Erika Salvame And Paul Siopongco And Their Happpily Ever After

Erika Salvame and Paul Siopongco didn’t have an exciting beginning nor a grand proposal, but their love is steady and sure.

Erika Salvame and Paul Siopongco are living proof that when love is true, hearts do not hesitate to unite for eternity. In this couple’s case, the moment they realized they were each other’s “The One,” they inched closer to forever armed with their shared dreams and unwavering love.

“I already accepted the fact that I’m gonna grow old alone,” Paul mused. There was a time when Erika would set him up with other women but it did not materialize due to his mantra of not putting his best foot forward. “Also, I would refuse her set ups,” he continued, with her saying, “I was still in a relationship back then.”

He added that Erika would tease him due to his constant rejection of her match-making. “You’ll end up being an old bachelor (Tatanda kang binata),” she said playfully. “He was so particular about his love life.”

Long story short, Paul one day realized that Erika was the answer to all of his prayers. It eventually dawned on her that he was who she needed in her life.

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The blushing bride and the dashing groom, Erika Salvame and Paul Siopongco, got married in January
The blushing bride and the dashing groom, Erika Salvame and Paul Siopongco, got married in January

Meeting in the same medical field

Both Paul and Erika are ophthalmologists, specifically vitreo-retina specialists. He was two years ahead of her in the field. According to Erika, they had a good working relationship as he was the kind of person who was open to being challenged.

They formed a friendship when the pandemic hit the country. “He would always go to the hospital to assist so that’s when we started becoming friends,” Erika said. “We got along. Then came COVID. Due to the pandemic, it was harder to meet other people [to date] so I would set him up with my friends.”

They both focused first on their careers before they went exclusive in October 2022. 

Good communicators

The pair admitted that they had contrasting qualities. Paul was more of a morning person, whereas Erika was a night owl. However, during the courtship, he managed talking to her up until 4:00 A.M. and she didn’t know that it was unusual for him to be up at that time. She revealed knowing about it later on when they were dating. 

“I didn’t know that he was a morning person,” Erika explained. “Whenever we would talk, the conversation just flowed.”

They’re the type of couple who can talk about anything under the sun. “We’re both very chatty,” Paul commented. She chimed in, saying she liked how their personalities complement one another. “Different, but together, we are harmonious,” she continued. 

Both of them agreed that their strongest suit as partners is communication. “We have a healthy amount of open communication and respect,” they both said. “Our business values and upbringing are also part of our strengths. Our core values and goals are also the same.”

Paul added that for him, Erika was an ideal match because he wanted someone who would understand him in all aspects. “I’m frustrated when I’m talking to a person and they just nod in agreement even if they don’t completely understand what I’m saying. So, having her is a plus. Also we have great teamwork. We can discuss difficult cases and we cover each other’s clinics.”

Knowing they were each other’s “the one”

Paul showed excitement when he told the story of when he realized Erika was the one. “When we started dating, the COVID cases kept rising up and down,” he chronicled. “So, one time, we were in the car. She asked me ‘What if I have COVID? You might get infected.’ That’s when I thought to myself, I don’t care. I don’t care if you have it, I still get to see you.”

Erika said that on her end, she knew he was the one when everything started falling into place, as though the universe was “helping.”

“Everything felt natural with him,” she expressed. “Nothing was forced, until everything clicked one day. When we finally got engaged, we only had six months to prepare, and that was supposed to be a stressful period in our lives, but it wasn’t. We went to our desired venue, Marriott, and it was available. We went to our church of choice, Sanctuario de San Antonio, and our date was free. It’s like the universe was helping us.”

She also said her realization wasn’t about seeing fireworks behind him. It was all about how everything around them were aligning on their own, even without talking. “Eventually your heart will start to feel alive when you’re with this person,” she continued. “Sometimes we see our algorithms in social media saying, ‘This person is the one if you’ve talked about these things.’ And for us, we’ve already talked about life, goals, and our futures already, without intentionally doing it.”

They got engaged on June 8, 2023, and got married on January 19 the following year.

The dream that started it all

Prior to the proposal, they decided on when to get married due to Chinese traditions and preferences. The auspicious dates were either January 2024 or two years after, so they picked the former. 

Paul said he intended to propose on June 2 last year at the Le Petit Chef. He found out that there were no available tables for two, instead there were tables for four. Work also got in the way, so Erika got there first. He ran out of time to talk to the staff to put his plans in motion. Long story short, the proposal did not happen on that date.

