Lanie and William Ronquillo, who have been married for 16 years, share with us how their love blossomed in PIA. Both started their careers in the HR unit of the agency. While William has remained with HR, Lanie has been working for the MIMAROPA regional office for some time now.

Lanie and William Ronquillo, who have been married for 16 years, share with us how their love blossomed in PIA. Both started their careers in the HR unit of the agency. While William has remained with HR, Lanie has been working for the MIMAROPA regional office for some time now.

How did the two of you meet?

Lanie (L): We worked together in the HR unit of the agency. I was already working for PIA when he came in.

William (W): Eventually, we became training partners. Lanie was my training officer back then and I was her assistant.

Did you hit it off immediately?

L: No, he was younger than me so there was no “kilig moment” at first. He was four years my junior, bagets pa. [Laughter] Plus, he was courting another girl at that time and I had a crush on another guy. I would even confide that to William.

When did you start feeling something for William?

L: We had an out-of-town business trip together in Clark. At that time, Clark is known for its PX goods –imported items sourced from the American military base nearby. So there we were shopping and William grabbed a big bar of chocolate. He told me that the chocolate was for the girl he was courting. I felt a twinge of dismay. I wondered why that stung. That was the first time I entertained the thought that I was falling for him but, ‘yun nga, I was getting mixed signals from him. 

“WAG BIGYAN NG ROSE PARA HINDI MA-CONFUSE”

Did you court her?

L: One yearend party, we had a misunderstanding. After that, he sent me a dozen pink roses which confused me even more. “Ang gulo no?” I told my friends. My friends said that the reason why I had failed relationships in the past was because hindi ko kina-clarify sa guy kung ano ang status ng relationship. They advised me to clear it up with William. But I wondered if I should be the one to take the initiative eh babae ako. But I realized that my friends were right. So, one time, I was going to a party. William invited to me to dinner before the party. Over dinner, I mustered the courage to tell him that one of the reasons I’m applying for a transfer from HR is because of my situation. “What’s your situation?” he asked. So I confessed: “I think I’m falling for you.” But I quickly assured him that he didn’t have any obligation [to reciprocate].

W: You know, I was caught by surprise! I was not able to eat the burger I’m holding [Laughter].

L: But we did not talk about it after that. So I tried to hand him a letter assuring him that nothing has changed. He also had a letter for me – but it was a rejection letter!

W: I just wanted to be honest at that time. I was pursuing another girl and she assured me that I didn’t have to reciprocate.

L: We didn’t talk for three days after that. But I realized that I can’t lose him as a friend. I had already moved on. But one morning after our overnight for work, he asked why I did that? “What did I do?” I asked. “You kissed me in my dreams,” he shared. That confused me even more. [Laughter]

THE FIRST “I LOVE YOU”

So when did you start going steady?

L: One time he invited me to watch a movie. I think that was What Dreams May Come. At that time, the only vacant seats were in the balcony section which was considered the lovers’ lane.

W: I was in a crossroads at that time. The girl I’m attracted to is my polar opposite but with Lan, we get each other. So I looked at her and we kissed.

L: That was our first kiss! And midway into the movie he put his arms over my shoulder. But that yun nga, I still don’t know what kind of relationship we had.  And we didn’t have the time to clear all the confusion because I had to go Baguio the following week. Until we found the time to talk and exchange “I love yous.” That was a Monday, February 8, when we officially became a couple.              

THE RAH-RAH GIRL AND THE RAH-RAH BOY

What are the challenges of an office romance?

L: We were in the thick of preparations for an ASEAN event in 2000 and our wedding was fast approaching. Maybe because of the hustle and bustle, we had an LQ. Kasi, I’m not used to him raising his voice. But let me say that there are more advantages if you started out as friends, as officemates.

W: Someone asked us, how can we stand being together 24/7 but …

L: We never run out of things to talk about. At the office, we do not PDA. We try to be professional at our work. In fact, a lot of our colleagues didn’t think we were a couple.

W: It took us a while to tell our colleagues about our status.

L: But we don’t allow personal issues to get in the way of work. We complement each other, I’m his rah-rah girl and vice versa.

THE MARRIED LIFE:

What was your experience starting a family?

L: We had a hard time conceiving our first child, it took us 8 years! But that’s another story.

W: Nako, we tried all interventions, even taking part in the fertility dance at Obando.

L: But all’s well that ends well. Our second child was conceived just 11 months after our first baby.

Using a hugot line, what’s your shoutout for all the couples out there who work together and in a relationship.

L: If it’s meant to be, it will happen. You don’t have to force it. Take your chance.

W: Forever is a mutual commitment but not a destiny.