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Unmindful of the pandemic: Frontliner couple exchanges ‘I dos’

By: Raul Constantine L. Tabanao June 24,2020 - 09:30 AM

Photo courtesy of Harvin Kyle Photography

MOALBOAL, Cebu — Love indeed conquers all.

And these frontliners proved that even the coronavirus pandemic will not get in the way of their wedding plans.

Corporal Michelle Mamacos of the 53rd Engineer Brigade of the Philippine Army and Jail Officer 1 Semei Rangga of the Medellin District Jail tied the knot on June 18 in a civil wedding administered by Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr.

A photo of the couple was posted on Medellin town’s official Facebook page.

Michelle, 28, is from Santo Tomas Davao del Norte but is now assigned at the PA headquarters in Medellin town in northern Cebu.

The 27-year-old Semei, on the other hand, is from San Francisco in Southern Leyte.

Michelle said that she and Semei had already planned to get married before the pandemic hit Cebu province.

“Supposed to be June 20, 3 p.m. kasal namin sa church military wedding at Santo Niño parish church in Medellin,” she said.

(We were supposed to get married at 3 p.m. on June 20 in a church military wedding at the Santo Niño parish church in Medellin town.)

But travel restrictions prevented members of their respective families to come to Cebu, the reason why they opted to forgo their church wedding plans for now.

“Kaso lang di man maka dating mga pamilya namin from Leyte and  Davao naka decide kami na mag civil lang muna at e sakto namin sa monthsary namin June 18,” she added.

(Since both our families could not travel [to Cebu] from Leyte and Davao, we decided to go for a civil wedding for now and time it with our monthsary on June 18.)

How they met

The couple crossed paths in March 2019 when Michelle visited the municipal district jail where Semei works.

“Inutusan ako ng CMO Officer ko magpunta sa jail kasama ang senior ko para mag coordinate regarding sa token kasi may incoming bisita kami sa kampo,” Michelle said.

(I was tasked by my Civil-Military Operations (CMO) officer to go to the district jail with my other senior officers to coordinate the token that we were preparing for visitors at our camp that time.)

Michelle added that Semei was assigned to guard the gate of the jail facility then.

A month later, they met again and this time during a torch parade that was organized by the municipality of Medellin.

During their second meeting, Semei asked if he could have his photo taken with her. Michelle recalled that she was hesitant to give in to Semei’s request then because she was still in a relationship with another man from Palawan.

“Dahil sa may long distance boyfriend pa ako nung time na isang sundalo din, pumayag ako pero may kasama na babae mga senior n’ya.

(Because I had long-distance boyfriend then who is also a soldier, I agreed to have our photo taken but in the presence of other women who were also senior officials.)

A few weeks later Semei told Michelle how he felt for her, but she rejected him.

“Nagtapat siya sakin na gusto nya ako pero naghinge ako sa kanya ng sorry dahil nga may boyfriend ako ng time na yun pero malabo na,” she said.

(He admitted to how he felt for me but I had to apologize to him because I was still in a relationship that time although I and my boyfriend were already having problems then.)

Michelle said that her family also wanted her to marry the guy from Palawan.

But she eventually decided to break up with him and start another chapter of her life with Semei, whose offer of love she accepted in May 2019.

On December 22, 2019, Semei proposed to Michelle and she accepted.

Dream come true

But they again had to face another hurdle when the coronavirus disease hit Cebu City and Cebu province.

With the travel restrictions and the prohibition against gatherings, they decided to postpone their church wedding and instead opt for a civil wedding to legalize their union.

The date was set on June 18, just in time for the celebration of their 13th month anniversary.

On their wedding day, both arrived in complete uniform at the mayor’s office at the Medellin municipal hall.

Eight other individuals were also allowed inside the mayor’s office to witness their exchange of vows in compliance with health protocols implemented while Cebu province remains under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Michelle said she was both sad and happy on her wedding day.  Sad because members of her family were not around and happy because she was finally marrying the man of her dreams.

“Masaya kasi natuloy talaga yung kasal namin sa petsa na gusto namin kasi sa araw ng kasal namin ika 1yr & 1month namin na magkarelasyon.”

(I was happy because our wedding was held on the date of our choice which is also the celebration of our one year and one month anniversary.)

However, there was also that part of her that was longing to see her family members share the memorable day with her.

“Malungkot kasi maski isa sa pamilya namin wala talaga Naka dalo kasi sa pandemya.”

(I was also sad because not one member of my family made it to my wedding because of the pandemic.)

First baby

Still, Michelle, who is now three months pregnant, expressed confidence that her family will get to join her on her church wedding and when she gives birth to her firstborn with Semei in November.

“Pati both family namin excited,” she added.

(Both our families are already excited [to see the baby].) / dcb

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