Moved out and renovated a house in Cavite. Brought family to Cebu. Kawasan Falls. Vacationed in Davao for the first time. Got engaged.
Second up: Davao, and getting engaged.
Wolen had to go back to his OJT at Orchard, Ces needed to train with the ICTSI National Team, and Ace had school. As my siblings left Cebu, I could finally give all my attention to one person. Jovi was a phenomenal host. I always tell him “thank you for everything” but no words could repay him. I figured I would just be a nice girlfriend and cook him a three-course dinner. So one night, I made him fillet muniere, roasted corn, apple salad with yogurt vinaigrette, and molten lava cake. He said, “Pwede ka na maging asawa.”
In my mind, I thought: “You bet. Pag asawa mo ko sobrang sarap ng pagkain natin, derived pa from Paleo.” Hahaha
Within a few days, Jovi and I packed for a wedding in Davao. The groom, Keenan Ugarte, was one of Jovi’s golf friends. We knew that this might be one of the biggest weddings we will ever attend. The bride, Monica Floirendo and family, own the world-class Pearl Farm Resort. Do you know the feeling that something good is going to happen even before it does?
|Buffet breakfast with my perennial date.
|Gotta love Davao, a progressive city. No smoking policy, metered taxi cabs, and wide, clean roads.
|One morning, I snuck out to try the pool and jacuzzi.
|A villa in an exclusive island is only around $300/night. Say what, Vegas?
I enjoyed staying at Waterfront because of the decor and this view. The floors were made of wood. I don’t why, but everything just smelled so fresh. And the food — our first lunch was at Vikings, at eat-all-you-can splendor only found in the Philippines. At night, we took a boat to Pearl Farm to attend the wedding’s welcome dinner. I gouged on cassava, seaweed salad, and softest, freshest, tastiest humba (pork belly) of my life. Thank you to Keenan and Monica for being foodies. Your guests were spoiled!
Rough weather but overall, the wedding was luxe, the speeches were fun and food was crazy good. Congratulations again, Keenan and Monica. This is the wedding’s official video:
Davao is Jovi’s favorite place because that’s where he learned he passed the Bar exam, played his lowest round in PAL there, and won it with the team last year. On our last day in Davao, Jovi hired a taxi cab to drive us to the Philippine Eagle Center. In a small rain shed filled with mosquitos and mud, he kneeled down and asked:
“Tal, will you marry me?”
I was more stunned about the ring that I didn’t answer for a few seconds. I even thought the whole thing was a joke. But there he was, Jovi, scared and sweaty that I might say no. How could I? God had given me the perfect man to be my partner for life.
|Jovi and I shortly after the proposal. Beneath the Malagos Farm’s, “Lover’s sculpture.”
Truth to be told, I would marry Jovi without an engagement ring. He often jokes about doing a civil wedding in the Liloan City Hall. Or a quick and cheap ceremony in Las Vegas. I actually wouldn’t mind that. He didn’t even need to propose, because my answer would be always be a yes.
In Jovi, I found a generous, self-less person who is phenomenal in taking care of me. Love, in all sense of the word — being a good influence, accepting my tragedies and quirks, to keeping my feet on the ground wherever I was in the world. And also because he promised me a lifetime supply of puto bumbong. Hahaha
The next few days were a blur of friends barraging us about the proposal story, the giant ring, and wedding plans. My last day in Cebu was spent with his close friends in the Buyong beach house, sipping wine with kids playing on the side, and warning me: “You better be used to this.” I’m marrying not only Jovi, but the context of his life. When I move to Cebu later in the year, I still wouldn’t understand Bisaya perfectly. Nor am I assured that I’d adapt so easily.
Some of my friends are still in school, many still swimming in the dating scene. Am I too young? I still have personal matters to tend to in San Diego. Nevertheless, I said yes. It would have been had Jovi asked me earlier or even if this happened years in the future. It was inevitable, this is the man I’d marry anyway. And anywhere.
Cheers, Jovi Neri!