A week ago Rhoda and I got married. It came together very smoothly, mainly down to Rhoda’s phenomenal organisational skills, as well as the wedding planner we hired – (W.E.D.). That by itself would be more than enough - but to top it off we also took a couple of side trips with our friends.
They had a lot to deal with. It was a small wedding by Filipino standards in that we only had to deal with 170 guests on the day (just close friends and some family), and a reception for 150 others a few days later. We had attempted wedding crashers, and our friend Anders Paulsson, who played alto sax during the event fell sick with typhoid the day after, the main button on my jacket fell off 3 minutes before the off, plus lots of other expected minor crises – fireworks, beer, seating plan and so forth.There were videographers and photographers and seat covers and flowers, posies, pastors and cabbages and kings (well a politician or two) and a complex ceremony to organise and supervise.
I was left with the relatively easy job of turning up on time at the appointed places and entertaining people. And drinking beer.
On top of this, as if she did not have enough to do, Rhoda managed to organise taking a bunch of friends to Danjugan Island, where we both were working when we first met for several days and - after a tip off by a marine biologist friend - an inpromptu dive trip to Oslob on Cebu to dive with whale sharks. If only the project managers I've worked with were so organised and adaptable.
So as well as marrying the love of my life, I managed to complete another couple of things that are on my “bucket list” as Alisdair put it, namely diving with whale sharks, and taking my friend Roisin for her first scuba dive on a tropical reef.
Alisdair shot a couple of videos of the whale sharks;
For his first attempt at video underwater thats not a bad job.There was a moderate current, so thats why he's filming on his side.
Rosie and I dived near Black Buoy off Typhoon beach. We saw Banner fish, Damsels and Butterfly fish. There was a cleaner wrasse cleaning station - Labroides Dimidiatus - and christmas tree worms to play with. For a first dive, she was calm, collected and had good buoyancy control. It was a pleasure to show her the fish from the books in real life, and that 15 minutes at 7 metres flew by.
There is something very calming and special about Danjugan, whether it be at dusk when the bats are flying out over 3rd lagoon, at breakfast feeding the eels and mullet in the lagoon, or in the middle of the day paddling in the shallows and pointing out all the interesting things off Tabon and Typhoon beach. I'm looking forward to going back when Gerry, Kaila and Carlo have finished the rework of the Cabanas.
So back to the wedding, which fused the hispanic elements of traditional filipino weddings with more familar ones from the UK/USA. After Rhoda's grand entrance - and it was very grand - we had a reading and a not so short and rather traditional sermon from Pastor George. Then Louie and Rouine, our veil sponsors pinned the veil over our heads (symbolising our shared home) Anne and Mike placed the cord around our necks (our unity) and we lit a candle with flames from our parents. Anders played "Dahil Sa Yo" and we gave each other our messages. At the end the principal sponsors (which are a sort of godparents to the new couple), came up and signed on the dotted line along with us.
In the end we had a most excellent and beautiful party for all our friends and family. Rhoda's dress was superb, if a bit fiddly to reconfigure for the dance, which I'm glad we'd spent time practising. I'm already missing the warmth, the sea and the good company.
It could not have been better, and I'm profoundly grateful to everyone who helped make it happen, most particularly my beautiful and talented wife.