THE QUADRICENTENNIAL pavilion was filled with merriment and of course, relief as the graduating Thomasian Architecture students had their solemn investiture last March 27.

However, as other graduates were revelling in their hard-earned diplomas, one of the students took a leap of faith as Jerald Benedict Equina went center stage to propose to his girlfriend of five years, Angela Tafalla, a registered nurse currently studying at the UST Graduate School.

Just after the ceremony, the big-screen flashed an audio visual presentation that presented Equina’s monologue of sorts.

“Kay hirap nga naming pagsabayin ang design at pag-ibig.  Nakakapagdagdag man nang stress minsan, pero wala tayong magagawa kasi mahal natin.  Siya ang nagbibigay- inspirasyon kapag feeling natin wala na tayong magagawa kasi mahal natin. Siya ang nagbibigay-inspirasyon kapag feeling natin wala na tayong pag-asang matapos ang mga plate.  Siya ang palaging nagagalit kapag hindi ka pa gising dahil alam niyang late ka na sa pagpasok.”

“Pero heto na, graduate na tayo, ano na ang susunod?”

While the video was being played, Equina brought Tafalla on stage and went down on one knee.

“I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” he told Tafalla then bent on the other knee and humbly asked, “Will you marry me?”

Struck, Tafalla replied “I do” twice, as her now fiance slipped the ring onto her finger.  The couple has known each other since they were in second grade, but their relationship only flourished when they later met in UST.

Video Surprise

Equina’s video presentation gained positive feedback from netizens as it has been viewed for more than 98,000 times and has been widely shared in various social networking sites.

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In the video, Equina asked Tafalla’s parents for their permission if they could tie the knot.

“If her parents said no, then wala talagang proposal na magaganap” Equina wrote in an e-mail to GMA News.

But Angela’s family agreed with her father having only two conditions: “Basta siguraduhin n’yong marunong na kayong mamuhay nang mag-asawa…at… gusto ko, hindi buntis si Angela bago ikasal.”

The Tafalla family is one of the people Equina asked for permission and guidance before proposing to his girlfriend.  Together with the support and guidance he gained from his mother, friends, and the College of Architecture, he became certain that they are meant for each other.

Surprised damsel

Tafalla had a hint that something was afoot when her boyfriend showed quite some unusual behavior during the past weeks. But she admitted that she was not accustomed to surprises arranged by Equina for she usually catches him in the act.

“It is so rare of him to make surprises.  Usually kasi nabubuking ko mga surprises niya,” Tafalla wrote.  “He keeps on telling me na sa 2013 pa siya magpo-propose para sakto sa 2014 ‘yung wedding.” 

Despite her suspicion, she admitted she was surprised when Equina finally broke the news.

“It felt as if the world stopped in front of me,” she wrote.

Though hesitant to go up stage, Tafalla felt happy though she was caught off-guard with how the events transpired on that day.

“Ayoko talaga umakyat sa stage kasi nahihiya ako. I could not think of anything.  Bigla ko na lang nasabi na ‘I do’ instead of yes. I felt so happy,” she wrote.

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 Tafalla, who came from a religious and conservative family, appreciated Equina’s earning of her parent’s permission.  She perceived it as a show of value for her family.

“It made me realize how much he valued my family, not just me,” she said.

The couple is planning to set the date of their marriage on the first quarter of 2014.

Equina describes their relationship as a “rollercoaster ride” that is filled with many unexpected changes that they managed to hurdle together.

“Long story kung paano kami nagkatuluyan, but we have been together for five years; we have been through a lot. Sa bandang huli, we will go back to where we started—we will still fall in love with each other again,” Equina wrote. Alfredo N. Mendoza V

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