You may have seen my earlier blog about getting engaged. Well we finally got around to getting married! The Philippines requires foreigners to get a “Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” from the Embassy. Well, the US, and apparently quite a few other countries, do not provide this. So we can get an “Affidavit in Lieu of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” I was dreading getting the Affidavit because I have to go to either the Embassy in Manila (which is a hell hole – Manila, that is) or the Consulate in Cebu. I like Cebu and the Consulate office is in a hotel lobby, so it is easy to get to. I just did not really want to spend the time & money on such a stupid form. But such is life…
Then I hear rumors that the Consulate is on a walkabout. Yep, he is traveling around the region and was scheduled to be in Iloilo a week after I heard about it. So I showed up early, signed up, and got my affidavit done in about 10 minutes – less than 20 kilometers from the house. Life is good sometimes. I took my passport, birth certificate, and divorce papers with me. All they asked to see was my passport. Then he asked me if I was free to marry, to which I replied “yes”. Then we both signed the form. Not exactly proof that I am single… but it is all they get.
Now to see what Melane needs. I tried to research the requirements online as much as I could beforehand. But since everything around here varies by who you talk to, we decided to take what documents we had and see what they say. Here is the list I found online for the requirements. Let’s see how this works out…
To secure a Marriage License, below is a list needed to accomplish the document:
1. NSO – certified birth certificate
2. CENOMAR – Certificate of No Marriage, also certified by NSO.
3. Parental Consent for couples aged 18 to 21 or Parental Advice for those 22 to 25 years old.
4. Passport sized picture
5. Residence certificate
6. Seminar – conducted by the Division of Maternal and Child Health at the Municipal/City Hall.
7. Duly accomplished Application Form
We go to our local town hall and the clerk says all he needs is her birth certificate and p8,000. No CENOMAR, no pictures, no seminars… All I needed was my passport and affidavit. This seemed awfully high compared to the posted fees. When I questioned him he said for that price he would go with us to City Hall and do the paperwork. Well if we have to go into the city anyway – we can do paperwork. So we politely decline. A few days later we go to the City Hall. The clerk there said we don’t need a CENOMAR, pictures etc. Just her birth certificate and p8,000. It seems the clerks have become fixers. Generally a fixer is someone loitering around outside the government buildings and for a price will do your waiting in line for you. Some of them do the paperwork legally, some of them forge it. You take the risk when you use a fixer so I have never used one. But I let Melane do the talking and she went ahead and agreed to let them do everything for us. So they got the CENOMAR for us, did not need pictures, or the seminar. We picked the date we wanted to get married and they said just show up to the Hall of Justice (sounds like one of the Superfriends will marry us!). I had to provide my affidavit, a copy of my passport, and a copy of my divorce decree. I saw no list that said I needed the decree but for under $1 in Xerox fees – who is arguing? All Melane provided was a birth certificate. This was way easier than it is supposed to be.
I know we could have done the paperwork ourselves and saved some pesos but this was a one stop shop, and we went to a movie, and out for drinks. Not a bad price.
There are a lot more requirements for a church wedding but I have no interest in having someone’s imaginary friend bless my union. So no church wedding needed for me. Like what can a nun teach us about family planning? Sounds more like a comedy sketch.
I had a hard time getting Melane to spend any money on this wedding. For her wedding dress she wanted to shop at Merrymart. Pretty much every store there sells Chinese knockoffs. So she finds a dress she likes for p450 ($10 USD). Then we go to Mlhuillier for her rings. It is a pawn shop/jewelry store. I believe the rings are new though. I thought they were expensive but she said she liked them. So I got outvoted. Later we went to a wedding ring specialty store (Suarez at SM City) and they had some really nice rings for the same price. But hers are nice, and it is too late ha ha. Even she liked some of them at Suarez. Then we got shoes for here somewhere out in the city. I think they were p300 or p400. I am not complaining really, just thought she would spend more for a wedding. But if she is happy with it I am happy with it.
So we get all dressed up and go to the Hall of Justice. We are scheduled for 1030. I figure that means noon in Filipino time. We get there about 0915, seemed early even for me. The courtroom is pretty empty, and the clerks tell us just to have a seat. One group was getting married while we sat down. There was only one other group ahead of us, and we were done by 1015! I was amazed. On the way out we saw a huge crowd building up, and it was getting hot. We got a good ceremony time scheduled! The judge said over and over during the ceremony, that this was just a civil service to make sure the paperwork was right. To get blessings we need to do a church wedding as well. This a very Catholic country ha ha. (But Melane isn’t even Catholic).
There was a photographer hanging out in the courtroom and if you did not bring your own he would volunteer his services, for a fee. He actually had really good prices so we went ahead and paid him p1,000 ($23 USD) for a whole big package. I forget now what comes with it. A CD of all the pictures he takes. Then he will print 4 or 6 wallet sized, 10 or 12 5×8’s, a few 8×10’s, and a few other sizes… I really forget but it seemed like a good price. The pictures on the blog were taken by our nephew. We get the other pics next week, when we pick up our marriage certificate.
After the ceremony we all went to Chicka-an at Robinson’s mall, for lunch. A very good Filipino restaurant. I think it is a Cebu chain? There were 8 of us there : me, Melane, uncle Roger, cousin Rogena, nephew Gleo, cousin Christine, and 2 of the clerks… not sure why they get a meal after we paid them p8,000, but they were there. After we ordered the food Melane and I ran out into the mall and bought a cake. It is her birthday, and wedding day. So we thought a cake was appropriate. A black forest cake. Actually pretty good. The food just kept coming… so much food… and so good! The total bill for 8 of us, with drinks, was p2,400! ($55 USD). I was happy with it. And the cucumber lemonade is soooo good!
And afterwards we go shoe shopping! They love shoe shopping over here… she has as many shoes as Imelda Marcos…
Tonight we are going out to Smallville with some friends for drinks, and maybe dinner. I am still full from lunch. Not a bad wedding, not a bad birthday. It has been a good day.