Jon finds the concept of “Filipino time” as strange, and he doesn’t really like some Filipino food like balut, tamilok, isaw and Betamax. Erchie, meanwhile, finds herself at a loss to slang Kiwi phrases like “sweet ass,” “Joe Bloggs” and “Away with the fairies.” She also finds it strange when people start calling her “love” or “darling” or that strangers greet her “Hi” and “How’s your day?”

Although both Kiwis and Filipinos love their families and Christmases and both like being sociable, the differences between the two peoples can be quite striking.  “Kiwis make it a point to be on time and we value commitment very seriously,” says Jon. “In general, we will try to fulfill the things/engagement that we already said yes to, no matter what. Kiwis also bring food/drinks to a social gathering but hardly bring any “bring home”; the other way around with Pinoys.” He quickly adds that most of the Pinoys in New Zealand have already adapted to their ways and even “accustomed to bringing something to a gathering.”

 

So how’s it like for Jon to be married to a Filipina and for Erchie to be married to a Kiwi? “Interesting,” the couple answers in unison, adding that good communication plays a big part in helping them with their challenges. And Erchie means this literally. She shares, “I once asked Jon to spell out a word for me after asking him approximately five times already just to be able to understand what he meant. Kiwis have a funny accent and slang words but definitely interesting! Luckily, we both have the same religion and similar goals in life so we’re pretty much alright in these aspects.”

The couple works their butts off on their work days but on his days off, Jon likes sleeping in as much as he can before he starts his day with a cup of coffee and then goes online to check news and emails even when he knows there’s not much to find. “I’m a bit of a geek like that,” he explains. For Erchie, her days off mean cooking a delicious breakfast and meals or gardening. They also like traveling together just to unwind and if they don’t, then they do household chores.

They wed Dec. 16, 2016, a day full of blessings. They consider their intimate wedding as a dream come true and everything they envisioned it to be. They felt His presence, the weather was good and Jon adds, “Erchie looked stunning.”

 

Jon proposed to Erchie many times in the past – just without the ring. “But when he proposed with a ring, I was wearing my pajama outfit and just getting off the bed,” recalls Erchie, laughing. “Together with the ring was a handwritten poem that he said he spent a long time in writing. Not just in writing the poem itself but more on writing it in the best handwriting he can do!”

Everything started that sunny afternoon in a garden in Rotorua where they first dated. “We had an immediate connection and talked about anything and everything,” Jon shares. “I was attracted to an aura of joy for life and adventure. We then had a meal at an Indian restaurant (the only restaurant opened at 4 p.m. at that time). It was very relaxing and Erchie was very easy to talk to.”

It didn’t take long for Erchie to realize that life wouldn’t be the same anymore without Jon in it. As for Jon, he soon realized that “ending the day without Erchie’s “big talks” would be very lonely.”

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