96 couples say ‘I do’ in Fort San Pedro on PAG-IBIG day
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Glowing brides line up along the aisle as one by one they walk up to their smiling grooms surrounded by the antique ambiance of the Fort San Pedro.
The Fort may be a symbol of historical wars, but on Friday, February 14, 2020, it became a symbol of love for 96 couples who availed the free wedding for PAG-IBIG Fund members.
The couples exchanged vows then cut cakes and drank wine for the first time as a married couple.
Most of the couples have been together for years and already have kids, but have also remained unmarried for a long time due to financial reasons.
Rio Teves, PAG-IBIG Vice President for Visayas and Mindanao, said the activity aimed to provide a chance for couples, who could not afford a wedding to finally tie the knot and be joined together legally.
The activity cost PAG-IBIG at least P350,000, and was hosted in Cebu City with Mayor Edgardo Labella as the solemnizing officer.
Teves said the mass wedding did not almost push through because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19), but they put up precautionary measures such as thermal scan and background interview for all participants and guests before getting into the venue.
“We consulted the LGU (local government unit) if we can push through with the mass wedding, and they said we should. So here we are,” said Teves.
Couple Fernando Daquioag, 54, and his bride, Nolyn, 50, is the oldest couple and the couple who lived together the longest time.
Manuel and Nolyn met in Manila and settled in Negros Oriental where they had five children.
As partners for 28 years, the couple did not marry because of their financial problems. With this, they are thankful to PAG-IBIG for a chance to have themselves married for free.
“Para ni sa among mga anak aron malegitimize na sila. (This is for my children so they will be legitimized),” said Nolyn.
Age does not matter for Manuel Layos, 41, and his wife Marjorie, 27, as falling in love comes to two people who are “destined” to be together.
They have been workmates who found love in each other’s arms. Five years later, they finally tied the knot.
“Wala mi kafeel anang age gap. Sa love gani, age does not matter. (We do not feel what they call the age gap. When it comes to love, age does not matter),” said Manuel.
For young couple Kevin Quijano, 25, and his bride, Charish Mae, 21, have many hopes and dreams as they enter matrimony.
Kevin will soon take the board exams for Physical Therapy while Charish is reviewing to get a teacher’s license.
They dream to give a good life to their 6-month-old baby. They said that even in their youth they are determined to make their love last a lifetime.
“Lisod man gyod ang relationship pero if love ninyo ang usa’t usa makaya tanan (Relationships are difficult, but if you love each other, you can go through anything),” said Kevin.
PAG-IBIG holds a mass wedding every Valentine’s Day, February 14 for couples. To join a mass wedding, one of the mass wedding must be a member of PAG-IBIG Fund. /dbs
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