one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Eeeeeppp…excited for our turn!

Family photo outside the caves before heading to our bangka

Ramas-Mendezona bangka, all ready to go

Hello husband, SMILE!

Crossed paths with this other bangka inside the cave

My photos of some of the formations inside DO NOT give justice to the grandeur of the Underground Cave, sorry but my settings weren’t set accordingly and I wasn’t well equipped for the darkness. To those who want to capture this wonder of the world appropriately, I suggest you fix your settings in advance and bring the apt lenses needed.

End of the dark tunnel

Ann Marie and Pauline, clearly happy with the experience

And that ends the Underground Cave Tour

NOTE: Be careful of the monkeys, they like grabbing plastic bags or any tote that looks like its made of plastic. You might find them cute and they do like to approach people but I suggest to just keep your distance.

Ann Marie and her little friend

Here comes another one…..oh boy, this Komodo Dragon is a big one

The parentals and the boys making sure that we get a family souvenir

Crazy boys…Underground Cave conquered! John was too cool for a ‘thumbs up’

Last pic before heading back to the bangka

Lunch Buffet by the Sabang Port, pick one…there’s a bunch of local restaurants nearby

Spent some time at the beach, the kids had fun since it was low tide

Marco talking to the locals, asking them about the island tour scheduled for the next day

Used to play with these little crabs growing up

Stopped by a bunch of pasalubong centers on the way home to get souvenirs and our Palawan shirts

Day 3

And the adventure continues… Honda Bay Tour today!

Yep, we’re that kind of couple…we buy those “I <3…” shirts. Hehe

Our First Stop: Starfish Island

Sporting “the Vintage” in Palawan

Going crazy with the starfishes. 🙂

These folks look kinda hungry to me…haha

Woohoo! Lunch came with the Island Hopping Package. Delicious!

Goofing around with Marco after lunch.

Ummm…Marc, this doesn’t look right. Haha.

One of our stops: Isla Pandan

Had fun with the single and tandem kayaks for free, I guess it was still part of the tour. I’m not too sure about that but our tour guide said it was okay to use them, so we did.

Kissing with our snorkels on. Haha. How sweet.

Snorkeling with my sweetie, just love this guy!

More snorkeling in a diving site by Luli Island or maybe this was the island? Haha. The island got its name because it sinks during high tide and rises during low tide thus the Filipino term lulubog-lilitaw, Luli for short.

Supposedly our last stop: Cowrie Island, but everyone was kinda tired.

After the Honda Bay Tour, we went home and rested for a while. The entire family was scheduled to leave the next day, Marco and I extended one more day because we still wanted to go to El Nido, Palawan which was more or less 5 hours away, so we talked to our contact in Puerto Princesa and he scheduled for us to be picked up by a van leaving for El Nido that night. We were scheduled to be picked up at 7 pm but the van didn’t arrive till 7:30 pm because he had to pick up other passengers first. I’m not going to lie, the ride was a kinda bumpy but I still fell asleep anyway and I only woke up when we had a stopover at a carenderia for our late dinner. We didn’t get to El Nido until 12:45 am, from the drop off point we rode a tricycle to the transient house we were staying in.

Our home for the night, RicGem Place. I know, I know… the name doesn’t sound so promising but we were just staying a night and we only had to pay P1,200 for the both of us with breakfast, in all fairness to the place it was clean and decent; small but decent. By the time we settled in, I came to a conclusion that I was coming down with the flu I really felt feverish. NOT GOOD.

Day 4

I woke up with a fever but I forced myself to go, thinking that this might be a once in a lifetime thing, besides Im supposed to be honeymooning. Thank God for doctor-husbands, he gave me fever medicine and took care of me the entire time.

We were supposed to go with Tour C (they say that’s the best) but the weather that day didn’t permit it so we ended up with Tour A, they say that’s safer. We actually woke up to thunder and lightning, I didn’t think we could still push through with the island hopping at all.

Above are the current rates of the different tours in El Nido, Palawan.

Our Meet up place before departure, looks like a closed up restaurant. Well, it isn’t peak season after all.

Thank God the thunder and lightning stopped, still looks a bit foggy though but I’l go with fog any day.

Our first stop: 7 Commando

This usually is the last stop for Tour A but I guess our boatman decided otherwise, one thing I realized is they can play around with the itinerary and it can go in no specific order depending on the weather or boat traffic. Just make sure you get to go to all the beaches in that specific tour you picked, after all you did pay for it.

Go Pro—check!

