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Lockdown Proposal


Thirty-year-old designer and content producer Joe Josue had four proposal plans that got bumped off due to the lockdown, but this didn’t stop him from pushing through in sealing the deal with his girlfriend, 28-year-old interior designer and prop stylist Martina Bautista. “The travel restrictions and ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) kept foiling my logistics. I had originally planned to propose on a trip to Japan in February, but Martina decided not to move forward with the trip due to the coronavirus. Two other options didn’t work out due to ECQ coming into play. Luckily, I made sure to have the ring with me prior to the lockdown, so I was able to hatch a plan as I stayed as a guest with Martina’s family for the ECQ lockdown,” says Joe. 

Friendship blooms

Joe and Martina have been seeing each other for more than five years, but their friendship started way back when they both attended a party in second year high school. They reconnected after college and started working on a few projects together. Their friendship bloomed, and Joe finally asked her out. “We went out for ice cream—in four different ice cream shops, because I love dessert and he loves ice cream. I would say a chunk of the night was spent trying to gauge why it was so easy for us to transition into something romantic after more than five years of being just friends,” reminisces Martina. 


ROAD TO FOREVER Not even Covid-19 lockdown could stop Joe in proposing to Martina

Another case of serendipity is that Martina’s mom was a client of Joe’s before the two got together, adding another layer of familiarity and comfort between the two, so it didn’t come as a surprise when Martina’s mom invited Joe to stay in her family’s place during the lockdown. “He lives alone in a condo while his family lives outside of Metro Manila, and we had hoped that this would help him reduce unnecessary exposure to the people living in his building,” says Martina, who was relieved that he said yes, considering that they hadn’t seen each other pre-lockdown. “Joe had just gotten out of self-quarantine after coming home from Japan so it was stressful to think that we wouldn’t be able to see each other for an extended period of time.”

Planning the proposal

Joe stays in the guest room, and hangs out with Martina’s family every day. It makes planning both easy since he gets to plan with her siblings, and difficult because Martina might catch them scheming behind her back. To keep her distracted, Joe and her family members planned for a makeup tutorial via Zoom—a way to make her look good for the actual proposal. “I was more nervous that Joe’s sister would be joining all of us that day,” says Martina. On the other hand, Joe was full of emotions while waiting for the go signal to come out and propose. “I went through anxiety, excitement, slight panic—the full range of emotions. I thought ‘what if she says no, and I’ll have to leave? How would we ever patch things then?’” he recounts.

Chaotic but full of love

But all the nervousness was replaced with unplanned laughs on April 12, Easter Sunday. Martina, who was in the middle of wrapping up her makeup tutorial, was distracted by a dressed-up Joe who came out a tad bit early. Her confusion shifted quickly to her family members on the screen. They were holding a sheet of paper with one word (and an illustration of an engagement ring) each to form the jumbled sentence “Will you marry me?” Martina was in a state of shock. Additional factors came into play “like the chaos of my nephew making a mess on the sofa, my dogs chewing at his shoe laces, and the internet almost giving up on me, but to be honest, those parts made it that much more special,” says Martina.


But the most memorable of all is Martina saying “oh my god.” A friend counted her saying this more than 50 times. “I was over the moon that he decided to ask me with the help of all my cousins,” she says. Joe confirms,

“A lot of OMGs! before and after she said yes. She said maybe three OMG’s before saying yes. The moments before the ‘yes’ felt like an eternity.”

With the end of the ECQ still a few weeks away, the newly engaged couple agrees that it’s too soon to plan for their big day. “Right now, our concern will be whether or not it’s responsible to plan a large wedding or an out-of-town wedding like we had originally hoped for,” says Martina. They’re taking it one day at a time, and with no regrets of proposing during the lockdown. “I wanted to face the future with a life with Martina in mind. It has allowed us to be completely open with our plans and facing the tough realities of what the coronavirus has in store,” ends Joe.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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