Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Wedding in a Cemetery

Somewhere in the bustling city of Manila is a circumference of serenity that is Paco Park.

This almost quiet testament to the city's history -- almost 200 years of it --- has also been witness to many christenings and weddings, the last of which I attended over a decade ago.

A bit of history... Paco Park, which was completed during the 1820's, was originally planned as a municipal cemetery for moneyed Spanish families in Manila. The chapel built inside the cemetery is the St. Pancratius chapel which can comfortably seat 130 heads.

After the execution of Jose Rizal, the country's national hero, his body was temporarily laid to rest at Paco Park. A marker still remains where he was originally buried.

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to go back to Paco Park for another wedding. Good thing that we arrived early so I was able to take photos of the Park before the ceremony started.

Entrance to Paco park

Wide open spaces for photo sessions.

Above and below, the once occupied niches.

Neighborhood doves bearing witness to the wedding that weekend.

Below, the steps leading to the fountain and chapel.

The century-old church facade

Steps leading to the promenade that allows you to see the entire cemetery.

Below, hubby talking to another wedding guest. I love this arch. Perfect for pictures.

The entourage getting ready for the march.

The chapel is just cozy for about 130 guests.

There goes the Mario, the groom.

The motif was mango yellow.

Below, Sining, the bride marches down the aisle.

A lot of brides might think that it's just a short march but usually, only the bride walks all the way from the fountain area.

The couple chose a vintage car as their getaway vehicle. :-)

This wall decor somehow caught my eye at the reception venue while waiting for the newlyweds to arrive.

Mario and Sining enter with much fanfare -- after the confetti cannons popped, the newlyweds immediately proceeded with their first dance and cut their wedding cake.

That's me, lounging in G Hotel's black & white lobby.

For me, the highlight of this wedding was the speech-poem from the bride's father, Bienvenido Lumbrera, National Artist for Literature:


(Sa kasal nina Mario at Sining)

Munting kapilyang lunan ng kasal
Langit-langitan duyan ng magkasintahan.

Hininga ng kandila ang ulap-ulapang
Pakpak ng ligayang noon pa inasam.

Tunghayan ang bagong kasal,
Pangaraap nilang langit gawing totohanan,
Pinag-isang puso'y bigkising matibay.
Tulutang walang hanggan ang pagsisintahan.
Pagsapit ng dilim, itanglaw ang buwan,
Sabugan ng bituin ang pagsusumpaan,
Pagdating unos, iyong ipatanaw
Bukas may bubukad na bukang-liwayway.

Bulong na dalangin
Ipagdiwang natin
Tagumpay ng paggiliw.

Panginoon, pagpalain
Sina Mario at Sining.

Saint Pancratius Chapel
30 October 2010

* * *

Other things I loved about this wedding? The intimate and relaxed atmosphere, the little details -- the "mint to be" souvenirs, the initials of the newlyweds on the cord, and this rockin' on-site video from

Mario + Sin Same Day Edit from Val Bunao on Vimeo.

Congratulations Mario and Sining!

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