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MRP Building, Mola Corner Pasong Tirad Streets, Brgy La Paz, Makati City

Girl in a jacket

Photographer shares experience with unruly tourists during his client’s wedding march

Editor’s note: In light of recent concerns, the InqPOP! Editorial Team has revised the headline of this article as it can be misconstrued by readers. 

Wedding photography is a tough business. It’s a work that takes weeks or months of intensive preparation and planning. Using their cameras, wedding photographers are tasked with documenting—often in artistic ways—the most intimate, candid moments of a wedding ceremony, an event that will forever be sealed in time.

Imagine then if tourists crashed into your event, making your job more difficult, hindering your shots, and worse, irking the bride herself and ruining the ceremony.

In a Facebook post, a certain Jervy Santiago vented his frustration at a security guard in Manila Cathedral for letting “Chinese” tourists crash a wedding he’s working on. 

Just look at the amount of frustration on my bride's face when she saw these strangers taking her photos during her…

Jervy Santiago 发布于 2019年5月21日周二

Santiago asked the guard to prevent the tourists from occupying the seats near the church door and taking pics during the bridal march.

He wrote, “The guard (reluctantly) said ok, and didn’t even move from where he was standing. So, binalikan ko siya after the march. I showed him my shots, and aired my disappointments in behalf of my client.”

The photographer reminded the guard of the high fees paid by his client for the wedding, which amounted to roughly PHP90,000, including the wedding fee and flower arrangements, as well as upgrades such as air-conditioning and time extension for the event.

“I wasn’t even asking for 1.5 hrs. All I asked was only during the bridal march to control the crowd from taking pictures,” Santiago said.

However, the guard dismissed his concern and retorted back: “Hindi namin sila kayang pigilan kasi mga turista ang mga yan, hindi nakakaintindi ang mga yan. Diba sinabihan mo din sila? Naintindihan ka ba nila? Ngayon kung gusto mong magreklamo, doon ka sa admin mag reklamo.” (We can’t prevent them because they’re tourists. You asked them, didn’t you? Did they listen? If you want to complain, go to the admin.)

According to the website of Manila Cathedral, the church allows visitors to enter the church even during wedding ceremonies. However, the admin also said it has security staff to control the crowd, to “make sure that they would not disrupt the celebration.”

It appeared that the celebration had been disrupted, though. Santiago said, at one point, he had to “yell at the Chinese tourists for extending their arms.” He also posted the photo of the unsmiling bride, who seemed irritated by the presence of the tourists surrounding her and taking her pictures during the bridal march.

Photo credit: Jervy Santiago

Santiago updated his post to make clear of his intention: “This post is about the guard and the inability to handle tourists. It wasn’t even against the tourists and definitely not the church.”

It’s understandable that Manila Cathedral has an open policy for visitors, being a historical church flocked by devotees and tourists alike. However, perhaps a more stringent crowd control measure should have been implemented, handled by security personnel trained to deal with these events.

Also, having specific areas allowed for visitors during personal events like weddings – cordoned off and with clear, posted signs –  would also help. This way, everyone – not just tourists or visitors – can enjoy this beautiful church, without undue hassles and bad feelings. Or worse, a spoiled bridal march.

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