Proposals That Pop

Kim and Pochai - London Lockdown Proposal

This couple went from workmates to life partners

Michael Kim Genilo and Rubie May San Miguel met when both nurses flew to UK to work. From colleagues, they became flatmates, and eventually, romance blossomed. Though the pandemic caused a delay and a change in Kim’s proposal plans, he still managed to pull off a memorable proposal that included London, the city where they met and fell in love.

Below, Kim talks about how he surprised Pochai, and how he created and pulled off plan B despite London’s strict lockdowns–and how he made it work for them!

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How did you become a couple?

Both of us are nurses from the Philippines who went to the UK in the same cohort/batch. We are working in the same hospital as operating room (theatre) nurses. Poch was then working in pediatric theatres while I was working in adult theatre. After our free accommodation from the hospital, we found a flat to rent as our starting place to live in together with other batchmates. As we were living together that was the time when we started to get along and started to go out. We took our OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) exams together and passed the exam together. We have a lot in common in terms of food preferences, values, principles, and beliefs, which made us get along so well.

What made you, Kim, feel that it was the perfect time to pop the question?

We have been together for more than two years now, and the more we spend time with each other, the more I realize that she is the woman I want to spend my lifetime with.  I was longing to pop the question since last year but due to Covid pandemic everything got cancelled and I postponed. The very moment that I asked the question was perfect, right outside St. Paul’s Cathedral at the heart of London city.

How did you come up with the proposal plan? What was the inspiration for it?

The original plan of the proposal was in the US when we were planning to go for a tour of Arizona, the Antelope Canyon. Due to Covid pandemic, all plans from 2020 were cancelled and I had to find a way how I could get hold of the ring. The ring was actually bought from the Philippines with the help of my mom. I was able to send the ring here in the UK through one of our closest friends from work who went home in the Philippines for a short holiday. As soon as they got back, I started re-planning and thinking of how I will pop the question.

RELATED: This Pandemic Fairytale Wedding is Fit for Royalty

Tell us about the planning process. How were you able turn the plan into a reality?

As soon as I got the ring (April 4, 2021), I was trying to coordinate the plan with some of our closest friends. I wanted to make it memorable and at a place that represents London, where we met and started our love story.  I requested a colleague who happens to also run a photography business , Roy Santos, to capture the moments.  

During the planning phase, London was still on lockdown (due to second wave) and will ease lockdown starting April 12, where non-essential shops will start to open and operate again. I have a friend from work who advised me why not do the proposal on the 11th of April (the last day of lockdown) primarily because there are less people in the area and we will be able to maximize the area with less people. In less than four days, I together with close and trusted friends planned everything as an ordinary pictorial day. I was really worried that Pochai might have an idea to the point that every time I come home from work, I always check her nails if she polished it.

RELATED: ‘Nothing is Certain’ Mindset Made it Easy to Plan

Sunday, April 11, came and I was really worried and thinking of a script to say as I bend on one knee. We started going around the city and just as an ordinary pictorial day, we just posed and kept going. As soon as we reached St. Paul’s Cathedral, there was a phone booth outside, we posed for the photo, just typical fun photoshoot until I asked the question: Will you make me the happiest man? And knelt down on one knee.

Please share with us your proposal story in your own words.

As much as I wanted the proposal to be grand, I could not pull off the plan that I had in mind. With the current situation, everything was made simple yet magnificent. Everything was just perfect—the weather, the friends who backed me up, places were not packed as per usual, and the perfect moment she said “Yes”. Despite the one year delay of this proposal, it is always and still an exquisite milestone in our lives as a couple. It is a start of something much more beautiful, of building our future together.

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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.

RELATED: Simple and Romantic All-White ECQ Intimate Wedding

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.

RELATED: Modern Filipiniana Wedding in the City

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

Proposals That Pop

Derek Ramsay and Ellen Adarna are Engaged

It's game on for the celebrity couple!

It’s raining celebrity engagements and proposals! Derek Ramsay and Ellen Adarna shared their big news on March 30, Tuesday, with a series photos, the first being her left hand squeezing Derek’s face and boldly showing off a pear-shaped solitaire diamond ring on her ring finger. The caption reads, “Game Over”.

Based on the photos and video, Derek’s proposal included “Will you marry me?” neon lights, candles, and celebratory balloons. Derek and Ellen confirmed their relationship in February 2021 after rumors. Derek writes in his post:

"Since the day we first met @maria.elena.adarna the chemistry between us has been undeniable, its so strong that i have to catch my breath at times. I've always said that love is intangible, something you can't see or touch...but now I believe otherwise. The chemistry between us that has left me reeling at times has made me see, feel, and grasp this unexplainably deep love i now have. When I look at you I see love and when I touch you I embrace love. Lasth night we were surrounded by so much love. I am honoured and grateful that you said YES BUT most of all Thank you for loving me and allowing me to love you..."

