Mariel Concepcion. Female, 26, Quezon. Wedding Coordinator/Planner/Designer. Single for 3 years now. Muntik na sanang ikasal pero siya mismo ang umayaw. One of the best Wedding Shops in the Philippines. Top 26 Entrepreneurs of the Philippines under 30. Great girl. A figure of perfection — maganda, matalino, independent, mabait, successful. Isa nalang yung kulang: ang taong magpupuno ng kanyang puso at kaligayahan. Pero pano iyan? Ang puso niya’y sa kanya parin naiwan.
“Yel naman eh. Gusto ko yung super bongalicious talaga. Ay, eto. Isama mo ang wine parade. Tapos gusto ko parang little fairies yung mga flower girls ko. Yung ganun Yel.”
“Parang fairytale ba Cas?”
“Oo, ayun. I want something like that. Kasi I’m gonna be the princess who’ll marry my prince.” Napatingin siya kagad sa fiance niyang si Hans. Napangiti naman ako sa kanilang dalawa.
“Okay, I’ll work on this and present you the best fairytale kind of wedding.” I sweetly smiled at Cass and ayun, they said they’d call me nalang daw and everything. Then bigla namang pumasok yung isa kong kliyente na kakasal lang, she’s returning the barongs of the groomsmen and the bearers.
“Mariel! Naku, nakuha ko na yung video ko for the wedding. Super ganda ng kuha, dear. Thank you, thank you talaga. I super love you. I mean, you made my wedding memorable talaga.” She hugged me.
“Naku naman, Thal. That’s my job nga eh. To make it hussle-free for you and best. Minsan lang kaya nagpapakasal ang babae.”
“Oo nga no! That’s like the dream of every girl talaga. To have a grand and perfect wedding. You know, I’ll tell my cousins na dito na sila sa iyo.” She laughed.
“Oh gosh. Naku, thank you talaga.”
This is what I like about my job. It’s fulfilling to see couples happy and appreciating what you did with their wedding. Ayun nga, a perfect wedding is the dream of every girl who plans to marry someone. It’s one moment where you feel like you’re the most beautiful girl or a princess fulfilling your destiny to marry a prince who loves you very dearly. And it’s my job to make it come true for them.
“Eh ikaw ba, ha, Mariel. Kelan ka pa?” Thalia jokingly asked me.
“Naku no. Matagal pa ako.” Tumawa ako.
“Ilang taon ka na ba… baka naman mawala ka na sa kalendaryo ha.”
Tumawa ulit ako. “Loka! Hindi naman no. May apat na taon pa.”
“Ayy, kung sabagay, enjoy na nga lang muna.”
Around 8 pm na kami nakatapos sa shop. But then it was Friday so rest day sa Saturday then back to work na naman kami on Sunday. Then cycle na naman. Pero ayun, kahit ganito, hindi talaga ako nagrereklamong nakakapagod or ayoko na. Kasi naman, I’ve given up so much to be right where I am now. Yeah, so much.
When I arrived home, I ate dinner and after, naligo and nag movie marathon na. This is my Friday nights. Movie, Lays chips, Cali, face mask, you know. I have no one with me at my house. Yung isang maid ko lang tsaka yung dalawa kong puppies – Bo and Mo. Antagal na ng dalawang puppies na to saken. Maybe nung 18 pa ako, Bo was given to me. Then nung graduation sa college, si Mo naman.
And no, wala akong boyfriend.. 3 years na. The last time we saw each other nung ex ko, that was when I was 23. That was the time I decided to break up with him kasi he’s a nurse and he’s working at Los Angeles and he wanted to get married so I could move there. Siguro nung time na yun, I really thought I was too young to get married. Wala pa akong napapatunayan sa buhay ko, like, if I go to LA, ano naman gagawin ko dun? Maging housewife? Ayoko naman ata nun. I studied Computer Science for 4 years. Sobrang hirap pa. Disappointing din daw nga kasi di naman ako naging programmer or web designer, naging wedding coordinator daw ako. Eh pano iyan, this is my dream since I was young. So I had to turn him down.. and move on. He had to do the same.
For the first two years, sobrang hirap. We’ve been together since I was 17. That’s six years. We’ve been through a lot. Like my family didn’t like him at first since he’s two years older than me and my Mom expected a lot from me… like she expected someone with a great educational and financial background. He’s great naman at that too since his Mom’s a doctor, but my Mom was not all impressed. Pero yun nga, since we were so in love with each other so much, wala rin naman silang nagawa.
