Rex & Mahal: I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You

Here’s one of the love stories which is in the running to be the Extraordinary Love Story Contest for this year’s Kasalang Filipino.  We are publishing it as is — as it was sent to us.  The winning couple will be awarded over 200 thousand pesos worth of free wedding photo and video coverage by Ryan Ortega | Photo and Green Tomato Productions respectively.  Like this story (by clicking the like button at the end of this post) and help them win.  Kasalang Filipino 2012:  More Fun in Gensan is brought to you by Project O! Consultants.

December 27, 2004
I thought he’s a Pastor. He was the 1st person who spoke to me when I arrived at Rizal Recreation Center in Rizal, Laguna. We were both attending the First International Ministers’ Kids’ Convention of the Philippine General Council of the Assemblies of God.

I liked him as a friend. We ate together, played games together, sat together, and talked for hours. Out of my thoughts, really am unaware, I didn’t call him ‘kuya’, he’s almost three years older than me and usually ‘kinukuya ko ang mga mas nakakatanda sa akin’. Pero siya, hindi. Nagtataka nga ako. ???

Came the convention’s last day, he asked for my mobile number, email address, home address and instructions on how will he reach my place in Bukidnon.

December 30, 2004 to Mid 2007
Before we parted ways, I hugged him. I thought that would be my last sight of Rex. He kissed me on the cheek. All the while he was thinking, GUSTO KO SIYA! Porbida!

From that day to year 2007 we have a continuous communication. It went thru’ emails, social networking sites (Friendster pa uso noon), text messages, he even made calls, sent me letters twice & sent me two books. Those were dated.

His texts to me were like these:
“I know from the first time I saw you will be my wife.”
“I believe we will see each other again.”
“I love you.”
“Will you marry me?”

The second though, was paved. From Luzon, he flew right away days after his graduation in UPLB to Davao City to study LLB in ADDU.

I was taking his sweetness and thoughtfulness for granted. Brushing him aside, thinking wala kaming patutunguhan because my first impression of him was not striking. But Rex is persistent, in other words makulit at mausyoso. He knows me inside and out. Though I treated him only as a friend, at the back of my head, merong kakaiba.

Later on, I decided to give it a try. We became more intimate.

October 2, 2007
DREAM. I was running uphill, wearing a long white tube dress, barefooted while tagging along the seams afraid they might get dirty. I knew I’m wearing a dress similar to what the brides are wearing during the days they gave up their ‘Ms.’ names. Along the way, I overheard a group of people speaking in a language I know & understand (Ilokano) who turned their heads toward me & said, “Hurry up. He’s waiting for you.”

I continued running to walking fast until I came to see a stone-like church on top of a hill. From the outside I could say it was thoroughly cemented, still unpainted. It has long slim French windows. I stepped up on the porch & opened the two metal doors that meet in between. The wooden pulpit inside was raised two steps from the tiled floor. There were sturdy & wooden benches inside which I believe were made by Igorot folks for I too grew up in a church where the congregation sits on the same kinds.

And, there, on the other end, I saw Mr. Rex Dumalao Batay-an, wearing a dark blue necktie hanging perfectly on his white-collared long sleeved polo, very sleek in his well-ironed black slacks and in a pair of pointy black shoes. A dark blue tuxedo neatly folded in half sat on his left arm while his right hand inside his pocket, with eyeglasses on. He then spoke to me, “Where have you been?, I’ve been waiting for you”, Bakit ngayon ka lang?, Kanina pa kita hinihintay.”

I didn’t have an answer to his questions for I didn’t know what to say & I didn’t know really what’s going on. In my dream, I was roughly baffled so I flashed out a smile. And, whoooof! I then saw myself marching on the center aisle in a pair of silver sandals holding a white bouquet of big roses and tulips.

Then I woke up.

October 7, 2007
Davao City. After almost three years, Rex and I came up with the idea of seeing each other and yeah, he’s wearing eyeglasses!

October 9, 2007
I was on my way home from Davao City to Bukidnon when I received a message from Rex.

Message: I now consider you as my wife. Please forget your past and all your mishaps. Take care of yourself for me. Any confirmed news that you’re still dating with other men, I’ll take it up against you as infidelity.

It’s official. Hehe.

November 30, 2007
On my 21st birthday, Rex had the guts and courage to visit my place in Kalilangan, Bukdnon and to face my parents.

February 27, 2008
Rex was showing me the photos saved in his computer of their newly built Assembly of God Church in Manag, Conner, Apayao where his father is the host pastor. Geeee! That was the church I saw in my dreams a few months ago!

November 20, 2008
It was a very simple ceremony inside one of Kuya Ed’s Eat All You Can in Davao City. Hehe. We don’t have much but we’re happy. Rex & I tied the knot in marriage.

