Best day of my life: A proposal on a Binondo walking tour

This is the story of the best day of my life which started out as a really, really bad day.
Ross Garcia and Jella Mercado This was set in motion a week ago, when Ross told me that Old Manila Walks was offering him a 50% discount on the Binondo Food Tour. He said he was given a discount because this tour was going to be documented and would be used as tourism promotions for the city of Manila.

He thought it would be nice to go on October 15 since it was a holiday, so we started texting our friends if they wanted to join us. We got a group of more than 20, and we were supposed to meet at 2:30 p.m. in the Binondo Church.

That day, I had to wake up early to go to Far-View (Fairview) to register for my board review classes. I got there around 10:30 a.m. and the line was so incredibly long and was moving so incredibly slow that it took me almost three and a half hours just to register! Around 1:30 p.m. I was already calling Ross so many times just ranting and asking if I should still go with them to the tour because I probably wouldn't make it.

He said to just finish registering and go anyway.

I finished a bit past 2 p.m. and rushed to Manila, only to be met by traffic in standstill. I was stuck in Recto, which would [mean that it would take me] around 10 minutes to get to Binondo without traffic, for more than an hour. Finally, Ross just walked over to where my car was, fetched me, and we walked back to Binondo together. I was in such a grumpy mood that all I was saying to him was "this is the worst day ever!" and "I hate this!"

When we got to the group, though, I started to feel better, but I was still declaring that it was the worst day ever. But then they gave me siopao! Therefore: HAPPINESS! So we did the whole food tour, complete with cameramen and a photographer, ate chicken from Sincerity, and went to get hopia from Eng Bee Tin which was said to be our last stop.

Outside Eng Bee Tin, there was a marching band already which our tour guide, Anson, said was also for Manila Tourism video purposes.

After shopping for hopia, when we got out of the store, the marching band started playing the Ryzza Mae chacha song (a guilty pleasure, hahaha). At this point, I was still oblivious, but then there were two rows of police escorts and Ross insisted we walk in between them, in front of the band. I started to wonder what was going on when we were already nearing the plaza.

Ross suddenly disappeared because he said he wanted to change his shirt, and left me with Nina. Haha!

When we got to the plaza, there were so many people and there were balloons and a bunch of roses on the ground (later, Ross said there were 26 dozen roses). Some women there started handing out the roses to us girls, and asked us to form a circle.

I was really nervous at this point. Then Nina started pushing me towards the center of the circle. Hahaha! Then I heard my cousin Pammy and her family call out to me, then I also saw my parents, and my other friends who weren't in the food tour, and then I just started crying because I realized what was going on. May hawak pa akong mineral water bottle, buti Mel got it from me! Haha.

Everyone started handing me the roses they were holding and they were so heavy na, and I really didn't know what was happening already because I was just overwhelmed.

I remember people lighting sparklers though, lots and lots of them.

Ross eventually emerged from the crowd as the band was playing Coldplay's “The Scientist.” I was already very, very ugly from all the tears, but that didn't stop him from saying all these nice, lovey stuff (in English! haha!), saying that he wanted to be my husband, getting down on his knee, showing me a very pretty ring, and asking me to marry him.

So I said “Yes!” and, when I did, there were fireworks. Literally. It was absolutely perfect. Except for my melted makeup. And how sana pala I was wearing heels. But pretty much, it was perfect.

And that was how the love of my life, together with our family and friends, turned a really, really bad day into the best day of my life. — KDM, GMA News

Editor's Note: This text accompanied the original video by Bob Nicolas that Ms. Mercado posted on her Youtube page. We are re-posting it here with permission.

Jella Mercado is studying for the medical boards at Our Lady of Fatima University.