The Month of the Heart of Winter

the new leaf of January is my Month!

Mark and Rheena, the big day!

I wasn’t expecting to be invited at Rheena’s wedding (Rheena is my first cousin)  considering that we were not actually close cousins in the first place besides I know the seats would be limited allowing probably two seats only for the entire family. But I was wrong when we bumped into her and her fiancé, Louie, last July. We got eight seats all in to her wedding. That was really unexpected and I was excited from then on. You know how I love weddings, I don’t know but it’s one of the occasions I’d love to attend every now and then. My excitement even multiplied following Rheena’s notice to us that her supposed civil wedding will now be a church wedding. It would be a lot blissful that way I thought of so.

Three weeks before the big day Rheena’s mommy (a.k.a. Tita Pearl) messaged me thru facebook if I can be one of the emcees at the wedding reception. Believe me it was an honor to be considered to do that role only that I have to decline because it wasn’t really my craft. 😦  I’m a good host at parties meaning the organizing part of it but being the official host of a staged event I’m not designed to perform. Because my sister had previous experience of doing it I vouched for her. Later on I found out that Jena (my cousin JB’s wife, got the other half of the role). Just then, when I thought I would be like any other guest to her wedding, Rheena again messaged me that she made me one of the readers during the wedding mass. That would be much welcome and I have no qualms this time. I spent high school doing the role during community masses.

Fast forward to Rheena and Louie’s big day –September 8, 2012, my family and I arrived at St. Augustine Parish Church in Mendez few minutes before the 12:30pm wedding ceremony. It gives us some time to brush shoulders and said hi and hello with other relatives plus it’s always good to be early. Insert lesson learned during my own wedding in 2005 when I arrived so so late, hehehe.

And while waiting, photo op muna. 🙂

the crying bride

My seat was a little distant at the aisle so no good photos came out during the wedding march, my niece SAM took mostly of these shots. More practice I should say, hehehe. Anyhow, the rites went on smoothly so I take credits to her wedding coordinators who were very organized that day, I love the photographers too who covered the event –Jason Angcao and team.

I somehow lost track of time and didn’t notice that the mass was way longer than the usual; my Nanay did notice it actually. Well, she said it’s because Father Mhel was really like that, he is use to give long homily and preach a little slow. By the way, we know Father Mhel as he came from my hometown and my family knows his family too. Proud that my little town had produce like him. 🙂

The wedding photo op that usually takes longer than the marriage vows!

Right after the wedding all guest trooped to the wedding reception some kilometers away from Tagaytay. The secret garden which is now almost synonymous to weddings and engagements –Sonya’s Garden, which is located at Barangay Buck State, Alfonso. Oh no, don’t mistake that Sonya’s is still Tagaytay lands. I’d like to correct people who thinks that way, it’s the same as how they associate Balay Indang with Tagaytay and Mendez. FYI, Balay Indang is located at my hometown, period.

you think “pitot” would make a handsome groom for our bei bei

the kids love “pitot”

Sonya’s Garden is a dog-friendly establishment, there’s no doubt on it because Sonya herself is a dog lover too. Pitot, the big yellow lab, is one of hers who gave us a warm welcome. 🙂

ang peg nila JLC or Luis M, kelangan naka-blazer hehehe

At the wedding party, everyone looks nice and ready to sway. Everyone was spellbound at the scenic venue and for mostly first timers Sonya’s Garden is the ideal country living experience. I wasn’t surprised at all about the fresh and organically grown spread which we are going to devour but the oldies were somewhat reading between the lines when Tita Pearl’s disclosed in her speech that we’re going to eat healthy today. Perhaps it sounded healthy menudo with dried oregano or adobo cooked in balsamic of malt vinegar. 😀

As the wedding program went on, nice one Che and Jena for the big stint and for keeping everyone entertained, the foods were served in order.

The first were bite size pieces of chocolates which were scattered all over our table, only that my nephew P collects each piece even before our tablemates got their share. Wise little boy! Ok, those chocolates were not really part of the menu. 🙂

We started with Bread. Fresh baked whole wheat sesame bread with an array of homemade dips and toppings: basil pesto, white cheese, anchovies, bruschetta tomato toppings, mushroom pate, black olive tapinade and fresh green peppercorn in olive oil.

Coming from an early lunch, without any cocktails before or after the wedding, all guests must be so hungry and the kind serving of bread became a relief to our complaining tummies. SAM and I literally finished each loaf with our favorite white cheese.

