Loss, Faith, love and an island wedding in Siargao

The author as bridesmaid. Photos by Superseven Studio

The author as bridesmaid. Photos by Superseven Studio

By Danielle Vania Bonus

About a year ago, my best friend Ivy and her husband-to-be Charlie asked me to travel across the world with them for their wedding in the Philippines as her maid of honor. My initial reaction was expected: I was full of excitement and honored to be of service!

However, three months before the wedding, an unfortunate event disrupted my life: I lost my job. This hovered over my head like a grey cloud and I became increasingly worried about my finances. Not being in the right state of mind, I worried that I’d be a drag on the wedding.

In situations like these, I try to remember my Mom’s method of coping with life’s hardships. She’d tell me, “Anak, (“child” in Tagalog) just pray. Bahala na ang Dios,” (“It’s all up to God”).” So before I left, I gave my worries to God.

Charlie and Ivy had a fully packed itinerary for their whole entourage which consisted of dinners in Fort Bonifacio, clubbing at Cove and Xylo, midget boxing, and lots of pampering. Despite our unfamiliarity with one another, we seemed quite comfortable. The few people in the group assimilated fairly quickly for their first time out of the country. Amidst excellent hospitality from the Filipinos, there was always someone in the group with bug spray, toilet paper and pesos to spare. With different beliefs, the party could have easily turned into a dramatic episode of The Real World. Instead, we came together and created a story worthy of its own movie on Netflix.

Charlie and Ivy’s scenic wedding.

Charlie and Ivy’s scenic wedding.

There was one unexpected event I’m glad we added to our schedule. Weather reports showed a high percentage chance of heavy rain in Siargao on the wedding date. This raised deep concerns. A friend — who would officiate the wedding — shared some Filipino folklore where prayers were being answered at a particular church after offering up a basket of eggs. It might have seemed a bit silly at first, but the couple didn’t want to miss any chance to move the grey clouds away. So, bright and early next morning, we went to Saint Claire Church in Katipunan, Quezon City, with utter faith that our submission of eggs would give Charlie and Ivy the wedding of a lifetime.

We soon after landed in Siargao. The rain was coming down as a light, but refreshing, drizzle. Our group of 18 met more of Ivy and Charlie’s family as well as the wedding coordinators. Everyone was so warm and eager to know more about one another. It’s an understatement to say we all just hit it off. Rather, we became an extension of love from the two people that brought all of us together!

The morning of the wedding, the rain began to pour. This startled the bride and should have caused a panic attack but, with conviction, Ivy said, “It’s okay, Dani. It has to rain to make the day beautiful.” The couple’s calm, energy and faith that morning was so powerful that I believe it was enough to move rain clouds out of the sky.

The wedding cake with the colors of Siargao’s waters.

The cake with the colors of Siargao’s waters.

Boats lined up to take the entourage and their guests to where the ceremony was taking place: Naked Island. Guests waited for the bride on ‘banig’ and pillows while basking in perfect island weather! There wasn’t a cloud above the island but rather puffy white clouds all around. It was as if God cut a hole for the sun to shine through just for us.

Watching my best friend walk down the aisle, I thought to myself, “This would have been a perfect day in any situation because of her.” The light and love that beamed out of her soul was contagious.

As I sat comfortably slouched on a giant bean bag watching the glorious sun rise intensely over Siargao’s blue waters, my heart began to burn in gratitude. I carefully named each person in prayer, recapping every wonderful moment and its significance in my life because I felt so blessed. Love conspired to bring what it knew was necessary in my life. I had to trust that everything was going to be just fine and that I could continue to live in that same state of mind. All I had to do was continue see the world with love in my heart.

Wedding favors, white sand.

Wedding favors, white sand.

This trip was just what the doctor ordered. I could now go back to New York and face my reality head-on with a better outlook on life. To the wedding entourage: We’re all like family now and should meet for a reunion back in the Philippines next year! To the wedding coordinators and staff: With all your efforts combined, you pulled off the wedding of a lifetime. Your kindness and work ethic are really a testament to true Filipino culture.

Congratulations to Charlie and Ivy: You two together can apparently move storms. Thank you for being an example of love.

Danielle Vania Bonus was born in Los Angeles and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business. She has written for a few publications like TigerBeat Magazine and DJMag Canada while working full-time as a Sales Manager. Three years ago, she moved to New York to further pursue her career and entertain her passion for the arts.

© The FilAm 2019
Slide show by Michael Arguelles

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