A day before St. Valentine’s Day, 35 couples vowed their “till death do us part” in a mass wedding officiated by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in Buhangin Proper.

Dubbed the Kasalan ng Barangay, the mass wedding on Thursday was timed for the 25th Araw ng Barangay Buhangin Proper. The NCCC Mall Buhangin became the venue of the once in a lifetime event for the 35 couples, mostly living together for many years and bore children.

Buhangin Proper Barangay Captain Jimmy Salvador was thankful that the event was finally realized after many village officials requested to host a mass wedding.

“Isa ni sa mga namugna sa barangay kay daghan man muadto sa barangay mangutana kung naa ba Kasalan ng Barangay. So nahimo ni siya. Isa gyud ni sa activities sa Araw ng Barangay (This is one of the ideas of the Barangay Council since many people had been asking for about it. That is why this became one of the activities of the Araw ng Barangay),” Salvador said.

Salvador was thankful to Mayor Sara for taking time to officiate the mass wedding.

Heidee and Renato Panes, one of the couples, have been together for 23 years and have 3 children, said they had been looking forward to the Kasalan ng Barangay. Without it, their wedding would not be possible, they said.

Renato was jubilant that his bond with Heidee, his love of his life, is now legal.

“Sobra ang saya ko nga nakasal na jud ko sa pinakamahal ko na asawa (I am extremely happy that I am finally married to my beloved wife),” he said.

The Panes couple has three children with ages 23, 19, and 16. Renato shared that finally their children’s surname will be transferred to his surname as they are now legally married.

Heidee also thanked Mayor Sara and other sponsors who made the wedding possible.

“Nagpasalamat gyud mi sa mga sponsor, kay Inday Sara, tanan nag-sponsor, daghan kaayong salamat na nakasal nami. Kung dili tungod sa ilaha, dili mi makasal (We are very thankful to Mayor Inday Sara and to all the sponsors. Thank you so much for making our wedding possible. If not for them, we would not be wed),” she stressed.

In her message, Mayor Sara advised couples to plan their family well.

“Importante ang pagplano para sa atoang pamilya. So kung pila tong kaya nato nga anak nga mapahuman ug iskwela mao to ang atoang tutukan sa atoang oras, sa atoang panahon, ug sa atoang kwarta. Di ta musugot nga ang atoang anak, dili mueskwela (It is important to plan our family. We should also give our time and finances to the number of children we can raise),” she said.

Aside from the free wedding from the local government, the 35 couples also received cash assistance and grocery items personally handed by Mayor Sara. CIO