The Night

This post is the last part of my 6-part proposal story. Haha. I’ve been writing, or trying to write this, for the last 12 months but couldn’t really sit on it. Mostly because residency has been really very taxing,  leaving me dead tired on most of my off-duty the moments, dozing off to sleep and not get anything done. But, from time to time, we do get a small break from all these toxicity and get a relatively more benign (not toxic) rotation such as Surgical ICU (SICU), where we go on straight 48 hour duties taking care of only 6 (or more) patients in the ICU, and get 2-3 days off — literally. 🙂 Well, it should be spent on studying and doing our research requirements, but writing my backlog wouldn’t hurt now, would it. So anyway, I digress…let’s get this thing going.

Being a year late in writing, this post is only a recollection of what happened on a very special night last May 22, 2012 — the night that I proposed to Maan. I hope I do justice to what actually happened on that momentous night. For more background to this story, you could read the other parts here:

The day started out with two-dozens of roses being delivered at the OB resident’s lounge. I ordered them just the night before from (Thanks to this service, I didn’t have to go to Bambang unlike before hehe). I was sure happy they delivered on the dot! I had a note attached to the roses:

The last time I gave flowers before this was on February 2005, our first Valentine's Day together as a couple, hindi na nasundan, until this. :)

The last time I gave flowers before this was on February 2005, our first Valentine’s Day together as a couple, hindi na nasundan, until this. 🙂

I hoped that she wouldn’t get an idea because of them flowers. But I thought I just had to do it, a grand gesture to celebrate our 8 years together, and as a prelude to what’t about to happen that night.

I was at the OR the whole morning, and good thing we endorsed early that day and I had enough time to go home and “practice” Haha. That day, I already told a couple of friends what I’m planning and even showed them what I prepared. This included a trip to Derma OPD to tell our batchmates Miya and Kathy, (who both screamed at the top of their lungs the moment they knew! HAHAHA) and a one-on-one session with Kitts to and get a good feedback. My feelings were haywire that day. Di maipinta kung gaano kalakas ang kaba ko! I could literally feel my heart thumping.

The evening came and I fetched Maan from her condo. We arrived at The Bayleaf around 7pm and went straight to the 9th floor at 9 Spoons and climbed up the stairs to go to the Sky Deck. It was a windy and starry evening, with no clouds in sight. Perfect weather, I remembered.

The night started as a regular anniversary dinner, but soon Maan found out what I've been busy doing for the last two weeks!

The night started as a regular anniversary dinner, but soon Maan found out what I’ve been busy doing for the last two weeks!

We chose a table just beside the viewing deck, where we could see the great view of the Intramuros golf course below us and the Manila skyline in the background. The head waiter was there to welcome us as I signaled him with my eyes to prepare my “surprise” for the night, hopefully going well as planned.

Sky deck view. Too bad I wasn't able to get a good picture of this superb view

Sky deck view. Too bad I wasn’t able to get a good picture of this superb view

This calmed my nerves pretty well. I was feeling a little mature that night so I ordered Cerveza instead of the usual SanMig

This calmed my nerves pretty well. I was feeling a little “mature” that night so I ordered Cerveza instead of the usual SanMig, haha

While still indulging ourselves with the awesome view, I asked Maan if she wanted to order first before we take pictures. “YES!” she replied, haha, I knew it, we were starving. So we ordered two appetizers, two main courses, and some drinks. I needed a drink ASAP, just to calm my uncontrollable nerves! My palms were sweating like no end and felt my balls up my throat! Haha.

Honestly, up to the moment that I asked her, I still had doubts as to our readiness to be engaged. “Is this the right time to ask?” “What if she says no?” “What if her parents say no?” “What if we’re still not ready?” But in retrospect, in a decision like this, I think you’ll never, ever be sure. So I just told myself to suck it up and just do it!

Earlier that afternoon, I called my mom to tell her what I planned to do that night. I distinctly remember our conversation:

Ge: “Mom, are you busy?”
Mom: “No, nasa meeting lang, bakit anak? Happy anniversary pala!”
Ge: “Uh, thanks, uh…magpo-propose na ako kay Maan mamaya.” (haha telling her in a matter-of-fact way, not really asking hahaha)
Mom: “Ano?” (parang hindi narinig nang maayos, haha)
Ge: “Magpopropose na ako!”
Mom: “Whaaaaaat!!! Wow!!! Talaga?!? Are you sure? Anong plano mo?” (hahaha, I was laughing really hard when I heard this, parang mix of surpirse and amazement that I’m deciding all of this all by myself!)
Ge: “We’ll have dinner later, then I’ll ask her. Ok na yun.”
Mom: “Wow! Ok. Good luck! Balitaan mo kaagad kami! Sabihan ko si Dad!”