He gave Mo and Bo to me. He was the best guy ever, kaya sobrang hirap talaga magmove on kasi everytime I date somebody, nacocompare ko talaga sa kanya. But now, I can say I’m totally doing fine.
I am so over Ralph.
Yup, I am so over him. Really, I am. Wala pa namang special person for me ngayon, but I’m really glad to know that I’m finally over Ralph — I mean, it doesn’t hurt anymore whenever I think or talk about him. Like ngayon. I’m not really hurt. After all, ako naman yung nakipagbreak kaya dapat lang na ako yung unang makaget-over diba? Since then, wala na akong balita kay Ralph. He left for LA after a week or so nung breakup namin, then we never bumped into each other again.
Anyway, Facebook time na. So I logged on to my account and just browse. Ang daming nagpapaset-up ng appointment, but then hindi dapat dito yung set up ng appointment. They can call or visit us and dun kami nageentertain ng clients. Peak season pa naman ngayon. And we don’t really accept a lot of weddings, pinipili lang namin yung worth it talaga ng aming time so we could really focus and concentrate and make it really perfect for the couple. I don’t like a lot of clients. Seriously. Sabihin niyo nang matapobre ako and all, pero ayoko ng ganun. Yeah, big money nga pero yung quality ng work namin, hindi na 100% kasi nagrarattle na yung team as to kung sino yung uunahin. So yun, I just sent them a reply that they should call us or visit us for accomodations.
“Clara, tapusin mo yung sequins ng gown ha. I like it detailed talaga para bongga. Where’s Paolo? Okay na ba yung flowers and wine?” Then I looked around at Sheila. “Shil, okay narin ba yung video coverage?”
“Yes, Mariel.” She answered calmly. “Relax. Everything will be fine. As if naman baguhan tayong lahat sa trabahong ito, diba?” Napatawa ako. “Breathe in, breathe out. Okay?”
“Naku naman no, that is the senator’s anak kaya. Dapat lang talaga the best lahat.”
“Of course, Mariel. We have the best team, look around you. Hindi naman dito magpapa plano iyan if they do not know that we’re the best diba?”
“Right. Sorry, medyo pagod lang siguro ako this week. Sunod-sunod kasi yung big weddings natin.”
“It’s okay. If you want you can go out now and just take a day off. We’ll be fine here.”
“Uhh, no. Ayoko Clara. Maybe sa susunod na lang. Like when I really need a break na talaga.” I smiled softly at her and went back to my office.
Bigla namang may pumasok na cliente at hinanap ako. Lumabas din naman kagad ako and accomodated her.
“Hi, good afternoon! I’d like you to be my wedding planner sana. You can name your price.” She smiled. Medyo nabigla naman ako.
“Good afternoon, Ma’am. Well, we have a package for your wedding, if you’d like to check it out first.” I handed her the catalogue. “But you can always change the theme, or add or subtract some parts of the package.”
“Oh, I’ll check it out muna ha.”
“Sure, ma’am. Just call me if okay na.”
“Okay, thank you.”
Lumapit naman si Clara sakin. “Sino naman yan? Ang chorva naman ha. ‘Name your price’. I guess she’s really aware that we’re the best in the business. Guess she wants this bad, Yel.”
“Oo nga. Medyo nabigla ako dun. She’s a good payer perhaps.”
“Well, let’s see. Tanggapin mo na if okay lang naman yung terms niya.”
“Oo naman no. Grasya kaya iyan.”
Then tinawag niya na ako so I went back to her again on the couch.
“Okay, so I like package 3. But I just want my own theme for this. Is it okay?”
“Yes, ma’am. How about the price? Kasi usually ma’am, when the theme is of your choice, it gets higher. Yung budget hindi stick sa price.”
“Oh, no problem. I told you diba, name your price. I’m very flexible.”
“Ahhh, I like that.” I chuckled and she laughed. “So please fill up this form, ma’am. And we will organize it as soon as pssible. When is the wedding ba?”
“Hmm, it’s next month. Kaya ba?”
“Oh, yes ma’am. Kayang-kaya.”
Then she filled up the form and everything else.
“I’m Kathleen. I’m a nurse.”
“Wow, a nurse… so you work abroad?”
“Yeah, my fiance is a nurse din. We both work at LA. Dito na kami magpapakasal kasi naman our families want it to happen here.”
“Wow.. that’s really great.” Nurses. Great. “So andito na ba fiance mo?”
