Last weekend Marvin and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. Except for the milestone ones (10th, 20th, 25th), he has always been the one planning and taking charge of our anniversary celebrations. I think that’s his way of still trying to “sweep me off my feet” and it works all the time.
I almost changed his plan this year because of my Ilocano genes. You see, I had not yet finalized computing our expenses during our last trip (to watch our son compete at the World of Dance in L.A.) and thinking of our coming trip next month I couldn’t help but say, “You know Hon, it’s okay with me if we just spend the day together without fanfare, parang sunud-sunod ang gastos!”
I’m glad he didn’t allow me to change his plans. It was a well spent weekend. It started with a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a card, then simple yoga and breakfast together at home. We had a morning meeting with someone then off we went to Shangri-la at The Fort where he booked an overnight stay.
Although we’ve been to this hotel a few times, it was our first time to check in. It has the same five-star feel as the other Shangri-la hotels in the country but it’s more modern in design. Upon entering the room, I immediately liked the “grayge” (combination of gray and beige) color motif. What more? I was wonderfully greeted by a big greeting card that says “Happy Anniversary” together with a chocolate cake on the counter top.
We had lunch in Canton Road, the hotel’s Chinese restaurant designed with celadon-colored patterns and painted textured silk panels. It serves Cantonese food with a bit of modern twist. After getting excited with the menu and getting confused which dish to order, we realized that we were still a bit full from what we ate during the meeting in another restaurant. Besides, I was making room for that lovely chocolate mousse cake waiting for me in our room. So we just ordered Fujian seafood fried rice and Iberico sweet and sour pork. They gave us complimentary champagne when they found out that it was our wedding anniversary!
On our way out of the restaurant, I saw a familiar face. It was my batchmate Martin de Castro, who has been in the hotel and restaurant industry since we graduated in 1985. I recall him helping me with the celebration of my late mother’s 60th birthday celebration at The Manila Peninsula in 1990 when he was still working there. He has gone around the world and is now back in Manila, assigned to this new hotel since its soft opening.
Martin gladly gave us a tour of the other restaurants in the hotel, giving us enough reasons to come back with our sons – namely the Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar that serves premium steaks sourced from sustainable farms, the Raging Bull Burgers that serves char-grilled burgers with a spunk. I could already imagine enjoying a Sunday lunch with the boys while I smelled the beef patties on the grill.
He also showed us Samba and High Street Cafe (more on these two later), High Street Lounge, and their impressive gym, Kerry Sports. We also checked out the Horizon Homes, the residential units of the hotel which are for sale and lease. I just love looking at beautiful dwelling places.
Back in our room I finally had my dessert – the chocolate mousse cake proved to be just as delicious as I had imagined.
Marvin and I talked a bit then took a nap, setting the alarm in time to hear anticipated mass at the nearby Chapel of St. Michael.
We were happy to see a beautiful chapel nearby whose facade reminds me of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, and even happier to listen to a sermon well delivered. After the mass, we requested the priest to give us a special blessing on our anniversary, and he gladly did. There was another couple who did the same. Maybe it was also their anniversary. Then Marvin and I privately renewed our vows to each other, making special mention of how we promise to support each other in our respective projects at the moment.
Back in the hotel, we went straight to Samba for our dinner. It’s a Peruvian restaurant recommended by our oldest son Martin who already tried the place. It has a resort vibe – the servers are dressed in shorts and hats and the place is accessible to the swimming pool with a view of BGC. We were warmly welcomed by the restaurant manager Jeffrey Marquez and the Chef Carlo Huerta, a Peruvian who had been working at the kitchen since age 16 before he pursued culinary at Le Cordon Bleu in his country.
I must admit, I don’t know much about Peru, except that my mom told me that she named me after St. Rose of Lima, the capital of Peru, because her feast day is late August, my anticipated birth (but I came out on September 4). Marvin and I learned something that night from the chef. He reacted quite strongly when we mistakenly called his rice dish paella (a Spanish dish) instead of arroz con mariscos. It seems like Peruvians are not happy about the colonization of Spain. It made me think, we were also colonized and abused by Spain for hundreds of years but we seem to be chill about it now. Ahh…Filipinos are really too nice.
