Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting Married In The Philippines

Anyone get married in the Philippines? Any special type of requirements, Blood Test, Marriage License?

(Jeanalyn & Alan)

There are requirements set forth by the Philippine Government Depending on which barangay (village) or town you’re living in, you’ll probably get different interpretations about how to go about meeting the requirements for marriage. For example, there seems too widespread misunderstanding about the mandatory counseling requirement. Philippines House Bill 216 states that couples are supposed to undergo pre-marriage counseling about the rigors of marriage prior to being issued a marriage license.

You have to attend a pre-marriage counseling seminar.

If, you are not a Philippine Citizen, that is you were born in a country outside of the Philippines and are a citizen of another country you will need to do the following if you wish to marry a Philippine Citizen:

The Philippines Government requires that you obtain a Certificate of Legal Capacity from your country’s embassy, which may have an embassy in the Philippines. To see if your embassy is located in the Philippines, go here.

If, the prospective involves an American Citizen, he or she would have to go to the Consular Section of the American Embassy in Manila or Cebu. Here is the link for the American Embassy Section in Cebu.

Since the U.S. government doesn’t really maintain a national database on marriages and divorces in America, that task is left up to the individual states, so the American Embassy in the Philippines when you personally show up (a requirement) will issue “An affidavit in lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity.”

To get the “Affidavit in lieu of Certificate of Legal Capacity,” you will need to personally show up in Manila or Cebu (American Embassy requirements) and bring with you:

U.S. Passport

The Consular Officer may ask for your divorce decree, if you were formerly married or death certificate of your former spouse or he or she, may outright refuse to issue you a Certificate of Legal Capacity, if there is a reason to believe you are attempting to commit fraud, such as marrying someone to get them into the States.

$30 or the equivalent in pesos (the Embassy accepts cash only).

Once you get your Certificate of Legal Capacity, you can then go and attend the pre-marriage counseling and get that certificate before going to the Civil Registrar in the town where you or your prospective mate lives to apply for a marriage license.

Your wife-to-be will need to provide a birth certificate authenticated by the NSO (National Statistics Office), not the birth certificate that is issued by the civil registrar of the place where she was born. Here is the link for the getting the NSO authenticated birth certificate.

Hint: It is advisable to get a minimum of three copies of your mate’s NSO authenticated birth certificate, even though you only need one copy in order to get married. You will need to submit an authenticated NSO birth certificate to the American Embassy for her immigration paperwork when the time comes. You will need to supply the Department of Foreign Affairs with an NSO-birth certificate for her Philippine Passport, if she doesn’t already have one and she will have one for back-up.

If, your prospective bride has children that are under 18, you may want to get them three copies of their NSO-authenticated passports also.

Get the Philippines Passport requirements by clicking here.

There is a ten day waiting period from the time you apply for the marriage license at your local civil registrar and the time you receive it.

The marriage license is good for 120 days and may be used throughout the Philippines no matter where it was issued.

There is no requirement for a Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR, which is issued by the NSO (National Statistics Office), but for those needing verification that the person they are marrying, have not been married and it may give you a bit of peace of mind.

Note that some Embassies require proof that the person you are marrying is indeed single and the CENOMAR serves as documentary evidence.

To obtain the CENOMAR, you will need the following documents:

The complete name of the person to be certified.

The complete name of the father.

The complete maiden name of the mother.

The date of the birth of the person to be certified.

The place of the birth of the person to be certified.

The complete name and address of the requesting party.

The number of copies needed (may incur a copy fee).

You will need to state the purpose of the certification.

You can get the CENOMAR online here for about PhP400 or $25, including the

delivery fee within the Philippines.

Hint: If, you pay with a credit card, you will be charged the foreign fee rate of $25, but if you pay in Pesos, the fee for a single copy CENOMAR is PhP400.

No Blood Tests are required.

As long as your prospective mate is over 18 years of age, they are free to marry, so long as they follow these additional requirements:

If, the person you intend to marry is between the ages of 18 and 21, you will need their parents or guardian’s written approval.

If, they are between the ages of 22 to 25, they have to have their parents or guardians advice, that is, there must be a written notification that the parents or guardians are aware of the pending marriage.

Hint: Be sure to check on the requirements of the church, if you are getting married within the faith of your spouse, because they may have quite a few additional requirements that may have to be met above and beyond the civil law matters.

You can get anyone authorized by the Philippines Government to perform the civil or church ceremony, such as a judge, minister, etc.

Note also the additional requirements that your embassy imposes on you if you are seeking to bring your wife back home to your country regarding filing immigrant spouses.

Disclaimer: Prices quoted are accurate at the time of publication and while every attempt to verify accuracy of the information contained within this post, prices are subject to change without notice by the represented organizations.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How To Overcome Culture Shock With Your Filipina

There is no way to avoid culture shock, but you can make the transition easier for your mate by understanding what culture shock is. First and foremost, culture shock is misunderstanding the environment that you find yourself in. You misunderstand the environment because it is not familiar to you and this unfamiliarity leads you to be at ease at best and anxious and disoriented, at its worse. Here’s is how to lessen the degree of culture shock that you or your mate is likely to experience.

Culture Shock is a lack of knowledge about a place that seems alien to you and to overcome feeling like an alien, you must be willing to learn as much as you can about the place you’re going or find yourself in. You commit to trying to understand the place you find yourself and the anxiety will pass with time, but it really helps if you have someone who is native to the location to help you with the transition.

