Jam Chan can’t help but laugh as she recounts the night she encountered entrepreneur, Erik Cua, for the first time. It was a girls’ night out some four years ago at the now closed Opus, one of many hot spots Cua had established. As lady luck would have it, one of Chan’s girlfriends was a good friend of Cua’s and the two were introduced.

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Was it love at first sight?

Though the attraction was palpable from the start, the two remained friends for many years before they started dating. “My connection to Jam is so strong. I knew she was the one when I realised I could not live without her,” shares Cua in this Philippine Tatler exclusive.

Chan, however, was on the coy side and took a more conservative approach. “It wasn’t love at first sight,” she says, “but the first time I met Erik, I knew we’d have a great relationship together, whether as friends or more. When we started officially dating, it was such a breeze – of course we had our ups and downs but he always made it better. He understands me in ways I cant even explain. That’s how I knew I’d found my soul mate.”

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Cua pops the question

On September 23, Cua made his big move at the stunning Antonio’s Lanai garden lounge in Tagaytay, which at the time, Chan believed was going to be a friend’s birthday dinner. Once there, the owner invited the couple to meet him at the Lanai Lounge, which Erik had set up with flowers and three big screens. “I played a video on the screens of our most memorable pictures together,” says Erik, “and then at the end, I kneeled down and proposed...”

It all happened so fast for Chan, who went through a gamut of emotions, from sheer shock to absolute happiness – and needles to say, she uttered the big, ‘yes.’ “I had no idea at all!” recalls Chan. While walking down to the garden, she even remembers telling him, ‘Hey maybe we shouldn't interrupt – there’s a wedding happening,’ but Cua waved off her concern and continued walking towards the Lanai. “Then when the video started playing, my heart literally skipped a beat,” says Chan. “I couldn't process it at that time, my heart was beating so fast when he knelt down on one knee. I was shaking and he was shaking! But I was the happiest girl in the world at that moment. I was so touched, I couldn't take the smile off my face. Now that I look back to moments before the proposal, there were so many signs! It was planned to perfection.”

Friends-GP-and-Andi-Reyes-as-well-as-Kevin-and-Michelle-Tan-were-in-on-it.jpgFriends GP and Andi Reyes as well as Kevin and Michelle Tan were in on it

The big day

Cua and Chan are on the same page as far as wedding planning is concerned. For starters, both really want a destination wedding in Boracay for their family and closest friends followed by a second reception in Manila for those who cannot attend the Boracay nuptials. The cute couple is also bent on following all the traditions of the Chinese culture for such an auspicious occasion. “So we’re already planning a small engagement party (tinghun),” says Chan, adding, “Boracay is the perfect destination for us as we both love to look at endless water and we want it to be a mini-vacation for our family.”

When probed for details on that engagement ring, the only thing the giddy Chan could get out was, “It’s perfect!”

Tags: Weddings, Erik Cua, Jam Chan, Proposal