The food was good, very flavorful and the presentations were really something. Aside from the arroz con mariscos (Peruvian seafood rice), we also had the ceviche limeño (shrimps, octopus, scallops, calamari, lapu-lapu, red onion, coriander, tobiko, leche de tigre, cancha corn), chicharron de cangrejo (crispy soft shell crab, Peruvian limo chili, cilantro, pineapple passion fruit, etc.), and an interesting non-alcoholic drink called Magic Liquid, a refreshing combination of fruits. The manager told us not to order dessert, because he already prepared something for us. And that was the highlight of the dinner for me. It came in a round white thing on a plate oozing with “theatrical smoke.” The waitress said, “Ma’am lift it up high then drop it!” I followed her instructions and when the ball made of white chocolate dropped on the plate, it was broken and the contents revealed themselves – guyabano cream, crispy almond merengue, fresh blueberries and strawberries. Then she poured the sauce over them.
After that sumptuous dinner, we went back to our room and talked some more. Of course, as part of our anniversary tradition, we looked at our Balance Sheet together. We checked our asset allocation (click There is Romance in Asset Allocation if you want to know more about this) and agreed on some things to do. It was a good way for us to see how we have been from last year. It was also great to reminisce what we’ve gone through for the last 28 years.
The following morning, we decided to watch our wedding videos before taking breakfast. We don’t get tired of doing this. We don’t watch the entire thing, but we look at bits and pieces of it. We laugh at the old style coverage (which was originally in Betamax 28 years ago), we notice the changes in the appearance of our guests and ourselves, and there would be an added story here and there. We’ve added our other milestone anniversaries in our “playlist,” the last one being our silver anniversary.
When we started to get hungry, we went to High Street Café for our buffet brunch. If you like Heat at EDSA Shangri-la, you will love this too. It has a wide array of food to choose from. I’m not a fan of laksa, but this one I really enjoyed! Maybe I was enamored by the giant jar (see photo below) of the broth, that’s why? For their daily lunch and dinner buffet, they always have a whole tuna served as sashimi (see photo below). I also like the idea of Grab and Go displayed at the entrance of the café. This way, hotel guests in a hurry, can just pick up their muffins and coffee or tea.
We took a quick dip at Kerry’s swimming pool located on level six. Thumbs up to the pool side people. They anticipated our needs, serving what we needed even before we asked. Same thing with the personnel at the check-in/out. I hope they keep their customer service this good.
On our way back home, I thanked my husband for another wonderful anniversary celebration. I thanked him for insisting that we still celebrate despite my earlier reservations.
Why it’s important to celebrate your wedding anniversary
Although I believe in “to each his own” and I know a lot of couples who don’t celebrate their anniversaries, or just opt to have a meal with their family, I highly recommend taking time out with just you and your spouse to celebrate this very important day. Here are some of the reasons why.
- No matter how healthy your marriage is, and even if your commitment should be measured on the daily choices and and expressions of love and service, married couples need to get away from the daily grind and just focus on this one special moment. Come on, this is way too important not be given at least one holiday, I mean, “honey-day” per year. It’s the day that you two changed the course of your respective lives!
- Marriage is a lifelong commitment that needs to be nurtured, assessed and kept alive to last forever. If we chart the development of our children and our other projects in life, we should do nothing less for our marriage. Anniversaries are great assessment cum celebration opportunities. We need to mark milestones, an important human tradition that helps us see where we are at the moment, how far we’ve gone, and where we’re headed.
- Anniversary celebrations are opportunities to remember the past in a positive light, and create more positive interactions between husband and wife. According to Dr. John Gottman, marriage expert and author of Making Marriage Work, the magic ratio is 5:1. That means that couples should have at least five positive interactions for every one negative.
- Celebrating anniversaries reinforces among family members that marriage is a priority. It’s important not only for the couple, but also for the children. Don’t be guilty leaving your kids to celebrate this special day without them. When they see their parents value their marriage, it sends them the signal that their home is a safe and stable sanctuary for them, a very important but oftentimes overlooked aspect in many homes these days.
- Great husbands know that anniversaries matter to their wives. When they make it special every year, in whatever way they can afford in terms of cost and time, then their wives would be happy year after year. And everybody knows that a happy wife is a happy life.
Marriage is a huge commitment. With a mortality rate of 50% and the pressures of everyday family life, it’s almost daunting to think how we can really hope for forever in this day and age. No one can really be sure of forever. But one thing’s for sure, forever is built one day at a time. And once you’ve completed another set of 365 days, it’s time to celebrate and renew and refresh that commitment again.
Here’s wishing all married couples out there to have the courage and passion to celebrate their wedding anniversary year after year after year.
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Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Image from Freepik, Pinterest, download-wallpaper.net, Blognana.com, Clipartix, 123FreeVectors, Wallpaper Abyss – Alpha Coders, Bgfons used for the cover to help deliver the message of the article.