My husband Brian and I flew to Zamboanga City to attend the wedding of his former student (he taught in Ateneo de Zamboanga for a year) and good friend Marita Pobre last Saturday (January 5, 2008). I first met Maritz in Chicago, Illinois in August 1997 when Brian and I attended Print’97, a convention for graphic arts and printing professionals.

Brian was the cord sponsor and it was a great opportunity to visit friends. It was my second trip; the first one was 10 years ago, also to attend the wedding of Allan and Jenjen Bacalla in May of 1998.

We took the Cebu Pacific flight scheduled to leave at 5:40 a.m. but due to delay in aircraft turnaround, we took off at 7:10 a.m. It was a smooth flight and we landed safely. We stayed in Garden Orchid Hotel on Gov. Camins Avenue, just outside the airport. We met up with Allan and rushed to Pilar St. to have our fill of ‘satti’. It’s a combination of small pieces of beef or chicken on barbecue sticks and sticky rice mixed with an orange-colored and very spicy ‘sauce’ (made of chicken stock, tomates, curry, et. al.). It’s guaranteed to make you sweat! As early as 11 a.m., our trip was already worth it! And as if breakfast wasn’t enough, we had lunch at Hanazono, a Japanese restaurant.

The nuptial mass was held in St. Joseph’s Church on Nunez St. with Rev. Fr.zambostjoseph1.jpg William Kreutz, S.J. as main celebrant and the dinner reception in Astoria Regency Convention Center on Scout Limbaga Road, Pasonanca. The bride Maritz surprised the guests with a special song number “Hero” by Mariah Carey. Maritz and husband Amante Cruz are both nurses based in Illinois, U.S.A. They were actually married civilly in 2001 and have two kids, Alyssa Marie (age 5) zamboastoria.jpgand Aedan Mattheu (age 1). While Marita is a native of Zamboanga, Amante is from Bulacan. Her wedding cake was inspired by the chocolate cupcake with frosting on top, more commonly known as ‘beehive’.

We went to the Lobby Bar of Garden Orchid Hotel after the dinner reception for a few drinks and music listening. Zamboanga City Mayor Lobregat who dropped by and gamely rendered a song number and duet also entertained us.

The next day, we had lunch in Palmeras and they serve good native food. Wezambopalmeras.jpg ordered the seafood platter, crispy pata (deep fried pork knuckles), beef with yellow corn and yummy sinigang na lapu-lapu (fish in sour broth). I also got to taste their specialty dessert, a mixture of strawberry and vanilla ice cream with fresh fruits. I got intrigued, as almost all the guests were ordering it.

Barter trade in Canelar was just right for pasalubong shopping. They have a lot of batik clothing, souvenir items and snacks.

On our way back, we rode Philippine Airlines and fortunately, the flight left on time.

It was a great vacation and wonderful experience to renew old ties and meet new people, and I look forward to going back again soon, though I hope I don’t have to wait ten years for another wedding invitation.