A Singaporean woman has tugged at the heartstrings of netizens in a viral TikTok video where her 72-year-old Filipino domestic helper of nearly three decades made a surprise appearance on her wedding day.
Kelly Chua, through her account @otter.totts, on April 28 posted a video where she's being escorted by her parents and brother Keith to the altar. Keith then spoke to the microphone, saying he prepared "a very big surprise" for Kelly.
"Are you ready? Look over there," Keith said, as Kelly turned around to look at her wedding guests.
The camera then focuses on Lita Tabaque, or "Yaya Lita" as she's fondly called, who waves and smiles at Kelly as the crowd gives the Filipina a round of applause.
@otter.totts My brother gave me the biggest wedding surprise ever 😭❤️ #weddingsg #weddingsurprise #weddingdaysurprise #bestsurprisever #domestichelper #yaya #fyp #touchingmoment ♬ original sound - otter.totts
Kelly can be heard saying "Oh my God" as she covers her mouth in awe. Yaya Lita, who's in casual clothes, approaches her and they hug each other tight, and Kelly couldn't hide her tears.
"The biggest wedding surprise ever," Kelly wrote in the video's text, followed by three crying face emojis. "I love you yaya," followed by another crying face emoji and a red heart.
The viral, heartwarming video has over 289,300 views, 23,500 likes, and 1,000 comments.
In the video, Kelly explained that her Yaya Lita was her family's domestic helper of 27 years, but went back to the Philippines three years ago, or in 2019. Kelly invited Yaya Lita to her wedding, but told her she "couldn't attend" because she didn't manage to renew her passport.
Little did Kelly know that it was part of Keith's plan all along.
In an online interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, Kelly said her brother has prepared a script for Yaya Lita, and everyone but her knew about it.
"I wasn’t expecting it at all," said the 28-year-old. "He liaised with Yaya’s family in the Philippines to arrange for all the necessary paperwork and booked a flight for her."
Kelly said Keith picked up Yaya Lita at the airport and sent her to their aunt's house where she stayed for five days before the wedding day.
Kelly took note of Yaya Lita always doting on her and Keith when they were young "like her own children."
"We’ve shared a room almost all my life," she said. "Whenever I had nightmares as a kid, I’d walk over to her bed and she’d let me sleep with her."
Kelly also commended Yaya Lita for being a "simple lady who doesn’t ask for much, and often puts the needs of her loved ones before her own."
Ahead of Mother's Day on May 8, Kelly has this to say to her Yaya Lita:
"Thank you for loving and caring for me like your own daughter. No amount of words can express just how grateful I am for all that you’ve done for me the past 27 years. I thank God for bringing you into my life, and I pray that we’ll get to meet again soon for us to create many more wonderful memories together. I love you, Yaya. Happy Mother’s Day."
In follow-up TikTok videos after her wedding day, Kelly caught up with her Yaya Lita and made the most out of her stay, visiting several attractions in Singapore.
In one video, Yaya Lita explained that she didn't dress up for the occasion as she's "very shy."
"Otherwise, people will look at me," she said. "As long as I can attend your wedding, that one is the most important thing because I miss you."
@otter.totts One week went by just like that, I can’t believe she’s heading home tomorrow already… 😭 #yayalita #fyp #imissyoualready ♬ original sound - otter.totts
In another video, Kelly's family is seen helping Yaya Lita pack a balikbayan box before going back home.
@otter.totts Last night together as a family… 😢 #yayalita #fyp #family #wemissyou ♬ Coming Home (A Tribute To Diddy-Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey) - Hitmakers Unlimited
PhilSTAR L!fe also reached out to Yaya Lita for a comment.