On the evening of June 7 last year, he had a dream. He remembers his dreams vividly, so he clearly recalled the details. They fought and were about to separate, but not until they went to a place where they left a message to each other. “Our agreement was to review the contents of the message before making a decision. We were presented with two options: to stay together and get married, or to break up. We chose the former.”

Paul said as soon as morning came, he woke Erika up and insisted on a breakfast date. “Oh, I hated it,” Erika said, as she was not a morning person. “This is an unusual proposal,” he teased. “I said, let’s have breakfast. That day she was supposed to go to her clinic in Bulacan. I kept saying no, saying we really needed to go. So, we did.”

It was a no frills day for the couple as they proceeded to their breakfast date wearing work clothes. But finally, Paul had the opportunity to pop the question.

A proposal that didn’t go as planned

“We ordered our usual breakfast and coffee,” Paul said. “No music, nothing fancy. I excused myself, saying I wanted to go to the restroom, but I actually talked to a staff member. I gave them my phone and asked if they could discreetly take a video of us because I was going to propose. On the contrary, due to that person’s excitement, she documented it out in the open.”

A patient calling Erika that day made matters worse just when Paul was about to propose. She stopped him, saying she had to answer the call. After a few moments, she saw the staff member holding his phone as they took videos. “My first instinct was asking, why are they taking a video of us? Why did they have Paul’s phone? That’s when he started going, ‘Oh, I had a dream last night, I would like to tell you about it.’”

Erika said she wrote in her planner: “He’s going to propose!” and let Paul finish because he had a talent for remembering his dreams. He then proceeded asking the question: “Can I be Mico, Mochi, and Milo’s dad forever?” The three names he mentioned are her dogs. “And she said yes,” said Paul.

She imparted that they actually booked the wedding venue and the church first before the proposal. “I was stressed out because we started planning without having a ring. That was weird. I didn’t want to do the next step without getting engaged.” She also explained that some couples actually plan prior to their engagement due to the Chinese lucky dates. 

A wedding that truly feels like them

The couple had varying answers as to how they imagined their wedding. Paul’s idea of a wedding is however his wife-to-be envisioned it, whereas Erika wanted the guests to feel the presence of the bride and groom through the whole process.

“I was telling him that I wanted a wedding wherein our guests would feel who we are,” she relayed. “We had 500 guests, and knowing that by having all these people celebrate with us, we wouldn’t be able to spend time with all of them. 

Erika divulged that as a couple, they wanted their nuptials to exude both of their personalities. Since she loved Harry Potter and he was a fan of Star Wars, they incorporated these themes equally at the venue, from the decorations to the activities. She thought of mimicking the candle-lit ceilings at the Great Hall with the galaxy effect that is suited to Paul’s interests. Since the pair didn’t want too much of a Halloween vibe, they specified the ambiance to that of the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

A challenge the couple faced following their wedding was the long wait. The ceremony was in the afternoon and the reception would be around dinner time. How did they manage to combat that little hiccup on their special day? Simple: they had experiential activity stations where guests could get unique giveaways while waiting for dinner. 

“They get a scratch card that would reveal their destiny, meaning, what item they’ll get as a souvenir,” Erika expounded. “Our love language is gift giving, so we wanted to do these different stations. Nobody noticed how fast the time has passed. Everybody had fun.”

The first challenge as husband and wife

Erika and Paul gushed as they disclosed other details about the pre-reception activities, which paid homage to both fictional realms. 

There was an Owlery where guests can write a message to the newlyweds, and also served as attendance and raffle entries after the event. They had candle stations, the Potions area where guests could get their drinks, and even a coffee cart where people could get the “Matchalorian,” a nod to the Mandalorian characters in Star Wars. There was also a Butterbeer Latte, inspired by the fictional drink mentioned in Harry Potter.

The bride realized how the wedding planning turned out to be one of the first challenges that a husband and wife undergo. 

Erika mused, “We were planning two events simultaneously: the tinghun and the wedding. Aside from that, we were also preparing for an international conference where we were both the organizers.”

Paul added they also went to Europe for two weeks, so time didn’t seem to be on their side. “This is where our [strength in] communication came into play,” he said. “We just talked.” Erika chimed in, saying, “Planning a wedding is the first challenge, indeed. That’s where you, as a couple, learn how to compromise and prioritize.”

