So, it has been a while since I added to this series, sorry for the delay!
When I left off last time, Feyma and I had attended the City Health Seminar and the Church Seminar, both of which were required for us to be married. Today, we will look at the wedding and our time after the wedding.
We were married on August 9, 1990. We were wed at St. Peter and Paul’s Parish, a Catholic Church in Barangay Lagao, General Santos City, Philippines.
On the night before the wedding, Feyma and I spent most of the afternoon and evening apart. I stayed at my hotel, the Tierra Verde Hotel, on the National Highway in General Santos. Feyma was busy with her family, making preparations for the wedding the next morning. There was food to start preparing for the reception, decor to prepare, wedding clothes to wash and iron and such, lots of things to keep Feyma and her family very busy.
On the morning of our wedding, I still stayed at the hotel, and a make-up artist went to Feyma’s home to prepare her for the biggest event of her life to date, her wedding. She had a lovely wedding gown, which she purchased at Datu Complex in General Santos City. I am not even sure if Datu Complex is still in existence, but it used to be located just behind the Palengke (wet market) near Lion’s Beach in GenSan. If it is still there, it is certainly a low-end hole-in-the-wall place now, there are so many big malls and such in GenSan now. Nothing like that back in the day.
A car picked up Feyma at her house to take her and her family to the Church for the wedding. The house was very close to the Church, probably less than a half-mile, maybe even a quarter-mile.
For me, Feyma’s cousin was to stand in as my father for the ceremony. My parents were not able to take the trip to the Philippines, but that was OK. Anyway, cousin Ling Ling (my Dad for the day) showed up at my hotel at about 7:30 AM or so, as I recall. I was not nervous or anything, just ready to get married. As I recall, our wedding was scheduled for 9 AM. Papa Ling Ling and I left the hotel about 7:45 or so, and we were at the Church by 8 AM. Well, we were not really at the Church, we went to a little store (they call it a Sari-Sari store here) across from the Church, got some drinks, Coke, or something, and waited until it was getting close to the proper time. Of course, things were running on Filipino time, which means things were running behind schedule.
By about 9 AM, we went over to the Church and waited for the ceremony to start. I believe it started about 9:30 or so, which is on time, by Philippine standards.
Feyma had told me that for our wedding I should buy and wear a Barong Tagalog. A Barong Tagalog is a traditional shirt for males. It is considered the very most formal thing that a man can wear. It would be like wearing a Tuxedo in the US. I declined, I said that in my culture I should wear a suit for the wedding, so I wore a dark blue suit, a light grey shirt and I believe a blue tie. About 10 minutes into the ceremony, I realized that I should have listened to Feyma. That is a recurring theme over the past 27 years, somehow I can never remember that I should always listen to Feyma, even though she reminds me of that often! 🙂 Anyway, about 10 minutes into the ceremony I was dripping in sweat! A Barong Tagalog is designed to breathe, it is very lightweight and cool. By the end of our ceremony, my suit looked like it just came out of the washing machine, and never saw a dryer!
During the wedding ceremony, I noticed that the customs for the ceremony are very different here from anything I had ever seen. They have different parts where certain gifts are exchanged. Coins. A veil is pinned to the back of the bride and the groom that kind of “hooks you together”. There is a chain that goes around the couple, that kind of thing. Very unique, but I went with the flow.
We had a large crowd at our wedding service.
For most weddings, they have the reception at a restaurant, a resort or some kind of big hall. The food is catered and such. We decided to have our reception at Feyma’s family home instead. Papa was sickly, he had cancer, and it was just too much for him to be going out for a big event like that. I am a simple person anyway, and I felt that doing it at the house was much preferable compared to some big shindig. A lot of extended family members prepared the food, and there was a LOT of food for the ceremony. Much of the food was new to me, I had no idea what it was, but I tried most everything, and some of it I did not care for, but it was mostly good, quite good in fact. As I recall, they killed 6 large pigs for our food, and I believe 4 of the pigs were roasted whole, they call that Lecon Baboy here. I can assure you that it is very delicious.
A couple of days after the wedding, Feyma and I traveled back to Cebu, the place where we first met, for our honeymoon. We stayed at the beautiful Montebello Villa Hotel. At that time the Montebello Villa was way out in the countryside. These days, it is practically downtown! The city has grown so much.
We had a nice week or so together before it was time for me to return to the USA. Feyma would go back to school, she was in College and had only a couple of months left before her graduation.
My next article will be about the day that I left the Philippines, and Feyma and I said goodbye. Thankfully it was only a temporary goodbye, though.