Green Salad. Freshly harvested lettuce and arugula topped with mango, broad beans, eggs, cucumber, jackfruit, pineapple, edible flowers in season, etc., drizzled with Sonya’s Secret Dressing or Balsamic Vinegar/extra virgin olive oil.

Again, the serving is fairly generous with two sets of these greens at our table of seven or eight including the little big boy. I had two or three serving, I can’t get over the crisp of the lettuce and arugula even if the secret dressing is much like those I’m enjoying at home.

Pasta. With two kinds of sauces and toppings: sun dried tomato and chicken cream with mango. Topped with ratatouille, salmon belly, shitake mushrooms, black olives, capers and grated parmesan cheese, pepperoncini. Our bowl of pasta almost took like forever to come out, we were the last to be served after two follow ups. Nonetheless, because it was deli and we fervently understand that it’s hard to cover some 150 guest at the same time, we stay put and pleased ourselves soon as it was lay down in front of us. We all loved the white sauce with chunks of chicken on it, drizzled with plenty of grated parmesan –heaven! I almost forgot I also love that salmon belly on my pasta!

Dessert. Glazed sweet potato, banana rolls with sesame & jackfruit, and smashingly sinful homemade chocolate cake from the Panaderia (enjoy with mint leaves). I wish I can comment more on how luscious that chocolate cake can be, only that the serving was small, much described thin, to its thinnest slice I doubt if you can savor the sinful flavors of it.

The sweet potato was like so so, probably it doesn’t give so much appeal and I wanted that banana rolls, which was served next to our table. Sadly, they forgot to serve ours.

Drinks. Bottomless freshly squeezed dalandan juice (local orange) and tarragon tea. The dalandan juice is thirst-quenching; no question about it although I wish the refills would be a lot faster. And lastly we enjoyed the tea, with that little herb that floats around. It’s the perfect way to end a healthy yet a very filling dinner!

Obviously in my mind I wished there was Chicken Gallantina or Honey Garlic Spareribs and with all the guest that are not so-accustomed in eating herbs, leaves, flowers, healthy food that is, well, I suppose the entourage would have enjoyed much the Filipino Wedding Menu that Sonya’s has. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining and smashing on someone here, I know the couple considered the one that is budget-friendly too, the same way we did seven years ago. 🙂  Besides if you’re at Sonya’s Garden try the best sellers and prepare yourself to eat cholesterol-free dishes alone. I dare you eat as much as you can because Sonya’s serves eat all you can! 🙂

Rheena and Louie’s wedding was one of the many event my family had good memories to account, Tatay and Nanay were both principal sponsors, Tatay even gave a warm speech for the couple, Che co-hosted the event, Sam did the prayers at the reception and I took part in the mass reading the Prayers of the Faithful. Well, the two sons in law were our dependable drivers then and P, just don’t mind the tantrums he’s cute in his suit and sneakers. I love the roles our family had as we witness this union. It’s regretful that we didn’t pose for a souvenir family picture in the end.

We stayed even until the wedding program ended, had little chit chats with the maternal, I even wished to wander around and explore Sonya’s Garden but we’re all worn out from the half day happening. I guess will go on a trip next time to delightfully discover this secret garden.

To Rheena, stay lovely in and out. To Mark, stay thoughtful and loyal to our Rheena. And a happy married life to the both of you! 😛

E- family


P.S. I’m looking forward to attending another cousin’s wedding in December, this time from the paternal side. 🙂


Mark Louie & Rheena Engagement Session AVP
Mark Louie & Rheena SDE
Venue and Reception of Wedding as follows:
Saint Augustine Church
Mendez, Cavite
Sonya’s Garden
Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite, Philippines
(near the vicinity of Tagaytay City, Philippines)
For reservations, call or text the following numbers: +63-9175329097 / +63-9175335140 / +63-9175231080 mail at:



3 responses to “Mark and Rheena, the big day!

  1. madjewel September 15, 2012 at 11:57 am

    i love reading other’s wedding hehe (hope you can share yours too) and oh haven’t been to sonya’s garden

    • january September 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      same here, i love wedding stories and being part of it. hmmm, where did our wedding photos go? actually during our wedding 7 years ago, I have no idea that wedding pictures are good investments so we both decided to have it the least in our budget. we had some pretty good shots but the rest never mind, hehehe. hopefully I can make a write-up of it soon or better wait for our 10th year anniversary, we plan to renew our vows with our families around. 🙂

  2. Pingback: a wedding in December, Pao+Heize « The Month of the Heart of Winter

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