Notable moments

Paul loved their same-day edit video. “I noticed that SDEs have a formula, so I said I don’t want ours to be cookie-cutter. This is why our video is like a mini movie. It has a story, even our prenuptial shoot is connected.” The groom also surprised his bride with a dance, which he secretly rehearsed.

For Erika, one of her wedding highlights was that Paul was a very involved husband-to-be. “We kind of disliked the notion that the bride will plan everything and the groom will just attend,” he narrated. She agreed, saying he was very dedicated and hands-on. 

Erika mentioned a lot of highlights during her big day, from the decorations, activity stations, being with their loved ones, and people mentioning they had a great time on that special day. However, her most unforgettable moment during her wedding was that her father was there to celebrate with them. “My dad was actually sick,” she lamented, “So, it meant the world having him there with us.” 

Orchestrating the wedding

Renowned event stylist Michael Ruiz was the creative mind behind the impeccably-transformed Marriott ballroom. He revealed that one of his favorite details was the entryway as it set the tone for what the guests would see inside. 

“The design was truly something special,” he declared. “From the moment you walk through the entrance, you are instantly transported to a different world. The attention to detail in every aspect of the design truly captured the theme in the most magical way. Overall, I think the best part of the design was how it all came together so harmoniously. I am so proud of the team. It’s clear that they put a lot of thought and effort into capturing the theme and creating a space that was truly entrancing.”

Meanwhile, wedding planner Cathy Ebuen of Events Embassy revealed that she found it challenging to coordinate a seamless flow between the ceremony and reception. This was due to the different locations involved and the time between after the ceremony and the start of the reception. They even had last-minute changes due to unforeseen circumstances, such as adjustments in the guest list and vendor availability. “Our approach was to remain flexible and proactive,” she commented. “We maintained close communication with all parties involved and had contingency plans to face issues swiftly.”

Cathy added that for her, it was thrilling to craft an experience so deep, personal, and reflective of the couple’s journey. “Witnessing the reactions and the genuine happiness shared among their loved ones was the ultimate reward. Their trust and collaboration were key to overcoming the challenges and creating a memorable and joyous celebration.”

READ ALSO: Orchestrating Happily Ever Afters: 6 Female Wedding Planners Who Enliven Dream Events

“Enjoy the journey”

Paul and Erika had the same answer in mind when they were asked what advice they would give to bride and groom-to-be’s. “Enjoy the journey,” they both remarked.

The newlyweds with their three dogs, Mico, Mochi, and Milo
The newlyweds with their three dogs, Mico, Mochi, and Milo

“Be involved, and don’t let your organizers do everything for you,” Paul advised. 

Erika reminded that a wedding is about the couple. “There will be people who will talk around you, so go back to the reason that made you want to be married to this person. This is something you are supposed to do together.”

She also reflected that life after the nuptials would be like that, too. It is a process of embracing happiness, prioritization, decision making, and even limitations. “Do what makes you happy. I think you’ll see that it will extend to the people around you as well.”

Photos from Mico Studios (Mico Gonzales).

COORDINATOR Events Embassy 


PHOTOGRAPHER Mico Studios (Mico Gonzales)


STAGING 4th Wall

CHURCH Santuario de San Antonio 


HAIR AND MAKEUP Justine Navato, Dennis Santos, Jomel Razon, Makisig by Groom Me Weddings


GROOM’S SUIT Tiño Suits & Tailoring 

BRIDE’S SHOES Jefferson Si Designs, Bella Belle Shoes

GROOM’S SHOES Sapatero Manila

HOST Max Tiu 

ENTOURAGE SUITS AND DRESSES Zoo Label, Vee Tan, Eric Pineda, Vir Serrano Tailoring




MUSICIANS Bernie Pasamba Strings

LIGHTS AND SOUNDS Audio Kid, Stage Riggers

ANIMATIONS Always in Motion

COFFEE, MILKTEA, AND DESSERTS @cooperscoffeehaus

MOBILE BAR Cocktails to Go

SOUVENIRS Sky & Co., Vela Candles,, Marie Bakery & Café

GIFTS FOR SPONSORS Arka Naturals Ph; Mason de Marga; @detailsandpieces

ENTOURAGE GIFTS Skadoosh Ph; Details & Pieces

INVITATIONS @patandfi, @startswithletter

WEDDING ACCESSORIES The Happy Bride, Dream Wedding by Rosacea

DJ Ciz

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