August 20, 2010
It was a 3-hour trip inside my parents-in-law’s blue adventure w/ some stop-overs from Tuguegarao City to Manag, Conner, Apayao. It was my first time to reach the almost northern part of Luzon. As we pulled into their settlement’s driveway, I only saw the right side of their church because it was already dark & a few lights were on.

August 21, 2010
As early as six in the morning though pretty tired from yesterday’s travel, I went outside to see the place.

First, I went to see the road I know I already tracked (in my dream). Then I looked at the church’s windows, I stepped up on the porch, opened the split-door, looked on the inside, the wooden pulpit, the tiled floors, the feeling of familiarity – voila! It is! To God be the glory!

Year 1994 (month forgotten, as relayed to me by my father & my father-in-law)
My father Rev. Mahro G. Singcol, a pure Boholano flew to Seoul, Korea to attend an International Convention of the Assemblies of God. Along with some of his co-ministers, he was able to meet Rev. Urbano C. Batay-an from Tabuk, Kalinga, a full blooded Igorot. Belonging to same denomination and both ministers, they exchanged names and my father even invited this Rev. Batay-an to visit his hosted church in Kalilangan, Bukidnon. Rev. Batay-an asked my father if he has daughters. And my father answered, yes, he has one.

At Rev. Batay-an’s place of abode, after the Korea event, he mentioned to one of his sons, let’s name him Rex that he had known a pastor from Bukidnon in Mindanao named Rev. Singcol who’s inviting him to preach in their church and who has a daughter.

Back to December 27-30, 2004 (the whole duration of the First International Ministers’ Kids Convention in Rizal, Laguna)
Rex investigated and found out that his new female friend “Mahal” is the daughter of this certain Rev. Singcol his father Rev. Batay-an had talked about ten years ago.

The two men are our fathers.

And we owe our love story to them.

November 5, 2010 (on Facebook)
Rex & I planned to have our Renewal of Vows during our 3rd or 4th Wedding Anniversary. But money is tight, Rex had just recently took the Philippine Bar Exam. So we needed to set aside the plan. This note was posted on my Facebook personal account.

March 17, 2011
Rex’s name is on the list! He’s now a lawyer!

June 20, 2011
Finally! Ready for our Renewal of Vows ceremony in 2012!

January 6, 2012
After thorough discussions and thinking, we have set the date – October 31, 2012. (The date is adjusted to accommodate our love ones, relatives and friends’ requests for a much earlier time so they can participate and witness the event since we’re pretty sure October 31 is still a bakasyon ng mga Pinoy, wala pang work and wala pang school so BIBO NI!)

WE PRAY FOR THE BEST!

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21 comments

  1. very touching story. not just about human love. i admire the couple as they give back the glory to the One who made them one. go, go, go Rex & Mahal!

  2. nice! i know these two! they are both my friends! missing you, mahal & rex. hope to see u this october. i just received the invite! (*_^)

  3. …i am looking forward for a joyful and a happy family …to rex please take good care of mahal……send you both loads of blessings…..

  4. Goosebumps! Indeed, God paves the way for His will. To the God be the glory! More blessings to this couple. Where God guides, He provides.

  5. This story’s far different from the other stories posted. All factors, (kilig, pursuit, ligawan, face to face with the girl’s parents & family, the patience & long-awaited years of Rex) & the story that was started by their very own fathers. That makes the story so unique from the others.

  6. There is a risk involved in everything.So when you love someone.Love that person not just for the rest of your life but forever.

  7. Looking forward for this event! BATAY-AN-SINGCOL NUPTIAL! The wedding of the Year of the PGCAG congregation! Wohoooooooooo! Lots of ministers of the PGCAG & Phil Lawyers will be there! Blessings for you, Rex & Mahal. We pray for your marriage. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you!

  8. Super duper like their story.. when Girlfrnd and boyfriend pa cla, super caring c kuya ky ate.. and I will never forget a song n kinanta nila.. “You are the Love of my life”‘ weee.. Love u both ate kuya!! Grace of God be with u, and blessings forever..

  9. what to say? nakakaiyak! nakakainggit! isa ako sa mga maghahangad at sabihing “sana ganito rin buhay pag-ibig ko”.. Pagpalain nawa kayo ng May Likha…

  10. galing ni Lord bro & sis!hal, ikaw ang bukangbibig ni rex lagi nung nasa davao bahay ni lola pa kami..at lagi nya pinapakita sa amin ni kuya jethr ang pic mong nasa kanyang wallet..& there was even a time nag overnight kami kina pstor leo ang he went out early morning, pupunta pala sa Bukidnon..at ang sabi “punta ako sa reyna ko”..go!go!go!hehehe..inspiring!

    p.s. a statement fr rex that has carved a permanent mark in my mind..he said..

    “courtship does not stop after marriage but lasts for a lifetime”

    thanks bro! (=

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