By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Mar. 17, 2014
NEW YORK – Former United States Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas fell deeply in love with Filipinos that he eventually decided to marry one.
In a simple church ceremony, Ambassador Thomas tied the knot with long-time Filipina girlfriend Mithi Aquino (no relation to President Aquino) at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Upper West Side, New York, Saturday (March 15).
Attended by friends and family, the private ceremony was officiated by Filipino-American priest Father Freddy Balinong.
The envoy first met the Jolo-Sulu native Aquino when the Holland American cruise line was visiting the Philippines in March 2011.
Aquino, a human resources executive who trains Filipinos for the cruiseline industry, was one of the employees the ambassador met that day.
“It was love at first sight for me, not at first sight for her, but these things take time and it’s all worked out three years later,” Thomas said.
I’m just happy for the wedding. I feel so lucky to have Harry,” Aquino said.
Mithi walked down the aisle in an Amir Sali wedding dress. Sali is a Paris-trained designer for the royalties of Saudi Arabia, who also hails from Sulu. Her veil is a vintage Rene Salud creation.
The bride said the whole wedding was planned only three weeks ago.
“Since Harry is a diplomat, we were waiting for my clearance from the State Department to marry him abnd we waited for a long time. It only came out last February and after that, we decided to get married,” she explained.
Aquino shared that her kids and family did not make it to the last-minute New York wedding.
The wedding was also attended by New York community leaders who wished the newlyweds well.
“May the blessings of God and their happiness continue. Knowing both of them, it is happiness for life,” said Loida Nicolas-Lewis.
Bing Branigin said, “I’m so happy for Ambassador Harry Thomas, the most popular U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.”
“Definitely, on a personal level, it’s a continuation of Philippine-US relations. I’m very happy for both of them,” Mario de Leon, Philippine Consul General of New York, said.
The newlyweds plan to settle in Arizona, while Ambassador Thomas teaches at Arizona State University, as he waits for his next diplomatic assignment.
“I’ll be working, of course, and wherever Harry is, I’ll be there,” she said.
Thomas said a Philippine wedding is in the works so that those who missed the New York wedding can witness their declaration of love.
You may contact Don Tagala at email@example.com for more information.