Life in the Fast Lane


One Wildly Wonderful Weekend

By 8:39 AM , , , , , ,

Last weekend was a weekend to remember. Within a span of two hours last Friday, I hopped on a plane, landed in the beautiful province of Mactan, Cebu, unpacked my bags and quickly got dressed and made my way down to the beachside to celebrate my best friend Rej's Despedida de Soltera.

Me in white (leftmost), with the bride-to-be in gold, and Nica and Laurie who were also in white.

Hours later, with eyebags, stress zits and remnants of an alcohol-induced hangover (not me, though; my other friends), we trooped over to Rej's hotel suite for hair and makeup. That would be the start of another action-packed leading up to the wedding ceremony that evening.

Proud bridesmaids and Maids of Honor at the Siy-Hahn wedding.

Rej and Vince in their getaway golf cart.

It was one weekend to remember because it was so eventful, a stark contrast to how I normally spend my weekends (i.e. plopped down in front of the television catching up on Criminal Minds episodes, or out grabbing dinner, watching a movie, and going out for coffee afterwards). I'm rarely the type to get dolled up at nine in the evening for a party and drinks 'til the wee hours of the morning.

But this time, there was not a single minute that wasn't action-filled. We would be eating one minute, sitting in front of a mirror getting our hair crimped and styled, then stressing over our video presentation because a laptop (mine) "ate" the DVD in it, walking down the aisle, tearing up, and dancing in heels the next.

Yet it was memorable for another, more important reason. It would be the first wedding in our barkada.

I've known Regina, or Rej to most of our friends, since we were four years old. I met this curly-haired, wide-eyed, equally tall girl in my Sunday School class. We were introduced by my mom's sister since she was supervising another class. I don't remember if we were the best of friends back in those days, but the next vivid memory I have of Rej was when we were nine years old.

She studied in a different school then, but when we were both in the third grade, she moved to our school. Once again, she happened to be placed in the same class as me. Her mom, Chiqui Brosas-Hahn (whom, I found out much later, competed in the 1975 Miss Universe pageant and placed fourth runner-up), re-introduced us to each other. I felt personally responsible for making Rej feel at home in this new school. We ate together, sat beside each other, and I made sure to introduce her to our other classmates. Soon enough, Rej made her own friends and we didn't hang out as much anymore. One particular instance that made me think that she didn't want to be my friend anymore (excuse my thinking; I was only nine) was when I leaned over to look at her pencil case and she slapped my hand, glared at me, and pulled the pencil case away. I was scared of her ever since.

But Life wasn't quite done with us. Two years later, as fifth-graders, we were once again placed in the same class. One particular subject (I think it was a video for Math class) needed us to form a group of four. Rej and I teamed up and we found ourselves grouped with two petite girls, Nica and Laurie. With this, Rej and I were called "The Twin Towers" and given other equally amusing nicknames; she was the "Ostrich" to my "Giraffe". The four of us somehow hit it off and after that groupwork was over, we eventually became a barkada. We left our own barkadas (at the time, I had to contend with a jealous "best friend" who thought that Rej, Nica and Laurie were "stealing me") and we became an obnoxious, self-centered, inseparable bunch of four until high school.

Tessa and Celine (whom we call Pips) joined us in our sophomore year. When they did, we became an even more inseparable bunch and went through countless adventures, fits of laughter, crushes and first boyfriends together. Incredibly, we survived the drifting apart that often happens when people move to different universities and our friendship became stronger now that we're all employed (and in the case of one of us, self-employed). That's thirteen years of solid friendship and sisterhood.

During a field trip when we were high school sophomores back in 1997.

During our retro-themed Christmas dinner last December.

And it has been this unique, indescribable bond that filled us and moved us last weekend as we "gave" Rej to Vince and, in turn, officially, legitimately welcomed him into our lives.

It was a weekend to remember, indeed. We celebrated the union of Vince and Rej and marveled at how perfect they really are for each other. We listened to speech after speech, each one warming our hearts. I felt really honored to be part of the ceremony and blessed to see one of my "bestest friends" entering the wonderful world known as marriage.

Of course we couldn't let the festivities pass without surprising the couple. A year ago, shortly after we found out about their engagement, the rest of us planned to make a video telling the story of how the couple first met, fell in love, and dove into marital bliss. In a non-traditional, unexpected way, of course. Since we always liked drawing (in high school, we were called the "artsy
barkada"), we put our somewhat dormant doodling and coloring skills to good use once again.

This was our gift to the couple. It was shown during the wedding reception.

Rej will always be special in an ugly-duckling-turned-graceful-swan kind of way. Not that she was ever ugly. We have seen her transformation through the years. She used to think of herself as a lanky, tall and awkward teen once upon a time. Today, she is the epitome of brains (her career as a hacker — kidding! — in I.T. is soaring) and beauty (she won second runner-up in the Bb. Pilipinas pageant last year). But not only that. She is the kind of friend who will find you at two in the morning when you've had a rough night. She will sit ramrod straight and exude elegance, then turn into a complete dork when it's time to pose for pictures. She jumps at the chance to go on adventures with you, and she'll always let you know just how much she appreciates you.

I'd like to think that Vince is one lucky guy, but from what my friends and I know of Vince, we think that Rej is just as lucky. She found her perfect half.

Congratulations once again, Vince and Rej! I'm overjoyed and excited for what the future holds for the two of you. Much love always!

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