Answers the question–why July 26?
Eleven days before their big wedding day, and what are Hidilyn Diaz and Julius Naranjo busy with?
Earlier today, July 15, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle got to hang out with the couple as they had their final fitting with designer Francis Libiran at his atelier. As soon as the couple arrived, Libiran brought out a special accent for Naranjo to wear—a customized pair of gold cufflinks made in the form of barbells to be worn with Libiran’s barong creation. It’s a subtle detail that matches the engagement ring which Naranjo had Manila Diamond Studio made for him when he proposed to Diaz last Oct. 16, 2021.
“Because he’s from Guam, and he wanted to put elements of Guam in his barong, I put in some tribal embroidery, did some research, and came up with this pattern. So I combined art deco with patterns from Guam,” explains Libiran regarding his design for the Guam native with Filipino-American-Japanese roots.
Bridal gown details
As for Diaz’s wedding gown, Libiran revealed that it took him three days to come up with four options for her to choose from. “The concern of Hidilyn, she wanted to look taller. Of course, every bride wants to look thinner. If you look at the proportion of Hidilyn, she is thin, but she’s conscious about her arms. So I said, ‘Let’s not cover it too much.’ We will not cover it too much and we will show more skin, because it’s more flattering.”
He also shared some more details, “I want something that’s fit and flair. What we did with the details, we made sure that it’s not the usual floral or lace. We wanted it to be more linear to show off her personality, because she’s not the dainty type. She’s the more active and sporty one. Even the layering, it’s not ruffles, it’s more linear.” He adds, Of course, I want some texture. Gusto ko may details, not the usual. So I made the lines more on the layered and textured that extends all the way to the back. It will cascade all the way to the train. "
Libiran praises Diaz, "Hidilyn's very simple. Masarap makatrabaho ng ganoon. She knows what she likes, but she's cool every time we fit. Na-address ko lahat ng concerns nya for her special day. She wants to look very pretty walking down the aisle." He also gave her advice to make it extra memorable, "Once the door opens, it's your magic moment and you need to cherish that part of your wedding."
A blessing of suppliers
Not only was Libiran responsible for the couple’s ensembles, he helped the two complete their list of wedding suppliers to work with. Earlier this afternoon, the couple gathered with Noel Ferrer and their wedding suppliers to share teasers about their special day set this July 26. These include Francis Libiran and Arsi Baltazar, event stylist Gideon Hermosa, wedding coordinator Events by Princess Ramos of Miss P, wedding photographer Nice Print Photo by Charisse Tinio, makeup artist Juan Sarte, hairstylist Celeste Tuviera, prenup photographer Mayad Studios, a representatives from Baguio Country Club, and Manila Diamond Studio for the couple’s wedding bands and Diaz’s jewelry pieces that she will be wearing that day.
Diaz admits that there will always be stress planning for the big day, but thanks to Naranjo for taking charge. Ferrer, Diaz’s manager, chimes in, “Julius is more the control freak. Being a coach, he knows what needs to be on schedule. He even has a checklist and prefers that people confirm their attendance as soon as they send them the digital invitation.” Naranjo agrees, “I’m the OCD.” Diaz adds, “I’m busy. I’m training.”
That memorable date
This July 26, 2022, the couple will get married at St. Ignatius Church in PMA Baguio. The reception will be held at Baguio Country Club. There will also be a welcome party on July 24 for the family of Naranjo from Guam and Diaz’s family from Zamboanga.
Nineteen pairs of principal sponsors will be present such as Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, former Vice President and Atty. Maria Leonor "Lenny" Robredo, Mr. Manuel Pangilinan, Mr. Ramon Ang, Mrs. Virginia "Virgie" Ramos, Mrs. Teresita Tan Sy-Coson, Dra. Maria Victoria "Vicki" Belo, Bro. Bo Sanchez, Ryan Agoncillo with Judy Ann Santos, to name a few. Two best mens and nine groomsmen will join Naranjo, while two matrons of honor and eight bridesmaids, including Iza Calzado, will be by the bride's side.
So why July 26? Same day last year, in 2021, Hidilyn brought home the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal. It will forever be a memorable day, not only for the couple but for the whole Philippines.
“I told Hidi that we should make the anniversary of winning the first gold medal our wedding date. That was the time when she won, that was the time when she got the spotlight. Now that it’s a year later, it’s a way for us to celebrate. That’s what the wedding is all about, right? Celebrating us,” Naranjo explains. “It’s also a date we will remember forever.”
“I agree with him. That day, he told me God is the center of our relationship. ‘Yan sinabi niya bago ako nagbuhat sa Olympics. So kinilig ako, umiyak ako bago ako naglaro,” she reminisces. “Then I surrendered to God at nanalo ako ng gold medal para sa Pilipinas. Memorable ‘yun. Hindi ko makakalimutan iyun. Maganda isabay sya sa wedding namin kasi memorable rin ito.”
“Forever ko makakasama siya. Siyang napili ko habang buhay. Gaya ng Olympics, naging part siya ng buhay ko. Hindi ko makakalimutan ang July 26,” she ends with a big smile on her face.