Deciding When and Where

Obviously, one of the first steps in planning a wedding is deciding WHEN and WHERE to hold it. Aside from it being two of the most frequently asked questions to any newly engaged couple, the answers to these two simple questions sets the ball rolling in deciding on the other million things to decide on in wedding planning.

But do not be deceived as to how simple these two questions are. They are, I think, two of the most difficult ones to be answered as there are many factors that you need to consider like yourย budget, availability of yourself, your partner as well as your important family members, proximity to your ย guests, and superstitions/traditions in choosing the right/lucky day.

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DECIDING WHEN

For our case, we didn’t have much trouble deciding WHEN to hold the wedding. We instinctively wanted to hold it on our 10th anniversary, May 22, 2014 para meaningful pa rin, but at this time we would be more busy in our training programs (Maan will be 4th year/senior resident and I will be a 1st year/junior fellow). We then decided on December 2013, so that we’re still both in third year, less demands in training, and to have more time in the preps.ย We also figured that a 1.5 year long engagement is just enough preparation before the wedding. Despite being in the peak-season, a December wedding also allows our balikbayan relatives to join us in our wedding. ๐Ÿ™‚

We want our wedding to fall on a weekend so that our guests (mostly fellow doctors) would be available to celebrate with us, preferably a Saturday so that there’s no work the following day. December 7th was then perfect. This would allow us to have at least a week off from work for honeymoon before returning to work mid-December in time for the moratorium for PGH residents: no leaves on the last two weeks of December.

DECIDING WHERE

One of the first things we decided is WHERE to hold the wedding. We want our wedding to be a destination wedding but also want it to be a accessible to our guests, especially our co-residents coming from PGH. We eventually narrowed it down to three locations:ย Tagaytay, Batangas or just hold it here in Manila.ย But since Tagaytay has a special place in our hearts (thats where we had our final “date” before she answered my question, cheesy haha), we decided to hold our wedding in the breezy, cool city in Cavite.

Maan, who instantly and expectantly became so engrossed in wedding planning the moment I proposed (haha!) bought three wedding magazines in one go! In one of the magazines was a feature about Tagaytay weddings. It said that in Tagaytay there were only a handful of available churches/chapels, but lots of possible venues for the reception. What intrigued Maan was the exclusive chapel located at Tagaytay Midlands, the Madre De Dios Chapel. Upon seeing the beautiful pictures of this cozy-small chapel, she immediately texted me that SHE WAS SOLD. ๐Ÿ™‚

I then told her that we must keep our options open for other places especially if we wanted to hold the wedding in December, baka fully-booked na (this was around June 2012, 1.5 years away pa when we were deciding!). So when we both had a free Saturday, we headed to Tagaytay to do an “ocular” of some of our finalists:

1. Transfiguration Chapel (Caleruega)

Taken on our pilgrimage to Tagaytay for our medical board exams last 2010

Taken on our pilgrimage to Tagaytay for our medical board exams last 2010

Maan and I have been to Caleruega before with our brods and sisses in our Tagaytay trip during boards review. ย With the cool mountain breeze with lush gardens surrounding the church on top of a hill, we knew then that this was a great place to get married. Butย as one of the most sought-after churches in the Tagaytay area for weddings, we knew that Caleruega would be a tough choice for us.ย Unfortunately (or fortunately), this was easily scratched off our list since all its December weekends were FULLY BOOKED already when we inquired. (Again this was sometime around June 2012! Crazy right?!) Besides, we were not sure if this chapel is big enough to accommodate our guests.

2. Chapel on the Hill (Don Bosco Batulao)

This circular chapel reminds me of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in UP Diliman

This circular chapel reminds me of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in UP Diliman

Scenic view of Mt. Batulao from one side of Chapel on the Hill

Scenic view of Mt. Batulao from one side of Chapel on the Hill

This is the chapel near Caleruega and was our 1st runner up. We fell in love with the circular chapel and its breathtaking view of Mt. Batulao outside! We fell so in love with the church that we almost paid the downpayment for reservation of our chosen date! But after much deliberation, we realized that we didn’t have many options on where to hold the reception if we hold the ceremony on this side of Tagaytay (Batangas side). So again, we scratched this off our list.

3. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish

Because this is a parish, this I think is the biggest church in Tagaytay located along the highway itself. This would be a great option for a big wedding because of its 1) proximity to the Tagaytay city center; 2) there are a lot of reception venues located near this church, 3) did I say it’s huge? haha. But Maan didn’t want a big church for our wedding, so yet again, we scratched this off our list. We didn’t even bother going there during our ocular.

4. ย Madre De Dios Chapel (Tagaytay Midlands)

We finally decided to give Tagaytay Midlands a visit along with our families. I’ve been to Highlands many times before but was never able to go down to Midlands so it was both our first time to see the chapel when we scheduled our visit there.

P-E-R-F-E-C-T-!

P-E-R-F-E-C-T-!

Our first impression of the church: PERFECT. ๐Ÿ™‚ The chapel was not as tiny as Caleruega or Chapel on the Hill as it comfortably sits around 200 guests. With its high painted white walls and ceiling contrasted by dark wooden beams, the coziness of this chapel is just perfect for a very solemn Tagaytay wedding. It also offers a great view of the Taal lake! What more can you ask for?! Maan also loved that the altar is not as “traditional” looking as with old churches. One of the drawbacks in choosing this chapel however is that it has a short aisle for the bridal march. But Maan seemed not to be deterred by this fact so we went for it and reserved the chapel the following week.ย (Here is a great write up from Weddings in the Philippines websiteย about the chapel)

Taal Lake View from The Veranda Clubhouse

Taal Lake View from The Veranda Clubhouse

A great feature of having your wedding in Madre De Dios is that you wouldn’t have a problem on choosing where to hold the reception as The Veranda clubhouse is just an escalator ride away! This is very convenient for all the guests since they don’t have to ride cars going to the reception after the ceremony. However, one downside to this is that you wouldn’t have a choice of a caterer since you’re limited to getting food and drinks exclusively from them.

Tagaytay Midlands Country Club (image taken from http://tagaytayhighlands.com)

Tagaytay Midlands Country Club (image taken from http://tagaytayhighlands.com)

So as early as late August last year (about 1 year and 4 months before the wedding) we already finalized WHEN and WHERE. Akala namin we’re going to breeze through the other decisions, but boy we’re we wrong! This was only half the journey, but half is really not that bad is it? ๐Ÿ™‚

Below are some pictures I took when we went to Midlands for our second ocular and food tasting this August (one year after booking it!). There was a wedding about to happen that afternoon so the place was set-up already! Too bad it was raining hard that time (Habagat hay..) so the view wasn’t that spectacular as we first saw it last year.

Contact Details

Madre De Dios Chapel, Tagaytay Midlands
banquets@tagaytayhighlands.com
+63ย (46) 483-3657|+63 (46) 483-0820 / 3657
http://www.tagaytayhighlands.com/

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Birthday Surprise

Note:ย This post was previously published at Ge’s Blog:ย The Surgeon’s Logbookย last September 27, 2009.

I always liked spontaneous, spur of the moment things. Planning in order to get somewhere or figuring out how to get there was never really my thing. This is especially true for out-of-town trips. Probably because of the high chances of it getting cancelled if you plan in advance? Or the drum up before the trip becoming so huge that the trip may not turn out as planned = disappointment and frustration.

Spontaneity = no expectations = maximum enjoyment. ๐Ÿ˜€

This is what I had in mind in one of my post-duty days from the Med ER. While walking home, coming from a relatively benign duty as an IM Intern at the ER, an idea suddenly popped into my head (I always had these bursts of ideas, especially on my post-duty days, while walking through the length of Spine Unit to Rob Towers):

I want to go out of Manila, now.

A quick text to Maan, exchanges consisting of deciding whether to go to Subic (and go to Zoobic!), Clark (and shop for PX goods? haha), Batangas (a quick day-trip to a beach), a quick phone reservation, finally got me decided (factoring in cost + weather + circumstance) I wanted to go to Tagaytay. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tagaytay is special for us. Not only is it near their place in Sta Rosa, but that is where we’ve spent most of the milestones in our 5 years together. A lunch at Josephines (haha), dinner at the Cliffhouse, lunch at Taj, coffee at Starbucks and Java Jazz. Minsan nakakasawa na din, but we make it a point that we do something or go somewhere new when we go there. It’s a near respite place for us where we can forget about hospital life and just be us.

