In light of the 105 years of presidential history surrounding the storied “The Grand Dame,” The Manila Hotel thus became the most fitting venue for the nuptials of Jerika Ejercito, the beautiful daughter of HE and former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Laarni Neiman Enriquez, to her dashing groom Miquel Aguilar Garcia, the General Manager of Porcelanosa Philippines.
The splendour of the wedding reflected the glamour of a bygone era with 600 guests dressed to the nines in their barong tagalog, evening gowns and glistening finery. The groom’s parents, the distinguished Jose Aguilar Guillén and Alejandra Garcia Soriano and sister, Claudia Aguilar Garcia had flown in from Spain along with his closest friends to witness the beautiful union of this well-loved couple.
The handsome duo were introduced through matchmaker extraordinaire Ferdi Salvador (Jerika’s dear friend and whom was also one of Miquel’s groomsmen) at the fancy Desiderata May of last year. The two hit it off instantly and after a year of blissful dating, Miquel proposed on the 12th of April 2017. Both being God-centred and spiritual individuals, Miquel whisked the love of his life off to Israel where they relished their first backpacking trip together through Jordan to Petra. Waiting for that perfect moment, he then got down on one knee at the luxe Kempinski Hotel by the wondrously captivating Dead Sea.
The ceremony was held at the Maynila Ballroom of The Manila Hotel where a teary-eyed Jerika was given away by her proud father. “There were so many magical and memorable movements,” shared Jerika, “The moment my father gave me away, my mother's speech during the ceremony – who could forget that? But of course, my most memorable would have to be the exchange of our vows.”
The couple’s adorable son Isaiah Ejercito shyly executed his role of ring bearer while the very precocious brotherly duo, Harrison and Cameron Mckowen were the entertaining pen bearers and the cutest flower girl trio Ellie Ejercito, Elyziah Enriquez and Catherine Mckowen stole everyone’s hearts.
Guests, beaming with happiness for the newlyweds and some dabbing at runny mascara (thanks to the bride’s emotional vows and her mother’s heartfelt speech) proceeded to the timelessly elegant Champagne Room for bubbly, delicious Spanish cured meats and tapas.
The wedding party eventually made its way to the Fiesta Pavilion for the grand reception where the jaw-dropping tablescapes and décor (by the venerated Robert Blancaflor) paired rich textures with lush greenery and lilac blossoms which looked amazing under the dimmed mood lighting and candle-lit space.
For the first time in the hotel’s history, a guest star chef collaborated with the kitchen on a phenomenal menu, which was masterminded by no less than The Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016, Margarita Forés. Hers was a clever mix of the couple’s heritage such as the Catalan seafood stew with Palawan lobster, Bulacan river prawn and capiz scallop; the handmade water spinach panuelos with boletus, chanterelle and Philippine kabute mushrooms; and the Philippine sea bass in parchment with chorizo, native corn, persil and aioli.
Forés’ pièce de résistance, however, was the fall-apart organic Negros roast lechon, Cerveza Negra infusion santol and calamansi in montassa syrup with Tempranillo liver sauce. The trick? Leaving cans of Cerveza Negra within the lechon while roasting until they exploded from within.
The playlist was a thoughtful intermingling of the couple’s favourite – albeit romantic – tunes such as What A Wonderful World, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Por Fin, Despacito, Orange Coloured Sky, and Tu Silueta. Father and daughter took to the dance floor to the moving melody of Sunrise, Sunset and then for their first dance as husband and wife, Love Story perfomed by Rada in Spanish with the Philharmonic orchestra.
Miquel, who is now looking forward to two new additions to the Aguilar brood (they are expecting twins!) said of their special day, “When she was walking down the stairs and down to the aisle with her parents all the way to her greeting my parents, I got very emotional and I tear up every time I remember that unforgettable moment.”
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Photos by Red Mango