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The 13-Year Wedding March

Yes, it took Martin Rosario and Camille Ongpauco that long to take the plunge 

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  • FINALLY Reynaldo and Cecilia Ongpauco with bride Camille Ongpauco and groom Martin Rosario.
  • The ringbear, Camille’s 13-year-old cocker spaniel, Al Ongpauco
  • The newlyweds
  • All smiles: the Rosario clan with the couple
  • Aivee and Z Teo
  • Happy Ongpauco-Tiu
  • Manu Sandejas and Dominic Ochoa
  • Gino Ongpauco and Michelle Villanueva
  • Michelle Ongpauco
  • Tomm Tan and Kim Abelar
  • Francis Reyes and Erica Concepcion-Reyes
  • Miguel and Chicho Rodriguez
  • Ram and Emi Jorge with Trisha Calma
  • Ren and Iye Sy
  • Mark Bumgarner and Earl Semitara
  • Kat Cruz-Villanueva
  • Gary Valenciano
  • Five-layer floral wedding cake by Bizu
  • The grand and elegant reception set-up by Teddy Manuel
  • Nico and Zyrene Valencia

Images by Noel B. Pabalate

Theirs was a wedding 13 years in the making.

That’s no joke or an exaggeration or a manner of speaking—it took Martin Rosario and Camille Ongpauco 13 years to finally decide to take the plunge, although for 13 years, since they met on a beach in 2003, they have been swimming in the deep waters of togetherness, replete with all the tension, friction, and terrors of rough seas on which they’ve managed to stay afloat, hands together, and all the joys, comforts, delights, and adventures of tide and time.

But 13 years is a long time. At the wedding on a balmy weekend in early October, in the late afternoon of Oct. 8, 2016, at Angelfields Sanctuary in Silang, Cavite, just up the road to Tagaytay, the very, very long engagement was the theme of every speech, particularly from the groom’s brother Jobert Rosario, and the butt of every joke, particularly from Martin’s best men and best friends Juan Miguel Reyes, Nathaniel Romero, and John Nico Valencia. The original plan was to hold a small, intimate wedding, but all that time together has gathered so many people around them, people from their separate childhoods, people all the way from grade school, high school, and college, people from work, people from all the places Martin and Camille have been to together or apart, who now have a special place in their hearts.

As a result, it was a big wedding, but still unmistakably private and personal, a big and widening circle of intimates that in life, as at the party, surround the couple in their most meaningful and treasured moments, from Martin’s parents Eriberto and Milagros Rosario and Camille’s parents Reynaldo and Cecilia Ongpauco to everyone with whom they each or both share a bond. Let’s not forget Al Ongpauco, the 13-year-old cocker spaniel, who played a central role as ring bearer at the wedding rites. Thus, the hashtag #weloveal.

Camille wore Puey Quiñones to the wedding proper, a simple but heartfelt garden ceremony officiated at 4 p.m. by Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, but not before a mass held by Fr. Armand Robleza, SBD. No less than Camille’s dream, Gary Valenciano, performed the wedding songs with the UP Chorale.

Reception followed after dark, for which Camille changed to Francis Libiran, under a tent bedecked with flowers in all shades of white and bordered by white trees set up by the event florist and stylist Teddy Manuel. Mark Bumgarner dressed the entourage, the bridesmaids, the matrons of honor, Amalia Buendia and Camille’s sister Love Marie Escudero, as well as the mother of the bride. The groom wore Joey Samson.

Not all wedding parties are this fun, but not all weddings take 13 years to happen. The wedding was as much a toast to an infinite future as a throwback to those long, cherished years in which not only the couple but all of the guests so indulged that from speeches full of love, candor, humorous revelations, and tearful confessions the night turned into a wild dance-’till-you-drop party throbbing to beats at once nostalgic, current, and resonant with the sound of happier days to come. No one stopped dancing until way, way past midnight and it was time to take the newlyweds into a 2016 Mercedes Benz-Maybach that would take them off to honeymoon bliss that, with love and hope, is sure to last a lifetime.