“He’ll be arriving from LA next week. You’ll meet him soon.”
“Okaayy. Looking forward to that.”
“Then we’ll finalize everything. So I gotta go now. Thank you talaga for the accomodation Miss..?”
“Yel. Yel nalang na.”
“Sure. Kath nalang din ako. Sige sige, una na ako. Thank you so much. I left my number there and I got your calling card naman. I’ll call if there’s any changes. Thank you again.”
“Sure, see you again Kath!”
Then all throughout that week, subsob sa pagtatrabaho na naman. Siguro eto rin yung nakapagpamove on sakin kay Ralph kasi sobra-sobra akong magtrabaho. Pagdating sa opisina, trabaho. Pagdating sa bahay, trabaho pa din. Yung ganung klaseng buhay. Minsan naman lumalabas-labas ako kasama yung mga friends ko, pero mas gusto kong mahiga nalang sa kama at magpahinga minsan.
And yes, another successful wedding of an actress sa Philippine movie industry. Sobrang publicity na naman ito for our shop. Most of the elites are coming to us na. And I’m very very glad naman dun. So Saturday night, I went out with my team.
“I heard he’s back..” Hazel whispered to me.
“I heard he’s back..” Medyo she shouted it to me na.
“Sino?” Alam ko naman kung sino yung tinutukoy niya eh. Pero diba nga, I’m over him? Kaya why should I care naman?
“Oo! Sinabi lang saken ni Andrew pero hindi ako ganun kasure eh.”
“Ahh, good for him.” Sabi ko lang and I stood up and started dancing with everyone else.
Nung dumating na ako sa bahay, napaisip ako sa sinabi ni Hazel. Ba’t niya pa kailangan sabihin sakin yun? Eh wala lang din naman yun saken. 3 years na kaya.. wala nang pakealaman no.
Then after a week, Kathleen called me up na kasi she’s going back to the shop to finalize everything kasi dumating na yung fiance niya. Yehey, thank you naman. Medyo loose kami ngayong week kasi wala masyadong events. May dalawang event lang na nakaline up… and next month padin yung deadline so medyo okay talaga. Good timing din itong si Kath e.
So I wore a cute yellow dress which I look all so fresh and feminine. Bawal kasi sa shop ang BLACK and GRAY. It’s dull and ayoko. We are catering wedding events, kaya dapat yung atmosphere and aura din naman, happy and bright. Yung ganun.
Then I received a text from Kathleen that she’s on her way to the shop. So I got ready na. Eh yun nga lang, medyo sumakit yung tiyan ko at napatakbo muna ako sa toilet and medyo inabot ng 30 minutes sa comfort room. Nung lumabas ako, I saw this man.
He was sitting at the couch just looking around. He still had the same expression. Tight-lipped, hands on his lap, calm eyes. Napasinghap ako ng hangin.
Bakit siya nandito? It’s been 3 years and he’ll show up to me? Akala ko ba tinapos na namin yun 3 years ago? Ano pa ba kailangan niya saken? Shiiittt. Awkward.
“Yel!” Kath smiled and bigla akong napatingin sa kanya. Oh crap. Could it be…
“Kath… so.. ready na? Everything’s okay na?”
“Yeahh. I brought my fiance…” She smiled sweetly. Oh crap indeed. He’s the only guy inside the shop right now. Could it be.. “Mariel, this is Ralph and Ralph, this is our wedding planner, Mariel.” She introduced me like she’s having the best time of her life.
Napatingin lang ako kay Ralph. Hindi ko alam kung anong sasabihin ko sa kanya. I mean, it’s really awkward. Tsaka parang nashock din ako to know that… he’s getting married.
“Hi, Sir. Good morning. I heard you two are nurses?”
“Yeah.. we are.”
“She’s the best wedding planner in the country and I know we can afford her, right?” Kathleen now making pacute and all.
“Yeah, everything for you.” Ralph smiled at her.
Oh shiittt. 3 long years. I’ve been very fine for 3 long years. Why this? Why now?
“Wow, great. Uhmm, so have your fiance checked the catalogue?”
“Oh, he’s fine with it.. you know, guys..”
“Right.” I chuckled. “Hmm, upo muna tayo. Would you want a coffee?”
“Pwede ba yun? Of course. Coffee would be nice!” Kath answered.
“Okay, just look around muna, I’ll get two cups of coffees.”
