The Man with the Plan: Meet Carlo Abaquita, the Top Wedding Planner of Cebu

In a generation filled with scammers and fake event organizers, one name stands out for maintaining its reputation as one of Cebu’s top wedding and event planners: Carlo Abaquita!

Who Is Carlo Abaquita?

Carlo Abaquita is a proud Cebuano who is already the household name when it comes to weddings and events. Big companies and organizations reach out to him to plan their celebrations, and brides and grooms trust his hands to put their wedding dreams to reality. But, who is Carlo Abaquita outside the busy hustle of wedding planning and beyond being a nurse?

I am a simple dreamer.

Carlo Abaquita

“We were not born rich and lisud among life when I was young,” shared Carlo as he recalled the times when he was still a student. Looking back, he remembered how his parents just urged him to graduate so he can finally work. “Pagskwela ug tarung para makatrabaho ka,” his parents said, and he did.

Carlo Abaquita graduated with a Nursing degree and worked in Perpetual Succour Hospital for 5 years. “When I graduated, they were very happy; much more when I finally got the job as a nurse. THAT was their dream for me. So, mao to, mana ilaha, ako nasad.”

Photo from Carlo Abaquita

A Journey Of Realizations & Reality

When asked about the beginnings of his career, Carlo revealed that it took a major realization for him to fully get into the field of event organizing. “Because ang akong goal jud ever since was to go abroad and become a nurse, in which I was able to become one, just here locally sa Perpetual Succour, for 5 years,” he shared. However, Carlo faced numerous challenges in his pursuit of working abroad, and so he continued his side hustle of event organizing. Little did he know, his dedication to creating magical memories for his clients was precisely what the universe had in store for him.

My career is not what I studied for, but because of my experiences and how the universe opened up doors for me, I am here; enjoying this life.

Carlo Abaquita

And guess what his realization was? “Nakarealize ko nga naa man diay kwarta sa events! Although it’s not that big, pero naa,” Carlo said, recounting his shock at the discovery.

Initially, he would accept small fees of 500 to 1,000 pesos from friends for organizing events just for fun. “As part of the LGBTQIA+ community, we are very talented jud nu. So, I used to work with Circa Events, and when the owner went to Canada kay iyang gibilin sa ako ang ubang task. We handle tons of pageants and modeling fashion shows, and I was okay with that; until…” Carlo’s turning point came when a friend asked him to organize a wedding, which did not go as planned. “Daghan kaayog palpak,” he admitted. “You’ll realize the importance of the tiniest parts sa event, such as the rings, the line-up, everything!” Despite the setbacks, this experience was important in shaping his journey toward becoming one of Cebu’s top wedding planners.

Crafting Perfection Through Challenges & Triumphs

Photo from Carlo Abaquita

For 15 years, Carlo has been crafting magic and granting unforgettable memories for his clients, and he has gained their loyalty and satisfaction every single time. This consistency of Carlo and his team made them a household name in the industry of events and wedding planning.

Recently, Carlo received an award as one of the “Top 10 Wedding Planners In Cebu,” and he and his team truly deserved it. When asked about how he feels learning that he has gained the loyalty of many brides over the years, Carlo smiled warmly and said,

It’s an honor.
Makaflatter, makahappy. It’s one of the reasons why we keep on pushing forward despite sa kakapoy at times…

Carlo Abaquita

…In this industry, you get to build relationships and friendships.” He shared that he had clients who were once the brides and they come back bringing their daughters, friends, and even grandchildren who will be getting married.

Humbly, Carlo expressed his gratitude to the mentorship he received in his early years, “I’m very proud to say that my mentor was Mommy Ramil Solis who was a makeup artist for 35 years already. I think swerte lang siguro ko when I started nga I’m surrounded with mga mommies in Cebu, like Mommy Santiago and Ramil; they were the most humble bunch nga ako nakakuyog and they taught me well, especially when it comes to managing a work-life balance. They used to say, ‘Everything is temporary. All you need to do is to enjoy lang jud.’”

