Coleen and Rey’s Meaningful Tribal Wedding

Our featured groom, Rey Anugon carries with him an interesting religious background. He is a Catholic, but he also belongs to the Subanen Tribe, an indigenous ethnic community from Mindanao. As a way of paying homage to his rich cultural heritage, he and his bride, Coleen Dolina, decided to hold, not only a Catholic ceremony, but a Subanen Tribal Wedding as well. It was the latter’s colorful and unique rituals that drew our attention.

Quite apt. Since their journey to the altar was just as colorful and unique.

Two kind souls

In 2013, the Philippines was rocked by Yolanda. While the world reeled from the rising death toll and the haunting images of the havoc wreaked by the super typhoon, relief operations were mobilized throughout the country and thousands of brave young men and women volunteered to be at the forefront of history.

One of them was Coleen who was assigned to an emergency response station in Central Visayas. Imagine her delight when she recognized another volunteer as her former student, Rey. One could say that a tragedy brought them together. We prefer to believe that their kindred hearts, both so pure and giving, somehow found each other.

One quirky question

The proposal was unassuming but no less sweet. On a particularly long bus ride, Rey suddenly turned to Coleen, and casually asked, “May I call you my wife, from now on?”

When asked what made her say YES, she simply muses, “He’s very responsible and has a very good sense of humor. I feel very comfortable being myself in front of him.”

The Meaningful Tribal Wedding

The wedding was but another proof of how romantic and reliable Rey could be.

While most brides painstakingly pore over every detail of their wedding and inevitably transform into bridezilla along the way, Coleen gleefully tells us that her husband’s family “took care of everything.” Probably the most relaxed bride ever in the history of weddings, she was told to just fly into the venue a week before the ceremony, when everything was already in place for her tribal wedding.

Here they give us a glimpse of a tradition not many of us are privileged to witness.

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tribal wedding

But, the best thing about not being hands-on? The element of surprise. Coleen was blown away by how gorgeous the reception venue was. “I almost cried. Then my husband told me: this is my wedding gift for you for our wedding day.”

We’re just readers of their story, but we came to realize that, in that moment, all of the circumstances, from volunteering amid a calamity to deciding to have two different ceremonies, had aligned, because when you’re with the right person, everything will fall into place naturally.

Bride: Coleen Dolina
Groom: Rey Anugon
Photography: marcher_start Photography
Catering: Grace Catering
HMU: Lito Pacaldo
Venue: St. Isidore the Farmer Parish, Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte (Church Wedding)
and Siayan Municipal Gymnasium (Tribal Wedding)

Contessa Abapo

More about Contessa Abapo

Contessa, who hails from Cebu City, Philippines, now lives in Hanoi, Vietnam where she helps ESL students prepare for the IELTS exam. In her downtime, she engages in fierce political debates, nitpicks on grammar mistakes of her Facebook friends, and cries over silly rom-com grand gestures. She's totally bereft of any ounce of culinary skill which is unfortunate as her life-long ambition is to drown herself in pastry. IELTS teacher. Passionate Argumentator. Well-meaning Grammar Nazi. Rom-Com Fanatic. Unapologetic Sweet Tooth.

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