It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. For these couples we interviewed, it was during the holidays that their love stories unfolded.
A Heart For Candy
“One New Year’s Eve several years ago, while I was expecting fireworks and the usual merriment, I did not expect to have fireworks in my head and heart when I met this beautiful woman. It was a yearly tradition for my high school barkada to spend New Year’s Eve in my friend Bong’s house. I usually skipped it to be with my family, but that year, I decided to go. That’s when I first laid eyes on a gorgeous girl named Candy. I went up to her and said, ‘My friends find you pretty,’ when it was really me who felt that way. I gave her this cheap, pink light-up heart necklace and told her that my friend wanted her to have it. Of course, it was me who wanted her to have it.
A couple of hours later, during New Year’s Day breakfast, I confidently announced to my family that I met this girl named Candy. My sister told me that there was something in my voice that told them this girl I described would be her future sister-in-law. She was right. Seven years later, my wife and I will be celebrating another special New Year’s Eve with our four children.” —Franco
From IRC to IRL
“I met Roy online in an mIRC chatroom. I just graduated from college and he was three years younger than me. When he asked, ‘If I pursue you, do I have a good chance of getting a yes?’ I turned him down because he was younger than me. But he never gave up. He called me every night and we talked about almost anything, from boy bands to OPM music. He even made me sing for him, and I obliged. He said he loved to hear me sing. We never really saw each other in person because I struggled with weight issues. I didn’t think someone would want a plus-sized girlfriend back then.
One day, we finally met in person at a mall. We hit it off! He became very persistent by visiting me at home and giving my family food and gifts as his way of courting me. When he texted me, ‘I love you,’ I replied with ‘I ___ you.’ He asked me what the blank meant, and I told him, ‘You should find out for yourself.’ On December 31, 2001, we went on a New Year’s Eve date. I could tell by the look on his face that he was so eager to ask me something. He grabbed me by the hand, put his arms around me, and took me to a corner. Oozing with smoothness and confidence, he asked me, ‘Kailan mo ba talaga ako sasagutin?’ I replied, ‘E di ngayon!’ He was silent for five seconds. Then he smiled, hugged me, and kissed me. He said,‘Yes, finally!’ We’ve been married for nine years now.” —Patty
Take Her By The Hand
“I started courting Joanne about 10 years ago. It was very casual and neither of us wanted to put a label on anything. It was almost like a game of chicken—who would make the first move? It went on a for a few months. Christmas season came and she needed to do some shopping. I volunteered to take her to Tiendesitas, and it was packed with people. We shopped separately from each other. Sometimes, we would meet in an aisle and show each other what we bought so far. She asked me where I bought the trinkets I got a few minutes before. Seeing that it was massively crowded and we needed to squeeze through the people, I took her hand and led her to the stall.
I never let go of her hand the whole night. It was a casual hand-hold, which soon turned into interlocking fingers. And that’s how I made the first move on my wife. We’ve been married for five years now.” —Mark
12 Years of Christmas
“I met Myron at a work event. We were both from the press. When he started working in the same publishing company, we became friends easily. We regularly hung out with a lunch group, and would sometimes find ourselves doing work-related tasks together. I knew that I liked him, but never imagined an ‘us.’ I thought he wasn’t interested in girls romantically, although he’d get excited with the pretty ladies of fashion magazines. I also saw him dine once with a beautiful girl and he was such a gentleman—guiding her gently on her back and pulling a chair for her. He never showed that side to me. He would talk about her to me and it was frustrating. But I told myself I couldn’t be jealous because I was dating other guys, too.
On my last day at work in 2006, I had a salo-salo for my editorial friends. He didn’t come. Before leaving, I passed by his cubicle to find him working. I said goodbye and leaned over to kiss him on the cheek, but he turned his face around. He would have accidentally kissed me on the lips had I not turned away. I was surprised and thought I just imagined everything. I leaned in again and for the second time, he tried to kiss me on the lips. That was really confusing.
Two years after that, when he migrated to the US, I asked him about the incident. He said he tried to kiss me twice, and I moved away twice. I didn’t imagine it after all! Through the years, we remained good friends who would occasionally flirt with each other. We called each other ‘Love that never was,” ‘never was,’ or just ‘NW.’ I knew by then that I cared a lot for him, but only as a dear friend—or so I thought.
When he visited me in the Philippines, he kissed me goodbye very close to my lips. When he visited again a few years after that, he tried to ask me to his brother’s New Year’s Eve party. I couldn’t go.
In 2016, he asked me to be his date at his brother’s wedding in the Philippines. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I mean, how many close friends did he still have in the Philippines, anyway? So I said yes. At the wedding, I blew him a kiss when he spotted me among the pews. After receiving communion, I reached for his hand and squeezed it. I felt something that I couldn’t understand. I muttered, ‘Later,’ and went straight to the ladies’ room to compose myself. I was crying! ‘Please don’t do this to me, please don’t do this,’ I kept telling myself. I felt something and didn’t want it.
We went out thrice after that. I knew that my dormant feelings resurfaced, and I denied it. One time, he tried to kiss me goodbye again, and I moved away… again. On one memorable date, I was the one who turned my head to face him and the corners of our lips met gently… finally. We made things official on December 8, 2017. He realized only later that it was the date of his parents’ wedding anniversary and that made it even more special. He said he couldn’t be happier and started telling his family about us.
I have never been with anyone on Christmas. In fact, I had never officially been with anyone before this. I wasn’t the relationship type of a woman and used to care more about my career. Being with Myron this season is special for me. This is the first Christmas that I have a romantic love. Now it’s my turn to tell my family.” —Miel