8 January 2019
The day had finally arrived. Our reason for flying all the way from Australia to the island of Boracay in the Philippines. It was our friends Erick and Abby’s wedding day. We had been looking forward to this occasion ever since were were invited as 1) it was our first to experience a beach wedding and 2) wondered how well we could cope travelling with two kids under 2 including a 4-month old baby.
While the kids napped (at the same time!), Wifey and I took advantage of the situation and prepared ourselves for the ceremony that was to happen in a few hours. I put on my white linen long sleeve shirt (it was a beach wedding after all), carefully buttoning it to avoid any more creases. Wifey wore a light rose crocheted dress that matched my pants. Oli woke up first, smiling as I squeezed him into a white long sleeved romper with the cutest maroon bowtie already stitched into place. Maddy already had her dress on before napping, too eager to wear her “wedding dress” as she called it. She also wore a purple sequinned tiara to finish her look.
Island Chicken Inasal
Together with my mother-in-law, we took the hotel shuttle to town where the chapel was. We had an hour and a half to spare before the ceremony. In full formal attire, walking through D’Mall in search of a place to lunch managed to turned some heads our way as other patrons and visitors strolled in their casual and swimming gears. “I feel like chicken barbecue”, Wifey decided. Island Chicken Inasal was filling up with diners as we were ushered to our al fresco table. Oli had just fallen asleep in his stroller which prompted us to order as quickly as we could, hoping we could finish lunching before he wakes.
Food came reasonably fast and without delay, we tucked into our lunch of smoky, sweet barbecued chicken thigh and leg fillets. Its oily glaze glistened under the natural light. Wifey prepared her dipping condiment mixing soy sauce for saltiness, calamansi (native citrus fruit) for sourness and annatto oil for colour. To wash down our tasty lunch, I ordered a tall glass of sago drink that both Maddy and I enjoyed.
After a quick 5 minute tricycle ride, we had reached the chapel. As one of the last guests to arrive, we sat at the back and waited for the ceremony to begin. The chapel was dressed to the nines with white flower arrangement filled with fresh orchids and daisies. Not long until the entourage entered one by one followed by our dear friend Abby, the stunning bride in white, teary as she walked down the aisle with her dad by her side. She was met by Erick at the altar, the groom as dashing as one could be. Vows were made as heavenly hymns were sung by the choir in the loft. It was a beautiful solemn wedding.
As soon as the pictures were taken, Wifey, the kids and I ended up walking back to town (It took around 10 mins) as we had no luck flagging a tricycle to ride. We met my mother-in-law at the hotel shuttle pick-up point and together, commuting back to our hotel so the kids could nap before going to the reception.
“We’re here for the wedding reception”, I said to greeter manning the hotel entrance. We were standing in Shangri-La Resort and Spa, one of the five-star hotels in Boracay. The walkway behind him was beautifully lit by lanterns. The A-shaped ceiling with exposed beams supported by natural wooden posts framed the rest of the scene. “Please hop on and we’ll take you there”, he said as he pointed us to the motorised cart behind us.
Upon reaching the beach area, the first thing I saw were the festoon lights swaying softly in the wind. The night was warm, but pleasant. It was the perfect weather for a beach side reception. We were once again the last to arrive, our friend Kim showing us to our table where she and her husband were also seated. Maddy had her own seat, including crayons and some colouring sheets. I took off my sandals to feel the sand beneath my feet.
Once the entourage and the bride and groom had their entrance dance (in style!), it was dinner time. One by one, table numbers were called out until it was our table’s turn to head to the buffet setup behind us. There were plenty of sumptuous dishes to choose from. I plated an array of dishes – a serving of butter chicken, a sliver of roast meat, one massive barbecued tiger prawn, potato gratin and a side salad. The dessert bar was also impressive. I took back a chocolate ganache tart, creme brûlée, a custard shot and some fruit salad to share with Wifey. Everything was delicious.
The night rolled on with some heartfelt speeches from the best man/brother Mark and Aivy, maid of honour. A couple of our friends, Jhanna and AJ, sang a duet channelling Ed Sheeran and Beyonce with their hit song “Perfect”. Light dancers performed routines that was a visual spectacle. Soon enough, Oli had fallen asleep which prompted us to cut our night short. We said our congratulations and goodbyes to the married couple and our friends. We were provided with a van to take us back to our hotel (such a nice gesture!).
It was a long day, but a pleasure to have witnessed and to have experienced the wedding of our friends in one of the most beautiful places, not just in the Philippines but in the world.