Last Saturday (April 23), tears flowed as a Singaporean woman was reunited with her former domestic helper of nearly three decades at her wedding.
Kelly Chua, 28, was unexpectedly reunited with her yaya (Tagalog for caretaker) Lolita Tabaque, 71, during her wedding ceremony at Church of Our Saviour in Queenstown.
The Filipina, a native of Sibalom, Antique, had been secretly flown in from the Philippines by Chua’s brother Keith. Except for the bride-to-be, everyone in the family was unaware of the surprise. Tabaque, affectionately known as Lita by the family, stayed at Chua’s aunt’s house for five days before the wedding.
On Thursday, a 70-second video of the event with the caption “My brother gave me the biggest wedding surprise ever” was uploaded to TikTok and has since received over 268,000 views.
The video begins with Keith saying, “I’ve prepared a very big surprise for you. Are you ready? Look over there.” There is applause and tears as the focus shifts to Tabaque, who shyly waves before walking over to the couple and giving Chua a big hug.
“She went home three years ago and told me she couldn’t attend my wedding because she didn’t manage to renew her passport,” Chua, 28, explained in the video, “but my brother actually had it all planned from the start.”
“I love you, yaya,” she added.
Those who commented were moved by the occasion as well.
Chua, a self-employed woman, told Yahoo Philippines that her husband Ken Toh, 38, found out about the surprise only a few days before and kept asking the makeup artist to “waterproof” her makeup. “He’s never been so concerned about makeup before, but I now understand why.”
Tabaque will return home on Sunday. In the meantime, she has been spending time with the Chuas, visiting places like Lucky Plaza and Gardens by the Bay, as well as Chua’s late father’s niche.
Chua fondly remembered sharing a room with Tabaque for almost her entire life. “When I was a kid and couldn’t sleep, she’d wake me up in the middle of the night to massage my eyes, making me feel relaxed and calm enough to fall asleep.”
Since Tabaque’s departure, the family has kept in touch with her, sending her a box of items including clothing and some of her favorite food on her birthday every year.
Chua had hoped to pay her a visit in the Philippines, but was unable to do so due to the pandemic. Tabaque also lives in a village with limited internet access. “One year, she climbed a hill by herself late at night, with only the moon for light, to get enough reception to call and wish me a ‘happy birthday.'”
‘I love you yaya’: Singaporean man flies in ex-maid of 27 years for sister’s wedding|Yahoo Ph