Ever since I was a little girl, there was one thing that I dreamed about having when I grew up… My wedding. That was until after I was informed that because of my Filipino ethnicity, I could have a huge party when I turned 18. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still looking forward to having my wedding, in about 10 years, but today I am more concerned with this amazing party that we are all at right now.
It’s no secret that this party has been absolutely amazing so far. But there are a lot of people, whom without the help or attendance could not have made this night possible.
As many of you know, I have a gigantic family. But unfortunately, distance keeps some of them away from being in my life daily. Which is why I am so thankful for all the families who have flown out or driven out from Seattle, Chicago and Winnipeg. Your presence here makes this night even more special and it feel so good to be reunited with all of you once again.
To my family who live in the GTA… Even though travel wasn’t as great an issue, the mere knowledge that you are all here tonight puts a smile on my face. Moving away to Ottawa wasn’t easy, especially knowing that I wouldn’t be able to see all of you as much as I normally did in the past. So I’m really appreciative that you are all here to celebrate such an important occasion with me as I have truly missed being around you and annoying all of you.
To my girls from Trafalgar… I have been talking about this night since my 17th birthday party. And throughout all of senior year, I would constantly bug and annoy all of you, asking and telling you to attend my debut. And here we are now, all of you looking as gorgeous as ever, reunited once again. Thank you for putting up with my constant reminders and questions about whether or not you could come tonight, and thank you for actually being here. Of all people, you girls know how hard it was for me to say goodbye to you and to Traf, so you can only imagine how much it means to me that you are here tonight to celebrate my 18th birthday party.
To all my new friends from Carleton… Thank you for actually taking the time out of our short Christmas break to road trip all the way to Ajax to be here. I know we see enough of each other in Ottawa, but it’s really great to have the people who have started this new chapter of my life here with me tonight. Thanks again for coming, and please, don’t get as crazy tonight as we normally do in Ottawa!
To all of my other friends here tonight… I would mention you all individually and talk about how grateful I am that you’re here and how much you mean to me, except for the fact that that would take way longer than the rest of the audience would want. So instead, I would just like to say that you all mean the world to me and there’s a reason that you were invited to come tonight. Some of you I haven’t seen in the longest time, so I’m hoping that tonight will be a great catch-up session.
To Deer Creek… Thank you for providing this beautiful venue for my debut. I could not have asked for a more spectacular location to have this party. Also, thank you for making and cooking all of the delicious food that we had tonight. For the past few weeks, I have been dieting to fit into this dress, so it was so good to be able to pig out on scrumptious food again.
To the photographer… Thank you for capturing all the amazing moments of tonight. It is truly wonderful to know that I’ll be able to look back at photos and remember how happy I was to be surrounded by such remarkable people on such an incredible night.
To the DJ… Thank you for introducing some of the activities that occurred tonight and for playing music that is dear to my heart, as well as music that I, along with everyone else in this room, can dance to and have a great time to.
To the Fiesta Filipina Dance Troupe… Thank you for adding a touch of legitimate Filipino culture to this night. Because of distance and time, I was unable to have the traditional cotillion and dance. Thank you for being a great replacement for that and for providing marvellous entertainment during dinner.
To my 18 Candles and 18 Roses… Thank you for putting up with the fact that I made you all go on an intense search for a white dress and purple accessories or a black suit and purple tie. As I have been told multiple times, it is not easy to find a white dress in December. Regardless of the struggle I may have put you through, thank you for playing such a significant role in tonight’s events. Even though it was just a dance or just a speech, it meant the world to me. You were all chosen to be apart of this night in the way that you were because you are all important to me. Thank you for being here and for making me feel like a princess tonight.
To my little cousins, Andrea and Sierra… Thank you for helping out and handing out the candles and roses. You girls played an important role in tonight’s events too, and looked adorable while doing so.
To Liz… Thank you for making that awesome video just for me. I know you’re not familiar with iMovie and put up a fight creating this video, but it really means a lot that you would take time out of your day to make this. Also, thank you again for getting all the shout-outs and greetings from my favourite celebrities. I know I’ve already expressed by gratitude through screams of excitement when you first showed these to me, but I really am thankful that you would go out of your way just to get these for me.
To my MC’s, Trisha and Chloe… Thank you for emceeing tonight. Even though you girls were confused and frustrated just a few days ago with what you had to do and what you had to say, you pulled it off just fine. And you weren’t just my emcees for tonight, you two were there to help me figure out what I wanted to do for this debut and how I wanted to it. You were my wing girls to planning this party. Thank you for being there and for answering your phones when I would call hysterically, unsure of what to do for any of this.
To my Ninang Donna and Tito Mark… Thank you for being such helpful hands throughout this whole process. Tito Mark, thank you for helping choose the venue and the menu. Ninang Donna, thank you for dealing with the guest list, the seating arrangements and anything else that my mom might have asked you to do for tonight. Without the help and opinions from both of you, this debut would not have been as great as it is now.
To my amazing event planner, Maureen… Thank you for planning, organizing and coordinating this entire thing! I honestly do not know what we would have done without you. With my mom being super busy at work 24/7 and me being 5 hours away stressing about school, it was a relief to have you doing everything without us having to break a sweat. Thank you for listening to my ideas and opinions about how this night should be and for pulling through with everything that I wanted. The décor is absolutely stunning, the food is delectable, the venue is incredible and this whole night turned out exactly as I wanted it to! Thank you for this. It truly means the world that you created such a flawless night for me!
To my not-so-little brother, Jerome… Even though you didn’t exactly help plan or organize any of this, the fact that you’re here is enough for me. Thank you for actually being able to dance with me for a few seconds to your favourite song and thank you for just being you. I know that not many people understand you or what you’re going through, but always know that I will be here for you forever. I’m sorry that I’m missing out on this new chapter of your life as you enter high school and I’m sorry that I can’t be there physically to protect or defend you anymore. But always know that your older sister is here for you and loves you, no matter where I am in this world.
To my parents… Where do I even begin? Thank you for everything. Not just for this astonishing night but also for everything you have ever done for me. Thank you for planning, prepping, organizing, and of course, paying for this entire night. Even though a few years ago, it was between a debut and a car, you still were amazing enough to give me both. Throughout the last 18 years of my life, you have given me everything I could ever possibly want. And I am so thankful for that. I know sometimes I don’t show it, but I am truly grateful to have such loving parents such as you. This night would not have happened without you. Thank you for adding another amazing memory into my life. I love you.
And last but not least, to all of you… Thank you for coming tonight. This night would not have been as enjoyable without all 180 of you here. Whether we’re family or friends, close or distant, I am so thankful that you all could be here to celebrate this momentous occasion with me.
I’d like to give a shout out to any family members or friends who could not be here tonight. Whether it’s my grandparents and relatives in the Philippines or my friends who are vacationing elsewhere at the moment, they all have played a vital role in the last 18 years of my life. I am so thankful for them and wish they could be here.
Also, in regards to the people who are here, I am not the only person in this room celebrating a birthday tonight. Though my birthday was back in November, two people who are very close to my heart are a year older today. Happy birthday to my little cousin, Tristan, who is now 8 years old! Since it’s your birthday, you’re allowed to get as crazy and hyped up on sugar as you want! But please, don’t annoy your sister too much! And a very happy birthday goes to my good friend, Taylor, who is now officially 18! I know you didn’t want me to make a big deal about your birthday, but come on! You’re 18 now! We have to make a big deal about it! I love you both, and wish you a great night tonight celebrating your birthdays with me!