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 Proposal

Eight years is quite a long time and so many things can change — our contry’s president has already been replaced, a baby can already start Grade 1, and a first year medical student is already a resident. So many things can happen in eight years, especially in a relationship. Some even believe that to last more than eight years is a very big achievement in itself, a.k.a, surviving the “seven year itch”. Thus for Maan and I to last this long on this rollercoaster of love, a grand celebration was needed.

And this grand celebration included dinner, a ring, an iPad video and… a proposal. Yes, we got engaged on our 8th anniversary and it feels great and exciting to finally commit to someone you’ll love forever and ever!

So in this blog, let me walk you through the events that lead to this very special day. You might catch some tips and tricks if you’re planning your own proposal. 🙂 Women may spend countless nights dreaming of THE big wedding day, but as they say, the proposal is the groom’s game.

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

The Backstory

Just for a little perspective, here is our backstory. Believe or not, we trace our almost decade long of friendship since high school. I was an exchange student then at her school UP Rural High for the annual UPIS-UPRHS dual meet. For two weeks I became part of their sophomore class, met most of them, especially this odd, nerdy-looking, pink-loving girl named Maan. THAT my friends was my first impression if her. And unfortunately (or fortunately) this impression did not last. Haha.

We were merely acquaintances back then, and soon lost contact when I returned to school. Of course we did not know that fate would be so kind to us to let us meet again after two years at the UP College of Dentistry for our annual dental check-up required before our admission to the Intarmed program.

I vividly recall the moment she screamed “GeraRd! Di ba ikaw yung exchange student sa amin dati?” She was with her other classmates Gideon and Krista. She said she could hear my boisterous laughter on top of all the hustle of freshmen students. We talked, remembering short stint at Rural High, then I gave her my number. She asked for it. Little did I know that it was the start of a very fruitful relationship.

Honestly we were not that close at the start of our freshman year. I was still driving back and forth from QC to Manila everyday while the rest of my dormer classmates went out after classes.

On our second semester, I eventually decided to get a dorm at PYF building. She helped me unpack my things since she stayed two floors up, and on that night we had the most wonderful and most animated conversation about life, goals and ambitions, and most significantly, our love life. It was like playing truth or dare, but only the truth came out. Everything was just between me and her. We soon found out that were both fresh from heartbreak, and this fact became the cornerstone of our friendship since.

We became inseprable since then. We eat, go to school and go out together with friends. Shopping and dieting were our favorite past times. She’d wake me up 10x to get my ass to our 7am organic chemistry class. We talk, text and chat tirelessly, often through YM, though she’s just two floors above me. We became the bestest of friends, and the worst of enemies.

Summer of second year came, and we both decided to take our relationship further. At first we were both denying that we were an “item”. Soon enough, we accepted the lingering feeling that we have for each other. (cheezyy haha) Soon the tandem Maan&Ge became official, and our friends couldn’t agree more.

We were both happy, and unbelievably scared of losing what we already had. But what’s an achievement without challenges right?

And so, eversince the 22nd of May of 2004, when I asked her, at the sala of their house in Sta. Rosa, the question: “So, mahal mo rin ba ako?” and heard the ominous reply “Oo.” our rollercoaster began, complete with all the ups and downs, the loopty-loops, the corkscrews and the big dips, and the speeding ups and the slowing downs.

We’ve gone through a lot — 7 long and difficult years of med school, months and months of reviewing for the boards, and almost a year and a half of residency. We’ve gone to so many different places, tasted the best of foods, and shared so many experiences together. And we are not getting any younger. Future plans have to be made, and so, on our 8th anniversary, I planned to finally take our relationship a notch higher: to PROPOSE.

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

The Ring

Getting a ring is actually the first thing that I did to finally say to myself “This is it.” the committed step. No turning back.

I remember somone telling me early this year that a good enough ring should be twice/thrice your monthly salary. WOW. Well, based from my research on the net, that rule of thumb proved to be true. I began by secretly window shopping at the different jewelry stores at Rob and saw that what I’ve saved up was actually too small for the ring that I had in mind. Haha. Then I browsed though different sites on the net — guides on choosing the right ring, mastering the 4C’s of a diamond, etc.

But the question on where to buy proved to be the more challenging question to answer. Should I buy in a mall? or meet up with a jeweler? or go to Binondo/Greenhills? Good thing some of my senior residents in surgery who’ve recently proposed and got married told me of a quaint jeweler in Binondo where most of them got their rings. SUKI na kumbaga, tried and tested too!

Customized engagement ring for Maan

So one Saturday afternoon, only three days before our anniversary, with my batchmate Alvin Chu, I went to Binondo to buy the ring. I had to make a lousy excuse to Maan that I had to cancel on our date night just so I could fit the ring-buying in my schedule. Haha.

We were offered different rings, cuts, colors, settings. I told the jeweler what I had in mind. (Well, since Maan was always hinting on what kind of ring she’d love, I had a clear picture of what I wanted to buy, hahaha) The jeweler then said she could get the diamond that I wanted in one of her rings and set in in another design that I wanted. So after two hours, I finally bought a custom-made engagement ring! It was simple but elegant, no frills, and fit well within my budget. Most importantly, I knew Maan would love it. 🙂


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