Honeymooning Filipino couple in the Maldives tragedy was Japan-bound…
MANILA, Philippines – The young Filipino couple who tragically drowned in the Maldives while on their honeymoon, was originally planning to travel to Japan and not the dream Indian Ocean island destination.
During a press conference after the family of Leomer and Erika Lagradilla met with officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the groom’s father, Leo, said that the couple’s trip to the Maldives came as a surprise to them.
“Ang pangyayari po sa Maldives, sa totoo lang po, hindi po namin alam, ang totoong purpose po nila ng honeymoon ay sa Japan, nagkataon lang po na ang aking manugang ay na-deny ang kanyang pag-apply ng visa,” Leomer’s father shared.
(We did not have an idea that they were travelling to the Maldives, they were originally scheduled to spend their honeymoon in Japan, but my daughter-in-law’s visa application was denied).
In a separate phone interview with INQUIRER.net, Leomer’s sister, Mhapolle Lagradilla, said as a result of the visa problem, the couple decided to travel to a visa-free destination and checked one item off their bucket list and headed to the Maldives.
The couple, Mhapolle said, has been together for almost 11 years and were high school sweethearts.
They met while studying at the Pedro Guevarra Memorial National High school in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
Leomer proposed to Erika in 2017, after being in a long distance relationship for six years as both worked as registered nurses in Singapore and Saudi Arabia, respectively.
They tied the knot on December 18, 2018.
Receiving the sad news
Leo said it was on Sunday (January 13) when the news about his son and daughter-in-law reached their family.
He said he had messaged his son twice on Saturday but did not receive a reply.
“Nakita po nila yung message ko, ‘di po sila nagreply, hindi ko naman po inisip na mangyayari po ito, so hanggang nang gabi po, nagmessage ulit ako sakanya, wala na, hindi niya nakita yung message ko,” he said.
(They saw my message nut did not reply. I send another message in the evening, which they no longer received).
“Hanggang kinabukasan po, nagtatanong po ang aking asawa, si Merle, bakit hindi man lang nagpo-post ng picture ang anak ko, ang sabi po nung bunso kong anak na si Christian, ‘Mama pabayaan mo na, sila ay nagha-honeymoon.’ Do not disturb, in other words,” he added.
(The following morning, my wife wondered why our son has not posted photos on social media, but my youngest child said let them be, they’re on their honeymoon).
Leo said it was Erika’s aunt who called him and told him of what had happened.
The journey home
On Tuesday, close family members of the couple met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. and other officials of the agency to discuss the repatriation of the couple’s remains.
The DFA has assured the family that it would shoulder the expenses needed to be able to repatriate the couple’s body to the country.
Prior to the meeting, the family and friends of the couple were raising funds to be used to bring home the newlyweds’ remains as it would cost around P1.2 million to do so. /gsg
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