So a quick drive up to the ridge via the newly renovated SLEX (can I just say na sobrang lawak na niya?! sana maayos na agad yung Skyway, para wala na gaanong sagabal, hehe) took us about an hour just in time for lunch.

She didn’t know where we were going. :]

We drove until we passed by Bag of Beans, which sort of suggests we were heading straight to Batangas, until I finally turned right at a sign which read “Antonio’s”

Tapestry at Antonio's Tagaytay

Beautiful tapestry at Antonio’s Tagaytay

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!

We both love traveling and eating, as obvious as it may seem (HAHAHA), and often tried documenting all of our travel and food exploits in a joint blog, which of course, never transpired (yet?). And I haven’t even gave her a birthday present yet. So I thought, why not spend one of my free Sunday post-duty days with her in Tagaytay and eat at a resto where she wanted us to eat at but couldn’t because the price was soaring high? Bakit naman hindi, birthday naman. ๐Ÿ˜€

So I treated her to Antonio’s, one of the best restaurants in the Philippines according to her favorite travel/food blogger Anton of Anton Blogs. I once assisted my sister for wedding which had its reception there and I fell in love with the place. It was a retro 50’s house converted into a restaurant. The food was exceptionally great! Gusto ko din naman maexperience nya yun. =D

Appetizer

Bread slice as appetizer

Fresh Tagaytay Greens

Fresh Tagaytay greens with Arugula, Maan’s favorite!

They had set meals there, ranging from 1,300 to 14,000!!! Haha. Siyempre dun kami sa low-end. The waiter was offering us the Porterhouse Steak, haha. Di ko kinaya ang tag. Haha. Maan had fried duck, I had crispy lamb. Both came with house salad, soup and dessert. We also ordered Strawberry Balsalmic juice which was the best strawberry juice I ever tasted! Everything was perfect! The lamb was so soft, and the sweet coating melts in your mouth like there’s no tomorrow! The mashed potato in the duck was heavenly with just the right amounts of cream and salt, it was baked potato cut into slices and stacked altogther and cut into a square. SARAP! ๐Ÿ™‚ We had cream puff with ice cream and i forgot what she had for dessert. Then it started raining hard, so the cool tagaytay breeze became much coooooler! =D We were supposed to go and visit Calaruega but since it started to rain, we postponed it for another trip.

Crispy Lamb Ribs, sarap!

Crispy Lamb Ribs, sarap!

Fried Duck Leg

Fried Duck Leg

Sarap!

Sarap to the bone!

Cream Puff ala Antonio's

Cream Puff ala Antonio’s

This was some buttery dessert, but I forgot the name. Haha

This was some buttery dessert, but I forgot the name. Haha

Simot sarap! Up to the last drop! :)

Simot sarap! Up to the last drop! ๐Ÿ™‚

Funds were running low after the lunch treat so we decided to just go home and spend the rest of the day in Manila. But what’s an adventure without a sidetrip? We were supposed to take a shortcut back to Manila via Amadeo, Cavite. I guess I missed a turn or two, so we eventually got into the eskinitas of General Trias. Hehehe! After much ado about heading straight and hoping to find the Aguinaldo Highway, we finally reached Kawit and saw a marker pointing to Aguinaldo Shrine. We turned, passed by the shrine and found our way to SM Bacoor and back to Coastal Road.

At the end of the day I was so tired, but I was so happy that I did spend it with Maan even if I was post-duty. I slept the rest of the day and woke up the following morning thinking that I everything was just a dream.

But it wasn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy birthday Maan! =D

Ge surprised Maan for her 24th birthday to a lunch at Antonio's Tagaytay

Ge surprised Maan for her 24th birthday to a lunch at Antonio’s Tagaytay

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*This post was previously published at Ge’s Blog: The Surgeon’s Logbook last September 27, 2009.