It was not a day for testimonies and cross-examinations at the sala of a Caloocan City judge. It was a day of reaffirmation after an elderly couple, together for 35 years and blessed with four children, decided to tie the knot amid the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Screenshot from Caloocan RTC Branch 121 Judge Ma. Rowena V. Alejandria’s video

Eugene Te Tong, 70, and Rosemarie Tumampo, 56, exchanged “I do’s” before Caloocan City Regional Trial Court Branch 121 Judge Ma. Rowena V. Alejandria on Wednesday.

According to Alejandria, the couple said they decided to tie the knot amid the raging pandemic because “they do not know what tomorrow could bring to them amid the uncertainties.

“Super nakakatuwa. Kasi after 35 years, nagpakasal, kahit may pandemic (I’m happy that they got married after 35 years of being together, and at a time of pandemic),” the judge told Manila Bulletin in an interview, “I told the wife that I wanted to hug them [after their wedding]. But I wanted to observe health protocols.”

While officiating, Alejandria said, she had to hold back her tears.

“Ang bagal ko magsalita kasi pigil ko luha ko (I was slow in officiating their marriage vows as I was holding back my tears),” she said.

The Branch 121 judge has officiated in hundreds of marriages. But, she said, it was her first time to do so for an elderly couple.

“Simple lang ang civil wedding (Their civil wedding was simple). But I tried to make it solemn and memorable,” Alejandria said.

In matching yellow outfits, Te Tong and Tumampo were wed amid clear plastic barriers which are part of Judge Alejandria’s anti-COVID protocols in her sala.

Their three grown up sons and one daughter witnessed the joyful exchange of vows, said Alejandria.

Although they weren’t able to prepare their wedding ring, what’s more important for them, they said, is to get married.

“This is love in the time of pandemic,” Alejandria said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (