Love, indeed, must be really blind even to past differences between two families whose patriarchs were bitter political enemies during a particularly turbulent decade in the Philippines.
The animosity that dates back to the early 1970s probably would be farthest from the minds of Carina Amelia “Cara” Gamboa Manglapus, 32, and Michael Ferdinand “Mouse” Marcos Manotoc, also 32, when they tie the knot today in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, apparently proving that time heals all wounds in unexpected ways.
The bride, a singer-songwriter and former correspondent of The Japan Times, is a granddaughter of late former Sen. Raul Manglapus, and the bridegroom, a lawyer, is a grandson of late former President Ferdinand Marcos.
Carina’s saxophone-playing grandfather, who was also a former congressman from Ilocos Sur and later Foreign Affairs secretary, went on exile in the United States when Michael’s grandfather declared martial law in 1972.
The ex-lawmaker, who had been regarded as “president material” at the time, would shortly be joined by his family, and later by Carina, who was born in the US.
Today’s wedding at the San Agustin Church in the town of Paoay will be a traditional Ilocano ceremony, featuring among other customs a contemporary binatbatan, which highlights the process of inabel weaving, one of the heritage crafts of the municipality.
With Paoay parish priest Bong Lamprea officiating, the nuptials will begin at 3:30 p.m. and will showcase musical performances by local choirs and other Ilocano talents.
After the Manotocs exchange I do’s, Bishop Renato Mayugba of the Diocese of Laoag will preside over a Thanksgiving Mass.
Among the traditions incorporated into the ceremony is the panangmano, where principal sponsors and other special guests give gifts to the couple. The pabitor or couple’s dance will shortly follow.
Dramatizing the Cordilleran facet of Ilocano culture, the tadek courtship dance of the Tingguian, Yapayao and Isneg indigenous groups will be performed.
During the patupak—an Ilocano wedding tradition incorporating the basi (fermented sugarcane) or bugnay (fermented local wild berries), the local versions of wine or liquor—guests are expected to make a tupak (to drop) or put money on plates while they or their representatives drink a glass of basi or bugnay.
Also, the guests are asked to complete and make the amount of money raised during the panangmano and pabitor a whole number, as an odd amount of cash is believed to cause misfortune to the newlyweds, already parents to a young daughter, Amelia Margarita or Mia.
The cash is meant to be the starting finances of the newlyweds but Cara and Mouse will give all that is collected from the bitor for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Expected to attend the wedding besides governors, congressmen, friends and relatives, are senators Joseph Victor Ejercito and Cynthia Villar, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and “possibly somebody important from Malacanang,” according to an insider.
Ahead of the occasion, Mouse’s mom, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, sees a happily wedded bliss for him and Cara: “Talagang labs nila ang isa’t isa. Alam kong magiging matagumpay ang kanilang pagsasama [They really love each other. I know that their union will be a winner].”
Mouse and Cara held a private wedding ceremony in Manila on November 22 before today’s grand and traditional festivities unfold in Paoay.