On March 30, Ellen Adarna and Derek Ramsay broke the internet when they revealed they had gotten engaged after around two months of dating. "Game over," Ellen cheekily wrote on Instagram alongside an album of pictures that documented Derek's surprise proposal.
Ellen celebrated another milestone soon after: Her 33rd birthday, which she also happens to share with her late father, Alan Modesto Adarna. The actress posted a series of photos dedicated to her father on their birthday, April 2, and wrote in the caption, "Happy birthday to us. I miss you every day, I love you always." Apart from their sweet father-daughter photos over the years, the very first picture in the album stood out from the rest: A mixed-media art piece made of butterflies. And as we know in Filipino culture, butterflies are believed to symbolize departed loved ones.
The artwork, as it happens, is actually Derek's engagement gift to Ellen. Local artist Vien Valencia shared a brief backstory on the piece, titled Exodus, which is made of butterflies, oil, and house paint on canvas.
"Last March, Derek Ramsay @ramsayderek07 asked me to do a meaningful piece dedicated to his marriage proposal, the title of this work is Exodus. It's a group of various species of actual butterflies against a black surface. Exodus literally means 'the road out.' I wanted to come up with something about setting free," Vien wrote on Instagram.
Vien went on to talk about how butterflies symbolize death and how precious life really is: "Also, they are a battle with the idea of death. An average butterfly species has a life expectancy of about two days, and live ten days at the most. No adult butterfly can live more than a year. Once you realize you're not gonna be around forever, I think that's what makes life so magical. One day you'll eat your last meal, smell your last flower, hug your dog for the very last time, you might not know it's the last time right? Treasure the few years you've got because that's all there is."
It's interesting to note that on Ellen and Derek's engagement, a butterfly was captured resting on Ellen's left arm. Perhaps her dad, who passed away in 2018, was with her all along.