Feb 23, 2017

Our Pre-cana Sessions at St. James the Great

Pre-Cana, a term which came from one of the famous Bible stories, “The Wedding at Cana,” is a required seminar for couples planning to get married in the Catholic Church. 

With other churches, a Pre-Cana seminar is usually a one-time deal lasting half a day. St James the Great, the church where we got married, requires couples to attend two sessions of their Pre-cana seminar, with a month in between. I guess this is for you to be able to think hard if marriage is really for you.

Photo by Kath / CC
When I learned about this, I thought to myself that it was such a hassle, as I reside overseas and this meant additional expense since I will need to fly home twice for the seminar. It didn’t help that our contact within St James the Great was confusing with regard to the schedules and availability. So I booked two separate flights home on October 15, 2016 and October 22, 2016 to attend the Pre-Cana seminar.

Little did we know that the seminar was an eye-opening, very enriching experience for us. Over the two sessions, led by married couple Jocel and Beth Novenario, we learned a lot about each other and were able to talk about things that we did not normally talk about before. As a young couple, it is very helpful to hear real-life stories from couples on how they managed to surpass problems in their relationship. It also helped that Jocel spoke well and kept things relaxed, yet introduced enough activities to keep attendees’ interest.

Here are some of the things that we learned during our two-day Pre-Cana Seminar:


Women are guilty of making their partners play the guessing game if they want to say something. I, myself, do this often. I want JM to guess what I want or what I am feeling. 

If you want something, just tell them.

Effective communication does not only involve words, it must be accompanied by actions.

Communicating with our partners does not merely mean speaking, most of the time it is more on listening to them with all our hearts.

Talk about your vision and dreams for your family. 

Talk about finances. It is important to talk to your partners on your setup after getting married, especially financials. What will be your setup? Will it be joint account or separate? Who will pay the bills? 

Talk about anything and everything. 

I was surprised that even after being together for eight years, there are still things that JM and I don’t normally talk about. The seminar became a way for us to learn new things about our partners.


According to a book published by Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five “Languages of Love” which are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch.

It is an advantage to know which Love Language you and your partner use. This way you will have an idea on how your wife/husband feels loved the most.

We took a quick test to know which group we belonged, you may take the test here -> The Five Love Languages


During the seminar, there was an explanation of the objects/symbols used in the wedding ceremony and what they mean.

White Wedding Dress symbolizes the purity of the bride upon marriage.

Bride and her parents walking towards the Groom at the altar symbolizes that the parents are handing over their daughter to the groom. The groom will now take on the responsibility of caring for the bride as her parents have cared for her since the day she was born.

Holding Hands symbolizes that the couple are giving themselves to each other.

Wedding Rings symbolizes the couple's unending love for each other.

Arrhae. During the wedding ceremony, the groom will present to his wife the arrhae which symbolizes that he will be the provider of the family. The bride is to answer that she accepts the arrhae.

Veil. The secondary veil is placed on the groom’s shoulder and bride’s head. This symbolizes that the husband will become the head of the family and his wife is to surrender to him.

Cord binds the groom and bride to symbolize lifetime of unity.

Candle symbolizes light in darkness.

After the Pre-Cana seminar, we felt that we are more ready to face our new life together as husband and wife.

Feb 18, 2017

Our Wedding Preparations

I have been on blog hiatus recently as I was busy with work and wedding preparations. 

I am happy to report that JM and I have graduated from wedding planning last February 4 with flying colors.

We got engaged on August 2015 which gave us at least a year and half to plan for our wedding, 

Even before we started our wedding planning, JM and I knew that we wanted a small wedding, with just our families and our very close friends. 

We settled on a maximum of 150 guests. This may not be small for some but for us, this was just right. 

Here are some tips for my readers who are planning to get married soon:


Weddings are not cheap. They will either eat up a chunk of your hard-earned savings, or require taking out a loan to finance (and yes this is an actual thing nowadays)

Couples should honestly talk and decide how much they are willing to spend for their dream wedding. It may be a one-day event, but the memory will last you forever. It does not need to be extravagant, but it does not mean that you have to scrimp on everything and regret it afterwards, either.

Before booking suppliers, I laid out a spreadsheet on how much we were willing to spend for each supplier. This way, we can narrow down the research on which suppliers we can afford.

I will not tell you how much exactly we spent, but I can assure you that we were very happy with the outcome. It was just the right amount of money that we were willing to spend and it was one of the best decisions that we have made as a couple.


We were not very particular in picking our wedding date but we wanted it to fall on the first quarter of the year and we wanted to stay away from the rainy months. 

We initially planned to get married on January 28 since it falls on Chinese New Year which happened to be a long weekend holiday in Singapore. However, since our chosen venue is already booked on that day we decided to moved it to the next weekend which was February 4.

