The boy who got the girl

Patricia Evangelista
This is the story of a girl and the boy across the hall at a mass wedding, and why happily ever after is possible for a girl who lost a dream

A flower girl waits to walk down the aisle with her parents at the Marikina Hotel. Photo by Patricia Evangelista 14 Feb 2013.

MANILA, Philippines – At 11 in the morning of February 14, as many as 200 couples linked hands in a mass wedding sponsored by the Marikina City Government and Pag-IBIG Fund (Home Development Mutual Fund). Blue ribbons and white lanterns decorated the Marikina hotel as couples formed lines at registration desks. Ages ranged from 21 to 61, with one couple announcing they had lived together for more than 38 years.

“We just never got around to getting married,” said the laughing groom. His wife, graying hair pulled back in a stubby ponytail, sat beside him along with 6 other couples.

The ceremony was officiated by Marikina Mayor Del de Guzman, dubbed “I Do. I Do. Araw ng Pag-IBIG.” Organizers offer free wedding services, including the catered bridal meal and wedding rings. The mass wedding serves as encouragement for newlyweds to register their membership to Pag-IBIG Fund.

Marriage under Mayor de Guzman also grants couples an automatic ticket to the Pag-ibig Valentine raffle, with commitments of tricycles, sari-sari stores and house and lots going home with lucky couples along with Pag-ibig souvenir mugs. The prizes were drawn from Pag-IBIG’s acquired assets inventory.

(Video by Patricia Evangelista, Dennese Victoria, Bea Bermundo and Nico Bagsic. Score “Fairy Waltz” by Kevin MacLeod)



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