By Geelyn Avancena, James Regondola, Patricia Ocampo, and Rinoa dela Cruz

Love is in the air, but in a time where technology is prevalent within society, we can say that love is also on the internet. 

In the digital age, numerous dating apps have surfaced in the country. Some of which are Tinder, OkCupid, Omegle, and more. In a report we published here in ExplainED PH last January 1, 2021, we shared a study that said that ‘couples who met on dating apps have stronger relationships.’ Through this story, we were able to meet two couples through their comments made in our Facebook post of the article.

With that being said, what are we waiting for? Let us now find out about these couples who have been targeted by Cupid’s digital arrow.

Michal Staier and Inah Catindig Staier

"Destiny" does not necessarily refer to the locking of eyes in a room full of people, or the chance meeting of colliding with each other in the busy streets. For 38-year old Michal Staier and 34-year old Inah Catindig-Staier, "destiny" was the moment they got paired with each other through a dating app.

The couple met as soon as they matched with each other on Tinder. It seems that the universe has a multitude of surprises hidden up its sleeve, because even Michal has never thought that he would meet the love of his life through a dating site, which he only used for fun and entertainment. 

They described their relationship as a give-and-take relationship, where both parties pour in mutual effort and love, which strengthened their bond.

However, this is only the premise, because what makes the lovers’ experience truly intriguing is the timing of their meeting. Before meeting each other, Michal works as a forklift operator, while Inah left her home in the Philippines to work as an in-house caregiver abroad to make ends meet. Leaving her family behind in her homeland, Inah felt alone in a foreign place, but luckily, she had found comfort in Michal’s presence. 

The couple met on December 17, 2017, and got married on October 20, 2018. However, a year after their big day, Inah was diagnosed with stage II ovarian cancer. This led her to believe that they were fated to come together two years prior so that she could have someone by her side during those moments.

“I think God’s plan talaga na ma-meet ko siya nung 2017, kasi kung hindi ko siya na-meet that time tapos nagkasakit ako, walang mag-aalaga sa akin kasi wala naman ako family dito,” Inah Catindig-Staier shares. “Kaya naniniwala ako na God meant us to be together.”

Those times were the most challenging encounter for the pair, but they got through it as they held each other’s hand. Michal is not only Inah’s partner, but also her pillar of support and her caregiver. 

Michal taught Inah how to love and accept herself the same way he loves and accepts her: for who she is and what she can be. In the same manner, Inah taught Michal how to view life through positive lenses, showing him how amazing to live actually is.

“I’m very happy that she’s okay now, because I don’t know what my life would be like if I lost her,” says Michal Staier.

After four years full of ups and downs in their relationship, they are now living together in Brampton, Ontario. They also plan on adopting a baby, since they cannot have children of their own due to cancer.

Such an admirable relationship, isn’t it? It makes one wonder, how do they do it? What is their secret?

The answer is simple enough: “Just enjoy each other's company. Always tell your partner that you love them. Always say ‘Thank you,’ if they did something for you. Small things are always more important that sometimes we forget to do or say and always remember our commitment to each other. Be willing to grow and learn with each other," they said. 

Love really knows no bounds, it can defeat anything, even a life-threatening disease. Through the Staier couple, we can see how their love overcame hardships and managed to create an interesting, heartwarming story. 

Catlene Muico and Joshua Philpott

Some say that your soulmate can be near. You can meet them across the neighborhood, in your school, or even in your house. However, in this couple’s case, they met their soulmate at a distance of a thousand miles away. 

Catlene Muico is a 25-year old Filipina that tried different dating sites such as Tinder but stopped using it after realizing that it mostly recommends the people who are around them. “I realized that Tinder is more on the people that are close to you. I have been finding people that are already near, like your friends, neighbors," she said. 

That is why she browsed the PlayStore and found an app called OkCupid, which led her to meet Joshua Philpott, a 25-year old from New Zealand on March 7, 2019. 

“I read in his biography that he said, ‘People who would see him in person would always see him compliment his lashes, his dog, or his tattoos,’ So I messaged him and I would compliment your dog,” Muico said. 

To her surprise, Josh replied in just ten (10) minutes, a feat that Muico was not accustomed to. “It was so weird because there are so many people who would reply nang matagal, but Josh replies 10 minutes away. That was weird, that was the first time that someone replied right away,” She said.  

However Muico became bored of OkCupid and thought of deleting the said app, but before removing it, she announced it to Philpott without expecting that he would add her on Instagram―Philpott followed her on a whim. From then on, the two started to develop their status and started as a Long Distance Relationship (LDR) couple. 

For some, LDR may seem difficult because you can't meet your partner in person, but this couple proved them wrong through consistency. "We just agreed that every day we have to spend at least one hour [of] video calling in Facebook Messenger or Instagram," Muico said. 

Trust has been the main foundation of their relationship. Josh said, "Trust, that's what made the long-distance work," That is why even if they are from miles apart, they still managed to have an ongoing relationship.

"Just stay honest and trust each other. If you have doubts, it will always sit in your mind," He added.

After a year of talking, Josh called Catlene in July 2019 as he announced his plan to visit the Philippines. On February 27, 2020, the two finally met. 

Despite seeing each other physically for the first time, Catlene shared that she already felt comfortable in Josh's presence. 

Like all couples, both of them have also experienced problems along the way. One of the things that challenged them is the difference in culture. Based on an interview, Catlene said that both of them experience culture shock, but they still manage to overcome it through effective communication. 

“We just sit down and talk, meet halfway. That's the only thing that you can do, you have to meet halfway,” She said. 

Despite the hurdles that come with love, they still manage to overcome them together. Eventually, they finally got engaged. Unlike any other engagement rings offered in the Philippines, Josh gave Catlene a necklace, which is a New Zealand counterpart of engagement rings in our country. 

"I already felt that I’m comfortable with his presence. It felt that we are best friends," She said. 

Photo of the necklace given by Josh that means forever and intertwined destiny as explained by Catlene. 

Now, Catlene and Josh are creating their own stories as they endeavor on the future together with honesty, love, and trust. Although there is still no scheduled date for their wedding, they said that both of them are working on it without rush and plans to create a stable status before proceeding on the said matrimony. 

"Our first plan was to come to New Zealand and get married. We wanted to become practical. Everyone is telling us to be calm, don't rush things. We will marry once we buy a house, we want to settle down first, and then we will get married hopefully," Catlene said. 

The pair makes one want to say, “Sana all.” However, we learn from Catlene and Josh that it is not impossible for others to have the same healthy and loving relationship that they have. The key to a blooming relationship is communication and trust.

“Don’t lie, just be honest. Communicate, trust each other, and you can make it through,” Josh advises. 

Like Catlene and Josh's situation, communication and trust are the keys to a healthy relationship. Despite the ups and downs that the two of them have encountered that challenged their life as a couple who were once soulmates, is already near their journey to forever with their engagement.

Indeed, love can reach even a thousand miles more. 

Love has always been present on different occasions. It can be found in your friends, family, or even in a random stranger that you meet online. Love can give you unexpected things, like what happened to the couples featured. Singles, you no longer have to worry if you cannot find your soulmate nearby because Cupid is online. Now, love is in the air, and on the internet.