From the printed and online invitations to the email reminders a month and a few weeks before 7-7-14, Carissa Villacorta and Ryan Songalia knew how to build up excitement and expectation for their “Best Day Ever.” And boy, did they deliver!
July 6: As soon as we arrived in Cebu, we were greeted by members of the bride’s family, who gave us awesome “welcome bags” (very thoughtful of them to include a few first-aid items for those “you-never-know” moments, along with the goodies). Then we were whisked off to our hotels in several white vans marked with the CVRS logo.
We were able to join Day 2 of the Wedding Weekend. Our first stop: The Chocolate Chamber by Ralfe Gourmet. On the way, we joined the tour bus and was treated to songs handpicked by the bride, for our listening pleasure. The ride allowed us to meet and bond with the couple’s family and other friends.
Choco Boy couldn’t contain his excitement on the road, and kept asking, “Are we there yet?” Once there, though, we felt like Choco Boy, wide-eyed and intoxicated by the sweet and dreamy smell of cacao. The house’s Austen-esque ambiance, made me raise my pinky while holding the dainty porcelain cups filled with warm and smooth orange chocolate. Then the truffles came. I could not get enough dark chocolate truffles. We also met Raquel Choa, owner of Ralfe Gourmet, an amazing woman who deserves a separate article.
Next stop, lunch at The Tinder Box, Carissa’s favorite restaurant. As soon as we tasted their Beef Salpicao, we understood why. Then we went to Tindahang Pinoy, where they greeted us like turistas and gave us garlands made from local sea shells, accented with capiz hearts signed ryan+carissa 7.7.14. They even served us coffee and snacks while we shopped for souvenirs. This made us feel like the Kadatuan (Visayan Royal Families)!
Then they took us to La Vie Parisienne, an exquisite rustic bakery and café that offered a fantastic al fresco dining experience. I succumbed to the tempting smell of freshly baked pastries, and bought enough for midnight snacks and breakfast the next day.
Our last stop was Maya Restaurant, where we had great Mexican food and mingled with distinguished guests such as Amb. Millie Thomeczek, Marie Claire Lim Moore (author of Amazon bestseller “Don’t Forget the Soap”), and many others. The kids loved the quesadillas, and we enjoyed the cocktails. Indeed, it was a wonderful way to cap the evening.
The couple’s personal touches to each tour stop made us rediscover Cebu as if we were tourists in our own country, and their genuine warmth and care for both foreign and local guests made us feel like part of their family.
July 7: We all prayed for the good weather to continue that day (there were reports of a typhoon coming in), and God answered from heaven with a smile! From sunrise to sunset, the weather was perfect. The ceremony was simply beautiful and touching. There was not a dry eye in the room as the bride walked in, and as the couple exchanged their vows for forever.
The reception at Movenpick’s Ibiza Beach Club was equally memorable — from the glamorous setup that looked like a scene from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, to the glorious world-class food, heartfelt speeches, a brilliant serenade from the groom, and exciting entertainment (fireworks! and fire dancers!) — we were treated to really The Best. Day. Ever.
Thank you, Ryan and Carissa!