I never told my parents of what my plans was but I’m sure they were hinting me since a few years back, asking me stuff like “Ano na plano nyo ni Maan?” whenever I go home on my free weekends. They’ve known Maan for years already and have always treated her like a daughter. I knew of course that they wouldn’t have any doubts in my decision to marry her.

While waiting for the food, we took a few pictures by the view deck. She told me she was really surprised at me for giving her roses that morning, and two-dozens at that! Haha. (I was still hoping she didn’t have any idea)

This is a great place to unwind after a busy day at the hospital, malapit lang pati!

This is a great place to unwind after a busy day at the hospital, malapit lang pati!

Candle light dinner. Plus pogi points!

Candle light dinner. Plus pogi points!

A few minutes later, the food finally arrived.

Delicious appetizer just because Maan wanted to try the international sausages they had at 9 Spoons haha

Sausage Platter: Delicious appetizer just because Maan wanted to try the international sausages they had at 9 Spoons

Pritson Rolls: Another appetizer we had because it's one of our favorites! It was delicious, but we never finished it and even took some home for take-out, haha

Pritson Rolls: Another appetizer we had because it’s one of our favorites! It was delicious, but we never finished it and even took some home for take-out, haha

Fried Hainanese Chicken

Fried Hainanese Chicken: Maan read somewhere that their Hainanese chicken was great so we definitely tried it! They sure did deliver! Sarap! This came with Hainanese rice on the side.

Crispy Tadyang

Crispy Tadyang: Because I was feeling adventurous and wanted meat so I ordered this fried back-rib. It was good but I’m sure they had better meat selection. Poor choice, boo.

Dahil sobra sobra ang kaba ko that night, my appetite was not as huge as it was. I only ate half of the tadyang, and some hainanese chicken. I didn’t even finish my pritson roll. Maan found it really odd, pero siyempre di ako nagpahuli. Haha. I just told her I was really tired…

She then asked for the menu for us to order desserts. “Naku!” I thought, “Baka magorder siya then sabihin ng waiter na may order na ako!”

A few days earlier, I called Bayleaf to ask if they offered something special for a marriage proposal. The manager told me they could write something on the plates of their desserts. It was perfect, I thought, especially because we Maan and I are both huge fans of desserts! So I finalized the plan with Bayleaf and reserved our dinner.

Another thing I prepared for that night was an AVP. I know that I am not really good with words when I’m speaking, so I decided to just express my feelings through something that I do best: a video of our pictures for the last 8 years. While doing the video, I became emotional seeing how we both grew together, not only physically (haha, tumaba at pumayat na sabay) but also growing with all the experiences we had (surviving intarmed, then med school, and now residency, traveling, eating and studying together). So, for two weeks before the proposal, I was busy browsing pictures, choosing the best ones, recalling all our memories together, and re-ordering them in such a way that at the end of the video is a question that I’ve been meaning to ask her. 🙂 I chose one of her favorite songs This Way by Jewel, and what else but the cliche proposal song Marry Me by Train. Hehe.

After seeing the possible problem, I then told Maan that I needed to go to the restroom and just wait for me before ordering. “Aha, a good escuse to ask the waiters to execute THE PLAN!

So I acted like I was going to the restroom but actually was heading towards the head waiter. After confirming that the desserts I pre-ordered were already ready, and briefing the waiters on what to do, and asking one of them to take our video and picture, I came back to our table and asked Maan what she wanted.

She wanted the Calamansi cheesecake, and I told her I wanted some Churos and the Mango crepe. So I ordered. Little did she know that all those were already pre-ordered. Hahaha.

Then I told her I had a surprise for her. I took out my iPad and showed her this video:

As the video was about to end, I signaled the waiters to serve these deserts while Maan was still busy looking at the iPad screen:

Will You Marry Me?

