Featuring Carlos Manuel A. Ilagan and Angelia Danielle C. Trinidad
Words Carlos Ilagan | Photography Radiant Collective
So, what’s the Disney formula? A damsel in distress plus a prince charming miraculously appearing out of nowhere and sprinkle in a conflict that is easily resolvable by the power of love equals a happy ending. Simple, right? I thought so too.
That was until I met Gia. Independent, indelible Gia, a damsel who was clearly not in distress. She seemed like the type that would not have romance anywhere near the top of her priorities. Weeks went by and I learned more about her each day, then I discovered this – she’s also the type that would daydream as she rewatches the same sweet Disney movies over and over and over again. With that in mind, I knew what to do.
All my friends know this and it’s something I’m quite proud of – I am the most extra guy they know. A gift for my buddies? Let me customize their favorite bottle of scotch with their name and a personalized message on it. A surprise for my parents? Let me help fly in my sister from Australia and go on a trip with the whole family. I love to plan for everything. In the same way, I’d plan each step of our dating life. For starters, I consulted her sister to ensure that I am on the right track. I prepared a First Date Proposal which included an itinerary, schedule, list of activities, a menu for a three course meal, and some photos for visual reference. I even wrote a 2-page resume which reflected my dating qualities and reasons why I should get the opportunity to date Gia. Then I’d plan the rest of my life with Gia. I needed to make sure Gia would be well provided for – a stable job, our own place, near our loving families. I wanted to be her perfect prince charming.
Unfortunately life had different plans. In the middle of my aviation training in Australia, the pandemic hit; and it seriously derailed my plans for a life with Gia. I had been training for the better part of a year, which promised a 10-year job with one of the biggest airlines in the country. Now I wasn’t even sure if my career as a pilot had ended before it began. Not to mention that the long-distance relationship just got longer, having my stay in Australia extended. It was a conflicting and difficult time. All I could think about were the days wasted, far from Gia. Maybe it would have been better to create a career back home away from the aviation industry, at least close to Gia.
I’m thankful that good communication was always one of the strong points of our relationship. This was in full show during our LDR, having to talk about anything and everything daily. With all of the struggles in my head, we were always able to talk it out. She was my constant support system; suppressing any doubts, and always reassuring about what the future holds. She knew becoming a pilot was what I wanted to be, and encouraged me to pursue it no matter what. To hell with not having a high-paying job or a big place of our own. These were no longer things I had to provide for her; these were things we were going to get together. I knew I loved her, and I realized during my time away that she was the one I wanted to spend all my days with.
With our friends’ and families’ blessing, I asked the question, and she said yes.
It took a quick ten months, and the culmination of the first chapter of our relationship had arrived: Wedding day. Wooden double doors opened to reveal my princess. She walked down the aisle to our favorite Tangled track. Standing here, it’s all so clear. I’m where I’m meant to be. As if on cue, tears rolled down my face as she closed the distance between us. It was a solemn yet joyful ceremony. In fact, it was presided over by a priest who knew us enough to make pilot parallelisms as a way to guide us throughout our marriage. Vows were not said that day; they were unspoken but well understood. They all start with ‘always’ – always communicate, always be there for one another, always be each other’s safe haven. No exceptions, not even on our worst days. In fact, most especially then.
We celebrated our love with all our friends and family. We were ecstatic to see a lot of them come home for our wedding. We tested their knowledge about our individual quirks and interests and were surprised to find they knew the answers to each question. We also pride ourselves with matchmaking so we partnered our single friends with each other and had them imitate our intimate prenuptial poses! Lastly, we put our own spin to the Bouquet Toss and gave away a cash prize to the lucky maiden who caught the bridal flowers; and what a wild fight to the bouquet it came to be.
As the festivities came to a close, a realization came to mind: Gia and I have already lived our Disney story. The story of the rest of our lives have just begun, and it is the beginning of a story only we know how to write.
Carlos and Gia’s Dream Team: Church: Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish – Muntinlupa | Reception: The Palms Country Club Grand Ballroom | Caterer: The Palms Country Club | Cake: Sweet Solutions | Invites: Darla Tenorio | Event Stylist: Robert Blancaflor | Photo and Video: Radiant Collective | Gown designer: Boyet Dysangco Couture | Suit designer: Bonnie’s Tailoring | Photo booth: Pixlpop Photo booth | Wedding Host: Steffi Lucero