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A Retelling of our Love Story for Ultimate Thailand Explorer

Because of our Ultimate Thailand Explorers video, we have been getting questions about how the two of us met and fell in love. Did we really meet online? How did it happen? Was it love at first “type”?  Since we just celebrated our 1st anniversary, allow us to retell our story to all of you. 
JENNY’S VERSION UTE8For me, it was love at first sight. I first caught a glimpse of Michael in a singles’ retreat organized by our church. It was a  beautiful April day. There was  a Sports fest  that afternoon and since volleyball isn’t my sport, I chose to sit at the sidelines to cheer on my teammates. Then one fine gentleman caught my eye. There was something special  about the way he moved and conducted himself during the game. I was struck by his gentleness most of all.  At that point in my life, I was so happy reveling in my singleness that I wasn’t even thinking about meeting anyone. I was content that I was living a purposeful life with God at the center of it. But there I got the shock of my life, after seeing this person for the first time, I blurted to God in prayer that this is the guy I wanted to marry. I didn’t even believe at love at first sight . . . until that point.  And God did set us up. Arriving late at the last session of the retreat, my friend and I sat at the last row of the function room. Before the session commenced, the speaker asked those at the back to transfer to a couple of vacant seats in front. My friend and I hurried to the front. The guy and I landed on the same table, at the same time. Our friend introduced us. Months after that first encounter, I still couldn’t take him off my mind. But then, he was from a far-flung place and we were both still strangers to each other. Three years later, I saw him again. Two weeks before my birthday,I woke up and told God that I wish He’d let me meet my future mate before I turn a year older.That night that same friend who I was with at the retreat dragged me to a birthday party of someone I didn’t even know. That was where I saw him again. He didn’t even remember me, but I sure recognized him. Before I left, he caught up with me and said, “It was nice meeting you.” That started a solid friendship that lasted for three years. One day in November, I was surprised to receive an email from Michael. In a few words, he told me that he read my article in a local newspaper. I was elated, to say the least.  Being miles apart, he in Zamboanga City (in the sourthern part of the Philippines) and I in Metro Manila, the internet paved the way for us to  get to know each other. Since we were both online in our separate offices, we became part of each other’s daily routine. We chatted, quarreled and played games online. Once in a while, when time permitted, we met up and traveled with friends.  I’m glad I got to know him as a friend before romance got in the way, because I got to see who he really was as a person.  And then it happened.  October 3, 2007, Michael took me to his hometown and  as we were wading in the ocean at sunset, Michael asked if we could take the friendship to another level. It wasn’t much of a surprise, as I already had an inkling on our first meeting that this day would come. It was worth the wait.  Exactly a  year later, we got married in a garden ceremony in a country club near Taal Volcano (the smallest volcano in the world).  For me, Michael is a great gift, an answered prayer who embodies all  I have ever  wanted in a husband and best friend.   MICHAEL’S Version  There was a time that I thought that I would not marry. I was simply happy doing business, traveling with my motorbike, and day dreaming.  UTE9I began to notice Jen about 5 years ago. I read an article she had written for a national daily.  Her excellent article made me want to congratulate her immediately.  My only way of communicating with her was through email because we were part of the same mailing group. We also began communicating through Yahoo Messenger throughout our friendship.  What amazed me at that time was how honest she was with our friendship– so honest that there were times I got mad when she would challenge me with her high standards of conviction in the middle of work. Imagine, I  was  way down south in Zamboanga City while she, on the other hand, was in Manila or in far away Beijing!  It was simply amazing that she could affect me that way. All through out our friendship, I can honestly say that I was myself and she was herself–so ourselves that I personally stepped using the wrong foot first. . . almost everytime.  And I think that helped us build a great foundation of trust in and through Christ. I really got to know her that well. One day while I was doing my weekly routine of swimming in the river,  I had a very clear epiphany.  I normally swim with the boys on early weekends; but for this weekend, I was alone.  The rain just fell and the water was high.  The higher than usual water did not deter me from still jumping in.   “It’s no fun being alone noh?” I heard that still small voice speak deep inside of me.  And I can not argue the truth it communicated to me.  Instantly,  I knew that I would like to marry and there was no one else in this world that I would like to spend my life with except Jen.

I told myself that the woman  marry must be capable of doing the adventurous things that I love: motorcycle rides, mountain climbing, river swims, and diving. I never thought I could find one special girl who could all that– anytime, anywhere! I could not think of anyone else but Jenny! From the rough bike rides, to rugged jungle trails, river swims and deep sea diving, Jen was always game. I got to know her better during those times, with nature as our backdrop—the perfect setting! 
Time came when I decided to let Jen know that I wanted to make her mine, and I wanted to do it in a place that we will always remember. I didn’t like to do it in a restaurant or any common place. I wanted to tell her what was in my heart while we were swimming at sea near sunset. 
I fetched her straight from the airport. And lead her to one of the nicest beaches in my hometown. The trooper that she was, she never had second thoughts about taking a dip with me. It was a perfect afternoon. The water was calm and there was nobody else on the beach but the two of us. We swam and talked in the water.  It was the perfect moment: there was nothing to distract us. Instead of just saying yes, she gave me a challenge I can never forget! She asked me to recite to her by memory the whole chapter of the Bible’s Matthew 5. Out of my love for her, I was able to memorize the 48 long verses in 3 weeks! I finally married her last October 2008 and we have had so much fun exploring the world together.
  1. 5 Responses to “Michael & Jenny’s Love Story”

  2. Hello po Ate Jen and Kuya Michael!I enjoyed reading your love story :) hehehe… It was nice meeting you both at YES2009. When we were at the airport, I didn’t know that you two were part of the Philippine delegation. I thought you were Koreans who would love to join the noisy and camera-addict Filipinos. hahahahaBy Izah Morales on Nov 25, 2009
  3. Hahaha! :) During our honeymoon, we also fooled a couple of people by posing as Koreans, hahaha. . . Buti na lang di nila kami niloko sa presyo. You should hear Mike “speak” Korean. God bless, Izah!:)By Mike & Jenny on Nov 27, 2009
  4. Thank you for sharing your very inspiring love story with all of us Michael & Jenny… I know, I will also have my own love story to tell… You two reminded me that Everything will just fall right on God’s Perfect Timing… i wanna be driven by that conviction that God also prepared His BEST for me… Thank you to you both! Great that we are part of the same Spiritual Family… count my votes in! God Bless you in all your endeavors as a couple… (”,) :)By ej on Dec 10, 2009
  5. A very beautiful love story! I’m sure the two of you will continue to have a wonderful life together with many adventures around the world to come. If you ever come to the USA and specifically to Michigan, I would be glad to meet you and show you some of the many things to see in our state. Thank you for sharing your Thailand experience, I feel like I’ve been there and know you without ever being there or meeting you.By Dwight Sanders (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA) on Jan 8, 2010
  6. Wow, we’re sooo touched. Thanks so much for the kind words, Dwight. We’re both weary campaigning online and editing videos and finishing our blog. We’ve been working non-stop for 2 weeks. Hahaha. . . Your comment made us smile and helped lighten the load. :) We’re so happy that we somehow helped introduce Koh Samui to you. albeit virtually. God bless you! We’ll remember you when we do travel to Michigan. Thank you for your generous offer! :) All the best! :)By Mike & Jenny on Jan 8, 2010
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