11th year’s a charm

We were celebrating 11 years together (12 if you include our first year high school totoy love affair). Anton and I were stressed that week. It was the second week of December 2019, which meant for me that there was much to be rushed before the company-wide holiday shutdown, and for Anton, a string of construction problems he had to deal with, which was normal in his line of work.

Like many years before, an anniversary to me was always an opportunity to pop the question. Who wouldn’t have that in mind, when you’ve been together for several years? The 2019 anniversary was no different. But just like the previous years, there were also no signs of it possibly happening.

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A few days before December 12, Anton asked me where I wanted to eat. We both agreed that we didn’t want to go anywhere north since December traffic is crazy. We decided to head south, and I chose Highlands Steakhouse because I wanted to go somewhere quiet and cool. He had that in mind, too.

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He said he made a reservation and chose to stay in the balcony since it was nice and cool outside. It was what I had hoped, because I really liked that spot. Our last meal in that exact same spot was with his mom and dad years back, after a full day of Anton playing golf with his dad.

Anton loves taking photos as much as I do (okay, maybe I do more). But when there are celebrations or when we’re out of town, more often than not, he always initiates for us to take a photo. We were both enjoying the view of tree silhouettes against the backlit fog, so we were on our phones taking photos of every angle possible. After dinner, when he initiated a timered couple photo, of course I indulged. And that was the moment! Unintentionally, Real Thing by Bobby Caldwell was playing in the background as he said his short but ultimately sweet, two-sentence speech, and surprise photo and video covering guests included two of our close friends (and cousin), Alec and Sechu, and my sister Chesca.

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Anton and I had planned drinks in Balay Dako after our dinner. With the proposal happening and a surprise appearance of close friends and my sister, the more we had reason to celebrate! We went to Balay Dako and were welcomed with tons of hugs, congratulations and tears. Surrounded by the people we love the most, we both couldn’t help but cry. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

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I told Anton one time, during marriage talk pre-engagement, that maybe we didn’t need the whole proposal thing, and we could just decide together to get married. No ring, no fancy setup, just a conscious life decision to commit ourselves to each other, because to me, being his choice for a life partner was all I wanted. Anton nodded his head. Fast forward to this night–I realized that it was a selfish thought, because I didn’t consider that Anton would want to plan something and make it special. I also realized post proposal that, man, being proposed to is one of the greatest feelings of all time, and I’m glad Anton didn’t listen to me.

The feeling was unlike any other thing I’ve gotten excited over in my whole life. Receiving the ring was a proud moment for me. When you’ve been with someone for so long and have known him from the time he was a little tots, sometimes it’s hard to imagine that same young boy proposing. And when it happens, you can’t help but be so proud of the man he’s become.

He even got it in the gold band I wanted.

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We’re planning to get married this year–in less than 5 months, to be exact. Circumstances show that this might not be possible, but we haven’t decided on what to do yet. With a lot of uncertainty and the #newnormal upon us, all we want is to be able to get married and celebrate with the closest of the close. We pray that in the next few months, we’ll be able to do so, even if it means simplifying our dream even more.

Thank you to Alec, Sechu, Chesca and Bettina for capturing everything.

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