Using Marco’s wedding gift. For our future adventures together, eh? Well, here we are sweetie.

Feeling cold and feverish, my crazy husband decided to draw a heart around me while I was sleeping

Marco’s…haha, he’s posessive too!

Next Stop: Big Lagoon

The manongs were preparing our lunch in the boat

Lunch at the Secret Lagoon

Underwater in Shimizu

Goggle marks—sign of too much snorkeling.

Little Miss Sick-Girl just chilling at our last spot, the Small Lagoon. I didn’t have an ounce of energy in my body to go swimming anymore.

This guy just loves goofing around, it’s a good thing you didn’t fall sweetie.

After the tour, we headed back to our place, packed our stuff and took a van back to Puerto Princesa and stayed one more night at  the transient house we stayed in the last time. We left for Manila the next day.

Whew…that was quite an adventure! Happy Honeymooning indeed!

~Rhea

Honeymooning: Boracay

June 18 – 20, 2014

Next on the list for the “mini-honeymoon” was Boracay and since my family is here on vacation from Houston our “mini-honeymoon” ended up more like a family vacation. We didn’t really mind, besides our hotel was in Station 1 and theirs was in Station 3—quite a distance in between.

We purchased our tickets months in advance during one of those Cebu Pacific promo sales and ended up flying to Boracay in 2 batches, the first batch consisted of me, Marco, Paulo, Pauline, Ann Marie and John while the second batch consisted of my parents and the two little girls Angelie and Nicole.

Day 1

Ramas siblings headed to Boracay, here we go! #itsmorefuninthephilippines

Tres Marias: Ann Marie, Rhea and Pauline at the luggage area. Notice how we’re all still the same height. haha.

Upon arrival, a shot of Boracay Airport from the outside

In the meantime this little boy is stuck with me.

Marco and I had a shuttle scheduled to pick us up as part of our honeymoon package but since my parents weren’t there yet, he took the liberty of going with my siblings to check them in, in Station 3 while I took John with me to Station 1.

It was John’s first time to ride a boat like this so he was extremely fascinated with the boat ride. He gladly took a single seat as soon as we entered the boat, I stayed behind him.

Fellow travelers getting off the boat

Look who’s pooped!

John took advantage of the spacious seat at the back of the shuttle, he took a power nap as we headed to the hotel.

Real Maris Resort and Hotel, Mr. and Mrs. Marco Mendezona’s little sanctuary for a few days.

After the rest checked in their rooms in Station 3, they picked us up from Real Maris and we picked a small burger place while we were exploring the area. We decided to have a quick lunch there.

The Ramas(es) in Station 3….just waiting for Mom, Pop and the rest of the girls.

 

Who gets random cramps at the beach? I DO. <sigh>

 Swimming was a perfect way to wait productively.

We love basking in the sun, I don’t think grandmy (+) is going to be too happy with this photo.

I got a good dose of the beach

The rest of them finally arrived, as soon as they settled in we went looking for a place to eat.

We ended up in, where else… Mang Inasal. hahaha.

After super late lunch (more like merienda), we went to one of the mini convenient stores and bought groceries, just the usual bottled water and toiletries. Parted ways so we could get some rest, been up since early this morning. Marco and I headed back to Real Maris to take a power nap while the kids swam the entire afternoon in Station 3.

The family met up again for dinner. Randomly picked a rice topping place in Station 2 borderline Station 1, there prices were really dirt cheap considering that the meal portions were decent. They ranged from P55-P85/ meal, I just wish I could remember the name of the food place. Their green mango shakes were also very impressive…not bad at all.

Grabbed a bunch of drinks with these two guys before ending the night. The three of us go way back—–an 18 hour land trip from Houston, Texas to Port St. Lucie, Florida, yep, just the three of us.

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Day 2

Marco and I already had breakfast at the hotel since it was part of our Groupon Package, after eating we went straight to Station 3 to meet up with the rest of the family, we’re scheduled to go boating today.

And there they were…having breakfast right in front of the beach.

The boatmen had to take us to the other side of the island, something to do with the current being too strong in the other side during this time of the year.

We rented a boat for P3,500 for 3-4 hours inclusive of fins and snorkel gear, I’d like to think that’s not bad for 11 people. If we booked this with the hotels, I’m pretty sure it would come out more expensive.

The Coconut Express—-that’s what I’m talking about.

Mom, enjoying her butong (fresh coconut), can’t find these things in Houston.

So I have two sisters who are insanely scared of fishes and they agreed to go boating, why? hahaha.

