SANTA ROSA CITY, Laguna — A newly wed couple from Laguna province drowned during their honeymoon in the Maldives, a tragic end to a decade of relationship for the high-school sweethearts.
Leomer Lagradilla, 29, from Lumban, and Erika Joyce Callado-Lagradilla, 30, from Santa Cruz, both in Laguna province, drowned Sunday while snorkeling on Dhiffushi Island in the Maldives, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in a statement.
The couple left for the Maldives, a popular tourist destination in the Indian Ocean, on January 9 for their honeymoon. Relatives said they started dating in high school at the Pedro Guevarra National High School in Santa Cruz town and tied the knot on December 18.
Both worked as nurses for years — Leomer in Singapore and and Erika in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, the DFA agreed to shoulder the repatriation costs, amounting to at least P1.2 million.
A relative of Leomer on Tuesday said the remains were still in the Maldives and will be brought to nearby Sri Lanka before finally flown to the Philippines.
Friends initiated a fund raising campaign for the repatriation, with some even volunteering to sell shirts online, but the family requested the fund drive stopped after the government pledged to shoulder the costs.
“The fund raising will be stopped as it has already served its purpose. Again we are very grateful for all the help and support we are receiving,” Leomar’s sister, Mhapolle, wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“We would like to thank everyone who prayed and those who are continuously praying for the couple and the family. Let’s hope and pray that their (remains) will be here soon as possible,” said another relative, Grace Diane Santos.
The family also appealed for privacy, asking the public to stop sharing bank details and their home addresses earlier posted online for the purpose of the fund raising. (Eve Matta / Laguna Now)