Originally posted on: ‘2010-01-12 01:37:30’, ‘2010-01-11 17:37:30’, ‘Even when we knew what we had to do, things seemed hopeless.
The confirmation certificate: Come Tuesday, December 15, we called Mount Carmel, and the verdict was out on my confirmation certificate: the Diocese said we had to get a copy of the original from Abu Dhabi, or at least some sort of certification stating that the confirmation had indeed taken place on the date and at the place we claimed in the original certificate we presented. Great. How were we supposed to do that? There was an address for the Vicar Apostolic of Arabia on my certificate, but it was just a PO Box. All seemed bleak.
The birth certificate: As the parish instructed, I went to the City Hall of the municipality where I was born, Manila. Fortunately, Mom was also born in Manila, so if I needed any of her documents from the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) it would be one less thing to worry about. At least, that’s what I thought. I got a copy of Mom’s birth certificate, and made photocopies of mine, and prepared all the wedding documents and my own papers of all sorts from various government offices. Thus armed, I made my way to Manila City Hall on December 17. Fortunately, Tita Baby was able to spare her driver, Dexter, so I didn’t need to contend with traffic or a horrid commute in addition to my already significant distress. I arrived at Manila City Hall, and found the LCRO. At the entrance was a large table manned by at least four employees, and their sole responsibility, it seemed, was to figure out what people needed to do with their birth, death or marriage certificate, and give them the proper set of requirements and instructions. Given the mass of people who went through that office every single day, it was no wonder they assigned four people to the table. On it, arranged from one end to the other, front to back, were neatly arranged stacks of paper, each stack a different set of instructions and requirements. There were so many different stacks that you couldn’t see the table’s surface. Did I mention that this table was nigh inaccessible? So many people needed corrections on their birth certificates that there was literally a swarm at the LCRO entrance. My problem was “Correction of Clerical Error on the Middle Name or Mother’s Name of Unmarried Petitioner.” When you think about how specific that is, then you can understand why there were so many variations on the requirements. If I were married, I would have to submit a longer list of papers. The requirements would be different if it were my father’s name I had to change, or my birth date, or my birth place… the list of permutations goes on. So after explaining the problem in as calm and polite a manner as I could to the nice young man in front of me, I got my list of requirements. One look at it and I was ready to give up. I mean, how would you feel if you saw this list?
- 2 latest certified/local copies and 2 latest NSO copies of birth certificate to be corrected (That would be mine.)
- 2 latest certified copies of birth certificate/death certificate of mother. If certification of no record was issued please submit birth certificate or marriage contract of mother’s 2 brother or sister.
- 2 latest certified copies of marriage contract of parents. If certification of no record was issued please submit birth certificate or marriage contract of 2 brother or sister.
- 2 copies of baptismal certificate (I don’t know why they need this.)
- 2 copies of school record, Elementary, High School or College (form 137 or transcript of records)
- 2 certified copies of voter’s registration record/voters affidavit (COMELEC)
- 2 copies valid ID of the petitioner and the document owner and 1 copy of latest community tax certificate from the place of work or residence
- Other documents which the Office may consider relevant and necessary for the approval of the Petition. (GSIS/SSS records, Medical Records, Business Records, School Records, Insurance, Land Title, Bank Passbook)
NOTE: (This was on my set of instructions and requirements) All marriage contract, birth and death certificates to be submitted should be latest certified xerox copy when issued in Manila, if issued outside Manila, Security Paper from NSO. Steps to Follow:
- Submit all requirements for assessment and initial interview. Please bring all original documents and ID.
- Preparation of petition paper.
- Final Interview
- Pay at Taxpayer’s Lounge.
- Receiving and filing of petition paper and all documents.
I already had some of those documents, since they were also required by the church. Some of the others I thought I could easily acquire. I figured, I would spend a day gathering the documents, and I could come back the next day to file the petition. Well, you know how such assumptions fare. Suffice to say that the odyssey of compiling all the required documents was so arduous a journey that to write it all down now would simply take too much time and far, far too many words. There’s gonna be a part 3 to this series of travails, and it’s going to be bloody. All I will say now is that the worst part of the ordeal was that I was all alone when I started gathering and requesting the requirements at Manila City Hall that day, and the initial disappointment was so devastating that I burst into tears right in the middle of the LCRO while whining to Oneal over the phone. “How the hell do I know how to get to the hospital where I was born?” I bawled, not caring about the masses who walked past me as I hiccuped and sniffed in my distress.
The baptismal certificate: Oneal’s baptismal certificate seemed the least of our worries. The Jose in his name was just put there because in 1973, priests refused to baptize children unless they had Christian names. I suppose back then what counted as a Christian name only included English, Filipinized or Hispanicized names of saints. I think they’re less fussy about names now. Mount Carmel told us that we would have to go back to San Vicente de Paul and ask them how to correct or amend his baptismal certificate. So after my initial foray to Manila City Hall and a sad, lonely lunch (which I couldn’t even finish) at SM Manila, I ventured to the church to inquire about the process. It seems this is a common problem, because when I explained to the parish office what I needed, they gave me a small slip of paper with a short list of requirements: notarized letter of request, photocopy of the baptismal certificate, and a valid ID. Oneal would have to submit the request to the parish, and they would give him a letter which he would have to bring to the Office of the Chancery in Intramuros. They were the only ones authorized to make the correction on the baptismal certificate; I supposed they were the Church’s version of the LCRO. Next to my mountain of problems, this was quite a petite molehill. But with everything we needed to do, I found that I was just so tired and stressed that the mere thought of visiting another city hall, another government office, or another parish office made me dizzy. I found myself looking to the heavens and asking God, “Is this a sign? Are you telling us to stop? Don’t you want us to get married?” Calling me disheartened at this point would have been a gross understatement. But we trudged on. I even managed to make it to Karen’s condo that evening for a small geek dinner, but I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on the couch.’