Balancing Act: Managing Stress & Maintaining Passion

Photo from Carlo Abaquita

The wedding scene in the Queen City of the South is getting busier day by day, especially during the months of June and December. According to Carlo, there are times when they organize up to 20 weddings a month, or as much as one to two weddings a day for 9 straight days! Imagine the toll it takes on one’s physique and mental state, in which Carlo agrees. “Among challenge jud kay ang sa among mental health because your physical state can be managed due to the manpower, but mentally? The pressure’s always on.”

You need to dance with the rain; if it’s gonna happen, then it’s gonna happen.

Carlo Abaquita

Carlo listed possible scenarios that could go wrong in just one day such as the chandelier possibly falling, or a platform breaking down just an hour prior to the opening of the venue’s doors. However, he shared that thinking about these scenarios ahead of time makes them prepared and enjoy the big day.

Admittedly, Carlo also shared that there was a time when he really gave a client up, “You need to learn to set your limits and boundaries, so if grabe najud ka-difficult ang client, then we’d advise for that client to look for a different organizer, before it all goes south.” When it comes to the percentage, he said that it’s only 2 out of 100 clients that he and his team had to return the initial payment and surrender the client to another event planner. “Luckily, most of our clients trust us and they already know what we can do, so they hand over their trust to me and my team. Di na sila magduha-duha. When the client doesn’t know you, they’d question your credibility and constant pa ang need to prove your expertise. ”

The Team Of Carlo Abaquita

Being a wedding and events planner gave Carlo tons of advantages and opened opportunities he just used to dream when he was younger. It allowed him to travel abroad without paying for anything, from Australia, Canada, New York, to Japan! “It’s the best job; and I’ve worked different jobs before, but being an events & wedding planner is just beyond what I expected,” said Carlo. But, the biggest question is how Carlo’s team and mind work when it comes to organizing events flawlessly? And he answered humbly, “It takes a village…

The secret recipe is having staff whom I can trust.

Carlo Abaquita

Since Carlo started, they were able to utilize social media, specifically Facebook, to market their services. From a wedding-a-day, Carlo and his team managed to triple the numbers and became the trendsetters in the events and wedding organizing industry.

Tips for Aspiring Events Planners

Of course, our interview will not be complete without asking Carlo some tips he can pass on to the next generation of aspiring events and wedding planners, and here’s his ultimate list:

Carlo’s Thoughts On The Issue Of Wedding & Event Scammers In Cebu

Carlo believed that the tag “scammer” is loosely used nowadays, “I think some organizers do not intend to scam and I’m not saying daghan jud ang scammers karun, they just need to learn how to handle and stay within their budget. Na-tag nalang na sila kay wa man sila kadeliver sa services on time. Always remember that the money your client will hand you is not yours.”

Unique Events was the name of Carlo’s organization and team, and they have rescued many couples who unfortunately, got subpar services from other groups. When it comes to helping the victims, Carlo’s go-to was to ask his team. “I always ask my team, the suppliers, and everyone involved if they can spare something or donate things and services for free, because let’s be honest, we still have to pay them. You have to pay for the venue, the flowers, and the food! Bisag gamay.”

Carlo’s advice to couples planning to have their wedding is:

If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!

Carlo Abaquita

“This is a type of job nga dako. It involves a lot of money, tagaan ka ana nga amount, and if the organizer can’t manage that one, mao nang ma-aan jud nga nang scam. Some organizers will keep on posting promos to collect more money kay they are compensating sa ilang na-overspend. Pero ang gibayad sa bride whose wedding will be next year kay itapal nila sa one whose wedding is near nga ilahang naoverspendan.”

Future Plans: What’s Next for Carlo Abaquita?

Some people dream grand, while others embrace reality and make the best of it as they’re already living their dreams, and Carlo is one of the latter. Contented and happy with the status of his life in the current, he shared how he values the relationships around him as opposed to the goal of earning more or becoming more, “It’s not about the money anymore but the people that surround you.”


Get in touch with the top wedding planner of the Queen City of the South:

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Lenie Lañojan
Lenie Lañojan

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