This Sweet and Simple Wedding Had the Island of Siargao as a Backdrop

Marika, an art consultant, and Martin, an entrepreneur, recently tied the knot in the island of Siargao.

The best man, all of eight years old, gave the speech, which he wrote all on his own. The bride and groom, his parents, were both elated and proud to have their son, Xantiago, as part of their simple beach wedding on Siargao Island.

Their story may have taken unusual twists and turns but the fates aligned, especially on this special day. “It was wonderful having him be a part of our wedding as he is such an important part of our love story,” says Marika. “He was also waiting for the day we would get married and I think it’s nice that he really grew [up] with us and that we were able to give him the stability he was waiting for. And I think [I hope] that actually being part of that wedding experience taught him many things about love. Maybe he does not realize it now, but I believe the lessons will be there waiting for him when he is older.”

Marika and Martin met through a mutual friend at a party, the introduction was apparently upon Martin’s urging. “She was cute and charming,” says Martin. “He was persistent in courting me for months,” says Marika. “I eventually fell for him. It took some time. We didn’t give in to the pressure of marriage when I was pregnant with Xanti in our early days of dating. Since we were young and it all happened so fast, we had our share of ups and downs and even spent some time apart. I believe those experiences only made us stronger and wiser as individuals and as a couple. We eventually decided to be together and after awhile, the timing was just right and we eventually decided to get married. This was all on our own time. I think timing is so important. We never gave into any social pressure and we wanted to do it right. Even though we went through rocky times I always had faith that things would work out, and they did. It took us nine years before we got married! All in God’s time.”


Martin proposed in Tuscany, after they had attended a friend’s wedding. It was a well thought out plan, and even motorcycles were involved. “Martin planned to propose a few months before. He even asked my boss’s permission for me to go on the trip. I was surprised [at] how insistent he was that I go on the trip, but I didn’t think he was actually going to propose.”

“After our friends’ wedding in Rome, we spent a few days in Florence. One of the days on the itinerary that he planned was to rent a bike and cruise around the outskirts of Florence. We had lunch in a quaint restaurant overlooking the Tuscan vineyards in Chianti. On our way back he parked on a spot overlooking the hills to "take some photos.” That’s when he popped the question. He had the ring hidden inside the box behind the motorcycle.”

The ceremony, held at Punta Dolores on Siargao Island—a private property with a picturesque garden by the sea and around a 15-20 minute drive from the main town—was simple, elegant, and magical. Very much in keeping with the couples’ down-to-earth style. Marika wore an exquisite and delicate gown designed by Rosalyn Lagdameo. “We wanted it to be very natural. We did not have a fancy budget so we used a lot of raw material and built our own decorations using locally sourced materials. Lanai Manila was key in helping us execute our ideas and style our dream wedding.”

Family and close friends were in attendance, making up a small crew of their nearest and dearest, people they knew very, very well. “We did not have a huge wedding where our parents invited all their friends. What we loved about it is [that] it was mostly our guests and we did it on our own terms. Our special guests were our friends and family. Every guest there was special to us. We were just so grateful that they made time to fly to Siargao and be with us during our special day.


Miko Manglapus, Hochi Manglapus, Vincent Marcos, Jaime Agustines, Mark Ledesma, Martin Ledesma, Xantiago Ledesma, Martin Araneta, Carlos Salazar, Anton Banson, and Paolo Bantug

Marika, who has a degree in Arts Management and Martin, whose background is in Culinary Arts, merged their two interests to organize their dream wedding down to the decor and the food. Plus, there was one other interest that both agreed was a crucial element to the festivities. “Martin and I both love music. In fact, I think it’s one of the most common things that keep us together—our taste in music. I am so happy that we decided to keep it simple with one pianist and just asked our family to sing. It turned out it was even more special because it was our family that was singing there for us.”

This simplicity and the personal aspects of the wedding were what made the event so unique, says Marika. “What was important was we kept it natural but without compromising style. Elegant, yet down to earth, was my peg. I think our wedding proved that you can still be elegant without being so fancy. Our friends told us that our wedding was the most natural and loving one they have ever been to...”

