PAGUDPUD, Ilocos Norte–The Sept. 20 Saturday wedding here was “one in a million”. This is how Catholic parish priest Father Franklin D. Gorospe described the nuptial of couple Restie Respicio of Brgy. Dadalaquiten, Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Rachel Mamuad of Brgy. Ligaya, this town.
As it rained cats and dogs, intensified by strong wind, Restie (the groom) and his old folks left his hometown of Sinait bound for Pagudpud aboard a heavily canvass-covered Isuzu Elf truck at early 4 a.m. of Saturday.
It was the crucial hours when Typhoon Mario was hitting hard the province. For fear of fallen trees, debris and other road blocks along the way, Restie’s able-bodied men armed themselves with chainsaw, axes and bolos. They brought also with them pre-cooked food stuffs including lechon baboy (roasted pig) for the occasion. Their north-bound mission: To reach St. Jude Thaddeus Church by all means as Restie vowed not to fail his bride Rachel who was eagerly waiting for him for the altar rendezvous.
Typhoon Mario was truly a “ruinator” as roads going to Pagudpud almost impassable. Thanks God, Restie, escorted by his parents, kith and kin, reached this coastal town at 12:30 noon. At the strike of 1:30 p.m. that day, Father Gorospe sprung from his convent room and literally defied Typhoon Mario’s wrath to heed the call for religious duty.
Amid wheezing wind blows and torrential rains that soaked inside the less-walled St. Jude Church, Rev. Frank Gorospe stood at the altar and officiated the Holy Mass and Sacrament of Holy Matrimony for the couple who were clad in their wedding attire. In the absence of choir, organ instrument and electricity, the good Father Frank played church music from his iPad as background when Restie and Rachel exchanged “I dos” under the floodlight of candles. At 3 p.m., the church wedding rites ended. As finale, Father Frank commanded the groom to plant the first legal kiss into the bride’s cheek drawing cheers and applause from the crowd.
To celebrate this one-in-a-million kind of wedding, Father Frank offered the newly-wed couple to sit in a simple banquet as reception at the church lobby where he joined the newly-introduced Mr. & Mrs. Restie Respicio, together with the bridal sponsors, entourage and guests. As the wedding-goers dispersed that stormy afternoon, Typhoon Mario continued to wallop the province with more strong winds and monsoon rains. At last, both Restie and Rachel heaved a sigh of relief as they thanked God the Almighty for aiding them against all odds. (Theo S. Guiang with reports from Joel Madamba/Rommel Sagucio of DZEA-Laoag)