A destination wedding becomes particularly special if the bride and groom have an intimate connection with the place. In the case of JP Anglo and Camille Malapas, both avid surfers, their special place is Siargao. Last Saturday, during the long Bonifacio Day weekend, the couple was joined by friends and family in Siargao to celebrate their wedding at a coconut plantation by the beach.
Click on the image below for a slideshow of the couple's pre-nup photographs
Two nights before the actual wedding day, guests gathered for a pizza-and-pasta dinner at Kermit Resort in General Luna. I personally look forward to the first event of a multi-day wedding celebration, as it is the first contact with all the guests—at least half of whom one doesn’t know. JP, a chef, and Camille, a currency broker, happen to have a set of friends who are wonderfully diverse and passionate. They are people from different parts of the country and different parts of the world who love and work with food: artists, bankers, consultants, doctors, filmmakers, lawyers, and world class surfers. After dinner, I tagged along with the best man and some newfound friends to sample the Siargao nightlife. We squeezed into the crowd in Loose Keys, had more drinks in Harana, and managed not to pass out while dancing in Baile.
My initial plan for Friday was to stay in and read while at Bravo Resort, but I changed my mind as JP had arranged for all of us to take two large boats, Galatea 2 and Galatea Cruiser, to visit nearby islands. Our first stop was the tiny Naked Island, which indeed was naked of everything—except soft white sand, and warm sea lapping on its shore from all directions. We then hopped over to Daku Island for more swimming in beautiful water, but most importantly for lunch, arguably the best boodle-fight I’ve ever had. It was essentially perfectly cooked and seasoned, fresh Filipino island goodness – grilled liempo, grilled chicken, slipper crab, alimasag, shrimp with garlic, barramundi, snapper, lato with vinegar, mango, watermelon, rice and kutsinta, coconut juice and soda – artfully arranged on banana leaves atop a long table.
Thankfully, we docked back to the General Luna pier early enough in the afternoon to have time to rest before another push at dinner.
By the evening, more guests had arrived and Harana was colonized entirely by people in pastel and summer prints. Before the end of the evening, Camille addressed everyone and told us a few things about Siargao – that it was a special place for them, that this is where they officially became a couple, and now they’re so happy to be able to share it with all of us in a special way. JP said something that stuck with me that night and for the rest of my stay, “Siargao was a place of generosity and sincerity.”
Saturday, Wedding Day.
I was a little worried early in the day, as the skies had opened and rain had started to fall. The night before, the couple had one request from us – to pray for good weather. Shortly past mid-day we piled into vans that would take us to Punta Dolores Homestead, about a 25-minute drive southwest. The wedding venue was a sprawling coconut grove, with white tents, and a large wooden house off to one side. We arrived early enough that there was time to walk past the trees onto the beach and gaze into the Pacific Ocean.
Mercifully, the rain had long stopped pouring when the ceremony started. The men were in khakis, linen, and pale-colored shirts. The groom and groomsfolk wore exquisite short-sleeved barongs (including fabric) made by Ziggy Savella. The women also mostly wore pale colors, with a few in color akin to ripe mangoes and papaya. The bride and bridesmaids wore white and sage green gowns by Kristel Yulo. As Camille was about to have her entrance, walking past panels made of tree branches and foliage, JP brought his hands to his cheeks in emotion. Camille shed a tear as she walked down the garden path towards the altar.
Click on the image below for slideshow
The bride's family: Mikhael Malapas, Gimra Malapas, Camille Anglo, Hedy Pe Malapas and Calixto Uy Malapas. Patrick Mateo
The bridesmaids with the bride: Pamela Malapas-Li, Anna Ngo, Raissa Gayle Tan, Camille, Valeree Tan, and Gwen Cristobal. Patrick Mateo
Camille. Patrick Mateo
Getting emotional. Patrick Mateo
Tearful after seeing his bride. Patrick Mateo
The ceremony. Patrick Mateo
The bride's family. Patrick Mateo
Christian Mirasol, Anne Anglo Mirasol, Oscar Anglo Jr. Camille and JP, Oraia Dizon, Melissa Anglo, Tracie Anglo-Dizon, Jao Dizon and Binky Dizon. Patrick Mateo
Gilda Joy Navarro, Anita Kaw, Camille and JP, Tracie Anglo-Dizon, Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat, and Diana Co. Patrick Mateo
Best Man Dennis Arkin who is also the groom's cousin. Patrick Mateo
Maid of honor Gimra Choa Malapas Patrick Mateo
Anglo in his barong by Ziggy Savella. Patrick Mateo
Easy riders: JP and his groomsmen. Patrick Mateo
The groom's family. Patrick Mateo
Raising a bottle for the groom. Patrick Mateo
The wedding begins. Patrick Mateo
The newlyweds listen to the speeches. Patrick Mateo
JP and Camille thank their guests for coming over to the island. Patrick Mateo
Jeremy Sy, David Sandoval Pe, Camille and JP, Erwin Romulo, Alvin Sandoval and Joel Binamira. Patrick Mateo
CThe groom's family. RJ Lacson
Sarie Cruz and Gringo Benedicto of Sev's. RJ Lacson
The newlyweds with Nino Barbers and bridesmaid Rai Tan. RJ Lacson
Atty. Mark Goricetta and his wife Caroline. RJ Lacson
The groom mingles with guests Ignacio Gonzalez Cabello and Cristina Cabanas from Madrid. RJ Lacson
Stephanie Coo. RJ Lacson
RJ Lacson with Mylene Dizon
With the wedding ceremony over, it was time to get drunk—I mean, have dinner and listen to wedding speeches. The food was prepared by Momon Fortich, a close chef friend from Siargao, who served up honest, good food with strong local flavors. A small sampling of what we had: skillfully carved lechon, an array of pickled papaya and vegetables, local cheese with honey, pan de coco and ube and mango ice cream.
We enjoyed ourselves talking, catching up, eating and drinking, and dancing for the rest of the evening. Even if some of us had only met each other just a few days earlier, we felt we had known each other for a while. Weddings do have a way of uniting two worlds together, but in this case it was also no doubt the warm embrace of the island that was holding us close.
Photographs by Patrick Mateo and RJ Lacson