Breathe in, breathe out. Ahhhhh. Nakakaloka ito. I can’t believe he’s gonna get married to someone in a month. I mean… it’s just weird. Gets niyo ba? Alam ko we broke up 3 years ago, but I never really thought he’s gonna get married this soon. But then again, bakit hindi? He asked me nga noon, eh ngayon pa? What I’m trying to say is, I never really imagined him getting married to somebody else.. than me.
“Okay ka lang?” Clara asked me.
“Clar.. yeah, I am.” I said and hinanda na yung coffee ko.
“Dun lang muna ako sa labas.” Sabi niya naman.
Huli ko na naisipan na baka makita niya si Ralph at baka anong isipin niya at baka ano pa ang masabi niya.. Oh craaaaaaaaaaaaapp!
“Wow… Mariel, look who’s here.. Ralph Uychiat…”
“What, you’re visiting Mariel?”
“Clar- stop that..” I whispered.
“Hi, Clara.. so two know each other?”
Bigla namang natahimik si Clara at siguro medyo nagets niya na yung nangyayari. “Oh, yeahhh. College friends.”
“Really honey?” Napalingon siya kay Ralph. “Pati si Mariel?”
“Yeahh..” Sabi ko nadin.
“Shoot. Ba’t di mo man lang namention? How great naman.. so can we get a discount?” Kathleen winked at me.
She’s like so innocent and so jolly and soo funny and so positive. Hindi niya nagets ang awkwardness.. and silence and even the pauses between each question and answer.
“Yeah, sure.” I smiled.
Yeah, never in my wildest dreams I’ve thought of him getting married to someone else and me as their wedding planner. Wow. THREE YEARS! Parang kahapon lang.
“So pano kayo nagkakilala?” Tanong ulit ni Kathleen.
“Way way back college years.” I smiled.
“Y-yeah.” I know Ralph too well and when he smiles timidly, I know he’s not really comfortable na.. but still he’s trying to. “She was a..”
“Freshman and he was a senior.”
“But he’s a nursing student?” Nawindang ata ulo ni Kathleen. “Nursing ka din ba noon, Yel?”
“Ay hindi. Computer science ako.. well, I remembered his aunt introducing him to me.. and we became good friends.” I smiled. “But then he graduated din naman kaagad.”
“Ahhh, it’s just so weird. But nevermind. Small world naman.” She smiled again and looked at Ralph.
“How did you two meet naman, Ralph?” Clara asked him na para bang tinutukso. Kinilig-kilig naman itong si Kathleen. Awww, they’re so cute.
“Well, we work at the same hospital sa LA and.. we were schoolmates back at college. Hindi ko nga alam na nageexist ito eh.” She chuckled at hinampas ng mahina si Ralph. How sweet naman.
“Eh kung nalaman mo noon, malamang pinakasalan mo nako nung college pa.” Tumawa din naman si Ralph.
Uh, eh. Pano ka niya pakakasalan nung college kayo, eh tayo kaya nun? Diba?
Mkay, enough of kakornihan na. Weird, ngayon lang ako nagreklamo sa kakornihan ng cliente ko.So not me.
When they left, natulala lang talaga sa isang sulok. As in tulala. Hindi ako nakapagsalita and everything. Nakatingin lang ako sa wedding gowns na nasa gilid ng office ko. Ano pa nga ba ang dapat kong sabihin? Sobrang nashock ako dun. What a joke. As in a very good joke.
The man I’ve rejected a proposal is now engaged to be married to another girl. I mean, seriously? Is this a joke? Or am I PUNK’D or whaaat?
“That was Ralph? Right? Tama ba ako? Or… m-mali din?” Clara asked me na parang siya din mismo hindi makapaniwala sa nangyari at nakita niya kanina.
I shook my head. “Hindi ko din alam, Clar. H-hindi ko alam.”
Clara shook her head again. “Let’s face it. That was really Ralph Uychiat, Mariel. Your boyfriend for 6 years until you rejected his proposal! And now he’s getting married to somebody else!” Medyo nataranta ata si Clara pinagsasabi niya. Bigla akong napatingin sa kanya..
“Kakayanin mo ba, Mariel?”
“Yeah, of course. T-this is business. And we can’t say no to a client, r-ri-right?” Napasinghap ako ng malalim and started scramming papuntang comfort room.
“Well, it depends.” Clara looked at me na parang bang may iba pa siyang meaning.
Bumalik kaagad ako sa CR. Feeling ko, bigla-biglang bumalik yung LBM ko. I felt butterflies all over my stomach. Minsan lang ako nakakaramdam ng ganito.
