A Three-Day Wedding Celebration on the Island of Balesin

More than a decade after they first met, Carmela Marie Tapia Cambaliza and Enzo Steven Montinola Virata tied the knot on Balesin Island.

More than a decade after they first met, Carmela Marie Tapia Cambaliza and Enzo Steven Montinola Virata tied the knot on Balesin Island.

You and Enzo have known each other for a while. Did sparks fly right away?

We met in 2001 when we were both Psychology ­ freshmen at Ateneo, although we weren’t very close. We had a common best friend, Shirlyn (who became my maid of honor), whom we would hang out with together back then. After college we would individually spend time with her and she would always encourage us to date each other. The idea seemed absurd to both of us because we felt we weren’t each other’s type—until 2013, when Shirlyn finally convinced Enzo to ask me out on a date.

When did you know that you wanted to marry him?
My first impression of him in college was that he was quiet and shy. When we started dating, my impression of him was the same, but my taste in men had changed. I got to know him better and found out that we shared the same values in life despite having few things in common. Around four months into the relationship, I sometimes had thoughts of him being “the one.” And one year later, we were married.

Did the proposal come as a shock?
While we were dating I made a conscious effort not to expect anything ­from him, so that included the future as well. I just enjoyed being with him and taking care of him. We didn’t talk about the future much so the proposal was very much a surprise.

How did he propose?
We were celebrating the eighth monthsary of our “Panic Day,” or the day Enzo made me panic when he first declared his love, at his apartment—now our home—with wine, cheese, and cold cuts. My birthday was coming up and he said he wanted to give me something. He then handed me a white box. When I saw that it was a ring inside, my first thought was simply, “It’s a ring.” It didn’t sink in that he was proposing until the words, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” came out of his mouth. I started crying and of course said yes.


Tell us about your wedding.
We chose to have it on Balesin because we both love the beach, and Enzo has fond memories of the island because he and his family would visit way before it was developed. While planning for a wedding is always nerve-wracking, ours had its own challenges since we didn’t hire a planner and did everything ourselves, with the help of our siblings. Our best ­friend advised us to see the wedding planning as our first project together. And we did.

Carmela Marie Tapia Cambaliza weds Enzo Steven Montinola Virata

Diego Virata, Xavier Virata, Steven Virata, Enzo Virata, Mia Virata, and Danni Virata

Benjo Cambaliza, Ayi Cambaliza, Joan Cambaliza, Raffy Cambaliza, Romy Cambaliza, Mea Cambaliza-Virata, Wilma Tapia, Rommel Cambaliza, Kaloi Cambaliza, Sarcus Cambaliza, and Domino Cambaliza

Stef Orendain and Lexie Lopez; Nene Virata, Bethani Virata, and Luis Virata

Teresita Montinola, Cesar and Joy Virata, Mikey Virata, Brian Keyes, Jelly Virata, Me-Ann Asico, Gigi Virata, and Annette Virata-Cabel

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