Nicole: “Oh my god, Oh my god…are those fishes?!?”

Ummmm…yeah babe. we’re in the middle of the ocean. Duh. Hahaha.

Here’s the other scaredy cat who stayed inside the boat the entire time. Dry and taking vintage swimsuit selfies…that’s Pauline.

Here are some underwater shots that we took using my Olympus underwater camera. I’ve been hearing a lot of bad reviews about the specific Olympus model that I have, but I can’t complain, I’ve had this for 2 years or so and I really got it for cheap; up to now it is serving me well.

After the tour, the boatmen take you to an island for lunch and try to give you the “island life experience”….sinugba seafood, wooden chairs and tables under a nipa hut but the prices were way jacked up. Foreigners usually go for it because of the ambiance but if they only knew how much these things cost in the local market (very cheap), they probably wouldn’t.

I convinced my parents to wait until we get to the mainland for lunch.

The parentals finishing up their buko.

My husband and I came up with the cutest idea of getting the girls matching technicolored “Boracay Island” tops, something we found in the local market the night before. I think each shirt more or less just cost $1.50.

My siblings are pretty much new to the idea of riding tricycles as means of public transportation, and their tricycles are completely different from what we have in Cebu. You should’ve seen the expression on their faces—priceless! I’m glad my dad caught it all on cam.

Honeymooners—-indeed we are playing that role.

This is where we ended up having lunch—Boracay Ocean Club Resort.

The place looks a bit intimidating but you should seriously check out their lunch specials.

Chilling by the beach with my mister  before heading back to Real Maris to get ready for our complimentary “romantic dinner by the beach”.

Candlelit dinner by the beach, it was romantic while it lasted. As soon as we finished eating our dessert, a sand storm hit the shore and it started raining cats and dogs. Hahaha. I’m just glad we had dinner when we did, at least the romantic dinner didn’t go to waste. We enjoyed our wine inside the hotel and stayed in for the rest of the night.

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Day 3

Woke up early and took a boat out of the island, we needed to make that Cebu Pacific Caticlan Ilo-Ilo flight. We’re flying to Palawan from Ilo-Ilo.

~Rhea

Honeymooning: Cebu

June 15- 17, 2014

Reservations for the day after the wedding were already made in Shangri-La Mactan. We didn’t waste any time and decided to start working on our “mini-honeymoon”. Since we made a decision to stay in the Philippines until early next year so I could finish my thesis in UP, we decided to hold off on the real honeymoon that we’ve been planning and just explore the Philippines little by little. When you live out of the country you grew up in for a few years, that’s when you realize the beauty of it and appreciate what it has to offer, so right now the best thing to do is take advantage of our situation and just see where the wind takes us.

You’ll probably be seeing a lot of “honeymooning” posts after this, they call the 1st year of marriage the “honeymoon stage” right? Well then, honeymoon it is!

How cute is this World Cup inspired flower centerpiece.

We’re gonna get to use them already…woohoo. Thanks so much Tita Teresing for the 2-night stay in Shang. 🙂

Gigantic bed just for the two of us.

We also had to bring the gifts with us since we didn’t get to open them yet.

Dinner buffet with the new family. Thanks mom and pop for the treat!

World cup time in Shang, so they had a bunch of these guys lurking around.

Our cutie pie Diego and his Ninong Marco

What a great day to be on a honeymoon, I would love to wake up to this everyday. Met up with mom and pop for breakfast before they checked out.

Good Morning Husband! Watching NBA on our 2nd day as a married couple.

Happy to be hitched.

Hit the beach for an early morning swim my mister.

For lunch, Marco and I decided to try a local restaurant nearby so we went out of Shangrila and took a jeep.

And this is where we ended up eating… MANNA STK FOOD HOUSE. 🙂

It was pretty empty when we got there, only 2 other tables were filled probably because it was a Monday and a little past the usual lunch time . If I’m not mistaken, one of the tables were a group of Malays doing a documentary/ film about Filipino food and I overheard the owner/ manager explaining to them what SUTUKIL was.

To those who have not been to Cebu, and to those who don’t know what Sutukil is, it pretty much stands for…

SUSugba (Grill)

TUTuwa (Soup)

KIL Kilaw (Raw)

It seriously is a must-try!

What we ordered for the both of us, what else…SUTUKIL baby!

And while we were enjoying our food, a man came in and played classic songs on something that looked like a portable harp.

Marco and Rhea with happy tummies, I’m glad we came here.

Since it was just outside the “Sutukil Area”, we took a 3-minute walk and visited the Lapu-Lapu Shrine.

Philippine History 101: Lapu-Lapu was one of our first national heroes, he was the head of the native Filipinos when they defeated the Spaniards in a historical battle called the Battle of Mactan.

I think this plaque reiterates everything that I just said, haha.

Trying to pose like Lapu-Lapu

The marina just outside the Lapu-Lapu Shrine

After walking around the vicinity, we decided to head back to Shangri-la for another swim, this time we plan to check out the poolside first.

Trying to soak up what’s left of the sun, then we headed back to the beach until the remainder of the afternoon

The obligatory photo op by the shore, you could tell Marco wasn’t so happy about it. Haha.

Since it was just the two of us, Marco and I had to look for a sturdy rock to put our phone on so at least we could take a decent picture with the both of us in it #honeymoonhits

We stayed by the beach until dusk, the atmosphere was simply beautiful

Shangri-la Mactan at night

Next stop..Boracay.

~Rhea

Mendezona-Ramas Nuptials: The Reception

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I got to take out a big “bulk” off my wedding dress. hahaha.

Yes, the humongous lace/ organza skirt was a detachable….Tito Bong, your design is ingenious.

“….This will be an everlasting love.

-Natalie Cole

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You asked me if I loved how the place looked that night tita and the answer is a big I DO!!! Thank you so much Tita Teresin Mendezona for making both the Cathedral and Casino marvelously stunning. The decorations and the flowers from Pink Flora were wonderfully exquisite.

Our hosts for tonight’s wedding reception: Jeminah Ferrer Birkner and Javi Mendezona.

You guys did a superb job just like professionals. We truly were impressed! Thank you so much. 🙂

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Calling out the parents of the groom and the bride.

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Your cakes are always a lovely work of art. Thank you Tita Marissa Unchuan for the beautiful Lace Inspired cake!

Traditional cake cutting.

Cheers to us, my love. 🙂

And since we didn’t get a chance to say our personal vows at the Cathedral, here goes…

….It feels so surreal that after 11 years, this day has finally come. I am marrying my soulmate. You have loved me since Day 1, you have loved me at my worst, accepted my many imperfections that even I can’t accept. You are my constant inspiration, my best friend and partner in crime. You give me a reason to strive for excellence in this short life of ours.

-Marco

…I’m not going to lie Marc, the 7 year long distance deal was really tough and I’ve asked God so many times what I did to deserve this. I couldn’t understand why he would allow two people who love each other so much, be apart for so long.  Up to this day I can’t say I completely understand why he did what he did but with this happening today I can only say that God is indeed the best author of our love story. I truly believe that he custom made you for me.

-Rhea

Sealed the deal with a kiss.

Shout out to Tito Jojo for taking awesome pictures!

Thanks Annina for leading us in prayer.

Our little darlings already enjoying the dance floor while the grown ups head to the buffet table.

And the little boys enjoying too much of the floor, literally.

Oh well, boys will be boys.

John, my baby brother and the best ring bearer ever.

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Outside the Grand ballroom of Casino Espanol.

#MARCOANDRHEA

I’m glad we went with Banana Booth’s Pocket Prints, hashtag your instagram photo with #marcoandrhea and it gets printed out. How awesome is that? Our ‘younger’ guests (haha) really enjoyed their services.

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Tita Teresing made sure our buffet tables were in another room as not to cause traffic and as not to disturb other guests who were already eating. She also opted for the buffet to be divided into stations so people wouldn’t have to wait very long in line, they could just hop to other stations while waiting. If I’m not mistaken they had the pasta station, carving station, salad bar and a dessert section. Now this I’d have to say is “organized chaos”.

Maricel and the quartet provided wonderful musical atmosphere while the guests were eating.

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Table Hopping: While everyone was eating, we did our rounds and took the opportunity to take pictures with each table.

L is for the way you look at me

O is for the only one I see

V is very very..extraordinary

E is even more than anyone that you’d adore

Eeeepppp… my sisters sang one of my Nat King Cole favorites!!!!

I didn’t expect any number from my sisters anymore because I knew for a fact that before they left Houston they were busy packing, they only arrived a few days before the wedding and we spent those remaining days running wedding errands. There really was no time for them to practice. But they went ahead and sang for us anyway, I love you my palanggas!