Note that if you are inviting guests from overseas, they will probably ask you not to have your wedding during the Christmas holiday season. Everybody and their dog is in the airport on a flight to somewhere, as the holidays are a peak travel season and can become very stressful. If you plan on having overseas guests, be considerate toward them. The struggle of air travel during the holidays is very real.


I was already doing research on suppliers even before we got engaged which is why I already have a shortlist of those who I liked (which I presented to my then-fiance).

I have been a long time member of the GirlTalk Female Network and WAW (Weddings At Work) communities which helped me a lot while I was doing my wedding research. I have gained a few friends over there who I constantly ask for reviews and suggestions about a particular supplier. It really helps to do your research early on as it will give you a peace of mind on the supplier that you booked.

During our wedding preparations, I was not able to attend a single Bridal Fair as I reside overseas. I delegated this to JM. Before he went, I made sure to check on the list of exhibitors and do research on them. We booked a few of our suppliers during the bridal fair who gave us additional discounts.


We have only three pairs of ninongs and ninangs, whose marriages we really look up to. We picked those whom we know can guide us during the ups and downs of our married life.

Since we wanted to cut on some expenses, we decided to drop the bridesmaids and groomsmen from our entourage and stick to the roles which are needed during the ceremony. We only have a best man, maid of honor, secondary sponsors, two flower girls, and two bearers. But since we still wanted our friends to be a part of our wedding, we gave them different roles during the ceremony. Some were assigned for the readings and others during the offertory.


It was not an easy ride during the wedding planning for JM and I, we have had disagreements and petty fights over some details. It also felt that most of our time was focused on the wedding planning and we are forgetting to spend quality time with each other. 

Since we started our wedding preparations a year in advance and most of our suppliers are already booked, we decided to take a break from wedding planning and to just enjoy our engagement period. Once we got back on the wedding planning, it was a more enjoyable experience for us. 

I have also grown closer to my friends who are getting married as well. We enjoyed researching and sharing stories during the wedding preparations.

JM and I want to give back to the communities and friends who have helped us planned our dream wedding, stay tuned for our detailed supplier’s review.

Dec 4, 2016

Weekends in Manila are Always the Best

I spent last weekend in Manila since we needed to apply for our Marriage License, and it requires the personal appearance of the contracting parties. Good for me, since I will take any reason to hop on a plane and fly home any given day (this applies to promo rates lang ha, hehe).

Aside from the heavy traffic getting from Point A to Point B, which is making Manila infamous nowadays, I did spend some time catching up with friends. 

I met with some of my college friends last Friday and since most of them work around the Bonifacio Global City area, I picked Elias for our dinner get-together.

If you recall in one of Jose Rizal’s famous novels, Noli Me Tangere, Elias is a prominent character. As the restaurant’s name implies, they serve Filipino food -- and me being me, I will never get tired of eating Filipino food.

The restaurant is so pretty!
I later found out that Elias is part of Chef Florabel’s chain of restaurants. One of them is Crisostomo, which I tried years back when it started operation in Resorts World Manila. I remember I liked their food and they hadthese witty menu names.

We reached the restaurant around 5pm, and since it was too early for dinner, we were the first customers. I did liked the ambience of the place. It felt like being transported to one of Manila’s old houses.
Don Rafael
(Classic Crispy Pata – Deep-Fried Pork Leg with Garlic Sauce, Atchara & Soy Vinegar) Php 695

Sinigang Gomez (Sinigang ng Baboy sa Sampalok) Php 395

Tinapa Salted Egg Rice
Php 265

Adobo Rice
Php 265
and Pacita
(Inihaw na Tilapia stuffed with Onions, Tomatoes, Green Peppers & Pandan) Php 375

The food tasted familiar but in a good way; it was like eating at your lola’s house.

The takaw gang!
The next day, I met up with, Ate Crese, one of my high school friends who also became my roommate in Singapore. We decided to meet in Uptown Mall BGC and have lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, one of Bistro Group’s restaurants.

Chipotle BBQ Seasoned Burger, Tortilla Chips, Pepper Jack Cheese And Southwestern Ranch Dressing. Jalapenos And Pico De Gallo Replace The Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, And Pickle On This Burger.

A Large Flour Tortilla Loaded With Crispy Chicken Buffalo Tenders™ Topped With Our Signature Medium Sauce And Ranch Dressing, Rolled With A Blend Of Cheeses, Lettuce And Tomatoes.

Asian Zing and Sweet BBQ sauces
Takaw gang part 2!
The wraps are pretty good and serving size is quite big. I suggest ordering more buffalo wings and just sharing a wrap with a friend.

I notice that the restaurant choices in Manila are now beginning to get more variety. 

Does it mean Pinoys are becoming more adventurous when it comes to food?

Bonifacio High Street Central, 
7th avenue corner 30th street, 
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Buffalo Wild Wings
Uptown Place Mall, 
36th Street Corner 9th Avenue, 
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
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