Lydia and Terren

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Siargao Island, Philippines

How We Met

T and I met initially in a retail marijuana store in our town, Crested Butte, Colorado. I was working as a photographer for the weekly newspaper, and pot shops had just recently opened for recreational use, so I was on assignment for a story being written about it. I stood around for almost an hour, asking customers if they wouldn’t mind me taking their photo for the Crested Butte News, and everyone kept saying no! T walked in to browse the selection, and I asked him if I could photograph him, and finally, I got a yes! He didn’t end up purchasing anything, and the paper didn’t even end up using any photos of him in publication, opting instead for some that I took of the workers behind the counter… and honestly, that first meeting between us didn’t really have much significance otherwise. We were both in relationships at the time, and neither of us really remembered the encounter until I stumbled across the photo one day while digging through my archives for a different assignment. Fast-forward a few years, and that’s when the magic happened.

The classic story here: Guy walks into a bar. It was a Thursday ladies night at the Red Room, and the lights were down low. I was still in a relationship at the time, but it wasn’t feeling right and wasn’t really working out… Anyway, T appeared as I was sitting at the bar with some friends, and it was totally one of those cheesy moments as described in books or shown in movies where everything else just fell away and there was nothing in the room except us two. It was like the strongest magnet I had ever felt was pulling me in his direction. I couldn’t stop looking at him, and I noticed that he was also looking at me every time I checked. Was he staring at me because I was staring at him or was he really seeing me? I didn’t know who he was, yet I felt like I had known him for years. He describes the situation as a feeling that he was so drawn to me, attracted to me, and was needing to know who I was right away. He approached me after several times making eye-contact. He introduced himself and we started chatting. We talked for hours. Time slipped away without us giving any notice to it. We connected so instantly and with such strength. Towards the end of the night, the bars were closing, and T leaned in for a kiss but I pulled back. He realized something was off… “You have a boyfriend, don’t you?” To be honest, I wanted so badly to lie and say no, but I told the truth. And then he left. All I knew was that his name was “T” and that I had never felt this way about anyone before. Later that night, I found his Facebook profile through some mutual friends and sent him a friend request. I thought to myself, “Even if we can’t take this further right now, there’s something really special here.”

A few months went by, the busy times of summer hit and I so distracted by my work, photographing many weddings and still working full-time for the newspaper. T and I had some other serendipitous run-ins out in the wilderness and also among our friend groups. We hung out a few times, made dinner and walked our dogs together, and still, I felt such strong chemistry. He says he felt the same, and although he tried to date around a little, he kept feeling so drawn to me. Both of us were having confusing feelings about everything, and we kept trying to convince ourselves that we should just be friends. Finally, as the summer season ended, so did my relationship. I reached out to T shortly after, and he faked his “Oh, I’m so sorry about that.” before asking me out on a date. The rest is pretty much history, and we fell in love rather quickly. It’s funny because it’s not really a fairy-tale beginning, but it sure is headed in a great direction! (We wouldn’t call it an ending since the exciting adventures continue!)

How They Asked

These days, T and I work together as a photography team – Mountain Magic Media. We are portrait and wedding photographers, plus T is a gifted craftsman and also creates custom handmade keepsake boxes for our clients. I feel that my work has really excelled with T’s assistance and second-shooting. We’ve been super excited to offer our clients a professional, fun, and comfortable experience. This past summer was our busiest yet! As our business has been growing, so has our need for a serious vacation. So we booked flights to the Philippines in order to chase the waves. T lived in Costa Rica for several months before we met, and he loves surfing. I had tried learning during a quick vacation together a couple years ago, but we weren’t really at a “beginner break” and I definitely struggled with it. This time, we wanted to find some nice, mellow waves. We also wanted to settle in to a place for longer than just a couple weeks, so we opted for 5 weeks in Siargao Island, which is notorious for Cloud 9 surf break plus has a bunch of beginner spots.

Lydia's Proposal in Siargao Island, Philippines

Proposal Ideas Siargao Island, Philippines

We booked the first few nights of our stay on Siargao Island at a bed-and-breakfast in the northern part of the island. A lovely, quiet beach house with the most friendly staff. The resort seemed like the perfect place to ease-in to our vacation. Upon arrival, they said to us “There will be a wedding tomorrow night. We hope you will join us.” Smiles spread across our faces and broke into laughter. Here we traveled thousands of miles to vacation, not so much to escape our lives as wedding photographers but to at least take a break, and we landed ourselves in a Filipino wedding. Our destiny. We were curious to see the ceremonies, customs, and traditions of a wedding in the Philippines. As fate would have it, and as our hosts at the resort insisted, not only would we “join” the celebrations, but we were ushered to sit at tables amongst the guests. We tried our best to observe from a distance, standing quietly in the corner, but were then quickly escorted to participate in the post-dinner program which included a series of hilarious game-show events with a flamboyant announcer. It was truly surreal. We were so welcomed, we were asked to be in several of the photos with the bride and groom, and we were even given the honor of taking the final few professional photos of the evening which included all the vendors and people behind-the-scenes. We danced the night away with our new friends, and we admired the beautiful work of the wedding photographers with the passion that we share.

The following week we stayed at a resort in the busier part of the island. We planned to celebrate our anniversary on November 11 by doing a vow renewal. We have been doing yearly vow renewals since we first got together. Our first was during a local Crested Butte community celebration called Vinotok. The community feast always has a hand-fasting ceremony, and we decided to participate after our first year together. We made vows, committed to each other for the traditional “a year and a day” and then renewed those vows the following year at Burning Man with the theme being “Radical Ritual”. This time, we would be renewing our vows just the two of us at our fancy beach resort. We exchanged a few words, promising to honor, respect, and love each other. And then T said, “I want us to be together for more than just a year and a day.” At this point, he pulled out a ring from his pocket that he had made back in Crested Butte. It is the most beautiful ring, and the small diamonds on the side are ones that my Grandma had given me. (There are more, that we will have set into a wedding band.) When I saw the ring, I started laughing out of disbelief. And then I started crying… sobbing really. And then we were both crying. And then I said “duh”.

We couldn’t resist the opportunity to have some engagement photos taken while we were on the beach since it’s such different scenery from the mountain wedding that we’ll have in July 2020. We wanted to play on the beach, splash around in the waves, and have our new photographer friends from those first nights of our stay capture all the magic. So here they are! And we couldn’t be more thrilled with how they turned out. On the day we planned to shoot, there was a typhoon. So we had to reschedule. Then T got food poisoning the night before our re-shoot. But he started feeling better later in the day, and we made it to the resort where the wedding was held just in time for the most beautiful sunset with the full moon rising over the ocean.

Since the start of this trip, we haven’t been doing much besides but living and loving, enjoying each other’s company and our time spent adventuring the tropical life. We’re so excited for all the adventures that lie ahead of us!

Special Thanks

Ray Cañoneo Photography
 | Photographer