RELATED: Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli's Viral Shoot

Ellen’s completely surprised reaction–where she covers her mouth with her shirt­–is giving us all the proposal feels! After her “Yes”, the newly-engaged couple pose with their sons.

Are we going to be seeing these boys with a special role for the upcoming wedding? Or are we going to see more pear cut engagement rings this 2021?

One thing is certain, we’re not complaining with all these high-profile engagements and weddings! Congratulations to the newly engaged couple!

Share this story if you felt the kilig and get others to feel it too!

From @maria.elena.adarna
From @maria.elena.adarna
From @maria.elena.adarna
From @maria.elena.adarna
From @maria.elena.adarna
From @maria.elena.adarna
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From @maria.elena.adarna
From @ramsayderek07
From @ramsayderek07
From @ramsayderek07
From @ramsayderek07
From @ramsayderek07
Proposals That Pop

Benny and Sherry - Proposal Delivered

He disguised himself as a same-day delivery driver to surprise his girlfriend!

Benicio Fabro and Sherry Kathleen Te met in 2016 when Sherry joined Benny’s tour group of Lake Pandin, San Pablo, Laguna. They stayed in touch via group chat after the visit and Benny made the first move by messaging her privately.

Benny and Sherry began dating and in 2020, he felt it was time to “level up our relationship. Nasa tamang edad na din kami at hindi na kami bumabata.” With the help of his officemates Jeff, Emerson, and Sarah, Benny thought of a unique way to propose to Sherry: by disguising himself as a same-day delivery driver.

Sherry often receives deliveries from Benny so when he video called her to say that a delivery was on the way, she was looking forward to “another milk tea or some sweet dessert since that’s my favorite,” she says. The couple hadn’t seen each other for three months during ECQ and Benny wanted Sherry to have a very special birthday. So he scheduled to propose the day before Sherry’s birthday. He proposed on 21 June 2020.

Related: Ernest and Kat – Love is a Decision

“I was shocked when I saw a tray of eggs in front of me,” Sherry says. “She was hesitant to accept the delivery, but I insisted that she check the eggs,” Benny says. Sherry couldn’t recognize Benny underneath his disguise, not even his voice! Benny borrowed a friend’s Lalamove jacket, and he made sure to wear a cap, sunglasses, and of course, a mask.

“The Lalamove driver asked me to open and check it. I thought he wanted me to check if there were cracked eggs. When I opened the tray I was surprised to see ‘Will you marry me?’ on the eggs. Then he knelt down and asked for my hand,” Sherry says.

Sherry still couldn’t believe what was happening, her initial reaction was to hit Benny’s arm. “Eventually, I answered, ‘Yes!’ and I was crying the whole time.” Benny gifted Sherry with her engagement ring, plus a cake, and flowers. “We celebrated my birthday as the most extraordinary day of my life during the lockdown,” Sherry says. Benny and Sherry are planning for their intimate wedding in 2022.

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Related: How to Propose While in LDR–via Zoom

Proposals That Pop

Congratulations to Vin Abrenica and Sophie Albert!

Vin Abrenica and Sophie Albert just announced their engagement over Instagram! The newly-engaged couple reveals Vin proposed on December 12, 2020 but have kept the news to themselves till today. “We’ve been savoring our precious moments and we are ready to share our joy and excitement! WE ARE ENGAGED!” Sophie writes in her Instagram post.

“We’ve grown up together and I look forward to growing old together. Good luck @itssophiealbert, you are stuck with me for life. We are engaged!!” writes Vin in his version of the engagement announcement. The actors met and started their career in 2012 in TV5’s reality show Artista Academy. Before announcing their engagement, Sophie broke the news of another milestone. “WE ARE MOVING IN TOGETHER!!! One of the reasons we’ve been so MIA is cause [sic] it has been quite a stressful process trying to get our home ready and finished. It’s moving a lot slower than we expected, but we’re hopeful that our home is coming together veeeeery slowly, but surely!! Konti nalang! Kapit lang!!”

The couple also dropped what seems like an engagement shoot session on Sophie's Instagram account.

Vin and Sophie have been in a relationship for the past eight years. In a 2019 interview with Boy Abunda, Vin has said this about Sophie:

"We’re in a point in our lives kasi na I don’t know–ramdam ko talaga na mahal na mahal ko siya eh. Na wala nang iba. Kung mawawala siya sa akin, tingin ko 'di na ako mag-aasawa. Tatanda akong mag-isa. Tingin ko, I’ve changed a lot because of her."

Looks like Vin won’t be growing old alone. Congratulations and best wishes to the love birds! We can’t wait to see your wedding!

