Proposals That Pop

He Planned His Valentine's Proposal Four Years Ago

'We knew that a proposal only happens once in our lives so we made sure it leaves a lasting imprint in our lives'

When Jan Mikhail Cua Ybañez spotted Janice Cassandra Ayo Rivera, he was instantly smitten. But the road to the first date was much longer. Both Jan and Janice were students at University of San Carlos and it took two years from when he first laid eyes on her, a common friend, a made up interview as a school requirement for the two to exchange numbers.

On Valentine’s Day in 2013, Jan asked Janice out. “We enjoyed our first date, talked for hours, and felt like time had wings. We felt so comfortable with each other as if we knew each other for a long time already when in fact, it was just our first date,” Jan says.

Throughout their years together, Jan and Janice often celebrate Valentine’s Day at Shangri-La Mactan but for many years, Jan had reserved his proposal spot and would not take Janice there. “I guess I can say I’m a hopeless romantic. Imagine having my proposal plan for four years and fast forward to 2021, all I needed was tweaking and fine-tuning.

Jan worked with Cebu’s premier events organizer, Tonette Carcel of Tcarcel Events Planning to bring his plans to life. “I knew that a proposal only happens once in our lives and I wanted to do it right, with a bang! Memorable, meaningful, momentous. It was exactly how we wanted it to be to mark our next important stage in our lives, which is marriage,” Jan says.

Below, Jan shares in his own words what he planned and how he made sure his grand plan would surprise Janice and set them off to the next chapter of their lives.

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Tell us about the proposal.

The Blueprint was the same as it has been in the last four years ever since we started celebrating Valentine’s Day at Shangri-La Mactan which was a lovely and intimate dinner by the sea under the beautiful stars and the windy breeze that the Island of Mactan could possibly offer. So this time around, it wasn’t much of an ordeal in that sense since there was not much of a deviation.

On D-day, I picked her up in usual fashion, all set and good to go for our scheduled dinner date. Nothing special or anything out of the norm was being done yet since of course, everything was kept incognito and the surprise wasn’t until an hour after.

The drive to Shangri-La Mactan from Janice’s house took about an hour to get there so we had ample time to talk and enjoy the drive. From my end of the fence, it was a challenge for me to hold it all together–emotions, the plan coming to together and the whole propsal itself.

So the soonest we got to Shangri-La Mactan, we then proceeded to the actual spot of where the proposal would be and Janice had no idea that were heading to the Observatory in Shangri-La, which is the most romantic spot in the resort.

Years ago, I have always been hopping from one spot to the other for our Valentine’s Day date which was of course, on purpose. I wanted to save the best spot the resort could possibly offer for the most important event in our relationship which was the Proposal.

So then as we were on-board the resort’s shuttle to the spot, Janice was incessantly asking me “where are we having our dinner this time around?” Of course, the surprise was about to unfold and I just kept playing along.

Mind you, everyone in that specific spot had already been oriented by Tonette, my event organizer, of what was about to unfold minutes we arrived. Thing is, everyone played along as if nothing significant was to happen.

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We then approached the Observatory and Janice started to notice how “extra” the setup leading to the spot. She kept asking, “what’s going on?” The whole place was beautifully decorated than usual and more so than in our previous dates.

None of the questions she asked was answered properly by me simply because the whole time, it was part and parcel of the Blueprint. As soon as we got the middle part of the stretch, I knelt on my left knee and reach out the ring from my pocket.

From that specific moment, it was all a bliss and we both were caught up in that special moment that we shared and when I asked her the question, it was a big yes from Janice! Right after the big Yes, fireworks then started in our background to signify that the whole Proposal was a huge success!

Minutes after, our beloved Family and Friends joined us and shared that special moment with us. The whole plan was a huge success and we capped it off with a wonderful dinner with the people who matter most to us.

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How did you feel during the proposal?

We were bursting tears of joy all the way around and we felt like we were on Cloud 9!

We couldn’t find the right words to fully express how we both truly felt during the Proposal but one thing is certain and that it was a whirlwind of emotions. Happiness, Gratefulness, Appreciation, Full of Love, Tears of Joy, and all else that is bundled in the same category. For a lack of a better word, it was life-changing as well.

We knew that a Proposal only happens once in our lives so we seized the moment and made sure it leaves a lasting imprint in our lives and etched forever.

The proposal presented itself as a special and monumental event in our relationship which signifies that we were both ready and more than willing to take it to the next level. Marriage has always been our goal since the very beginning and here we are, making it official for a lifetime of partnership and commitment.

Indeed, God is the Author and Architect of our love story, a love story like no other. It was a good seven years of being in a relationship and we definitely look forward to spending the rest of our lives together as Mr. and Mrs. Ybañez.

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The Dream Team

Photography by Leftfielder Photography | Planning by Tcarcel Events Planning | Venue: Shangri-La Mactan