As J. Lo wrote in her inner circle newsletter “On the JLO: “Life is an art… and we are the artists… make it as beautiful as you want and create it exactly as you want it to be…” ❤ ❤ ❤ 

Growing up, I never really had a clear vision of what getting engaged and getting married should be like for me. I remember attending very few weddings during my childhood and teens and it always left me with feelings of lack and sadness coz I felt like I can never have that kind of wedding. My automatic negative thoughts were: “I’m too poor to be able to afford that.” “That will never happen for me”… etc. True enough, you attract what you think. Despite the amount of money I’ve had in my early adult years, I never had that kind of engagement nor wedding. 

Then I met Hanz. You can read about our love story here… of how we started as him having a crush on me since High School, me never knowing him until he invited me to his small resort in Oslob in 2012, then us becoming friends when the world I knew was crumbling down. Hanz was the one who picked me up in all my despair and brokenness. He made me laugh, he made me strong, he made me see myself again. He became my instant best friend.

Then Hanz did propose if we can be more than best friends… And I laid out all my conditions if we were to become a couple. I wanted him to talk to all my family from Luzon to Mindanao and if any of them protests, then there won’t be an us. So that’s what he did. He visited my mom in her Quezon City office. I video recorded the whole thing! He went to my dad and brother at San Mateo Rizal. He went to Cagayan de Oro to speak to my sister and my grandparents. Everyone was okay with him. It was my grandfather’s 90th birthday at that time, Aug. 14, 2014. That became our life partnership anniversary. And we celebrate that every month as much as we can. In fact, we just had our 92nd Monthsary recently…

We are so different in so many ways, yet also the same. We have different personalities. I’m the romantic one, he’s the logical one. I’m O.C. and detail-oriented, he’s into the big picture.  I’m a worrywart, he’s super chill. I like to shop, he’s very frugal. He’s really like what God intended for me because I’ve matured so much all these years we’ve been together. We continuously learn from each other especially when we fight and there have been BIG fights we thought would be the end of us. But we learned to communicate better and now we’re at a place that we really are enjoying our partnership. It took us ten years to really get to know one another this well, to respect, uphold, and accept our differences, and to enjoy the life we’ve built together — simple yet full of adventures.  It was starting to dawn on me that this is it. I may not have that engagement proposal and wedding they portray in movies because it’s not Hanz’s personality and it’s never my intention to pressure him. As long as we’re happy with the life we’ve built for our family, we are 1000% devoted and committed to each other then that should be more than enough. 

But then again, I remember one of my mantras.. that we are God’s co-creators in this universe and we can turn our dreams into reality… that what we want is possible. Everything we desire is already there within our reach. It’s just a matter of getting it.  

So in one of our bonding sessions, marriage came up and we just decided right then and there to finally set a date for it. We’re not getting any younger and we couldn’t live without each other. We still both believe in marriage despite my previous experience. But there was no grand gesture, no grand surprise. It was just one of those talks we do when we’re both not busy. We were both just chill and simply spending time.

Many times, after that talk, I would come up to him and say stuff like: “Were you really serious? Are we really going to do it?” “What if we don’t work out? Annulment is expensive, you know. I know coz I’ve been there!” or something like “Is this for real? You sure you don’t wanna back out?” or jokingly I’d tease him “Where’s my proposal? I want a romantic proposal!” to which he would squirm and make a face coz he’s not that type of guy. He’s not big at big surprises which took me a while to accept but he’s very big at small, important, every day gestures —  the ones that truly matter:

  • He took care of me the whole time I was preggy.
  • He dressed my CS wound after I gave birth up to many months after that.
  • He cooks for us, cleans the house for us, became my super assistant at a time when I was overwhelmed by motherhood.
  • Through the years, he’d do stuff that I’d ask him to do — errands, handyman stuff, constant hugs, caresses and kisses. 
  • Even when he’s too tired to perform in bed, he always makes me come 100% of the time, no excuses. Acts of Service and Touch are my two primary love languages and I have all the receipts to prove it. While his are Loving Words of Encouragement and Acts of Service.
  • He’s a very good, hands-on, sweet father to Tuz.
  • He supports me in everything I want to accomplish.
  • He’s my number one fan, cheerleader, and supporter in all things.

Then THIS — the wedding engagement celebration we both wanted as a symbol of our promise that we will soon become legally one. No surprises (except for Tuz who was really surprised when his Dada opened the ring box!), but celebrated the way we wanted it, for the memories, photos, and videos we can bring with us, and leave with Tuz, til death and beyond… If there’s pre-nup photoshoot, this is what we call post-prop, hahaha! (^_^)

Just a little background…

February this year, no one knew that we already had our wedding bands made and bespoke engagement rings ordered. We thought of doing a September wedding but our wedding coordinator said that it’s rainy that time of the year. It could be October to coincide with my most fave season — Halloween. But since we wanted a romantic beach wedding, we chose May of next year because that’s when the weather gets conducive for it. 

March this year, our wedding bands were ready for pick up at CebuWeddingRings.com, hence, our trip to Cebu City. The design of our wedding bands is also unique. We wanted something that will symbolize our different personalities hence, the two-tone. We wanted something that will look like an eternity ring but not really eternity-shaped hence, the overlapping of the two gold colors.

For our summer getaway, I’ve already been planning to book our stay at Shangri-la Mactan. We are fond of vacationing at posh resorts whenever we can and Shang has been on my list!

We already stayed at the other resorts before and Shangri-la is one of the three we haven’t stayed at yet (the other two are Dusit and Movenpick)

  • JPark Island Resort – July 2015
  • Badian Island Wellness Resort – Feb. 2021
  • Plantation Bay – April 2021
  • Crimson – June 2015 and November 2021
  • Sumilon Island Bluewaters – March 2012, Jan. 2016, Feb. 2017, Aug. 2017, Feb. 2022
  • Shangri-la Mactan – April 2022

After this, I’ll create a new to-visit list for the other new resorts being built in Mactan and Cebu City.

Since Shangri-la has been on my list, we thought why not turn it into an engagement celebration? So that’s what we did! We booked our stay coupled with a nice romantic dinner package complete with photo + video crew… the works! We just wanted the occasion professionally documented so we can have something beautiful to look back to when we’re old and wrinkly. I’ll have another blog post for the next series of our post prop shoot. 😉

After I booked our Shangri-la stay early this month, our bespoke engagement rings arrived all the way from Cagayan de Oro City! We had them custom-made by my High School classmate and her husband who owns a fine jewelry company, Jendrian Fine Jewelries. You can check her Facebook profile Jendrian Ilogon. I really loved the craftsmanship of the gold jewelry they make and her husband was able to put my own design to life!

This is the most beautiful engagement ring set I’ve ever seen in my entire life!!! Because we’re weird and non-traditional, there’s also a ring for Tuz and Mahal! The engagement rings of my dreams! ❤ ❤ ❤ These rings are our promise to each other that we will soon become a legal family! 

And finally…

When that moment came for us to formalize our promise to be one, I started feeling emotional.

Everything we’ve been through all these ten years flashed before my eyes… the trials, the judgment, the hardships, and tribulations… the fights… the almost break-ups…  I can’t help it anymore, after the exchange and wearing of our beautiful engagement rings, when he hugged me, I couldn’t help but cry… I didn’t want to coz I didn’t wanna look ugly in the pictures but my tears just started pouring from my eyes.

Even as I’m typing this, I can’t help but get teary-eyed. Mahal whispered loving words in my ears… how much he has always loved me and always will… that it’s always been me… that he’ll forever take care of me and Tuz and the family and life we’ve built…

I believed every word he said. He has always been honest and sincere with me, and that calmed me down… and there was just pure bliss in my heart. ❤

So like I said, being engaged to my bestest friend didn’t come in the way it does in romantic movies… It was way better because we purposely turned it into our own art, the way we wanted it. The road getting here was slow, real life, zigzag, up and down, but steady process and progression to this realization that this is it. He admired me since our High School days, we’ve been best friends since the first time I visited Oslob 10 years ago, we’re living together for 7 years, sharing bank accounts, parenting our kid and planning our lives together… We’re not just bf-gf or live-in partners… but this life partnership I have with my Mahal is for good, for real, for life and forever. #MerongForever ❤

I choose Hanz because he truly is a good person, a gift from God to me… he makes me laugh and he loves me deeply and our family. 

So that’s our engagement story. ❤

  • #WeSaidYes
  • #3Become1
  • #JenGotHanzed
  • #TheMakingOfHouseVillanueva

Watch out for my vlog about this. 

On my next post, I’ll detail the symbolism behind our beautiful engagement rings.

❤ ❤ ❤  



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