Carla Abellana (left) and Tom Rodriguez —SCREEN SHOTS FROM CARLA’S YOUTUBE VLOG/VIDEO BY BOB NICOLAS

Eight years ago, Carla Abellana completed the Simbang Gabi in hopes of meeting the man who will love her “unconditionally” and “take very, very good care” of her.

But unbeknown to her then, she had actually already met that man. In fact, they even played husband and wife in a soap opera.

“I prayed for you … But the thing is, back then, I didn’t even know it was you I was praying for,” Carla said in her wedding vows to her husband, Tom Rodriguez.

After seven years of dating and a yearlong engagement, the two actors finally tied the knot at the San Juan Nepomuceno Parish in Batangas last Oct. 23. The ceremony—clips of which have just been uploaded to Carla’s YouTube vlog—was officiated by Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani Jr.

“I seriously never thought that the man I had been praying for was already so close to me and that we had already crossed paths months prior,” said Carla, who worked together in the 2013 GMA 7 series “My Husband’s Lover.” “I didn’t even have to pray anymore, because God had already answered my prayer in advance.”

The newlyweds

Life enriched

“What a plot twist!” quipped the 35-year-old Kapuso star. “God was constantly knocking on my head, saying, ‘Ano ka ba, dasal ka nang dasal ’di ka naman nakikinig sa ’kin!’ But soon enough, it hit me. It truly felt that my soul found yours, and went, ‘Oh, there you are. I have been looking all over for you!’”

Meanwhile, Tom, 34, said he can’t imagine life without Carla, who served as his guiding light when he “lost” his “way” after his father William Mott’s death in 2017.

“You have enriched my life in more ways than I can readily express. And when dad passed, I have to admit, I lost my faith. I lost my way. But your boundless capacity for love was the road that led me back into his arms. I know dad is with Him now, but he would have loved to have been here,” he said.

Tom, who wore a black Francis Libiran suit, waxed poetic, comparing Carla to an angel who had descended from heaven. “So, here we are in front of all our loved ones and, truth be told, I need them all here because I need to know that none of this is just a dream,” he said.

“But this angel standing here before me really is mine. And somehow, she loves me deeply and completely,” he added. “Heaven must have never been the same the day you came down and graced my life.”

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the wedding was kept intimate with just family, close friends and GMA 7 bosses in attendance. Carla’s parents Rey “PJ” Abellana and Aurea Reyes accompanied the actress in her bridal march. Near the altar, waiting, stood Tom with his mother, Teresita Abinguna-Mott.

The groomsmen included Rafael Rosell, JC Tiuseco and Sid Lucero. Iya Villania was one of the bridesmaids. Others present were Janice de Belen, Rocco Nacino and Jasmine Curtis-Smith. The black and white-themed reception was held at El Jardin de Zaida.

Tom can’t wait to grow old with Carla. “I will be there to raise our children and grandchildren, both humans and furbabies. I often imagine what you would look like as a lola … sigurado magandang-maganda. And I can’t wait to find out for myself,” he said. “Now that I have gotten your sweet [I do], it’s now official: Ako si Mister at ikaw si Madam Mott!” he joked.

Carla vowed to keep the promise she made to Tom’s father during his last moments. “I will take good care of you, so that he’d never have to worry,” she said.

“You returned to the Philippines with practically nothing but the hope of having a new life and career,” Carla said of Tom who spent his teenage years in the States, before trying his luck here in 2009 via the reality show “Pinoy Big Brother.” “But little did you know that you came back carrying the most valuable treasure someone here in the Philippines has been waiting for—your heart,” she said.

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