Jestine and John


How We Met

John and I met when we were 17 in November 2005. John’s cousin and I were close friends and she chose me to be a part of her entourage for her 18th birthday (debut in Philippine culture). I met John the very first day of our weekly dance practices as he was a part of the entourage too. It was our last practice before Christmas holiday break and his cousin told me to add all of her cousins on Myspace (this included John). New Year’s day came and being the nice person that I am, I wrote a comment on John’s Myspace page. From there we started talking and he asked me to be his girlfriend on March 8, 2006.

how they asked

I had been wanting to go on a big European vacation so John and I decided that for our 10 year anniversary that we were finally going to make it happen. After much debate on where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see, we finally decided that we wanted to go to Italy and that we would spend a couple days in Milan, Venice, Rome, and Naples. Being the planner that I am, I was in charge of the full itinerary of the trip and had everything planned out down to the tee. Since this was our first big trip, we brought a Go Pro with us so we could capture all of our adventures.

Having been together for so long and the fact we were going on this once of a lifetime trip, I would get questions from friends and co-workers if I thought he was going to finally pop the question. My answer was always, “I don’t want to think about it… but what other place would be better than Italy?” One day my co-worker said, “If he’s going to do it, he better do it at the beginning of the trip or you’ll be thinking about it the entire time.” Though I even told myself I didn’t want to think about it, I kept what she said in the back of my mind.

Finally the day came when we were leaving for Italy, with our first stop in Milan. Everything we saw on that first day from the Duomo to the Galleria was so surreal for the both of us. During one of our city tours, the tour guide brought us back to the Galleria. There was a couple who was taking post wedding pictures in the middle of the Galleria and all the tourists including myself started to snapping pictures of them.  John stood next to me and turned on his Go Pro and started making a video. He said, “Man this guy must be hella rich.” Of course I had to chime in and I said, “Yeah, where can I get someone like that?” As I turned away, John mouthed to the camera “She has no idea.”  We enjoyed Milan but it was time to move on to the next city on our list, Venice.

May 15, 2016: The day.

We had arrived in Venice at noon and were looking all over the place for a water bus but there was none to be found. It was John’s idea that we take a water bus instead of booking a shared taxi (which I had already researched about) to save money. Bad idea. John asked the tourist kiosk and apparently on the water busses wouldn’t be running until 3pm that afternoon. I mapped the walk from the train station to our hotel and the map said it would be a 20 minute walk. Since we were used to walking everywhere in Milan, we decided that we would just walk to the hotel. Another bad idea. Walking through the crowded tiny streets and hauling our two check-in bags and two carry-on’s was exceptionally hard. At this point we had regretted bringing so much stuff with us.

The map on my phone said we had finally reached our destination. I then realized from that stop we still had to take a water bus from there too. I was so upset at John for not listening to me when I suggested we book the shared water taxi as I planned in the first place. Tired and frustrated that we just wasted 30 minutes of our time, we headed back to the train station and hired a private water taxi to take us to the hotel.

Upon arriving at the hotel we got lunch and decided to sight see. John suggested we visit the San Giorgio clock tower later that night since it overlooked all of Venice and it was a place that he had been wanting to go to. Since it was the only day we could actually do it because of the tours had already been pre-booked, I agreed. We pre-purchased a round trip ferry ticket and headed back to the hotel.

As we were getting ready, John started acting a bit suspicious. I had already picked out an outfit to wear and he said to me, “Are you sure you want to wear that? Wear your best outfit.” In my head I’m thinking “Why is he picking my outfit all of a sudden?” I gave in and decided to wear a white and navy blue floral maxi dress to match his navy blue blazer and white button up. He finished getting ready while I was still putting makeup on. He told me he’d be right back as he was going to find a bank to get cash. It was a Sunday and banks in Italy are closed on the weekends so I thought “Where is he going?” He came back from wherever he went and we had 15 minutes to spare before the ferry left. We speed walked from the hotel to the ferry and luckily got there on time.

As we docked, John was in such a hurry to go to the top of the clock tower. When we finally got to the top we quickly took pictures and went back down. I was wondering why we only spent less than 10 minutes in a place that he had been wanting to go the entire trip. As we got back down, the view of Venice from San Giorgio was just breathtaking. I started to take pictures while John told me he was going to set up the Go Pro. Distracted as I was taking pictures I could see John in my peripheral saying, “Babe.”

As I turned to face him, he went down on one knee.


I can’t even explain how shocked I was that this was actually happening. I began to cry and John got a little emotional as well.


I was trying to take everything in but I was also trying to get a feel of my surroundings.


I couldn’t help but notice two complete strangers taking pictures of our special moment.  I quickly thought “Maybe he hired a photographer? But why would he? He couldn’t have planned it? Oh well at least I can ask them to send me the pictures?” John was still stumbling on his sentences as he was looking at me teary eyed. What caught my attention was when he said, “I love you. Will you keep taking this magic carpet ride and spend the rest of your life with me? Will you marry me?” With Aladdin being one of my very favorite movies, I couldn’t help but let out a big sob and said “YES!”


Overjoyed with emotions, John pointed out that the strangers that were taking our photos were real photographers!



After the proposal, we went around Venice to do a same day engagement photoshoot.


Until this day I’m still in awe of how well he planned everything out!








Special Thanks

Kinga Leftska
Lifestyle Photographer