Of love, friendship, and paper lanterns


on-making-your-engagement-photo-shoot-great-with-studio-namu-4I woke up a little disoriented. I checked my watch and realize that its 6:30pm. I must have slept by more than an hour. In front of me, Suzette soundly sleeps. Oh I missed this lady, and the rest of the gang.

I stood up and checked myself in the mirror. My hair is a mess. I remember how my boyfriend Ray told me that we have to help in the preparations for this evening because tonight we’re having a bonfire. Wee! We’re composed of 4 vans, and almost 50 people, all from the process engineering department. They’re technically my second family, as my first 5 years as a professional really evolved with these people. In spite of my resignation a couple of months ago, these people remain close to my heart.  There have been a lot of new engineers, but what’s really cool is how a lot of engineers brought their families and special someone’s to this outing. It’s not every day that you can organize a whole department trip to Potipot, Zambales anyway! Hat’s off to Sir Francis for that! It’s our best summer outing to date!

I looked for Ray but he was nowhere to be found. I tried to get back in and look for him in the kitchen, in the other rooms, and in the other areas of the resort but I couldn’t find him. And I started to notice how the rest of the group wasn’t in the resort either.

Soon, Ate Hya and Kuya Francis arrived. “San kayo galing” I asked. “Naghanap ng kahoy sa bonfire”, they answered.

I didn’t stop looking for Ray. I kept asking people around where he was and I was slowly getting agitated. Then I finally saw him and I was like “Kanina pa kita hinahanap san ka galing?”, and Ray just answered “Ah naghanap lang kami ng kahoy sa bonfire”.

So lahat ng tao naghahanap ng kahoy sa bonfire ganon???

And so we had a sumptuous dinner courtesy of kuya Philbert and his wife, and the much awaited bonfire began.  We huddled around the fire, with Zane, Sham, and Reinald doing the singing, and me the ‘saling ketket’. Zane and Sham are two of my dearest friends and I’ve always loved our jam sessions. Zane has the most beautiful voice I’ve ever known and Sham’s musicality is both energetic and fun. Reinald is a pretty new engineer who sings and plays the guitar really well. ;) Together, they would sing the soundtrack to the most unforgettable night of my life. :)

A couple of minutes after, a series of slides were displayed on our improvised projector-by-the-beach. They showed pictures of us in our outing last year, at Muntingbuhangin Batangas. They were fun memories that everyone laughed along with. Then I saw a photo of me, sound asleep, mouth-wide open, leaning on papa ray’s shoulder. EMBARASSMENT haha!

Then the succeeding slides started to show my pictures with Ray. It had our pictures in batangas, pictures in tagaytay, pictures in random dates. I was getting embarassed again I mean what the hell are these things doing here? But then I saw the caption “I just want to make you happy”. Oh man. Ray is up to something.

Zane and the gang sings Bruno Mars’s “Just the way you are”. I try to join in by making use of the shaker. But I find it hard to keep in tune because I see some of our officemates fussing about something, with Ray seemingly tense. Why?

Then one by one, dear friends of mine approach me, holding pictures on wooden paperclips. These are me and Ray’s photos starting from the day we’ve met, our favorite dates, random night-outs, and out of towns. I struggle to read them all but the pictures just keep coming and coming! Ray loves to relive memories and experiences that we’ve shared, I’m torn between smiling and staring at Ray in bewilderment. It was like taking a trip down memory lane.

The last one I would not forget, Ate Hya Insisted that I read this first. It was a photo taken in Majayjay 2 years ago, where he knelt down in front of me as if asking for my hand, under a man-made waterfall.

While all this is happening, I notice the seaside light up in different colors. I was dumbfounded when I realized that I was actually seeing PAPER LANTERNS!! WAAAH ohmyfreakinggoodness!! Ever since I and Ray watched Disney’s Tangled, it has been a dream of mine to see paper lanterns up close but they were already banned in Manila, and OMAYGAD IT’S RIGHT THEEERE!! OMAYGAAAD!!  They made it happen!!!


And just then, the cutest of people, Kuya Phil, Kuya Francis, Brian, and Ray were standing in front of me… holding paper plates with the question spelled out :)

And so in a faraway beach of Zambales, in front of a bonfire, surrounded by the very people who have witnessed our love blossom, and with paper lanterns beautifully flying in the background, the love of my life approaches and takes my hand.


And Zane sings:

“I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

All I knew was that I can never imagine myself living a life without him ever again.

We are a duo. We do everything together. We plan together, we work together. We have learned the dynamics of how we deal with our relationship, and with ‘projects’ that we have worked together. We differ greatly in personality but we share the same core values. We bicker. We fight each other and we drive each other NUTS. But we love each other MORE.

He isn’t always good with surprises, but this night he proved that he could still send me flying to cloud 9 and back. He managed to pull off a beautiful night in spite of 2 weeks of barely enough sleep, busiest hours in the office, and a considerable lack of resources. Up to now I am still bewildered by how he managed to put all of this together. He managed to make me feel so loved, not just by him, but by a whole wonderful family who I grew up with and will always occupy a cherished place in my heart. This was not just his doing. It was the combined efforts of everyone that made this really really special.

Kaya pala ako pinatulog! Kaya pala nawala ang mga tao!! Kaya pala ang daming gamit!!

He is my inspiration, my super hero, my anchor. He is the perfect piece of my jigsaw puzzle. And I will do everything in my power to love and protect him in the best way I can.

It all felt surreal. Him kneeling down the way they do in you tube and in the movies. And when he popped the question and took out the ring… I could only yell out SYEMPRE!!!!!

We hugged each other tight, and as if the surprises weren’t enough, fireworks lit the sky to everyone’s applause. And we were handed our own paper lantern to fly in the night. J Yehey! I got to try it! J

I’m sending this one as a celebration not only of our engagement but also as a THANK YOU to everyone who made this possible. And I mean very single one pati yung mga wala sa pictures! I’m still overwhelmed at the amazing efforts of everyone in planning and executing everything!

Words will never be enough, but THANK YOU and we LOVE YOU to bits! Kitakits sa wedding!! J J J

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