Pandemic love story

September 28, 2021 People's Tonight 52 views

Pinoy nurse from UK weds GF at Pangasinan border checkpoint

AMID stringent travel restrictions in the country due to the prevailing pandemic, Erwin Zabala and Ruby Papio-Zabala tied the knot in a civil wedding ceremony at the border checkpoint in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

Ruby, 37, a native of Villasis town, Pangasinan, said in an online interview Monday night that Erwin, 43, a native of Tayug town also in Pangasinan, and his companions including the officiating officer were not allowed entry to the province due to lack of Safe, Swift, Smart passage (sPass) that prompted them to hold the wedding ceremony at the border checkpoint instead on Sept. 26.

SPass is an online travel management system required for travel to Pangasinan from other provinces,

“’Yon na mismo ‘yong araw ng kasal namin. Kasama niya ‘yong officiating officer from Manila. Katatapos lang ng 10-day quarantine niya sa Manila. Nagpunta sila sa tatlong border checkpoints pero ayaw talaga sila papasukin. First time niya uuwi na ganito kaya hindi na rin sila nakagawa ng sPass,” she said.

Ruby said the wedding was initially planned to be a solemn and private ceremony with just them, the officiating officer and two witnesses.

“Nung naipakita na niya ‘yong certification niya na tapos na siyang mag-quarantine at negative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result pwede na siya makapasok sana pero maiiwan ‘yong officiating officer,” she said.

Erwin is a nurse in the United Kingdom who came home to meet Ruby for the first time and marry her after months of online long-distance relationship.

She added that it was impossible at the time to get approval from the local government unit for the sPass since it was a Sunday.

“Kaya sabi niya dun na kami ikasal. Sinundo ko siya sa border at ‘di ko akalain na ‘yung Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) officer doon at ‘yong staff ng Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ay sila na ang magiging ninong at ninang namin,” she said.

Love beyond borders

Ruby said they were each other’s strength during this pandemic ever since they met online in May this year and clicked as if they have already known each other for a long time.

“Hindi naman kasi nakabase sa tagal ‘yan. ‘Yong love namin sa isa’t isa ay ‘yong pagpapakita ng affection. Masaya kami kapag magkausap halos araw-araw, 24 seven kaming nagvi-video call, parang matagal na kaming magkakilala,” she said.

Ruby was among the repatriated overseas Filipino workers from Jordan.

“Ano man ang sitwasyon hindi dapat maging hadlang sa pag-ibig,” she added.

Erwin’s vacation in the country will end soon but they hope to be together in the UK. Philippine News Agency

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