Anak ng tatlumpung tokwa! Ang hirap talaga magpakasal! (Part 1)

Originally posted on: ‘2010-01-10 00:57:29’, ‘2010-01-09 16:57:29’
‘Some of you know by now the trials and tribulations we suffered in December in our attempts to prepare our documents for the wedding. Some of you have no idea what we’ve been up to. Well, here’s the long blog post. When we reserved the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel at Fernwood Gardens, we had to go to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Project 6, since the chapel was under their care/authority (“Tyranny” would be more appropriate. But I get ahead of myself.) So we booked the chapel for our date, and the parish office gave us a list of requirements. It was a pretty long list, but it didn’t seem that bad when we first saw it. Hah, unbeknownst to us, we were about to embark on a journey that would take us to many City Halls and churches . (And I just wanted to use the word “unbeknownst”.)
Just so we’re all on the same page, boys and girls, here’s the list of requirements they asked of the bride and the groom:

  1. NSO-certified birth certificate
  2. NSO-issued CENOMAR
  3. Newly-issued baptismal certificate, with the annotation, “For Marriage Purposes”
  4. Newly-issued confirmation certificate, with the annotation, “For Marriage Purposes”
  5. Wedding banns and permit to marry
  6. Marriage license from the municipality where either the groom or the bride reside
  7. Latest 2×2 picture with white background
  8. Pre-marriage counseling seminar
  9. Canonical interview
  10. Final interview and confession

All documents must be dated within 6 months of the wedding, and submitted two months before the wedding. Okay, seems easy enough. The birth certificate and CENOMAR could be ordered and paid for online through the NSO website, and would be delivered right to our doorstep, no problem. The baptismal certificates were easy; Oneal was baptized in San Vicente de Paul Church in Manila, right beside Adamson University. I was baptized in Santo Domingo Church in QC. Both were fairly accessible.

The confirmation certificates, we knew, would require some effort. Oneal didn’t remember what year he was confirmed, but he knew where. I, on the other hand, was confirmed on the sly, in the US Embassy in Riyadh, by an Italian bishop from the Vicar Apostolic of Arabia, which was based in Abu Dhabi. I had the original certificate though; surely Mount Carmel would be satisfied with that? After all, they couldn’t possibly expect me to hop on a plane to Riyadh or Abu Dhabi to get my confirmation certificate. Could they?

The wedding banns were easy; these were documents issued by Mount Carmel and posted in our respective parish churches for three consecutive Sundays, to inform our communities of our upcoming marriage. For the uninformed, this is done to give others the chance to present any possible impediment to the wedding before the actual event. Should no objection be raised, the parish churches will give the bride and the groom permission to marry.

The marriage license we thought would be tricky. We decided to file for it in Para√±aque, since Oneal had live there all his life, and had many documents attesting to the fact. I, on the other hand, have lived in Saudi Arabia, Kamias, Antipolo and Cubao, so my documents had rather scattered addresses. To our surprise, the requirements for the marriage license were simple enough. Some documents and one hour of forms, photocopying, payments and “counseling” in Paranaque City Hall were all it took, and one week later we had our marriage license! Well, there was a surprise.

The pre-cana seminar proved to be a case of misunderstanding and annoyance. We had wanted to take the pre-cana seminar at the Center for Family Ministries in Ateneo de Manila University, as it came well-recommended by many people. Oneal asked Mount Carmel if this was okay, and a nice lady said it was. So we reserved a slot in a CEFAM’s January schedule, and I deposited a payment of P4,000. That was a bust, but more on that later.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

That weekend, Oneal and I went to Mount Carmel to submit our documents, confident that it would be a breeze. We had everything in order, and we figured we could just explain about my confirmation certificate being rather, ah, inaccessible. Alas, we were very gravely mistaken.
They noticed in my documents–specifically my birth certificate and my baptismal certificate–that my mother’s name was not consistent: one document said only “Marian” while others said “Marian Regina”. This apparently was unacceptable, because there must be NO DISCREPANCIES among any of the documents. They asked me what my mother’s name really was, and I said, “Marian Regina.” The parish office told us, well, you’re going to have to have your birth certificate corrected at city hall. They were willing to proceed with the marriage, but only if I submitted (1) an affidavit stating I would correct my birth certificate and not hold the parish liable for any conflict arising from the discrepancy in names; and (2) a Certificate for Facilitation of Correction of my birth certificate from the Local Civil Registry Office of the City Hall of the municipality in which I was born. Oh, and (3) a copy of my corrected birth certificate, to follow after the wedding.
Did you get all of that? I didn’t, because I was so dismayed by all that the parish office guy was saying that I almost burst into tears right there and then.

Of course, parish office guy wasn’t done. He said he had to consult the Diocese of Cubao about my confirmation certificate. Not content, he also said that Oneal’s baptismal certificate would be a problem, because his name was stated there as “Jose Ronnelo Rosero”; none of his other documents bore the name “Jose.” He would have to go back to San Vicente de Paul, and they would issue a letter so he could bring it to the Office of the Chancery in Intramuros, where an amendment would be made.

And for the big finale: we were required to take the pre-cana seminar in Mount Carmel, and even if we had taken the seminar at CEFAM, it would not be sufficient. So the slot we had reserved and the payment I had made were all in vain.
We went back home, rather dismayed, and wondered what to do next. Well, I knew what I was doing next: lying in bed and moping, tears streaming down my face as I wondered, “What are we supposed to do now?” It was like a giant rock had been dropped in our path, and there was no way around it. – rej’

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