Cebu marathoner Tabal on cloud nine after getting engaged to Navy boyfriend
TALISAY CITY, Cebu — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into the New Year, Cebu Marathon Olympian Mary Joy Tabal still has something to be thankful for as she received one of the best and priceless gifts in life.
Her boyfriend of close to three years, Lieutenant Junior Grade Hector Dan Jimenez of the Philippine Navy, sprung a surprise marriage proposal on her with the help of her family on Thursday afternoon.
“Makalipay sya. Dili ma explain fully in words pero in cloud nine na pamati. Mura sya ug personal completion lang kung gugma man jud bah, mauban nako in life na matawag nako ug teammate and partner,” said Tabal who was crying tears of joy while saying yes to Jimenez’s marriage proposal.
(It made me happy, I cannot explain it fully in words but the feeling is like I am on cloud nine. It is like a personal completion like an affirmation that it is really love, having someone to go through life with, someone I can call my teammate and my partner.)
Being in a long distance relationship, it has been close to a year that they have not seen each other. Although they did see each other in September but only briefly, Joy and Dan were inseparable when the latter was given a longer vacation from his duties this month.
So, the surprise proposal was really that, a surprise. Although Tabal has been expecting Jimenez to propose, as he has been saying that he would be asking her family for her hand in marriage, she wasn’t expecting it to finally happen on Thursday.
Jimenez had also told her that when he proposes, it will be in Cebu because it is her hometown.
They had come from attending the church wedding ceremony of another couple and were on their way to the reception when Jimenez asked that they stopped first at Tabal’s home which happened to be along the way as he needed to use the restroom.
At the guard house, Jimenez disembarked ahead saying that he really needed to use the restroom already, leaving Tabal to walk on her own to her house. On the way, she was met by Totai, her Shih Tzu Poodle mix breed dog.
When she got to their house, she was surprised to see her relatives who immediately launched into a dance performance after handing her a bouquet of flowers.
After they blindfolded her, they then led her inside the house where Jimenez, garbed in his Philippine Navy uniform, was standing before a wall that was decorated with the letters forming the words “Will you marry me.”
To tie the knot next year
Tabal said that they’re planning to tie the knot hopefully next year but before that she hopes to be able to travel and train in Japan in preparation for the Tokyo Marathon in October and the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in December.
“Uo padayun me sa amu plans sa amu career ra pud. Mao man amu prio pud especially pud sa iyaha kay less than a year mahuman na pud sya sa barko. Lahi na pud na line or path sa iya career. And ako pud til kaya pa nako mg compete, will still compete and if pwede na maka travel this year, mag training ko again sa Japan in prep for Tokyo Marathon sa October going to SEAGAMES,” Tabal said.
(Yes, we will still push through with our plans for our respective careers. It is our priority since in less than a year, he will be done with his naval ship duties and pursue another path in his career. Me, on the other hand, as long as I can still compete will continue to do so, and if I can travel this year, I’d like to train in Japan again in preparation for the Tokyo Marathon in October and the SEA Games.)
She also plans to continue with the pastry baking business—Queen Mary’s Kitchen, that she has started during the pandemic.
She fervently hopes for the pandemic to end already to be able to do all these plans.
Tabal has thanked Jimenez for giving her one of the best gifts in life which is priceless.
“To Dan, yes, we’ve known each other for three years now and you have seen me fail and succeed, you’ve been there for me. As we step up to the next level of our relationship, may we continue to choose love and faith, may we continue to support and understand each other thru ups and downs,” she said.
“Let’s be with each other as we grow old and achieve our dreams as a team and partners. Thank you for being with me and my Fam esp during this trying times, you have given me so much strength. Let’s take our challenges together and make it an opportunities for us to grow and let’s keep praying!” Tabal added./dbs
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