At least 124 couples tied the knot during the free mass wedding ceremony sponsored by the City of Naga last Thursday, August 31.
After exchanging “I do’s” and putting on the wedding bands, the couples were treated to a sumptuous lunch hosted by the city government. Each pair also received a mini cake.
Vice Gov. Agnes A. Magpale, Jobel Angan-Davide, wife of Cebu Gov. Hilario P. Davide III, Congressman Samsam Gullas, Provincial Board Member Raul Bacaltos and City of Naga Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong stood as principal sponsors.
Chiong said more than 1,200 couples have already availed of the free mass wedding since the program began in 2011.
It was her father, the former City of Naga mayor Valdemar Chiong, who started the program as part of the activities of the city’s Charter Day celebration.
“Akong gipadayon ang programa kay nindot nga ang couple mabendisyonan gyud sa Ginoo. Nanghinaut ko na ang inyong pagpuyo malinawon ug magpabiling lig-on ang inyong pamilya,” Chiong said.
In her inspirational message, Magpale advised the couples not to give up easily when they encounter problems along the way.
The vice governor said that both husband and wife must endeavor to make the marriage work, adding that they should talk things out if they have a fight.
Among those who joined the mass wedding rites was Dwight Horton, an inmate of the Naga City Jail, who exchanged vows with Lowela Morales. Morales is pregnant with their fourth child.
“Dako gyud nakong pasalamat ni Mayor Chiong nga gitagan ko niya’g kahigayonan nga makapakasal bisan priniso ko,” Horton said.
Edwin, 47, and Agustina Latayada, 46, who have been living together for nearly 30 years, said that to have a church wedding is a fulfillment of their nine children’s dream.
Before the wedding ceremony had started, Edwin broke down in tears when her daughter abroad called over the phone asking for updates.
The couple received a reward from Congressman Gullas for having the most number of siblings.
Jocelyn Villarubin, who is 18 years younger than his groom Cornelio Cayago, 56, said that love transcends age gap.
“Marrying him is a testament of my love,” she said in Cebuano.