#JANANDJOANNA: Our Engagement Story



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Surprise! Well not really since if you follow me on my social media sites, I am sure that you’ve already seen the news since it happened last November 11 (11/11—what a great day to start something!) and this major life event is one of the main reasons why I’ve been remiss in posting on this blog. If you’ve noticed, for quite some time, I’ve actually stopped posting more personal things on this blog since I’ve learned that it’s better to keep most things in my life private. I guess I’ve learned to compartmentalize and it’s been a proactive decision of mine to maintain some distance from the things that I share and talk about and I find that there things that I am very protective over and my relationship with Yan has always topped that list. Time and experience has taught me that I do not have the best track record of filtering what I think from what I say and I’ve been guilty of being brutally honest to a fault. While I am sure most readers find that refreshing and candid, it came at a cost and so, I took a step back.

I’ve actually thought about whether to post a blog entry on the engagement and moving forward, the wedding planning and the wedding, since there are a few moments in life so beautiful and precious that blogging about it would be some sort of profanity… or so I thought. But after months of careful consideration, I realized this is one of those significant life moments that when it happens to you, it would be impossible not to want to proclaim. It would also be the fair thing to do since I started blogging over ten years ago (dating back to the days of Multiply and Facebook Notes) because I had so much random thoughts to share that I didn’t want to bottle up and repress. If anything, it has been a decade long journey and I think I owe it to my followers and to myself.

As a cynic masquerading as a realist who is secretly actually deep down a romantic, I’ve always loved hearing love stories and everything leading to that. Proposal stories are always special… no matter how, what, where or when. It truly is a life changing moment that you’ll cherish for years. Personally, I find that every love story is beautiful… but ours, of course, is my favorite.

How We Met

The first time I met Yan, I was in second year college. It was during the first day of our AB-Psychology majors back in 2006 and I was that typical competitive student who made it a point to sit down in the first row directly in front of the teacher’s table in every class because it was my goal since the first day of my Freshman Year to graduate with Latin Honors. Usually, since most students want to sit as far away from the professor as possible, nobody sat beside me but in the classes I had with Yan, I found that I had a consistent seat mate. Of course, being the introvert that I am, I had a difficult time getting comfortable with people but after only a couple of classes, I found myself opening up to him to the point that I actually ended up sharing with him photos that I stored in my huge ASUS laptop which I took of my daily outfits… way before the advent of Chictopia and Lookbook when outfit sharing wasn’t even a thing. He was, as it turned out, one of the first people I opened up to about this part of my life which eventually grew to become the blog that it is today. I don’t actually remember much of that until he reminded me when we started to see each other again but he says it was one those memories of me in college that he never forgot. When we started dating, he actually claimed that I have always been his “dream girl” which was why he kept on sitting beside me in class even if there were other seats available. Being his dream girl was such a challenge to live up to and that was one of the reasons I actually held back for a long time. I never trusted being that for anyone and I repeatedly reminded him when we were dating that the thing about us dream girls is that we have the tendency of becoming real.  So I started talking about myself in less “dreamy” descriptions and narratives knowing that it was better he knew the real me vs. his idea of me. I was expecting him to run for the hills. He stayed. He told me that these exact things that I was dealing with were what drew him to me. It wasn’t something I expected to happen. My mom always told me that I will find someone when I’m not looking and she was right. I haven’t been looking for over two years and I was happily single and content with my life that I put up walls to protect my new found inner peace. Then comes in this man who tore those walls down and built new and stronger ones but this time with me and him in it. He accepted me as I am- flaws and all, he protects me fervently and he treats me as though I am the most precious thing for him and I’ve never been happier…until…

The Proposal


On November 11, 2016, I was proposed to by the love of my life and boy, did he surprise me. I went to Iloilo because I missed him and as a supportive girlfriend since they were opening their restaurant  on that day. He picked me up from the airport, we had lunch with his parents and after lunch, we visited his office and he worked a bit. It was so sweet that his private office had these framed photos of us displayed around.  He then toured me the whole afternoon around Iloilo. After a couple of hours driving through beautiful churches, plazas and well preserved homes,  he said he wanted to go another place and I said okay but that it’ll be dark out soon, which probably explained the ‘Fast and the Furious” style driving I endured to get to wherever he was taking me. The place was beautiful… it was a chapel on top of a very high hill which you had to take about 1,000 or more steps to reach. I wanted to see what was so special up top so Yan planned to have a golf cart for us to reach that point. He led me to a  black dark chapel with only the altar as light to pray but would leave me time to time to answer “business” calls. At one point, I told him that it was too hot in the room so he said that we can move further now and after all the darkness I saw, as soon as I opened the door… it was all bright white- angels, clouds, the all white chapel… I felt like I was literally in heaven on earth. Then he came down on one knee with a ring and asked, if I would marry him which shocked me and left me speechless. I am not used to receiving things and I suck at grand gestures because I am the most awkward person in the world  and to say that he caught me off guard would be an understatement. I didn’t expect this at all. I was drifting from having no words to incoherent and then I started crying. It was like having an out of body experience… When I finally went back to earth, I looked into the eyes of the man I loved and I said YES… it was the only clear thing to me at that time. YES and I experienced pure joy.

Now I was so focused on just me and  him that I failed to notice the photographer he hired to capture the moment, his brother and friend who were both there to share the moment with us. He increased his driving speed since he didn’t want to miss the sun and had to get me there before it was too dark. To be frank, I was in state of shock when we were taking photos and I continued to be in a state of shock in the car long before we left the place. Being engaged didn’t truly hit me until I started saying fiancé out loud. “This is Yan, my fiancé, My fiancé is with me today, I have to check my fiancé schedule.” It’s amazing! I have to say, being engaged actually does feel different because there’s a certain strength in us, a feeling of being further dedicated to each other, but most of all, I felt like I have never been more sure of anything in my life.

It was the perfect proposal but not because of the beautiful place, the perfectly planned date he had leading to it and that he hired a photographer to capture the moment, it was perfect because it was Yan who did it and it is him I get to call my fiancé.


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Yan centers me. He’s my rock and he has this loving way of grounding me when I get wild and crazy ideas, and this thrilling way of lifting me on my worst days. He understands me so perfectly and knows me so well. It’s funny that he always saw me as his dream girl since college because I never knew that a man who has such integrity, so much love to give and who’s accepted me so fully would exist not just in my dreams but in reality. He is the paragon of love, patience and kindness… How lucky am I that he loves me?

Photos by: Love Train Studio


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