Photo from @itssophiealbert
Photo from @vinabrenica
Photo from @vinabrenica
Photo from @itssophiealbert
Proposals That Pop

How To Propose While in LDR - Via Zoom

This Zoom-posal didn’t let LDR keep him from proposing

Timothy Ng and Dennilyn Joyce Castelo met while working in the same hospital and in 2020, opportunity knocked on Thobie’s door which brought him to the US. “We’ve been in LDR for a year now,” he says.

Thobie’s been planning to propose to Joyce since he relocated but due to the travel restrictions and bans, it made proposing in person quite the challenge. He will likely only be able to return home this year for a short period, “so it’s better to focus on the wedding when I get back home and do the proposal now,” he says.

So how does a boyfriend halfway across the world surprise and propose to his girlfriend? Not without accomplices, of course!

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Thobie enlisted the help of his family, his mom and sister, to surprise Joyce. His mom took care of securing the ring and finding the venue, while his makeup artist sister who is part of the wedding industry helped elevate the surprise through styling and photography for her future sister-in-law.

The plan was to invite Joyce to a dinner “for her Uncle’s birthday” and the proposal would happen over video chat. When Joyce arrived at the restaurant, a small area was decorated with photos of the couple, a balloon and flower arrangement, and a red heart cake with the question, “Will you marry me, Hon?”

But it was the print out of Thobie’s face turned into a mask and worn by one of their loved ones who got down on one knee while Thobie proposed over Zoom that made the proposal light hearted, memorable, and unique.

Thobie and Joyce are currently planning for their 2021 wedding in the Philippines. Congratulations to the newly engaged couple!

Scroll down to see the photos of this Zoom-posal!

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The Dream Team

Photography: Mark Vitasa Photography | Styling: Nybie Anne Marie Ng | Cake: The Taste Of Czaczacza | Flowers: AMORE by Erek Cruz | Location: Miguel and Maria Cafe & Resto | Ring: Imelda's Jewelry | Photo prints and mask: Matthew Anthony Ng | AVP: Mikko Angeles and Raj Marasigan

Photographers by: Mark Vitasa Photography
Proposals That Pop

Takaya and Chloe - Saying Yes by the Snowy Alps

‘I wanted at least one thing in 2020 that she could look back on fondly’

Takaya Miki and Francine Chloe Ramirez met while Chloe was an exchange student in Japan at Takaya’s university and the two were part of the same barkada. “Being in the same barkada really did help strengthen our relationship. I was on exchange for a year and by my second semester, we started dating,” Chloe says. “To this day, we don’t know the exact date of when we became a couple. We just went with the flow.”

Takaya says he knew it was the right time to propose because of where they were at in their lives. “We’re both growing up. We’re becoming adults and we’re continuously helping each other grow and better ourselves over the time we’ve been together.” He adds, “Topping it off with a crazy year and Chloe not being able to see her parents, family, and friends back in Manila, I wanted at least one thing in 2020 that she could look back on fondly.”

Related: Don and Clar - DIY Pre-Wedding in Abu Dhabi

The proposal was originally planned to happen during a ski trip in Finland where Takaya has many fond memories. “I thought it was the perfect spot to get on one knee because of the northern lights,” Takaya says. Since his initial idea would not work out, Takaya planned a ski trip to Hakuba Valley which he calls “a winter paradise in the alps of Nagano”. Takaya and Chloe are currently residing in countryside Japan “where life is still pretty normal”.

Chloe recalls that when the two stopped to rest by the side of the mountain to take in the beautiful view, that was when Takaya setup a camera to record the moment. “Nobody was around and it was so serene seeing nature at its finest,” she says.

“I wanted to record it in secret so I laid the camera and my ski gear all messy so she wouldn’t notice. We talked and took some nice pictures of the scenery and then I thought it was the perfect time to just pretend to take photos together, but really I was going to surprise her,” Takaya says. “The location, the weather, the atmosphere, pretty much everything was the best way possible. I really had nature on my side, and most importantly, she said yes!”

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Proposals That Pop

He Proposed During Their Donation Drive!

Jholo and Maica: Giving Love Everyday

For a month, Jholo Granados and Maica Chavez were preparing for a thanksgiving event with SOS Children’s Villages Philippines. The couple was busy buying and collecting for their donations when Jholo realized it was the perfect time to propose to his girlfriend, Maica.

Jholo originally wanted to propose during a trip to Israel which they were planning for 2020. After the lockdown was implemented, Jholo fell ill and was rushed to the hospital. “After my confinement, I just knew I had to do it. It was now or never,” Jholo says.

Luckily Jholo’s nieces were the perfect accomplices. Larissa Casingal is a production designer while Kim Torres is a wedding planner and director. Kim planned a surprise, after a surprise, after a surprise for Maica and Jholo says it was well executed. They also arranged for a caterer since it would be a mini reunion of sorts for the groom-to-be’s family.

