For Albay's golden couples, every day is Valentine's Day

Albay couple Wilfredo and Nelia Mirabete renew their vows on their 50th anniversary in a mass wedding, dubbed "May Forever sa Albay," on Nov. 23, 2023.
GOLDEN COUPLE. Albay couple Wilfredo and Nelia Mirabete renew their vows on their 50th anniversary in a mass wedding, dubbed "May Forever sa Albay," on Nov. 23, 2023. With the most romantic day just around the corner, golden couples prove that every day is Valentine's Day when you are with the right person. (Photo courtesy of Nelia Mirabete)
DARAGA, Albay – In a world obsessed with the idea of love that stands the test of time, two couples from Albay who have breached the 50-year mark prove that finding a match made in heaven goes beyond romantic chemistry.
Commitment and contentment
When the Mirabete couple, Wilfredo, 75; and Nelia, 70, first met at a friend's party in 1971, sparks flew.
The then-22-year-old carpenter was so smitten that he was determined to win over the stunning 17-year-old handicraft maker from Daraga in Albay province, no matter what the cost.
"I won her over through my love letters and my signature harana song, 'Once There Was a Love'," Wilfredo said.
Two years later, on June 7, 1973, they tied the knot.
Looking back, Nelia admits that while the initial spark of romance became the impetus for them to start a relationship, "commitment and contentment" are what keep the flame burning even after five decades of being together.
"Disagreements are a natural part of married life, but the secret to making it to 50 years is being committed and content with your partner despite the many challenges," Nelia said.
Their granddaughter, Angel Mirabete, 26, couldn't agree more.
"They are my role models when it comes to marriage and parenting. Growing up with them, I have seen how they resolve their conflicts whenever they have misunderstandings. Their love endures forever," she said.
Asked what advice he could give to younger couples, Wilfredo said with a knowing smile, "Give each other time and space to calm down after an argument."
Wise words, indeed, from a man blessed with the gift of growing old with the love of his life.

Photo from: Albay PIO
Love in the mundane and familiar
The Recerdo storybook romance blossomed quietly without much fanfare. There were no quaint tales of courtship or grand gestures of love.
It was a marriage borne out of obedience, as Rita, then 19, decided to take Lino, who was four years her senior, to be her husband on June 14, 1973, to fulfill her parents' wish.
In my prime, I had many suitors," Rita, 69, said sheepishly. "But my parents said I was better off marrying someone they knew to ensure my future," she added.
As a very timid man, Rita said Lino did not personally woo her.
But what he lacked in words, he more than made up for in action.
As the trusted ally of Rita's father in tending their small farm in Oras village, Tabaco town, Lino endeavored to earn the approval of her parents with his everyday acts of kindness.
Five decades and 12 grandchildren later, Rita revealed that there was never a day that she regretted marrying her husband.
"My husband is a good provider. He is also a very patient and caring man," Rita proudly said.
In fact, Rita said Lino, now 73, has never failed to make her coffee every waking day for the last 50 years.
Analisa de la Rosa, 48, their eldest daughter in a brood of nine, said her parents took to heart their sacred vow of staying together for better or for worse as they navigated their marriage journey.
"Life was really hard while we were growing up, but my parents did everything to keep our family intact," she said.
Like a love that grew steadily out of quiet companionship, the Recerdo couple proves that when small gestures of affection are done consistently, love can take root and blossom eventually.

Photo from: Albay PIO
Keeping the spark alive
Relational experts say keeping the flame of love burning among older couples requires constant effort due to the challenges of aging.
At a time when physical and cognitive capacities tend to decline, golden couples must remember the reasons why they got married and create new memories together to strengthen their bonds.
By keeping communication lines open, finding new ways to enjoy each other, and maintaining physical affection, they can avoid relationship ruts.
In the grand scheme of things, regardless of age, every day is Valentine's Day when you are with the right person. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Feb-10 09.30 +0800