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So I thought, Sandro (Marco’s cousin, the guy in the 1st frame) was going to render us a beautiful song and I expected it more or less because I knew he could sing well. The quartet started playing the familiar introduction of Aladdin’s A Whole New World and I was beyond ecstatic because this song is ultimately one of my Disney favorites. The next thought that crossed my mind was “Wait, so who’s singing Jasmine’s part?”. And then Nacho, Pauline and Mateo came into the picture…and then Javi..they kept passing the mic until everyone, and I mean EVERYONE sang a line from the song, even those who didn’t sing!!!! I was in utter disbelief and Marco just couldn’t stop tearing up.

This sweet gesture made me feel like I was welcomed into the family, like I could be my “Broadway Musical Loving” self and they wouldn’t find it weird, like I could sing at the top of my lungs in the shower and I wouldn’t get judged.

I did not want extracurricular games for our wedding, nothing against weddings with games but I’ve been to some where the games weren’t executed well and people just didn’t want to participate, they start leaving the room or they start talking….I don’t know I just think those can either make it or break it. It’s risky business.

Now, a number of performances to entertain the guests…that’s a totally different story, I am all out for that!

Besides I wanted to go for classic and traditional but I admit, sometimes traditional can be boring so with the help of Snoogie we revamped the usual “Boquet and Garter Toss” . ( I guess you can still call those “games”, haha)

The idea was to toss a number of long stemmed roses and whoever doesn’t get one is the not-so-lucky girl who gets to wear the garter later on.

…and so all the single ladies scurried for one. Haha.

Look who picked up leftover flowers after the toss. Haha, Baby David.

Instead of the “garter-toss”, we had pass-the-garter and mind you this garter was HUGE!

Snoogie provided us with this large garter, and the object of the “game” was for the boys to put the garter over their body and pass it on, whoever has the garter when the music stops is pretty much “It”.

Yep, its the infamous “traveling blue garter”..haha. I think in my barkada, I was the 3rd one who got to use it….now to pass it on to Karina a.k.a “Dadz”.

Our very innocent spectators, I think these kids were wondering what “game” the grownups were playing.


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Surprise song number from my grandfather. You should hear him sing, he’s seriously a PRO.

 

(Pauline) Maid of Honor’s Speech

(Ate Jemma) Matron of Honor’s Speech

Father of the Groom’s Speech

Father of the Bride’s Speech

(Nacho) Best Man’s Speech

I can’t even begin to describe each and every single speech that was given out that night. Let’s just say that night was full of life and of love. How blessed are we to be surrounded by the people who love and care for us…Thank you Lord for the gift of family and friends.

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It was a roller coaster of emotions, not just for me and Marco, but our guests as well.

Dancing to Steven Curtis Chapman’s I’ll Take Care of You for our Father-Daughter dance.

My dad, Mr. Ramas handing me over to my husband, Mr. Mendezona so we could have our first dance as a married couple.

Trivia: Marco and I were classmates in Social Dance during our college days in UP, tell me why this guy got a better grade than me when he missed class half the time and I ended up teaching him the steps. Ma’am Aguilar ha? hahaha.

Marco and I danced Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight just because that song has a special place in my heart and how can you possibly go wrong? It’s a classic. I know it’s a bit overplayed during weddings but we made sure we made that dance ours. For 2 weeks or less,in between meeting suppliers and what not, Marco and I worked on that piece and yes we choreographed our own dance— a contemporary version of Foxtrot. I completely forgot the last few steps of the dance because we only rehearsed the full version twice, but my husband took the lead and he made sure to finish the dance with a dip. Haha.

And the Grand Finale…a dance number from the brothers.

And the entire time, I thought the ” A Whole New World” Number was the surprise already. For the past few weddings in Marco’s side of the family, he would choreograph a dance number, and it usually is a song from his favorite boy band in the world—-the Backstreet Boys. I honestly didn’t think there was going to be one since the choreographer is the one getting married in this wedding.

Boy, was I wrong…. PARTY ROCK IS IN THE HOUSE TONIGHT!

OF COURSE IT WAS A BIG HIT!!!!

Thanks for keeping your promise and flying in from New York dai. Love you Patricia!

UP CTA ’03 represent

Much love from these two…always and always. Love you dada and mita. Thanks for EVERYTHING!

I’m glad you enjoyed the wedding festivities, Tito Mel. We appreciate you flying all the way from DC. Thanks for the crystal set, the 2 cases of exquisite wine, the Plantation Bay GC, the pearls and the classy cuff links, the perfume and thank you for being there. How spoiled are we?

