Maria Teresita Angeles Asuncion Cruz celebrated her 80th birthday on Sept. 7, the same day she married Dr. Emilio Parpana Quines Jr.
“To wait 80 years, I can’t believe it myself,” Dr. Cruz said. She had never been married before, while Dr. Quines, 83, was a widower. “At first I felt embarrassed — 80?” she said. “Then I thought, People will see you are never too old to find true love.” Dr. Cruz, who goes by Angie, has a doctorate in sociology.
Both of them are from the Philippines: Dr. Cruz is from the central part of the island of Luzon, and Dr. Quines is from Tagudin in the Ilocos Sur province. They are also active in their local Filipino American community — as was Dr. Quines’s first wife, Dr. Felicisima David-Quines, who died in 2019.
Dr. Quines had been in mourning for two years after his wife’s death when his friends persuaded him to start dating. “The way I looked at it was: Go out, have a nice time, have dinner, go home,” said Dr. Quines, who holds the highest rank in the Knights of Rizal, an order of chivalry created by the Philippines to honor the national hero José Rizal. Dr. Quines is now retired and has three children and three grandchildren.
Until 2011, he had practiced family medicine at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Health Center in Wyandanch, N.Y. He has also led medical missions to underserved areas in the Philippines as well as helped build medical and dental clinics — naming them after his parents — in his hometown.
Dr. Quines graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine from University of the East in Manila and received a medical degree from University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center College of Medicine in Quezon City, in the Philippines.
“I met Angie on several occasions,” said Dr. Quines, who had initially dated much younger women before noticing Dr. Cruz. He liked that she was from his generation.
Dr. Cruz, who came to New York when she was 27, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in humanities and education from St. Theresa’s College in Manila. She later received a doctorate in sociology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. As the founder and executive director of the Institute for Spirituality in the Workplace, a nonprofit in New York, she has organized and led pilgrimage retreats to several countries including Israel, Palestine, Spain and Italy.
In April 2021, Dr. Cruz went to a mutual friend’s birthday party held in Dr. Quines’s backyard in West Islip, N.Y. When he asked her for a dance, she was surprised. “You’re starting gossip,” Dr. Cruz said. He responded, “Who cares?”
In June, he invited her to his birthday dinner with 10 other friends at Marea, an Italian restaurant near Central Park. A month later, as a birthday gift, she took him out to dinner at Robert, an American restaurant inside the Museum of Arts and Design.
“I ordered a piece of chocolate cake with his name,” said Dr. Cruz, who kept the conversation light as the duo dropped a word here and there in Tagalog. “I wasn’t expecting anything romantic at my age.” The next day, he thanked her over text and asked if she would like to get to know Long Island.
A few weeks later, he took her to Captain Bill’s, a seafood restaurant in Bay Shore, N.Y. “I was starting to feel he was really becoming a friend,” said Dr. Cruz, who had a loft in the Flatiron district in Manhattan.
Dr. Quines counted on that friendship when he asked her to a ball, where he was being honored as one of the “Phenomenal Men” in the Filipino community by Friends Indeed, a Filipino community organization. The two arrived in formal Filipino attire and were teased by good-natured friends. Elmer Cato — a friend, legal officiant and then the consul general of the Philippines in New York — offered to marry them on the spot.
“I was thinking about it,” Dr. Quines said. “She’s an intelligent, beautiful woman.”
In October, after an event at Carnegie Hall where Dr. Cruz was the honoree for spirituality work, the couple went out to dinner with friends. Later that night, they kissed for the first time.
“We went out on dates and all that stuff,” Dr. Quines said. They were engaged in August 2022. This summer, when Dr. Quines had a knee replacement surgery and Dr. Cruz took care of him in his home, they grew even closer. “I realized I really love him,” Dr. Cruz said.
On Sept. 7, the couple married in front of their close relatives at St. Aedan’s: the St. Peter’s University Church in Jersey City, N.J. The Rev. Rocco C. Danzi, who officiated, led the ceremony and Mass with the Rev. Joseph Costantino. They are both Roman Catholic Jesuit priests. Later, everyone dined at Maddy Rose Restaurant at Liberty House nearby.
On Sept. 10, the bride’s matron of honor and best friend, Loida Nicolas Lewis, hosted a party at her apartment on Fifth Avenue with 50 guests, including Msgr. Gabriele Giordano Caccia, the papal nuncio to the United Nations. Then on Sept. 16, the couple hosted over 100 guests at Dr. Quines’s house.
“It’s kind of funny,” Dr. Quines said after he broke into song during an interview with the opening lines of “Too Young,” performed by Nat King Cole and written by Sidney Lippman and Sylvia Dee. “Love is not my thing. But when it comes, it comes.”