Mark Anthony Fernandez and Melissa Garcia—both garbed in Nono Palmos creations, she in a handwoven piña-bulak gown, he in a salinghabi coat barong—exchanged vows while the setting sun cast a golden glow. The pastor, Bernard Marquez, admonished them: "Remember, God is the center of every marriage that lasts." Though Mark is a Catholic, he agreed to a born-again Christian ceremony because that was what Melissa wanted. (YES!<
Mark Anthony Fernandez, now 27, and Melissa Garcia, now 26, first met in his friend's house at Tahanan Village, Parañaque, in 1999. She had called up the house looking for somebody. Mark, who happened to be in the house that day, picked up the phone.
Curious to see how the girl on the other line looked like, Mark pretended he was that person and asked Melissa to come over. She did. That first meeting was the beginning of a love affair that would weather many storms and survive hard times.