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Say ‘I do’ (also) in Quezon

KNOWN for its scenic natural wonders, warm hospitality, colorful culture and tradition, wedding bells can now be heard ringing from as far as Quezon. This largest province in the south of Luzon is expanding today its horizon not only for traveling tourists, but also for marrying couples to tie the knot.

In an interview with the BusinessMirror, Tourism Organization of Quezon (TOQ) President Felisa Florido said Quezon is fast becoming a destination of choice for the wedding market at present. In fact, she noted that it is considered a better alternative for engaged couples to say “I do” for the first time or renew their vows of marriage due to its manifold old churches, ample number of hotel and resort facilities, attractive sites ideal for wedding pictorials, restaurants for receptions, as well as a pool of talented couturiers and wedding suppliers.

Seeing the province’s growing wedding industry at present, TOQ, in partnership with the provincial tourism office and SM City Lucena, has taken a pioneering initiative to promote its full potential, with the recently concluded First Quezon Wedding Fair dubbed “Makulay na Kasalan sa Quezon.” The first ever wedding activity kicked off with a bridal show within the mall owned by the Sys, showcasing elegant wedding gowns and attires intricately designed by local couturiers that were sashayed onstage by select models, as well as a short tableau of a mock wedding reception infused with traditional Quezonian rites.

As part of the weeklong activity, some of the province’s festivities were also highlighted in the Hello Quezon! cultural presentation held at the event center of SM City Lucena. This opened with talented natives of Tiaong, Quezon, showcasing their singing and dancing prowess as a glimpse of their very own Lubid Lubid Festival. The series of weekly presentation aimed at promoting Quezon as a home to colorful festivals in the country, followed with Laguimanok of Pader Burgos, Tebolan of Jomalig, the famous Pahiyas of Lucban and Kaway of Tagkawayan. Short talks and product demonstrations were conducted by suppliers joining the fair.

Given its apparent success from the jam-packed opening to the well-visited exhibition and massive sales (either on-the-spot or by reservation and bookings basis) generated by the exhibitors from the viewing public, Alberto S. Bay Jr., acting head of the provincial tourism office of Quezon, affirmed that the province indeed has found a place in the wedding map of the country, which used to be the domain of Manila, Boracay, Palawan, Cebu and Ilocos Norte.

Apart from packing your stuff on your way to a blissful hiatus in Quezon, the province may well be one of the most romantic places in the country to seal your love with your special someone. It uniquely marries romance and abundance, wonders and heritage, which can definitely make any matrimonial celebration the most meaningful experience ever.

Beyond the mystical Mount Banahaw, Quezon has white-sand beaches, verdant landscapes, as well as places of interest either natural or man-made are a perfect backdrop for any visual memento of a dreamy nuptial the province can offer. They may opt to strike a romantic pose together with the breathtaking view of the sea or large rock formation surrounding Borawan Island in the town of Real; the placid water and thick foliage of Tikub Lake in Tiaong; the expansive shore of Cagbalete Island in Mauban, where corals are shown during low tide; the stretch of white sand and crystal clear water of Kwebang Lampas beach in Pagbilao; the beautifully shaped stalactites and stalagmites of Bantakay Cave in Atimonan; the aged stone bridge of Malagonlong in Tayabas; the iconic zigzag road of Quezon National Forest Park in Atimonan set against a quaint lush greenery; the unspoiled beaches of Jomalig; or the Bird Island, which is a sanctuary of different species of birds in Polillio.

Come the big day, the marrying couple may choose to wed in any of the centuries-old churches dotting the entire Quezon. These include the most-aged Spanish colonial cathedral in the country that is Saint Michael the Archangel Minor Basilica in Tayabas, the mammoth San Diego de Alcala Cathedral in Gumaca, Saint Ferdinand in Lucena City and Saint Louis of Toulouse Church in Lucban. Their options never end with the religious spots of Munting Malaguionan Island in Burdeos, Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine in Dolores and the most-frequented Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban during Holy Week.

In Lucena City alone there are different facilities to choose from for wedding receptions. One of which is Ouan’s The Farm Resort with a cozy conference hall and function room spacious enough for a wedding reception. To the delight of guests, they can experience its rustic and serene environment with fruit-bearing trees, lush vegetation, birds and fowls, and the sweet smelling aroma of fresh air. They can stay and relish the luxuries of its ambiance in one of its lovely guestrooms.

Also at the heart of the province’s town capital, the Queen Margarette Hotel is a state-of-the-art accommodation facility with first class rooms and offers unobtrusive yet warm and friendly service. Billeting here lends a royal experience for the guest with the perfect blend of classic and modern architecture.

For a hearty yet practical reception, Bubbles Crispy Pata & Restaurant just across the municipal hall is best known for its succulent crispy pata and other notable Filipino cuisines. This once “small-time” sidewalk kiosk business has grown into a big catering as it offers affordable local dishes yet good for sharing, which is now nestled in a two-story, old Hispanic-styled house that fits 100 guests.

In the side of Tayabas lies Graceland Estates and Country Club. Here, the bride and groom, together with their guests, can check in before the big wedding day; exchange vows at its cathedral; or have a garden nuptial rites and reception at the islet sitting in the man-made lagoon or the golf course-inspired field. They may also try the Kamayan sa Palaisdaan, which is a restaurant-cum-bar-café, hotel and resort where they can relax and commune with the serenity of nature, while experiencing the exquisite taste of its fine-dining services and pampering accommodations.

Quezon, being a melting pot of history, arts and culture also make it interesting as a wedding destination. Its rich ecosystem and marvelous natural wonders either by land or sea also add magic to its vast traditions reflected in marriage celebrations.

In Photo: Wedding at Graceland Estates and Country Club and Saint Michael the Archangel Minor Basilica in Tayabas, Quezon.






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