Love comes from the most unexpected places
In someone’s eyes you’ve never met
Who wants to get to know you
In someone’s smile you can’t forget
And if the music plays on in your mind
Take all the love that you can find
And if love takes you in
Take all the love that you can find
And hope it comes again
– Barbra Streisand
Chester. A Team Leader based in Singapore since October 2010. A serious-looking guy who is ‘makulit‘ once you get to know him. He loves surprises, die-cast model cars, and photography. He joined Instagram on February 2011 with the IG username @chesterkezo
Gracielle. Lab Technician based in Ontario, Canada since February 2011. A sweet, smart and jolly lady who loves writing poems and eating sushi. @Graciellelooove joined Instagram on March 2011.
Chester started developing his talent in photography, showcasing it on his Instagram feed. He posted different pictures of subjects and people he usually see around Singapore, but not a single selfie (then), adding a little bit of mystery to his identity. He then learned about @IGersManila, an instagram community that holds a daily challenge every 9pm, popularly known as #9pmhabit. Never did he know that through this, he’s about to meet “the one“.
October 2011, @chesterkezo submitted his first ever entry for #9pmhabit with the theme #inkwellsigns. He checked out all the entries and all the participants on that hashtag, until he saw that beautiful profile pic and, of course, that interesting photos and captions that made him click that “Follow” button.
Impressed by his photos in Instagram, @graciellelooovefollowed him back. That time, for her he was just a random stranger with an amazing IG feed. She didn’t even know how he looks like, or even his nationality. She just followed him back and she left a ‘thank you’ message on his #9pmhabit entry. It was their first interaction.
But nothing followed up after that moment. They never got the chance to talk again, to interact even in comments. Chester just consistently liked Gracielle’s instagram posts, but he never bothered leaving a comment or two, or even a hi and hello. Then, more than two years has passed. One day, noticing his consistent “liking” of her IG posts, Gracielle decided to check again his IG account. She was really drawn by his amazing shots that made her decide to leave him a message; a comment that changed their lives forever.
That day, Gracielle knew that there’s something special about him, he is special. And from then on she was always thinking about him, she always check on him each day, then they started messaging each other.
With that 12 hour difference, Chester made sure that he will have more time talking to her. He wakes up at 5 AM everyday just to give her a call. And with Gracielle, she always find time to sneak out from work for a couple of minutes just to message him. It became a routine for both of them. And from these, they discovered a lot of similarities with each other, drawing them closer together.
It was a whirlwind romance. Just after two weeks of constantly communicating with each other, after realizing that there’s a real mutual feeling between the two of them, July 4, Chester decided to tell her his feelings. Gracielle did not disappoint him and lovingly accepted him to be her boyfriend.
Gracielle then realized that she had a dream about Chester already. In her dream, she was with a guy wearing a black watch. His face was a blur and it’s only the black watch that she remembered. She was so in love and so happy with him on that dream. And since then, she kept on praying and she knew in her heart that she will meet that man soon enough. Then suddenly, on their first monthsary of Chester, He sent her a gift, a package, including his Black watch, and from that moment she knew God answered her prayer.
The fact that they are living far from each other, distance did not harm their relationship. At times there were difficult moments where they really miss each other, but they stayed strong for each other and prayed together. They never had trust and love issues and they’ve got full support from their families and friends which made their long distance relationship much easier.
On their 2nd month, Chester flew back home to the Philippines without Gracielle’s knowledge. And his main reason of going home is to prepare for his wedding proposal. He gathered his high school friends and Instagram friends to plan with him and everything went smoothly.
Nov 2013, on their 4th month, Chester and Gracielle decided to finally meet each other in person (for the first time) here in the Philippines. Both feared prior to the meeting that they might disappoint each other; they might lost the connection when they finally meet. But all fears and doubts were gone the moment they laid eyes on each other. At that moment, Gracielle knew and felt that she was found, that God chose him for her, that he is the one.
There were no awkward moments anymore, as if they’ve met before and they knew each other a long time ago. They fell more deeply in love.
Chester and Gracielle went to his hometown to meet his family, and she felt very welcome. Gracielle also met with her friends and introduced Chester to them. And after that week-long meet ups and activities, the time has come. That friday night, Chester brought Gracielle to Abé Restaurant in Trinoma Mall, Quezon City for some fine dining. Everything was already set up: food, tarp, videographers, serenade music, and the ring. And when the song “A Thousand Years” began to play, Chester knelt in front of Gracielle and asked her to marry him. Teary-eyed, Gracielle gave that emotional “Yes” that he has been waiting for.
Now, they’re both back in Singapore and Canada, with the rings that bind them together. They admit that everything went really fast, but they are sure that what they feel is true, and it is all in God’s plan. It is destiny. It is love.
Instagram definitely has been a big factor in their relationship. It is where both of them met. It is where they got connected. And with their inspiring story, they want to show that Love knows no distance; Everything happens in God’s plan; and Instagram is a hopeless place after all.
Follow their love story on Instagram: @chescielle04