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Tonight's tearful toast

Gia's Despedida de Soltera

Mess Hall, Makati

Gia and I are first cousins, born 10 months apart. Since I'm a bit older, I took it as my responsibility to be the older sister she never had. To say Gia and I are close would be an understatement.

Having grown up with Gia, I can tell you that the best and worst thing about her is her tendency to say yes to everything. She says yes to many opportunities, like going out, even when she’s tired or sick. She says yes to invitations, even if she already said yes to three other events in the same night. She also said yes to a series of relationships with boys. I chose that word deliberately because that’s what they were. They could never fully understand and appreciate the sum of Gia’s personalities: crazy, funny, giving, kind, ambitious, career-driven, and family-oriented. Those close to Gia know that her kindness is prone to abuse. When she would come to me crying because she had her heart broken, I would cry with her or get mad at her. Or both.

You know how friends always say, “you deserve better”? Gia didn’t just deserve better, she deserved the best. Because that’s what she is to all of us.

In 2015, our time in London overlapped. I was about to end of my master’s, and she was about to start her. During her first few weeks in London, we met up and she told me she was on Tinder. Of course Gia would be on Tinder. She was saying yes to a bunch of dates, swiping right, and asked me if I remembered Charles Plumley from La Salle Zobel. He and I went to the same high school. I said yes I remember him, but I didn’t know him. She said they were going to go on a date, but she wasn’t looking for a relationship. She just wanted to have fun.

And have fun she did. So much fun that he became her boyfriend. Charles charmed all of her friends and our family, and if you have spent any time with my family at all, you will understand how this is very difficult. Gia brought Charles to our New Year’s Eve party, which is always a risk because people outside my family are subject to fake weddings, singing and dancing, and threats that involve death by crocodiles.

On December 17, 2017, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw Ella’s post: “OMG! I’m finally going to have a brother!” So it was either Tita Dolly was pregnant or Charles proposed. Well, that day, Gia said the most life-changing "yes" so far when Charles dropped on one knee and asked her to marry him.

Charles is the first guy I ever liked for Gia. He is the best for her, and brings out the best in her. Charles is good for her, but most importantly, good to her.

On Friday, Gia is probably going to say yes to every shot offered to her. But she will also say yes to a lifelong commitment to Charles. And Charles will say yes to a lifelong commitment to Gia, which means a lifelong commitment to our big, crazy family. Tita Marty and Tito Jeremy, you no longer have to say that you come from a small family because you're actually marrying all of us too.

Charles, I don’t need to tell you to take care of Gia because I know you will with everything you’ve got. I am confident that there will be no deaths by crocodiles in your future. I love you both so much. 😭💖

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