The Big Surprise


The future is uncertain. Because of this, I feel the need to appreciate every little thing, to find opportunity to celebrate the most minute detail of our blessings.

I wholeheartedly believe John Piper and the Westminster’s Catechism that the chief end of men is to glorify God AND enjoy Him forever.

(disclaimer: this blog has lots of pictures. Really lots!)

A few days before our Quickie Cebu trip, I suddenly had an idea to renew our vows! Fil and I got married September of 2007 and we would be celebrating our 5th anniversary soon. With our busy schedule, this trip was our only break from work, ministries and rehearsals. I immediately contacted my good friend Darlene and asked for her help. What to do, what to do?

She gave me a concrete plan, and from there, I tweaked it and made it my own.

Operation Surprise Celebration Plan:
Step one: tell Fil I want to have a professional photoshoot at the beach
Step two: hire a photographer.
Step three: inform the resort of our plan and ask for their help
Step four: look for a pastor
Step five: plan for the shoot that will lead to the surprise ceremony!

I inquired with several photographers in Cebu, and found Nicolo of Rainbowfish Photography. I visited their site, and liked their pics. Texting with Matet (and finding out that she and Nicolo are a husband and wife team like Fil and I) made us like them more. They gave us a reasonable rate, and Fil agreed to it.

The next thing was to coordinate and negotiate with Costabella resort. When I told them about my plan, their staff immediately jumped into it and helped me with the details. I requested for an area for the ceremony, bouquet, cake, and a romantic dinner for two by the beach. They accommodated my plan and set things to motion.

With regards to the pastor, i asked my friend Byron for help, but he couldn’t find one on such short notice. So I decided to just do it ourselves.

Thus, for the last day of our Short Cebu trip, we had breakfast, worshipped by listening to John Piper’s message from Desiring God, and spent the rest of the day in Costabella Beach Resort.

In Costabella, we were greeted cordially and casually upon arrival. We swam for a few minutes and prepared for the upcoming photoshoot. We prepared three sets of outfit, with my old wedding gown being my last. Did Fil suspect anything when I wanted to wear it? No, because it is the most reused wedding gown in the world — I have used it for several shows already 🙂

Nicolo met us at the resort and we showed him the outfits we prepared. He explored the place and found suitable spots to shoot. Resort staff Stephanie also accompanied us every step of the way.

First we used our casual whites.






Then we put on our mean blacks:




And last of course, around 5pm, we donned our formals.

Nicolo “led” us to the wedding setup, and a resort staff showed us their “happy fifth anniversary, Filbert and Shanda” sign. Fil was really surprised. Ha!





We walked to the center and held each other’s hands. We renewed the vows we made to each other five years ago, reminding ourselves of the promises we made to each other, just the two of us.

We laughed, we cried, we danced in bliss,
We cut the cake and fed each other
more than one bite — we finished the entire slice!
We toasted, we prayed, our hands lifted high,
We thanked God for giving us five amazing years,
Wishing for more to come,
Sealing it with a kiss.
How I love him so,
Oh how he loves me too.








Then, we continued our pictorial until the sun is gone, and proceeded to our intimate dinner for two.





How I wish we could stay longer! But this brief interlude should be continued and carried over to our day to day activities. Sweetness and love are not just for special occasions, but for everyday occurrences.

Photos courtesy of Rainbowfish Photography

Venue: Costabella Tropical Beach Resort


Blogs about our entire Cebu trip:

Quickie Cebu Trip: Overview

Leaving Manila, Loving Cebu

Our Hendy Mitchel Experience

Anzani, Anzani!

7 responses »

any thoughts you'd like to share?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s