By Julius D. Mariveles, Banjo C. Hinolan and Richard D. Meriveles
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Rolly Glenn Dela Cruz leaned in a bit to kiss his bride, Jeniffer, in the obligatory bride-kissing-the-groom photo.
Their photo is different from other newly-weds though.
As he leaned in to kiss and as his bride offered her left cheek, the photo looked more like that taken at prom night.
At least that taken when the world was more chaste.
Unlike that kiss of newly-weds.
On the lips.
First, they were wearing surgical masks, blue side out. The two other persons in the frame were also masked.
It was not a masquerade ball of princes and princesses, or queens and kings before the Black Death swept across Europe.
It was a wedding, a public one, free and subsidized by the city government.
As the MassKara lobby of the Government Center was decorated like a church, Rolly, 60, and Jeniffer, 62, is the oldest couple among the 220 pairs who were wed by Mayor Evelio Leonardia on 20 February 2020 at the Government Center here.
They were wed on a Thursday afternoon, 2:20 on the clock on 2-22-2020.
In the middle of the COVID-19 scare when handwashing, alcohol and masks were sought-after, only the city’s solon, mayor and vice mayor were not wearing masks.
After several hours, Rolly and Jeniffer were declared man and wife, as did the others.
All dined on packed meals from a fastfood chain named after an insect, paid for by Mayor Bing.
The couples each got a bottle of wine from Cong. Greg and a cake from a councilor.
Then all, some with their children, went on their way.
Life goes on amid COVID.
Inspite of the fear.