Related: Jerick and Steff: Better Than a Dream

Jholo and his nieces were able to set up the proposal without Maica realizing that this was going on during their thanksgiving at the orphanage. When Jholo was scheduled to say a few words after the event, it was the cue for the proposal. A large “Will you marry me, Maica?” sign emerged together with a balloon backdrop and a bouquet by Gideon Hermosa.

Maica of course said “Yes!” and the couples’ thanksgiving event became even more memorable. They ended the day with fireworks, which was a sentimental touch for the couple. “On the day of the proposal, I got nervous and was jokingly saying to cancel everything and just have dinner. I was too nervous! But I am glad Maica said ‘Yes’. Our first date was during the Pyrolympics, so that was the best surprise after the proposal.”

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The Dream Team

Conceptualization, coordination, and direction: Kim Torres Events | Photography: Chapter One Studios | Videography: Wishing Well Films | Catering and styling: Juan Carlo the Caterer | Band and sound system: 3rd Avenue | Bouquet: House of Hermosa by Gideon Hermosa | Mobile bar: Manila Craft Mixes & Brews | Host: Edroy Lim | Balloons: Liza Lugue-Alviedo | Fireworks: Dragon Fireworks | Venue: Palazzo Verde | Couple’s area setup: Larissa Casingal | Kids and crew meals: The Food Station and Cocina de Maceda

Scroll down to see photos of Jholo's proposal to Maica!


Caterer by: Juan Carlo The Caterer, Inc.
Venue by: Palazzo Verde ( formerly Fernbrook Gardens )
Wedding Planner by: Kim Torres Events
Proposals That Pop

Jerick and Steff - Better Than a Dream

'Be creative and full of surprises since we only get to ask our partners once'

In 2013, Steff Someda was offered a cup of coffee “care of Sir Jerick” at a new café she frequented near her place of work. “Little did I know that this man would become the love of my life,” Steff said.

Jerick Chua originally wanted to propose in La Union in 2020 but travel restrictions and Steff’s busy schedule made it too difficult. He devised a new plan and luckily, a friend invited them to visit his rest house in Tagaytay for the weekend and that set Jerick off to finalizing his proposal. He worked with an event stylist to transform the home and made sure they were out and about Tagaytay while it was being setup.

After dinner, the party headed back to the home and Steff was made to ride in a friend’s car that had the child lock on to stall her. “When we arrived at the house, I pretended I had to go to the washroom and quickly headed to the proposal spot where I waited for her,” Jerick said.

RELATED: 2021 Wedding Trends You Need to Know Now

“My mind went blank! I had absolutely no clue he would be proposing that day and that entire moment was very overwheling. I really thought I was dreaming! Thank God it wasn’t just a dream,” Steff said.

Be creative and full of surprises, since we only get to ask our partners once,” Jerick advises. We want to make it memorable for them. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your friends and family. They will help you happily to see you move to the next chapter of your life.”

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Watch the video of the proposal here.

Photos and video by Story Snaps Studio | Styling by Party Empress Styling and Catering

Scroll down to see the photos from Jerick's proposal to Steff!

Proposals That Pop

Earvin and Jirah - A Pleasant Surprise

Don't let the pandemic stop you from proposing–Earvin

For former schoolmates turned workmates turned couple Earvin Ong and Jirah Bonsay, a pandemic is no reason to stop your marriage plans. Earvin first planned to propose in 2019 and then adjusted his plans to mid-2020, and he wisely used the time in quarantine to get himself ready for the next step of marriage as he planned his proposal to Jirah.

Jirah says she had a bit of an idea that something special would be happening on October 29, 2020, since the 29th is their monthsary and Earvin’s accomplices made her slightly suspicious. But Jirah let it go and didn’t pry.

Earvin proposed at the Bonsay home and he requested for Jirah’s workmates to call on a meeting to distract her as he and her family prepared downstairs. Earvin then join the zoom call and asked her to meet him downstairs, and that’s when he popped the question in front of her family and yes, still on the zoom call.

Related: WATCH Love Wins Live Forum - The New Normal Wedding Checklist

I felt like I was floating as everything was unfolding in front of me, one by one. It was a joy for me to connect everything and see it happen as I figured it out. But of course I didn’t really figure everything out and that made it even better. Seeing Earvin downstairs really made me excited and I was just thinking, ‘This is it!’” says Jirah.

Earvin wrote down everything he wanted to tell Jirah in a letter, of course except for the magic question “Will you marry me?” And he advises men who’re planning to propose to plan ahead, ask for her parents’ blessing, prepare a back up plan, and pray. “Don’t let the pandemic stop you from proposing–but of course follow safety protocols.”

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