My first memory of Roxy was during the year 1999 the freshman orientation for the University of the Philippines School of Statistics. We were both sophomores then in a party organized by the current student council to welcome batch ’99.
Like every other collegiate night alcohol, loud music and a lot of young adults seem like a well thought of recipe for a great party. Each Batch was tasked to provide a presentation for the party. Some sang, some danced and some well… presented a little bit of both.
Our presentation was a dance, though at this time I could not remember what music the presentation was going for but the person that was supposed to lip sink the song could not turn up for the performance. However like showbiz, the show must go on! Just so happens I had my 1 bottle of beer that time and was in the right place and time to walk into the place while the team was having this very big dilemma.
I said yes, the moment one of them asked me to play the role of the singer. It was a simple presentation the girls would be dancing and I would be lip singing to the music while we reenact the MTV of the song. One of the dancers caught my eye. I would never know after a few years later she would become my wife. But that’s getting ahead of the story. The rest of the night however went like any party would have gone and forgotten into memory.
I never go to know her name then, tough I must say that I had a few meetings with her in campus grounds. She, of course, did not even know I existed, let along bother to know me. I was the typical geek, shorts, heavy glasses, rubber shoes and shirt, while she was always running with the popular crowd, a cheerleader and to top it all, a dorm girl. She had joined a different student organization, the one naturally in conflict with mine.
One year had passed with both of us living separate lives and studying the magic of statistics or so our Stat 122 teacher sir Jeff Tejada always said. By this time I was introduced to the science and enjoyment of inhaling compressed air. I assure you this is not drugs but just normal air compressed to 210 BAR and strapped on your back. This is where my love of SCUBA diving started, a two-unit course in the university. My professor back then Chen Mencias is an avid environmentalist and till this day she and her husband Louie Mencias have been good friends both me and Rox, tough out our adventures. After our diving certification on March 2000 six of us decided to host UPMEC ( University of the Philippines Marine Ecosystem Council ) a student organization that will teach university students the beuty of the marine environment. Needless to say… well we really did not get a lot of applicants that first year. However this trend soon changed when my best friend David Tajan entered one simple economics class in Palma Hall and spoke about our org wanting some applicants for the upcoming beach Clean up in Dive and Trek Resort, Batangas. Not many people came for the orientation but one to those that came there were two people that stood out. One was my crush back and the other the girl from the freshman dance! How lucky is that?!
He said he already noticed me during our College Acquaintance Party sophomore years, although I hardly paid attention at that time. I also remembered he invited me to join a newly formed organization, but again I wasn’t paying attention. I thought it was just some random invite to rack up some recruits so they can register in the University. I guess it didn’t register until a friend and I signed up as volunteers for a beach clean-up; his organization was one of the sponsors. September 16, 2000: so that’s when we officially first met.
That was the first time I got to know here name was Roxanne Bugayong. We did not really become an item back then. I was interested more on the other girl than her and she tagged along because it was a cheep way to go to the beach. Our time in MEC provided the catalyst in bringing us together. We did projects together on both MEC and Statistics and soon a new found friendship was born that lead into respect and finally love. It was after an overnight trip to my friend Dennis Pascual’s house that I held her hand and asked her to be my girlfriend. She said yes. I know I owe her a courtship phase so I’m doing that every day I meet her.
So we have been going out. But it took him forever to ask the question that would officially make us a couple! On July 22, 2002, he suddenly pops the question while we were on our way home from a friend’s birthday party. What else can I say? I blurted “Yes”… on the streets! (How anti-climactic…But can I be choosy?). It doesn’t matter, we’ve been happy since then
So ours wasn’t a love-at-first-sight fairytale. It wasn’t even until a couple of years after when we started dating! I ended up joining the organization after the beach clean-up and even got elected as Vice-Chairperson in 2001. He was the Chairperson of course, so we worked closely together. We became fast friends. We’ve gone places and shared adventures together. I know he has a crush on me, he told me so J But I never dreamed that we’d end up together someday since crushes come and go, right? I guess it took another year for me to realize he was serious. He already graduated from college by that time, yet he still hangs around helping me juggle my academic and extracurricular activities. Over the summer, I realised that I missed him… not as a friend.
We loved the same things a love of the open air, diving the deep oceans, reading the same books like Dan Brown, Magic the Gathering Novels and Lord of the Rings to name a few. I introduced her to Star Trek Voyager, Star Wars and Card games, while she introduced me to Hogwarts, Percy Jackson, The Notebook, how to dress properly ( she’s still teaching me this one ) and organizing my day right. We looked out for each other and have always said I love you after every fight. Sometimes I walk out and sometime she does, but after a few minutes we chase each other and say I’m sorry…
I lost a bet to her once… It started when I borrowed some money from her. The Bet was if I could not pay it back to her at the end of the summer I would go and apply as a call center agent. I lost the bet and started working for Sykes Asia Inc. Sykes was the place that defined my career for the next fives years as a Business Specialist.
We’ve had our share of arguments, but I guess I like that. I got to know him better after our arguments and it keeps our relationship interesting. There will always be stuff that we won’t agree on. But we make sure though that after we argue, we compromise. We’ve had our roller coaster ride and we survived together for 10 years.
On our eighth year together I moved to Sydney Australia to fulfill my permanent Resident Visa. The move was a hard one as I would be missing the Islands and of course Roxi… It’s a good thing there is Sykpe, the Internet and MMORPGs to keep us still spending time together. Each day I grew to miss her and each day I continue to love her.
Probably one of the toughest adjustments we had to make was his migration to Australia, especially for me. Even when he was just away for a week before, I would feel terribly lonely without him. How much more if we will be separated for a year? Amazingly we survived the time apart, and I think this has made our bond stronger. We chat or talk through Skype every day. Thank God for roaming, I can contact him anytime. It’s also a good thing we both enjoy online games so we have something to do together even when we’re apart. We have virtual lives together so to speak.
The things that we took for granted before, we’ve learned to value now. We make the most of every moment that we can be together. Whenever he’s assigned in Asia, we would make some time to each other, so our dates became more international J It’s a plus that we both enjoy travelling. I keep looking forward to the days when we are together.
The months led to years and after 120 monthsaries ever since our first time together officiallyin Fairview, I proposed on an easterly facing beach at the crack of dawn in Catanduanes Island Philippines. The ring was a simple pearl with diamonds around it. I was very nervous yet determined to ask the question. The moment she took the ring I don’t even think she said yes… my dream has finally come full circle and I still would not like to wake up. This 13th of July 2013 I will finally get to marry my one and only true love.
Last July 2012, he came back to the Philippines. We went on a trip to Malapascua Island for our 10th year anniversary as a couple and took another trip to Catanduanes. We were in one of the islands in Catanduanes for a photo shoot. He woke me up before dawn on July 27, 2012 for the sunrise shot of the lighthouse. So we were sitting on a driftwood on the beach, I was still half asleep and he was rambling on and on. He was talking about wanting me to be in Australia with him, how hard it has been not being together and he doesn’t want that anymore… Then all of a sudden he reached into his backpack and took out a box… And there you go! I guess he has a talent of popping questions when you least expect it
It’s amazing how changing our relationship status can be exhilarating and scary at the same time. I mean we’ve been together for a long time and we’ve even talked about future plans. So here we are, actually be putting these plans into actions, excited to move on and start the rest of our lives together J And we hope that we can be together in Australia after we say “We do” on July 13, 2013