197 COUPLES SAY “I DO”
February 14 will always be a memorable date for the 197 couples who vowed to be by each other’s side forever at the 2012 Mass Wedding sponsored by the Olongapo City government and held at the Olongapo City Convention Center (OCCC).
Flower girls from the Early Childhood Care and Development Center showered the aisle with rose petals as the couples marched on the red-carpeted aisle, designed and set-up just for the occasion, as though they were attending a royal wedding.
Olongapo Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr. officiated the wedding ceremonies and also stood as sponsor, together with First Lady Anne Gordon.
After the wedding rings were sanctified through their promise to always love each other and the “I do’s” of matrimony were expressed in unison, Mayor Gordon finally pronounced the couples as husbands and wives.
“Dapat maging responsable ang bawat isa sa inyo, upang maging maayos ang inyong pamilya at pagbutihin ninyo ang inyong pag-gabay sa inyong mga anak para sa kanilang maayos na paglaki,” Ninong Bong advised the newly-weds.
“Upang pagkakaroon ng maayos na pagsasama, kailangan marunong makinig at may communication ang bawat mag-asawa. Kung marunong kang making, mas madaling maaayos ang anumang problema o di-pagkakaintindihan,” said Ninang Anne at the wedding reception.
Rielmar dela Cruz and Angelene Evalle, both 19 years old and the youngest pair among the happy couples, released the matrimonial doves while Apolinario Retiro, 66 and wife Rosalia (63), the oldest newly-weds, sliced the cake and led the ceremonial toast.
Each couple also had their portion of the wedding cake and wine as symbol of their commitment to share their lives together.
The Mass Wedding, held every year since 2004, has helped financially challenged Olongapeno couples to get married and consequently legitimize the status of their off-springs born out of wedlock.
Pao/sara jane delos santos