Third time’s the charm for this man who waited patiently
“Hi crush! Mga gwapa ta gale ro taga ACC noh (Students from Aklan Catholic College are beautiful),” said Jun Rey I. Tordecillas told Jonah Eliza C. Prado when they were introduced to each other. It was Sept. 17, 2008 and they were both in Aklan Training Center for an essay contest. Jun was the president of the Sanggunian Kabataan Federation of Aklan province at that time.
Jonah didn’t mind him because she was busy writing her entry and wanted to win. During Jun Rey’s speech, Jonah couldn’t help but notice that Keen was looking at her the whole time he was delivering his speech, even the other contestants were wondering. “When I was about to receive the certificate, he pulled me toward him. I almost fell down, falling into his arms—similar to what we see in movies),” reminisces Jonah, and the rest, as they say, was history. But the happy ending took longer than expected.
When she became a licensed teacher, Jun Rey proposed and she declined because she wasn’t ready and it wasn’t allowed by her family at that time. “When I became a full time teacher at ACC, he proposed again. He was a seaman that time and my reply, ‘not yet.’ I didn’t have the courage to take that big leap,” she tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle.
They never talked about getting married again after that, even if she was ready. In 2015, both their families went through hardships, forcing them to put on hold their wedding plans and use the money that they had saved for three years for their families. “Can you imagine how we were so sad at that time. We were comforted by the fact that our families were both okay and healthy,” says Jonah.
Come 2018, Jonah got the courage to ask Jun Rey if they can get married but, this time, it was him who said “not yet,” because he was about to change professions from seaman to fireman—all “in the name of love” so he can be closer to her. Jonah was also about to move schools, so it wasn’t the best of times to get married. She agreed. Waiting for two more years, they both turned to the Lord and lifted everything up to Him.
She honestly thought that he was going to propose on their 12th anniversary last Oct. 3, even inviting him to go to church, assuming that he would propose. But little did she know that the plan was set on Oct. 10. Set in Kalibo Fire Station (KFS), she was asked by the head of KFS to meet him in his office with regard to his daughter who happens to be a student of the school where she teaches. While waiting, the fire alarm sounded and everyone was up and running, preparing to leave. Even one fire truck left quickly, but she was able to notice that the truck was just going around the area. The fire alarm was eventually replaced with their theme song Forevermore by Side A. “One by one, her colleagues went down, holding one paper flower each. Twelve of them, along with my friends from church, school, and my former students,” shared Jonah. But Jun Rey was still missing and she thought that the person going down from the driver’s seat was him. “I was about to cry already but it wasn’t him. The driver told me to turn around. Everyone started cheering and that’s when Jun Rey came out, waving his hands and jumping. He didn’t look serious, so I didn’t know what to make of everything that was happening. He told me to look at the truck and that’s why they opened a part of it to show a ‘Will you marry me?’ By the time I turned around again, Jun Rey was down on one knee already, holding the ring, and smiling. She said ‘Yes, Keen (her term of endearment for Jun Rey)’ almost immediately, even though Jun Rey wasn’t able to say anything yet.
Jonah explained on her Facebook post, “Sorry, Keen. Even if you didn’t ask, I was reserving my answer for the longest time. It’s hard to wait, most especially when you’ve been waiting for so long. But because of prayers and our love for each other, the result of waiting this long is so beautiful. I can’t imagine how he prepared for yesterday—how he gathered my friends, how he convinced the whole Kalibo Fire Station for this moment, how his family and friends helped him. God surrounds us with people who prayed with us, and this prayer was too powerful that we made it this far. And this time, all the more we need you to pray for us. I love you Mr. Tordecillas—the man who waited for 12 years.”