A love stronger than Odette - SunStar

A love stronger than Odette

by Niza Mariñas

“Wala’y makatupong ug wala’y makapugong. Bagyo ra na sya. Ang akong paghigugma solid pa sa bagyo.”

This is how newly married Kevin Beronga, 29, of Cebu City describes his typhoon-proof love for Maria Rasel Tolenten, 28, with whom he tied the knot at the St. Joseph the Patriarch Parish Church in Mabolo, Cebu City on Dec. 17, 2021, just hours after Typhoon Odette ravaged Cebu City and neighboring towns and cities.

Beronga and Tolenten have been together for eight years and have a 10-month-old son.

They were supposed to get married in June last year, but the wedding had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But not even a storm could stop them this time.

SunStar Cebu chanced upon the couple past 9 a.m. of Dec. 17 as they were getting ready to exchange marriage vows in the dimly lit church.

Although devastated by the damage Odette had brought the night before, the couple went ahead with the wedding on that bright Friday morning, sans church decor, the presence of some family members who could not make it to the ceremony, and even a reception, since the caterer’s home got destroyed by the typhoon.

“We chose to see the brighter side of things kay panahon ug kinaiyahan man ang among kontra (because what we were up against was the weather and nature). Happy gihapon mi nga nadayon among kasal (We were still happy our wedding pushed through),” Beronga said.

During the ceremony, it was the priest’s homily that made them emotional, Beronga confessed.

The priest said making it to the wedding despite a super typhoon was already a big decision and that it was their basis to stay strong when their marriage is faced with trials.

Beronga told SunStar Cebu that on Dec. 16, he was already too happy and excited to think about the typhoon but they were also worried if their wedding would push through.

They had to go to church at 4 a.m. to check.

“Happy kaayo ko pagkahibawo nako nga padayon jud,” Beronga said.

Before their scheduled 10 a.m. wedding, the couple made their way to church riding an e-bike.

The sight of a man in a tuxedo and a woman in a wedding gown instantly brought happiness to people still dealing with the typhoon’s aftermath.

The couple was met with loud cheers and applause.

“Ang cheering sa mga tawo on the streets kay makapa alive. We were also happy nga nakakita sa ilang smile ug katawa bisan wa sila kaila namo. Unya ni greet sila namo og ‘Congrats’ ug nipakpak pa,” Beronga said.

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