Amaya and Gerard

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How We Met

I was on my way to a special Volkswagen meet-up/track day (I’m a car enthusiast/nerd), which was about an hour away from where I was living at the time. I was running late (per usual) so I was driving a bit faster than I maybe should have been. I passed another VW on the highway as I sped to try to arrive on-time and noticed a guy driving, but didn’t think much of it. Once at the event, that same guy who I’d passed on the highway ended up parking next to me. When he came back from taking his car out on the track and took his helmet off I took the opportunity to tease him about passing him earlier. Recognizing me, he responded, “Amaya? It’s Gerard!” explaining that we had attended the same high school together nearly 10 years prior. He was a grade older and while we shared a couple of classes, I had little to no recollection of him. He took me for a ride on the track and asked me to dinner. We had dinner a few days later at a French restaurant and closed the place down after talking for nearly 3 hours and then continuing our conversation on a late night canyon drive (we do love driving after all). A week later he met my dog, Jolene who is usually skeptical of strangers and won her over immediately. I knew then he was the one for me.

How He Asked

Gerard was born in The Philippines, but left with his family at two-years-old and had never been back, so this year we planned a big end of the year trip to visit his birthplace. After a week spent with family and exploring the country’s mainland we decided to mix in some R&R & set off for El Nido in Palawan—a tropical beach paradise in The Philippines. We could not have picked a more beautiful place to stay than the private island resort, of Pangulasian Island, which included pristine crystal clear beaches, monkeys who visited our canopy room’s balcony daily and magical views of both the sunrise & sunset. On our last night there he told me to get ready, as he’d planned a sunset cruise (I kept mentioning how much I’d love to do that). While we were on the cruise watching the sunset with bubbly in hand and whales swimming nearby, I thought, “If it’s going to happen on this trip, it’s definitely happening now,” but it didn’t. We headed back to our resort and I figured maybe he wasn’t planning to pop the question after all, but instead of going back to our room, we set out on another boat ride across the bay to a small private island. As we approached I noticed a small table for two and the beach illuminated by candles, which has been carefully placed all around the table. He had planned a private 5-course dinner with a chef who prepared us the most delicious fresh food on the spot. Somewhere between the 1st and 3rd course, with the gentle sound of the waves and the stars lighting the sky as I had never experienced before, he couldn’t keep it in anymore and read something very special he had prepared. With tears in his eyes, he then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him with the most gorgeous ring ever. I answered yes through tears and we kissed. We popped another bottle of champagne and enjoyed the rest of our meal as fiancés! On our boat ride back to our resort, the sea was lit up by thousands of plankton and the sky by millions of stars. I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect.

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