We ended the night with a LOT of dancing. Thanks Jom for setting the mood. 🙂

I know Marco and I didn’t really go into detail during the reception in terms of thanking everyone who helped us make our BIG day possible, we were overwhelmed and at the same time scared we might miss out on some people.

BIG THANKS to…

Our Parents, for your unconditional love and complete support . Thanks for making this dream wedding of ours happen. We’re really glad that both families were complete for this long awaited event. Thank you for setting a good example to me and Marco, we’ve said it once and we’re going to say it again…this relationship wouldn’t have lasted (especially during those LDR years) if it weren’t for your much needed advice. Marco and I can only hope to have a relationship as wonderful as both of yours.

Our Siblings, for just being your awesome selves and for making this wedding extra special by performing and giving out tear-jerking speeches. Your kuya Marco and I being the eldest in both families, we’ve probably bossed you around a couple of times and have teased you endlessly but do know that we love each and every single one of you and we will ALWAYS and always try our best to be a good example to all of you because we want you to be the BEST you can be.

Btw, thanks Ann Marie for lending ate your white dress for the wedding dance during the reception. Love you!

Our Grandparents, for just bearing with us during the last month prior to the wedding.Thank you so much for helping us with our wedding errands and for helping us deal with our stress. We know you’ve had to adjust your schedule to accommodate our mga lakaw. Thank you Thank you Thank you! We should’ve taken your advice, Abu Mario, we should’ve just eloped. Hahaha… just kidding. We will surely miss your words of wisdom, your stories and tales of the good ‘ol days.

Tito Berns and Mama Joy, for also driving us around..the municipal hall, barangay hall and for helping us fix our papers.

Kuya Jv and Jezza, for taking us out to drink when we needed a break from wedding planning and for being my personal akyat-bahay gang. Haha.

My Cebu Family—the Odilaos, the Tabaqueros, the Climaco, the Senorons, the Lunas, the Calderons and the Ouanos for your support and for the good company.

Our Godparents, for saying YES to us and saying YES to being part of our lives from this day forward. Thank you for being our “second parents” and for the emotional, spiritual and financial support and advice.

Our Bridal Entourage, for helping us survive the BIG day. Ate Jemma Leus, my matron of honor and Carlos for flying in from Australia even if they’re expecting. Big shout out to my girls Jeminah Ferrer Birkner, Angela Encanto, Andrea Portugal and Karina Cosep San Juan for keeping my sanity, talk about intense emotional support.

Pauline Cuenca Mendezona, for helping us deal with the RSVPs and confirmations, for helping us organize our guest list, guest accommodations and for being Marco’s favorite go-to-person. We truly appreciate what you’ve done for us.

Msgr. Joe Tajanlangit, growing up with you as our parish priest in Talisay, you’ve always given us things to ponder on in terms of our spiritual life and our relationship with the Lord. Having you as our wedding celebrant is indeed an honor.

All our wedding suppliers…

Snoogie Mata and team, our wedding coordinator, for making sure everything was in the right place at the right time, for dealing with my Wedding Day stresses and for the smooth flow of the program. Tita Teresin was right in referring you to us, you really are a joy to work with. Thank you also for referring us to the people who provided us with the coasters and the lights crew for beautiful lighting during the reception, please send our thanks.

Ramil Solis and team, for making me and my entourage look fab on this big day. Mami Ramil, I’ve known you for more than a decade now and you’ve never failed to bring out the best of my features. You always know how to make me beautiful, thank you so much.

Mark Cantalejo and team, I don’t think I can stress enough how much we appreciate the wonderful photos you took of our wedding day (and also the engagement photos). It takes a real artist to capture true emotions on film (or should I say digital film, haha). Thank you for being one of the easiest people to work with, kung sa bisaya pa “way libog” ba. We really had fun working with you and we hope to avail of your services in the future.

Allan Alejandrino and Carla Gutierrez of MVP Digital Video, our videographer, it really was a blessing that Jem referred you to us. It’s amazing how both of you were just there standing quietly behind the scenes, taking videos and not necessarily saying a word. You never demanded for us to do anything unnatural and yet you were able to portray the real Rhea and Marco on the SDE. Thank you!

Tito Alexis “Bong” Monsanto, for my dream wedding dress. Your work has surpassed everyone’s expectations and most importantly you made a piece that reflected my character and personality. Thank you for bringing out the “Rhea” in the dress, I felt like a princess in my Alexis Monsanto.

