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PRO-FRIENDS IN THE NEWS: Love for all ages: ‘Kasalang Bayan’ in Cavite grants dream wedding to 20 couples

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From young love to forever: Shervin and Khaecell Caluscusao

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It’s the right time: Dean Mervin and Annabelle Ventura

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Never too late for church wedding: Allan and Verna Marcial

CAVITE — As flowing white curtains were drawn open, a bride—glowing, beautiful and filled with emotions—emerged. She began walking down the church aisle, all eyes on her especially one pair. At the end of her walk, down the altar, the equally emotional groom awaited to take her hands to forever. This scene straight from romantic movies became an unforgettable moment for not just one but 20 couples. They were the lucky ones whose dream weddings came true at Lancaster New City’s Kasalang Bayan held last August 4 at the Parish of the Holy Family.

Touching hearts for three years already, Lancaster New City’s Kasalang Bayan chose couples who had been living together or were already blessed with children. Some had wed in civil ceremonies, while others tied the knot for the very first time—but all wanting to make the vow as husband and wife in front of God.

Coming from all walks of life and proving that love is for all ages—meet three of Lancaster New City Kasalang Bayan newlyweds.

From young love to forever

Shervin and Khaecell Caluscusao are the proof that young love can lead to forever.

Their love story began when Shervin, 14, saw Khaecell, 13, in a jeepney ride. It was love at first sight for Shervin, who immediately befriended Khaecell. From being friends at first, they entered a relationship at such tender age.

They became a family three years later when Khaecell gave birth to their first child. Then, everything seemed against all odds but they endured, growing older and maturing together along the way.

Shervin, now 22, and Khaecell, 21, finally decided to seal their love in front of God after eight years of being together.

“Masaya ako na kinasal na kami. Matagal ko na po itong pinapangarap. Nang magkahiwalay po ang magulang ko, siya na ang nag-alaga sa akin,” Khaecell told in an interview.

For her promise to Shervin, she said, “Magiging mabuting asawa ako sayo. Lahat ng responsibilidad ko, gagawin ko.”

“Habang nabubuhay ako sa mundo, hindi ko kayo hahayaan ng mga anak mo na masaktan at apihin pa ng iba,” Shervin responded.

Residing in Dasmariñas, Cavite, the young couple knew about Lancaster New City’s Kasalang Bayan from Jerry and Analie Peralta, whose love story were also chosen among the 70 entries submitted this year.

It’s the right time

For Dean Mervin and Annabelle Ventura, marrying at Lancaster New City’s Kasalang Bayan was a perfect timing—just three months after they got engaged.

“After 10 years of being together, nag-propose ako sa kanya last May on our anniversary. Actually, nagpa-plan pa lang kami ng kasal nang biglang dumating ang Kasalang Bayan dito sa Lancaster,” Dean told, proving that he wouldn’t let Annabelle slip from him anymore.

He first met Annabelle through her cousin, and immediately went to court her. They became first became a couple in 2008 and started living under one roof two years into their relationship. Today, their family includes their five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.

For her part, Annabelle still couldn’t believe that after all those years, she is finally married to the man of her life.

“Sobrang saya ko. Hanggang ngayon parang hindi ako makapaniwala na kasal na kaming dalawa. Siguro talagang binigay na sa amin na magsama na andyan si God sa gitna namin,” she said.

Annabelle also thanked the organizers of Lancaster New City’s Kasalang Bayan for helping couples like them have a church wedding without having the need to spend on everything. It is known that a church wedding plus the reception have become costly nowadays.

At Lancaster New City’s Kasalang Bayan, couples are treated to a complete experience, from prenuptial shoot with hair and make-up and pre-wedding seminar to the actual wedding day where they are given bridal bouquet, boutonniere, cord, veil and arrhae. It doesn’t end here. They are also provided with reception with souvenir and cakes and digital copies of prenuptial, wedding, and reception photos and videos.

Never too late for church wedding

Allan and Verna Marcial are are civilly married for 26 years already but this didn’t stop them from marrying in a church, when given the opportunity.

According to Verna, 48, they still wanted God’s blessing, more so now that they got older. Allan is 56 and they already have four children. They were the oldest couple to wed at the Kasalang Bayan.

“Buong buo na ‘yong pagiging mag-asawa naming dalawa at mas matibay na dahil sa simbahan at sa Panginoon,” Verna said.

But she never imagined experiencing a church wedding as beautiful as what she just had. “May pagkakataon na nanood ako ng wedding dito. Sinabi ko, ‘Parang ang ganda ng kasal dito. Sana ang anak ko maranasan din niya itong ganitong kagandang kasal.’ Iyon pala, ako ang ikakasal (dito)!” she exclaimed.

Indeed, Verna had come a long way from hating Allan in the beginning, who used to be the typical “chic boy” and basketball player.

“Marami akong nilagawan noon pero sa kanilang lahat, siya ang aking napili,” said Allan, who persevered to earn the love of Verna.

Verna attested to this and recalled how Allan courted her almost every day, until the time came when she too fell for him. “Totoo nga ang sabi ng mga matatanda noon, kung sinong ayaw mo, siyang makakatuluyan mo!”

Twenty-six years later and counting, they still are!

“Kung ano ang kalooban ng Panginoon, ‘til death do us part na talaga,” Verna said.

“Hanggang sa tumanda, hanggang sa kamatayan, tayo ay magsasama,” Allan affirmed.

“This is our third Kasalang Bayan and this is something that we want to share to everybody. That here at Lancaster New City, it’s important for us to be able to bring couples together in marriage,” said David Amor, Lancaster New City AVP for Marketing.

“This is why we call Lancaster New City your family-friendly city because we are bringing families and friends together in occasion such as this,” he added.

Lancaster New City Cavite is the flagship project of PRO-FRIENDS. It is your family-friendly township of more than 1,600 hectares where residents may Live, Learn, Work, Play, and Pray. For more information, visit Lancaster New City Official facebook Page and website.

(this article was originally published in Philstar's website)