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From This Date On: Charlie and China Cojuangco’s Church Wedding

Last October 10, the couple tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony at the historic San Sebastián Cathedral

It’s been posted countless times: trust the process. Or for those who are religiously inclined: in God’s time, it will happen. But we often live our lives forgetting the simple truth that there is a divine plan. And then, when we arrive at a state of bliss, and we reminisce and recount all the twists and turns it took to get there, we realize that everything really and truly happens for the best.


For example, the newlyweds Charlie and China Cojuangco had originally wanted their church wedding date to be April 14, which is the groom’s birthday. The civil wedding, held April 7, was China’s, so it’s a truly meaningful month for them. However, quarantine guidelines were so fluid that it wasn’t a good time.


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They eventually settled on October 10. And in the course of planning, some photos emerged that China had covered the wake of Rio Diaz Cojuangco, Charlie’s first wife who succumbed to cancer, and that Charlie and China (though they had both forgotten it) had actually met all those years ago, on October 10, 2004. At the reception, Charlie shared that he had prayed for a sign that his late wife had a hand in orchestrating his second lease on marital bliss. And the sign came. 


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Last October 10, China and Charlie Cojuangco tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony at the historic San Sebastián Cathedral


Hometown glory

Charlie and China are proud and happy Tarlaqueños. So they wanted their wedding to reflect that heritage and family legacy.


They chose to wed at the historic San Sebastián Cathedral, where China had been baptized, received her First Communion, and also confirmed. The celebrants of the Nuptial Mass were led by Bishop Emeritus Cinense and the current Bishop of Tarlac, Bishop Macaraeg, who joined forty five priests who had all been scholars of the late Danding Cojuangco, Charlie’s dad. 


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Tarlac Cathedral plays host to the wedding of Charlie and China Cojuangco
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A beautiful moment at the Tarlac Cathedral captured by photographer Paul Vincent


In his homily, the Bishop Cinense said: “Do not look for the best man. Find a man, and make him the best, just as Charlie has become with China.” The groom then was seen beaming in agreement, and even echoed this sentiment in his speech at the reception.


Comfort and joy

As simple and solemn as the ceremony was, the air of a friendly family reunion pervaded the reception. The congregation was just across the church to the Kaisa Hall. As a project of Tarlac city Mayor Cristy Angeles, the inauguration of this hall was the last official occasion graced by the late Danding Cojuangco. The modern architecture is a wonderful counterpoint to the church and gives a worldly edge to the celebration. 


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The reception at the Kaisa Hall is a project of mayor Cristy Angeles that was inaugurated by Charlie’s father, the late Danding Cojuangco
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The elegant reception décor executed by Tarlac florist Jennifer Bandasan-Pacubas of Tip-Top Events


The couple really wanted this affair to be simple, easy and relaxed, so they asked good friends to help them plan it all.


Asia’s Best Chef Margarita Fores collaborated with Tarlac chef Oliver P. Castillo of Oliver’s Kitchen for the reception dinner. The reception décor was executed by Tarlac florist Jennifer Bandasan-Pacubas of Tip-Top Events with the help of Anton Barretto. Javi Martinez of Yaparazzi events organized and planned the event. Tim Yap and Tessa Prieto hosted the wedding celebration.


The bride looked radiant in an elegant gown designed by her friend Tina Romack of New Yorker to the delight of Charlie and his family, because they all remember accompanying their mom, Gretchen, to the New Yorker atelier as kids.


In his speech, the groom confessed that he knew right away when he met China that she would be his wife. But he could comfortably say that because everyone in the room was very close to the couple and had a front seat view of their whirlwind romance.


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In his homily, the Bishop Cinense said: “Do not look for the best man. Find a man , and make him the best, just as Charlie has become with China.”
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Brothers of China, Francis and Jerome, giving her away.


Mark, Charlie's older brother, imparted words of love to the newlyweds, a surprise video from Tina Barrera, Charlie's sister residing in Australia, who fondly calls China "sis," warmed the hearts of the couple. China's brothers, Jerome and Francis gave messages of affirmation as well.


And so in the midst of so much chaos and uncertainty in the world , this lovely and no-fuss wedding proves to one and all that love remains certain and as Charlie himself puts it, "When you know, you know."


In the gallery below are some exclusive photos from the ceremony:


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