MAGIC IS REAL
They “met” on Facebook because a common friend tagged them both during a tight match between Roger Federer and Marin Cilic in Wimbledon last July 2016.
Just try to imagine what kind of detailed planning that happened in the universe for many years that led to the marriage of Nito & Miriam.
Let’s start from the beginning. Both Nito and Miriam were unattached. Miriam gave herself a deadline: Stop dating and trying after 45. Nito gave up on getting married a long time ago.
They “met” on Facebook because a common friend tagged them both during a tight match between Roger Federer and Marin Cilic in Wimbledon last July 2016. They are both die hard fans of Federer. It took several decades for Roger Federer to reach the pinnacle of success that in turn prompted their friend to tag them on Facebook. It took all these years for Federer to hone the skills that provided the opportunity for them to realize the other existed. Isn’t it magic?
Their common friend was Nito’s high school classmate, and he was Miriam’s college batchmate. They all went to DLSU for college, and are from high school batch 1989. They’ve got so many common friends--and yet their paths never crossed earlier. That’s because God’s timing is perfect. Neither was ready for each other yet. Miriam met Nito on Facebook on July 6--a few days before she turned 46, on July 13, still right for the “45” self-imposed deadline.
From that July Wimbledon match until November, they continued chatting on Facebook, and discovered the many common things between them. They are both runners and have completed 18 marathons between them. They are both open-water swimmers.
I'm looking for chemistry and magic. I won't settle down unless there's magic!
Nito was in Sydney all that time, while Miriam was in Manila.
Luckily, Nito’s parents were celebrating their Golden wedding anniversary that year, and Nito was scheduled to go home to Manila that November. The eager runner that he is, he requested Miriam to register him in a 22km race that week that he’s in town. She obliged and offered to treat him--after all she found him good looking--and even picked him up for the race, because he told her that he no longer drives in Manila. Or maybe that was a ploy? But he has lived in Sydney for over 17 years, so it sounded fairly true.
Fast forward to November 27, 2016. They finally met face-to-face for the Gatorade 22km race in Mall of Asia (MOA). Not exactly an ideal date--a 22-km race, and about 3 hours in travel from MOA to Kalayaan flyover, and back to MOA.
That’s because God’s timing is perfect. Neither was ready for each other yet.
Miriam came from a party the night before the race. It was a Thanksgiving dinner. A few days before the race, Miriam texted and begged about 3-4 people to take her place and to keep Nito company. Her friends who were at the party with her were convincing her to cancel and back out. Turned out there were no takers--no one wanted to take Miriam's place, and she felt guilty to back out and didn’t really get any sleep.
From the party, she went home just to change clothes and proceeded to pick Nito up for the race. Her plan was to just bring him to the starting line and see him off. Go back to the car. Sleep. Drive him home.
Gun start! Nito wouldn’t leave Miriam's side. He insisted that they finish the race together. When the two reached Buendia Avenue--at this point, it was about 7 km from the starting line--it was too crazy and tiring for Miriam to go back to the car so they practically walked it and decided to complete it.
What do you talk about in 3 hours? Of course, it had to include the love life.
Miriam: Do you think you'd still get married?
Nito: Next lifetime. Why are you still single?
Miriam: I'm looking for chemistry and magic. I won't settle down unless there's magic!
Here’s Miriam’s account of what happened:
I didn't expect to hear from him again.
November 30. He invited me for dinner at Cabalen--I had to go along with his preference--and I treated him to coffee and dessert at the Manila Peninsula Hotel lobby.
December 2. He left for Sydney, and I was 100% sure that was the end of it. Not a single hint that he was interested. I considered the Cabalen dinner as his way of thanking me for the Gatorade race as his driver.
December 3. He messaged me that he arrived in Sydney. I was thinking, why would he do that?
December 3 to 31. Not a day went by that we did not chat on Facebook.
December 31. He told me he loves me, and it was one of those extremely rare moments that I couldn't say anything. I changed the topic! But hey, I told him I love him too, after I recovered from the surprise. That took about 10 to 15 minutes.
Here’s Nito’s version:
The day I met Miriam on November 27 at 2:30 AM, I could never forget the flash on the lights of her car when she picked me up at Pancake House. She saw me from head to foot. She probably noticed I wore trail running shoes that looked tacky. Then, she must have noticed the shorts I used were like circa late 1980s--yes those were the ones I wore since my college days, and the running singlet I wore was the first finishers’ tank top given to me when I ran my first race--the Magnolia 20 km in 1990. I had the impression that Miriam thought I came from San Andres Bukid and not Magallanes Village, as I wanted to meet outside the village to hide it from my family that I was cooking something up.
We ran the race, had a nice Jollibee breakfast, then walked at the Mall of Asia--something that Miriam usually does not do. After she brought me home, we tried to agree to meet again before I flew back to Sydney. I could not commit to going out right away as I wanted to get my must-do things done--like go to Friends and Neighbors carinderia, and have athletic uniforms made in Quiapo.
I was almost flying home to Sydney, and still have not made plans, I tried to hit two birds with one stone--go for a date and try other restaurants. I took a chance by asking her out to dinner, but I was so informally-dressed as I was commuting that day, so I wore shorts and those famous Zesto runners finisher's T-shirts. Imagine, we went to a very casual Cabalen restaurant, then she suggested a drastic upgrade by going to Manila Pen for dessert to listen to the bands, and have a chat. I don't know how I made it that week with her, as I had a bad cough which lasted a month.
I enjoyed my first evening with Miriam, and I was sad to leave for Sydney. I don't even remember, but Miriam says that I sent her a message saying that I arrived in Sydney already.
I professed my love for her on New Year's Eve. I told her I love her. There was a long pause, about 15 seconds, which seemed like an eternity. We had more meaningful chats and we decided to plan for our trips to Paris, New York, Manila, Sydney. I had plans to do the Paris and the New York marathon, and paid my travel agent so Miriam also went along.
I knew I would marry her the day after I completed the Paris marathon. We had a nice long chat in the hotel, and tried to answer the 'what ifs', and hypothetical questions. That's when I saw in her eyes that she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
I professed my love for her on New Year's Eve. I told her I love her. There was a long pause, about 15 seconds, which seemed like an eternity.
And the rest is history…they got married civilly in New York on November 2017. Nito was in a Lakers outfit, and the bride wore an Adidas jacket and sneakers. The church wedding was held on July 2018. They now live together in Sydney.
As their Godfather’s speech in their wedding goes--“Perhaps, but I’d like to think that this was nurtured by the One who knows everything! Who else could have overseen the confluence of events that led to the Facebook tag! Before you and Nito were born, this day and the celebration of the Sacrament earlier was foreseen by our Creator…”
Perhaps, but I’d like to think that this was nurtured by the One who knows everything!
In between, Miriam met Nito’s parents on February 3, 2017--without Nito. She was invited over for dinner because the family was so curious about the girl is whom Nito suddenly declared as his girlfriend on New Year’s Day, January 1st--when he wasn’t even dating anyone. Or so, they thought.
Nito was also telling his friends that he will propose on his next Manila trip in 2018, but an article in Philippine Star written by Quinito Henson about Nito’s Paris Marathon came out on April 2017, which preempted the whole thing. Quinito wrote that Nito will propose to his girlfriend. It was read by a lot of people, and both got a lot of text messages.
So many more details to share…but they are living happily together, and that’s all that matters now.