Ken Solon, Jaime Agustines, Miko Manglapus, Hochi Manglapus, Vincent Marcos, Carlos Salazar, Mark Ledesma, Martin Ledesma, Xantiago Ledesma, Martin Araneta, Clara Banson, Paolo Bantug, Paolo Tantoco, Sidd Reyes, Paolo Del Rosario, Anton Banson, Amanda Tengco-Banson, Bianca Zobel Warns, and Bea Locsin

“Our venue, Punta Dolores was also something special. We organized shuttles for all our guests to get back and forth from the venue. Most of our guests had no idea where it would be until they got to the island! All they knew was that it was in Siargao and some place called Punta Dolores! I think many of our guests thought it would have been in one of the resorts, but were pleasantly surprised...”


The exchange of vows, amidst the lush tropical garden and sea view, was one both the celebrants and the guests would never forget. “We got married in the garden amongst the coconut trees overlooking the ocean. We had a natural arch from the branches and Lanai Manila decorated it with a few white orchids. Very simple and natural. We had a Christian ceremony officiated by our uncle, Pastor Jeric Soriano. This was definitely a bonus for us, having family officiate our wedding. It added to that personal touch that we wanted. It just made sense to have him do it.”

“Every moment was special and we will never forget that whole celebration. I think we all just had the time of our lives and laughed for days. It was the most wonderful and memorable experience and we are both so grateful for that time and for everyone who was there and who helped make it happen.”

Xantiago Ledesma and Martin Ledesma

Today, the couple look forward to adding to their family and to continue to live a life true to their values, “to live a balanced life centered around God and our family, and to be able to pass on our values to our children. To build and grow our businesses with purpose and intention. To be able to live a life of service is the ultimate goal. When you live a life of purpose, it is so essential to always look at the bigger picture. There is so much work to be done here on earth not just for our lives but for the future generations and we need to be able to contribute to our society. But the work always begins at home. We need to work from the inside out.”

Mark Ledesma and Martin Ledesma

Bianca Zobel Warns, Martin Ledesma, Bea Locsin, and Amanda Tengco

Mark Ledesma, Paolo Del Rosario, Suzanne Araneta Ledesma, Bea Locsin, and Carlos Salazar

Jarred Gullas, Julian Aboitiz, James Ugarte, Anton Cojuangco, Sofie Miranda, Ina Kole

Raul Manglapus Jr., Val Bagatsing, Jeric Soriano, Arthur Ledesma, Edward Chiongbian

Angela Panlilio, Nikki Martel, and Dina Arroyo-Tantoco

Raya Roa and Czarina Ledesma

Kana Manglapus, Paolo Del Rosario, Marika Manglapus-Ledesma, and Martin Ledesma

Jeric Soriano, Marika Manglapus-Ledesma, Martin Ledesma, and Marissa Soriano

Jaime Agustines, Carlos Salazar, Miko Manglapus, Hochi Manglapus, Martin Ledesma, Marika Manglapus-Ledesma, Vincent Marcos, Martin Araneta, Anton Banson, Paolo Bantug, and Mark Ledesma

Jelly Acuzar, Gabbi Floirendo, Cara Manglapus, Claudine Chiongbian, Bri Manglapus, Marika Manglapus-Ledesma, Xantiago Ledesma, Martin Ledesma, Natalia Zobel, Bianca Zobel Warns, Amanda Tengco-Banson, and Bea Locsin

Bea Locsin, Jaime Agustines, Gabbi Floirendo, Carlos Salazar, Amanda Tengco-Banson, Miko Manglapus, Jelly Acuzar, Bri Manglapus, Hoch Manglapus, Marika, Mark, Martin and Xanti Ledesma, Natalia Zobel, Vincent Marcos, Cara Manglapus, Martin Araneta, Bianca Zobel, Paolo Bantug, and Anton Banson

Sandro Tengco and Caress Banson

Raul Manglapus Jr. and Maripi Muscat

Monica Mendiola, Daisy Castellar, Maica Salud, Michelle Mendiola, and Mary Reyes

Tracy Bantug, Claudine Cobankiat, Chut Gan, Vanessa Chua, Larah Dy, and Karina Chu

Karina Moreno, Soph Villanueva-Solon, Genevieve Reyes, Raj Moreno, and Ken Solon

Simon Marcos, Alfonso Araneta, Alfredo Roa, Jessica Wilson, and Mortiz Gastl

Carl Lim, Liam Tan Ong, Bea Locsin, and Timothy Gan

Martin Ledesma and Martin Araneta

Raul Manglapus Jr. and Marika Manglapus-Ledesma

Natalia Zobel

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