I told the waiters to serve these delicious desserts while Maan was still busy viewing the video on my iPad. 🙂

When the waiters finished serving, sakto!, the video also ended. She saw the desserts in our table and she was saying “Oh my God!”.  I took the ring out of my pocket (buti she didn’t notice!) and showed her, bent down on one knee and asked her: “Maria Angela de Castro, will you marry me?”

Well, of course she said yes!

She said YES!

She said YES!

We're getting married!

We’re getting married!

We immediately called our parents and texted our friends giving them the great news! Natawa lang ako when a friend asked me, “Congrats! Is it facebook official?!”, haha. We didn’t have internet at that time so when we checked FB after, we were surprised to see that a few others have already expressed their congratulations there. Hahaha! We later finally posted this:


I was really happy that everything went through as planned. Special thanks to my co-conspirators for all your support:

  • Alvin Chu – my batchmate for going with me to Binondo to get the ring, and plan the proposal! Masyadong effort yung may kanta-kanta pa at post-it from friends, haha, hindi kinaya ng schedule ko, but that would’ve also been a great proposal story!
  • Ly-ann Diwa & my other surgery batchmates – Ly for being my co-rotator in Plastics and cheering me on and calming me down nung nawiwindang na ako haha. Nagwork-out din lahat ng plano! 🙂
  • Kitts Mejia, JA Atienza and Meiling Lee – for always being there when I need you guys, especially making me realize that I’m making the rightest decision ever. 🙂
  • Miya Dayrit and Kathy Reyes – for screaming and crying at the Derma OPD! Haha, nabisto tuloy tayo nina Joey! I showed you the video without telling na magpopropose na ako kay Maan, tas nagulat na lang kayo in the end with the question. Hahaha. 🙂

And of course, thank you Maan for giving me the chance to do all of these. Thanks for accepting my proposal as we finally commit to spending the rest of our lives together! I love you very much! 🙂

Our first picture together as an engaged couple. :)

Our first picture together as an engaged couple. 🙂

The Venue

Deciding on WHERE to pop the question was simple. Obviously, Maan and I love to eat, so to have an anniversary dinner celebration was non-negotiable. Since we will be both be coming from hospital, we wanted to have it on a restaurant nearby. We both wanted something new, a place we’ve never eaten at before.

The BayLeaf

So a quick search revealed The Bayleaf at Intramuros — a newly renovated hotel situated near the Lyceum building in Intramuros. I actually see it every time I come back to Manila from QC and was curious at what it can offer. It has a restaurant at the 9th floor aptly called 9 Spoons, and a tapas bar at the rooftop named SkyDeck.



I searched the net for pictures and reviews if the place and from what I saw, I fell in love with it. It had a beautiful view of the Manila skyline of both Binondo and Ermita districts while overlooking the serene Intramuros golf course. It offered typical pastas and pizzas, as well as pinoy fusion dishes. It also has a churros bar at the ground level where you can have desserts or coffee after dinner. It’s website said you can arrange for a candle-lit dinner for two at ten roofdeck, just the perfect place to pop the question. 🙂


Three days prior to our anniversary, I called up Bayleaf and made a reservation. I asked the manager if they had anything special for a proposal dinner. He said he could make some special desserts and turn it to anything that I wanted them to be. Knowing that the Bayleaf is famous for their special churros, I pitched the idea of them serving churros shaped with the words “Will you marry me?” But that idea turned out to be so impractical, how the hell could we devour all those churros right?! Haha. So the manager later offered me to serve three deserts instead. I told him sila na bahala to make it extra special and to not forget to include the magic question when they plate the desserts. So with that, the dinner was sealed, all I had to do was bring Maan to Bayleaf at 8pm that night.

The timing of our anniversary was in-tune with our duty schedule. We were both pre-duty on that day, meaning less work in the hospital, and we both get to come home early that night in time for dinner. But just two days before our anniversary, I got a text from her saying that she’s not sure if she’ll make it in time for our reservations since she was OOD the following day. She then asked if we wanted to have dinner elsewhere, like that french resto in fort haha, or even stay at home and watch movies instead. This of course was happening at the time when everything was already set-up! — the ring, the dinner, the flowers, etc. Nooooo!!! Haha. I just gave her a generic posi-vibe reply “Ok lang yan, tuloy tayo sa Bayleaf.” and prayed that she does finish on time.

This post is actually divided into 6 parts. Read the rest of the other parts here: