Three days before her church wedding, the 22-year-old commercial model Audrey Tan is the picture of a giddy young bride. Two weeks earlier, she and Representative Juan Miguel Zubiri, 36, had their civil wedding in his home province of Bukidnon. Now she's preparing for their church wedding in Tagaytay City. To say that she's excited is an understatement.
Audrey, who's from Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, says she cannot remember exactly when she first met the congressman, but she remembers the place: Subic. She had gone there with her mother Lourdes and with her boyfriend at the time. Miguel knew the boyfriend and joined them for lunch.
"We got along really well," Audrey recalls. "We were talking about politics. It was so much fun."
In 2002 the model and the congressman met again at a charity event at the Rockwell mall in Makati. This second meeting turned out to be auspicious. Before the night ended, Audrey and Miguel already had a date set for the weekend. More dates soon followed. "It was like that," Audrey says. "Once I met Miguel again, dire-diretso na."
After three or four weeks of dating, Miguel wanted Audrey to have dinner with his family in Alabang. "I didn't wanna go, kasi I felt kinda dyahe. Sabihin naman nila, parang I'm so excited. I wasn't even his girlfriend yet." Her mother Lourdes also dissuaded her from accepting the congressman's invitation.
What Audrey didn't know was that, on a trip to Pangasinan, Miguel had prayed to Our Lady of Manaoag, asking for guidance. If Audrey agreed to go with him to Alabang, he would see that as a sign that she was the right woman for him.
As we all know by now, Miguel's Manaoag prayer was answered. Audrey decided to accept the invitation to have dinner with the Zubiris.