CEBU CITY, Philippines — It all started with a tweet and a mutual belief on a presidential candidate.
Like many couples in the 21st century, Jefferson Cruz, a 38-year-old college professor, and Paulina Gabizan, a 31-year-old self-employed registered nurse, met online.
However, they did not meet on a dating app. Instead, they met on Twitter under a unique circumstance.
Jeff was looking to volunteer himself to the Presidential campaign of Vice President Leni Robredo by buying face masks and Pau just had what he needed and more.
“I want to wear it while washing dishes. Sayang ang foot traffic. Let this be one of my contributions to the campaign,” said Jeff in a tweet on November 13, 2021.
Shortly after, Pau replied with photos of campaign pins saying, “Hi. I don’t have face masks but I can give you pins.”
Jeff and Pau are giddy remembering their first meeting in an interview with CDN Digital three months later. Jeff said that when they started talking online, they found a connection beyond politics.
“There was no talks about how can we meet. It was all about how we can support the campaign until such time nga gisend niya ang pins that same day…Kasi she’s from a different group of campaigners, I dragged her to join a caravan. I joke na kasi you’re kaladkarin eh,” said Jeff.
“Ako naman yes sure. See you later? Then after, lagi kaming magkaviber” said Pau.
Pau said that she went where Jeff would take her as they were committed to the political movement they joined.
She noticed how Jeff was dedicated to the work and admired this characteristic. Jeff also noticed how organized Pau is drawing him to build more connections with her.
During the onslaught Typhoon Odette, Pau was in Manila and could not contact Jeff. She began to worry about her and sent him multiple messages for three days.
“I was in Manila pero yung utak ko nasa Cebu. Diba next day wala talaga. I was saying ‘Jefferson, ano na na? Jefferson galawin mo yung baso.’ For three days, talagang hinahanap ko siya,” she said.
When Jeff finally saw the messages after finding cellular reception, he was surprised and touched that someone would care so much for his welfare.
Pau and Jeff did not take long to acknowledge their feelings for each other. They said that at their age, they no longer wanted to play the dating game and wanted to be straightforward in their plans to spend their lives together.
“I was the one who asked, ‘Pau, where are we heading to?’ The reason why I asked that question was that we were getting sweeter. We decided that we will get to know each other,” said Jeff.
Pau said that the approval of her mother was one of the factors her love grew for Jeff. She noticed that her mother had taken a liking for Jeff and both have formed an easy relationship, something she did not see in her past relationships.
In fact, the first time Jeff met Pau’s mother, he immediately called her, “Ma.” For Pau, it was a sign that Jeff could easily become a part of her life, a man who would respect and love her mother just as she does.
“Actually, yung Mom ko kasi strict. Nakuha nya kasi yung luob ni Mommy, I don’t know why. Pag nag-uusap sila, OP (out of place) ako. She likes him,” said Pau.
Pau and Jeff said their mutual ideals are a strong foundation of their relationship, but they were the ones who built their relationship, not their supported candidate.
So, they also believe that should their candidate fall short on her promises, they will criticize her together.
Jeff and Pau said they were not waiting for love nor were they expecting love to come along when it did.
They were only focused on their love for the country through participating in what they believed is best for it, so for them to find each other is a miracle and answered prayer.
Although they will be celebrating Valentine’s Day doing more campaigns for their chosen candidate instead of going on a date, for them this is their biggest gesture of love for their country and for each other.