“Weird..” I said to myself habang nakaupo sa toilet. “He changed a lot. Physically. Mas gumwapo, pumuti, mas formal, mas may dating.. at parang may.. Arrggh, why do I keep thinking of it ba? Ikakasal na nga..”
Kinatok naman kaagad ako ni Clara sa CR. “Sure ka ba na nagieLBM ka, o baka naman mga butterflies yan na pilit nang gustong lumabas sa tyan mo?”
“Ano ka ba, Clara!” Tumawa ako. “LBM to! Kagabi pa to no!”
“Lumabas ka na diyan, naiihi na ako. Tapus chika tayo!”
I hurriedly fixed myself up at lumabas na ng CR. Pumasok naman kaagad si Clara.
“Hayy, salamat at nakaihi ako.”
“Sorry na. Masama lang talaga takbo ng tiyan ko ngayon.”
“Ninerbyos ka ba kanina, Yel?”
“Hindi naman. Honestly, nabigla lang ako. Never in my wildest dream talaga na magiging planner ako ng mga yun, especially ni Ralph.”
“I know right. Isn’t it awkward?”
“Awkward to the max, dear. Naloka ako kanina.”
“Pero in fairness, mas hot si Ralph ngayon. Alam mo yun, yung parang may direksyon na sa buhay. Di tulad noon. Paggigig lang yung alam. Naging nurse pa.” Tumawa si Clara. “Anyway, how did it feel?”
“To see him for the first time since you broke up 3 years ago?”
“Good.” I smiled.
“Good? I mean.. wala bang efek-efek?”
“Haha. Loka ka. Wala no. We’re over.. as in over.”
“Eh ikaw ba, over na talaga?”
“Oo naman.. 3 years na kaya yun.”
“Di nga? Kasi alam mo, saksi ako sa first two years ng 3 years na iyan..”
“Naku no, wag na nating ireplay. Kahit ako nawiwindang ulo ko e.”
“Oh well, wala narin naman tayong magagawa, ikakasal na si Ralph e.”
“Right.. at wala talaga tayong gagawin..”
Palabas na ako ng shop kasi ako na yung naglock ng shop.
“Mariel!” Muntik na akong mapatalon kung di lang sobrang pamilyar ng boses. Sa sobrang familiar ng voice, pakiramdam ko tuloy nanghina yung mga binti ko at nanlamig yung mga kamay ko. “Teka..”
“Can we talk? Kahit… 15 minutes lang.”
I looked around. “Uhm, sirado na kasi yung shop, so if it’s about your wedding-”
“No, it’s about-”
“If you’re worried about the story of our past, no problem. I won’t say a thing to her.”
“No, actually alam niya.. but-”
“But she has no idea kung sino.. and honestly, I have no intentions of saying the name to her.”
“Ikaw talaga kasi yung gusto niyang maging wedding planner, and I don’t want to spoil it. So sana-”
“As what I’ve said, no problem.” I smiled at Ralph.
Ngumiti lang ako then silence. Sobrang awkward. We just looked into each other’s eyes.. and for the first time, he was the one who first looked away.
“I gotta go, thanks a lot.” He smiled and sumakay na sa kotse niya. Sumakay narin ako sa kotse ko. Ipapahinga ko nalang talaga ito.
“Ano ba kasi plano mo sa buhay mo?”
“Hindi ko alam.”
“Anong hindi mo alam? Gagraduate ka na o.”
“Eh yooon. Kukuha ng board, tapos volunteer pag nakapasa, tapos punta na ng London o States.”
“Eh yun naman pala e.”
“Magkaroon ng pamilya.”
“Kasali na rin yan.. pero yung una, gagraduate ako, tapos magtatrabaho sandali, pag nakaipon, I’ll open a wedding thingy shop.”
“Bakit wedding shop?”
“Eh gusto ko talaga yan e. San ka pala titira?”
“Kung san ako madedestino..”
“Ahhh. Then ngayon pa lang, start searching for a wife na..”
“Di na.. andyan ka naman e.”
“Ay talaga? How sure are you na sasama ako?”
“Kaseee labbb moko.. diba?”
“Lababo mo mukha mo.. hahahaha!”
“Pero di nga..gusto ko ikaw na.”
“Gusto ko din ikaw na.”
Now I know why memories are the most treasured gift in this planet. Cause it’s the only thing that never changes, amidst everything else – everyone else- everywhere else. It’s one thing you can always have.. and it’s one thing you can replay over and over again.