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DESTINATION WEDDING | #KenyaMeetsPinas in El Nido, Palawan

EL NIDO, PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES—I do not personally know them. I met them once in a Pinoy Travel Blogger-Cebu meetup for some barbecue, amarula, and karaoke.

But I admire Reiza a lot; she is one of those rare self-actualized women I see on my Facebook feed, fighting for human rights. She works in the war-torn Sudan. I did not know anything about John at all until the very day of their Kenyan wedding.

Coincidence had it, we met at Mactan-Cebu Internation Airport; they were bound for Puerto Princesa and El Nido for their two wedding ceremonies. Mine was the usual solo sojourns in the archipelago.

So I extended one more night in El Nido to witness their Kenyan wedding. And it was that day that I learned what binds Reiza and John.

Over Kopiko coffee on 7 Commando Island, John said that it is wrong to start a new life with debts. Their wedding is simple; the guests are few and well-selected (I was the only outsider there!).

Reiza watched Youtube makeup tutorials, had her own gowns sewn, asked her younger sister to be the wedding organizer, found a friend to take the photos, haggled on the videographer’s fee.

Their wedding’s simplicity is admirable and inspiring. Everything, everyone was genuine.

There is a comforting energy that binds John and Reiza. They are an inspiration. ❤️

The backdraft of the first destination wedding I bore witness to. What a view.What a wedding.

The venue of the Kenyan wedding ceremony.

The venue of the Kenyan wedding ceremony.

The morning light on the limestone formation across from Bukal Island, where the ceremony took place.

The morning light on the limestone formation across from Bukal Island, where the ceremony took place.

On the little beach of Bukal Island, John’s family provided us a glimpse of their colorful culture. They easily laughed, danced, and sang!  I found my tribe of laughter!

Destination Wedding El Nido

Reiza dancing and singing with John’s family


Reiza’s Papa



Joan, Reiza, and Dorothy: women of beautiful colors

There is a lot of symbolisms and metaphors involving a goat. A Kenyan wedding would not be complete without the groom killing a goat. So John slaughtered a baby goat, which he said is an insult back home. The goat should be almost as tall as him. Him killing a big goat symbolizes that he can hunt and provide for his wife and his family. The killing is a man’s affair. Women are not allowed to witness the act. Well, except the three of us, the official photographer, Gay of Pinay Travel Junkie, and me.



John and his parents

What is love? This.


What a beautiful couple.

DW13 ‎

7 Commando Island


Coordination by Rhoda Dejito
Videography by Anthony dela Torre (ADT) | 09778116860
Photography by Mayette Bacatan | 09173085764

I take wedding and prenuptial photos for fun. My services are affordable. Have me in mind for your next romantic event. :-*

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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  1. Reiza was my supervisor in XLibris, and her sister Rhoda was my officemate in Smart Traffic. 🙂 Congrats Reiza!

  2. Ikaw, aha man inyong wedding? 😀

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