Their love story started because of coincidence.
A long time ago, Milagros Bautista was 21 while Benjamin Baculo was 25. Both of them took a vacation in Samar. Little did they know, they were neighbors. As if the universe conspired, like star-crossed lovers, they met. Benjamin started to court Milagros. They fell in love.
Milagros, now 43, and Benjamin, now 47, already have five children. They used to dwell near the Pasig floodway but had been relocated to Southville 7 in Calauan, Laguna because of Typhoon Ondoy last 2009. For 22 years of being together, they never got married. They had plans but the whole exchange of vows in front of someone else other than themselves did not happen due to financial reasons.
Benjamin and Mila during the wedding ceremony
Their children used Milagros’ last name. It was hard for her to cash checks from banks. All of her valid IDs indicated she’s still single. “I could not show any papers to prove that we are already married," she said. “I can feel his dismay, sometimes,” she added.
Benjamin wears the ring to Mila's finger
But then again, as if the universe conspired, fate stepped in. Milagros and Benjamin got married together with the other 28 couples. Mila was the only one who was wearing a veil. She said it was a gift from the one who made her wedding gown. She feels so beautiful. She feels she is the most beautiful among the brides.
Both of them learned about the upcoming Kasalang Bayan of Bantay Bata 163-Laguna. “Finally, it is going to happen,” said Mila. She prepared all the requirements they needed such as CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage), birth certificates, marriage license. Mila had to do it alone for Benjamin had to work every day as a foreman in a construction site for their family. “It came to a point that he asked if we still want to continue this”, Mila recalled. “He knows I am tired. I am. I was. But I said, ‘This is our chance. At last, our kids will have your last name.’”
“Maybe it was fate, or coincidence,” said Benjamin. “Finally, we’re married. We didn’t have to pay a lot, just the preparation of the requirements.”
Mila and Benjamin's first kiss as husband and wife
After the wedding, they promised to continue to love and care for each other. Benjamin said with his wife beside him, “I really love my wife. She’s the only one for the rest of my life.” Mila smiled while she listened to her husband. She then promised to take good care of him and their children, and to love him for the rest of her life.
“Now, finally, your last name is mine,” Mila told Benjamin while laughing. “No one can take it away anymore.”
Mila and Benjamin lovingly look at each other as they dance for the first time as husband and wife.
Bantay Bata 163’s Kasalang Bayan 2017 was made possible with the generous donors: Philippine Association of Wedding Planners, Gary Dacanay, Joyce Aguilar, Zenas Pineda, Veron Estrella, Gina de Guzman of Petals Galore, Emily Uy of Sugarbox, Angielyn Tan, Benny Bondoc, Puy Talde Photo, Novelino Wines, Congresswoman Sol Aragones, Doña Jovita Resort, Edsan Catering Services, Bakelog Marketing, Makeup Artisty by Rhina Borjal, Shendal S. Robles, Mr. Michael Magnaye of Reign Enterprises, USB Purified Drinking Water, LA Store, Buenaflor Francisco, Hon. Mayor George Berris, Graffix, Arabela, YFM Events Management, The Sweet Couture Philippines, OYAYI, and Ms. Dianne Ifchelle Cruz.
Congratulations and best wishes to all the newlyweds!