Whether it’s from the past generations or the next, love remains the same
By Deneb R. Batucan & Patricia May P. Catan
Images: Associated Press
LOVE stories have been told time and again, and most follow similar paths: they meet, some (or a lot) of complications in between, they reconcile, and finally, church bells and the wedding march. No matter what generation these love stories occur, fate and destiny always has their way in binding two people together. Forever seems overwhelming, but with the right person and at the right time, things will always fall into place.
SunStar Weekend shares the stories of two couples: one who’s on the brink of a shared life, and the other a lifetime filled with ups and downs but nevertheless still with hearts full of love. Both stories share a persevering kind of love that never falters and always dreams — and it all starts from a promise in a God-binding covenant.
When fate, tradition and love all fall into place
Images: Ruel Rosello
Locale: Marisse Patisserie
High school sweethearts Honeyjoy and Keith Chan made sure they would start their happy-ever-after as soon as possible. Not all young people on this planet have the good fortune to choose their marital fate, but for the lucky ones who do, that choice can be the best decision they ever make. And for the Chans, it was the turning point in their life.
It was in third year high school when Honeyjoy and Keith first met. High school romance is the kind of relationship where everything’s a spur of the moment, making it a thrilling phase to ride along. For Honeyjoy and Keith, who are each other’s first love, high school became a little exciting and a lot sweeter. But sadly, their high school romance was cut short and both went their separate ways and even dated other people.
Now in college, when Honeyjoy entered her second year in nursing, she was dating someone else when Keith came back in her life. She described it as a weird feeling, but it was in that time she saw Keith in a different light. Keith showed her how supportive he can be by celebrating her victories rather than feeling insecure.
Officially gaining communication back in college, Keith was Honeyjoy’s confidant. She repeatedly expressed that nursing wasn’t for her and that her interests lean more in fashion design. She learned from Keith, who was taking up architecture, that his university was offering a course on fashion design, so she begged her parents for her to transfer. Now in the same school, this was when a spark ignited yet again and both of them finally defined their relationship.
Together since 2009 and dated for six years and a half, Keith decided that it was time to pop the question. The proposal as they described it was private and simple as Keith didn’t want something extravagant. The couple was only engaged for about two months when the sudden death of Keith’s grandmother played a significant role on when their big day should be.
Initially, they planned their wedding day on the following year, but a Chinese tradition states that when a family member dies, there is a chance of marriage within 100 days. If not, those who plan to tie the knot should marry after 1,000 days. Giving it enough time and thought, the young couple agreed to marry within the 100 days. They might not entirely believe such norm, but their marriage gave honor to Keith’s late grandmother. They got married April of this year.
Marrying young was a choice they proudly made because they want to be really present for their future children every step of the way. Being parents is a huge responsibility to take, which is why it is important to choose a lifetime partner who is willing to dedicate one’s life to his or her family. Honeyjoy and Keith found that in each other.
Now slowly building their own family with a plan to make a baby by next year, the Chan couple are saving as early as now for their future kids with a dream to build their own home where their kids can run around and play in their lawn — a beautiful picture to see in the coming future.
When 2nd time’s the charm, love blooms even more
Images: Allan Defensor
Lollette & Em Alipe
Married for 37 years
Even after also almost four decades, four kids, four foster kids and one blessing in a form of a lovely baby girl, Em and Lollette still have that sense of kilig between them, always looking at each other with a smile.
It’s been one heck of a roller-coaster ride for the Alipe couple, yet here they are, happy and content at each other’s side.
It was a whirlwind romance at the start. Em and Lollette met in Manila at March, got together in April, and just a little over a year, they were married.
They had their first son, Gabby, and after a few years, they had a daughter, Monchi. Everything was great — until a little before their seventh anniversary.
Em and Lollette decided to separate. These were some of their most trying years. Despite that, they still worked together as parents for their children. Em was already based in Cebu by then, but every weekend, he would go up to Manila to spend time with his kids — a responsibility that was essential to both of them.
It was in a two-hour traffic jam in Manila where the couple took the leap of faith to resolve their marriage. With nowhere to go till the traffic clears, they had nothing to do but talk. Lollette told him about her plans to find a new place but was conflicted because nothing was on her budget.
“Suddenly, I heard myself say, ‘Why don’t we transfer to Cebu?’ As soon as I said it, I thought, where did that come from? But then he goes, ‘That’s what I’ve been praying for!’”
But Em had one condition: if Lollette will go back to Cebu, she has to come back as Mrs. Alipe. They were both surprised when she uttered the one word that would seal their love a second time around. “Okay,” she said.
They gave each other a few months after that conversation, which happened in November, to make sure their decision was final.
And like serendipity, by March, they had their renewal of vows — the same day as their first wedding, half a decade later.
Em realized a lot of things through their brief separation. “The basic reason of separation is the individual pride. If you will not be able to humble yourself, then you cannot give that unconditional forgiveness. And if you can’t give that, then that’s only temporary. Masipyat nasad gani ug gamay, wa na. Gawas napud ang litanya sa mga sala. It’s useless,” he said.
After getting back together, they were blessed with two more children, Josh and Sarah. In 2007, they adopted the D’avola siblings after their father suddenly died. In 2009, they found a baby left across their house, put inside a plastic bag — this was Maki, their youngest daughter.
As their family grew, it has only strengthened their relationship. They had to deal with the different personalities of their children, cater to each of their needs and help them develop their skills and talents to a productive and proper path.
Their love for music, God and each other has kept them together for many years and surely for the years to come.
“For me, the foundation of marriage and family is anchored at making the Lord as the center of your life. That’s what we strive to remind our children. No matter how busy you are or what business challenges you’re going through or how famous you’re getting, always be grounded. Be with the Lord,” Em said.