Tita Teresin Mendezona, for the beautiful atmosphere during the ceremony and the reception. Thank you so much for working closely with us and not just being in charge of decor and styling but also for coming up with the Best Personalized Menu ever. Your taste is truly exquisite. Btw, we really enjoyed the Shangrila Mactan GC,  we had our mini honeymoon in Cebu already. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Pink Flora, for working hand in hand with Tita Teresin and providing us beautiful flowers on our wedding day.

Jihannee Tan of Twenty O Four, for our wedding invitations and giveaway labels. Thanks mach for just working with our demands and dealing with us constantly changing our minds. You have a knack of just knowing what we want for our invitations and carrying it out. All I can say is we LOVE letterpress. haha.

Thirty, my friends since forever, I know due to our circumstances I’ve been missing out a lot, but its good to know I still have you girls to come home to. Its an honor to wear this blue garter and pass it on.

Casino Espanol de Cebu,  for nothing less than excellent service, you never fail to impress. Thanks to all the waitpersons for spoiling me, Marco and our family, salamat kaayo sa inyong tabang.

Tita Marissa Unchuan, for accommodating us and for being so easy to talk to. Thanks for pretty much just working with my “cake peg” and bringing it to life.

Maricel Cortez Capon and the quartet, for playing wonderful music and for giving in to our request to play Yiruma for the bridal march.

Jom Gonzales, our DJ, although we never met officially thank you for the awesome mix you did there during the after party. You played your heart and soul there and people were just dancing like crazy. You literally were the life of the after-party.

Banana Booth’s Pocket Prints, for the unique concept of printing out instagram photos for our guests to keep as souvenirs. They sure had fun! Thanks James Go and Rose Cunanan.

Reggie Ocampo, for providing us that beautiful 1948 Cadillac as our bridal car. Can  I just say that we loved the little UP sticker detail at the back of the car? #iskolarngbayan

Bibendum Wines, we got our guests drunk, need I say more?

All of our guests who made it on our wedding day, all those who flew in from out of town and out of the country just to be with us…all the way from the USA (Houston, Washington DC, New York), Australia, Japan, Chile and Korea, you know who you are. Thanks for being part of this special day. To those who couldn’t make it, I know you were celebrating with us in spirit. Thank you for your well wishes and your prayers.

Thanks to everyone for their gifts, I’m so sorry I know we’re supposed to be sending individual “Thank you cards” and just to let you know we’re still working on it. We just got a bit overwhelmed with presents from USA, Cebu, Dipolog, Bacolod and Manila, job hunting for Marco and thesis for me (yep, I’m back in UP to FINALLY finish my course.) From the bottom of our hearts, Marco and I would like to thank you for your generosity, it’s more than enough to help us start our lives together.

Most importantly, we would like to thank our God Almighty, for making all these possible. Thank you Lord, for never failing to provide for us. Thank you for a wonderful bright sunshiny day, for all the family and friends that have gathered to celebrate this important occasion, for keeping everyone of our guests safe, for the multitude of blessing that you continue to shower upon us. Thank you for the wonderful gift of life and love and thank you for helping me find the right person to share the rest of my life with. Marco and I love you so much and we will try our best to live our lives for your greater glory.

~Rhea

Mendezona-Ramas Nuptials: The Ceremony

On my way to the church, I was a nervous wreck. I wasn’t going hysterical or anything but my heart was pounding like crazy, like it was ready to jump out of my chest. In my entire life, I can safely say that I’ve been in front of people on stage a hundred or more so times but I don’t recall ever feeling this uneasy. It took a good 2 years to prepare this wedding…countless phone calls, countless Viber calls, Skype dates and FaceTime, hundreds of emails and inquiries all the way from Houston, a whole month’s visit to the Philippines just to check on suppliers and another whole month prior to the wedding of running last minute errands, decision making and finalizations yet when I woke up on my wedding day, I knew there were things that still needed to be addressed. I couldn’t tell myself that everything was the way I wanted them to be but as my morning progressed I made a decision to Let go and Let God.

Preparing for a wedding is indeed like preparing for a theatrical production, you have to go into details: the look, the theme, the venue, the lights, the sounds, the outfits, the cast or in this case the entourage—just the whole lot. If I looked at it as if it were a show, I think I would’t have been as nervous, but I didn’t…It wasn’t just a show and I wasn’t just a performer, it was my wedding day. This was the day that God promised me and Marco, a long time ago, the special day he told us to wait for. And here it was, the day that will mark the end of our 7-year long distance relationship. #nomoreLDR

I sat quietly inside the vintage car Marco and I picked for our wedding day,  my dad had to sit in front because my dress was humongous and with that, the three of us couldn’t fit in the back of the car. My mom squeezed my hand gently and asked me if I was okay, I nodded but I told her I had a hard time breathing. She told me everything was going to be alright, she reminded me that every time I worried things usually turn out better than expected, it’s always been like that ever since I was small (not that I’m any bigger now).

To get married at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral was a dream come true for me, it is one of the most sought out churches in Cebu , I’m guessing because of it’s look and ambiance. Like everyone else, I too fell in love with this cathedral instantaneously but not just with the way it looked, I appreciated it’s architectural structure and the history behind it. It’s really overwhelming, who would’ve thought that after spending my entire college life in Manila and migrating to Houston that I would get married in the city that I grew up in, Thank you to Marco and his family for allowing this wedding to take place in Cebu.

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Marco’s best men: his cousin Snap and his brother Nacho

My Handsome Groom and his parents

Godparents: Dada Benj and Mita Bo

Godparents: Ninong Jun and Ninang Ofel

Godparents: Tito Mikel and Tita Ito

Godparents: Tito Joey and Tita Leni

Godparents: Ninong Hey and Manang Aio

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Secondary Sponsors: L: Kuya Jv and Anna; R: Hans and Mariana

Missing Andoni and Patricia

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Bearers and Flower Girls

My Brother John in the picture.

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My Little Ladies-in- Waiting: Angelie, Nicole, Anya and Brianna

When Marco and I started our relationship, these girls were just babies…now they’re beautiful young ladies.

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Groomsmen and Bridesmaids

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My maid of honor, Pauline and my matron of honor, Ate Jemma.

The parents of the bride—-my parents.

Our Little Diego did it!!!

Thanks so much for the awesome signage, Snap. 🙂

They told me I was going to walk down the aisle in a few minutes…I took a deep breath and prayed to God I wouldn’t trip. I think that is every bride’s worst nightmare. Don’t you think?

My make up artist, Mami Ramil, told me not to cry because he wouldn’t be at the altar to retouch my makeup. Haha.

The sight of Marco crying was a total shock for me. In our entire 10 1/2 years together, I’ve only seen him cry once and that was when we almost put an end to our relationship. Believe me, at this point, I was on the verge of tears…I just wanted to hug him tight.

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Of course when Marco cried, the women started crying…

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That moment…when the doors slowly open and everyone’s anticipating the bride’s entrance.

For my bridal march, I wanted the quartet to play a medley of Yiruma‘s River Flows in You and Kiss the Rain but they could only do the first one, so we settled for that. I have Matt from the St. Angela Merici choir to thank for introducing me to that beautiful piece and of course my younger sisters for overplaying this song on the piano. It was perfect!

(If you want to listen to it, click “PLAY” on the youtube video at the bottom of this post)

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Ever-reliable Snoogie, my wedding coordinator, telling us what to do and where to go.

The cathedral looked so ethereal, thank you Tita Teresin Mendezona and Pinky Flora for setting the mood.

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Thankful that our commentator (Pauline) and all of our readers (JM, Mita Wee and Andy) were very clear and articulate.

Marco and I were supposed to read our own vows, it’s a good thing we ran out of time, I would’ve been an emotional wreck after that. Haha. Not good for the post-nup photos.

Offerors: Kuya Andrew and Tita Gands

Offerors: Daddy Pakong and Mommy Babe

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Kuya Jv and Anna lighting the candles—-symbolizes the presence of God in this union.

Jiro and Pilica putting on the veil—a symbolism for being one.

Thanks lic for being Patricia’s proxy.

Andoni and Mariana putting on the cord—-to signify everlasting fidelity.

The Lord’s Prayer

Thanks to my inaanaks, Godric and Derron for being my coin and bible bearer.

To my little brother John, thank you so much for still walking down that aisle earlier even without that suit. It just goes to show what you’d do for me and kuya Marco even if you felt embarrassed by it. We love you so much and you truly are the best ring bearer in the entire universe. Thanks for being such a sport, langga!

(Just to let you know, Ivan Belocura, what you did was foul…just remember what goes around comes around)

Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time as a married couple is such a beautiful experience

Gladly signing our lives away to each other.

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The long awaited kiss…our first kiss as Mr. and Mrs. Marco Mendezona.

Thank you so much Msgr. Tajanlangit for being our celebrant.

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Our last shot before leaving for Casino Espanol….

(Notice the UP sticker on the car. )

~Rhea