Your friends, girlfriend, finance or wife can be a tremendous asset when it comes to helping you to understand the environment that seems to different to you. You will find that people are more than willing to assist you, when they see that you are genuinely trying to adjust and adapt to their culture. Don’t be afraid to discover a new language, customs and foods.

If, you have yet to arrive in the Philippines, reading books about the Philippines is a good start and if you can locate a language course in Tagalog in your home country, you’re off to a good start. Locating literature about the Philippines is generally not a problem, but oftentimes, I hear others stating that they have difficulty locating a language course in the local Philippines language.

One of the best publications out there that I recommend to everyone who is going to the Philippines is authored by Alfredo and Grace Roces called, “Culture Shock! Philippines: A Survival Guide To Customs and Etiquette.” This paperback book will help you to understand some of the things that may irritate you, but are deeply rooted in the culture. A source for learning Tagalog, the principle language of the Northern Philippines is Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone approach to language learning is highly-effective if you put the time in. Rosetta Stone courses are a bit pricey, so shop around for the best deal.

There is considerable “murmuring,” which is talk about the foreigner, when you are in the Philippines. The “murmuring” is not meant to hurt your feelings or anything like that, but you have to understand that many people in the Philippines are a curious bunch and some like to comment on the things they see. It could be talk in a language that you do or do not understand and often followed with subdued or boisterous laughing. Don’t take it personal. After some time in the Philippines, you will find yourself engaged in such “murmuring.”

There is another type of “murmuring” that you will come to know if you are serious about a Filipina and that is “tampo.” When you hurt your love one’s feelings, she will all likelihood stop talking to you for hours, days or weeks, depending how bad you hurt her feelings. She may too just get up and take off to her friends (barkadas) or relative’s house if they live close by.

Remember how confusing things get when you’re together or away from each other, communication is just one aspect of understanding each other. You two will need to sit down and discuss the things that each of you are misunderstanding, so that there will be less “tampo” on her part and less frustration on your part.

She is going to need the emotional support that she had back home in the Philippines and for those fellows who are living in the Philippines, life is got to be good. There is a good chance that when your fiancé or wife was in the Philippines, she was constantly in the realm of many family members and she felt safe. Well, when she comes to your home country, she is going to miss those family members and depression and home sickness could set in, so fellows, give her the emotional support that she expects from you

Understand that the although many people in the Philippines speak English and English is widely-used in the government and schools, Philippine English and the English that you speak, although pronounced almost the same, may have a wide and varying meaning than what you think. So, learn to adapt to your fiancé’s or spouse’s English and when you’re not sure of why she suddenly became silent, just ask her politely. The informal English, or slang that we speak when we are comfortable around others, can easily be misinterpreted and feelings hurt in the process.

You want to avoid any type of public confrontations of any sort. If, you and your lady are having a disagreement about something, it’s wise to find a private place to discuss it. You don’t want to raise your voice anywhere in Asia, as this is a sign of not being “composed,” or in “harmony” with the group. Asia, by and large is a “group-oriented” society and the Philippines is no less “group-oriented.” So, don’t be surprised if you invite the love of your life somewhere while you’re there and she shows up with an escort or a relative or two or three.

You’ll do well in the Philippines if you come to learn of the notion of “amor-propio.” Amor-propio is the sense of pride that every person of Philippines is taught to respect in themselves and others who are family. This sense of pride extends to the person in a way that protects the honor of the individual and choices are made regarding amor-propio, oftentimes based on whether the person’s actions will bring shame to themselves and dishonor their family and especially, the family name. Never underestimate the influence and power of amor-propio. Amor-propio is a bit like the expression “saving face,” but on steroids!

There is another aspect of Philippines Culture that is sometimes overlooked and that is the concept of “Delicadeza.” Delicadeza concerns itself with the moral certainty of knowing what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. It is the unspoken “moral compass” that exists in everyone and when you have violated this moral righteousness, you are immoral and should take it upon yourself to correct your wrongs. For example, in the town that I lived in Davao del Norte, there was a certain politician whom the locals murmured about constantly, stating that the politician was invisible, because no one had seen him in quite some time, yet he collects his salary and miraculously, he’s always getting re-elected. According to delicadeza, the proper thing for the politician to do is either show up more in his province, to let the people see that he is concerned about their issues, or resign from office and let someone who is more attune to the needs of the people run for his office

Then there are the indigenous tribes of the Philippines who live in the mountains, remote villages and costal areas who have a set of traditions that may or may not be aligned or the same as the general population of the Philippines and you will have to learn their ways if you wish to coexist. If, you approach everything that you do while you’re in the Philippines with an open mind and don’t be too hurried to rush to judgment, you’re going to have a great time staying, living and/ or visiting the Philippines.

Know that you will be excited, surprised and emotionally overwhelmed at the sheer beauty of the Philippines, starting with its people. Don’t spend all your time indoors in some fancy hotel or in some air conditioned taxi or tour bus. Get out and enjoy the natural wonderment, the food, the customs and the habits that will become as acceptable as they were once foreign to you. When you’re comfortable, meet her family, her friends and if at all possible, go to the village where she grew up or once lived, it will go a long ways to you understanding her life and expectations.

Remember that as foreign as the Philippines may seem when you first get there, if you take the time to understand that the culture may be different than what you’re accustom to, your open mind makes the adjustment easier for you and you accept the fact that you have to be immensely flexible, because you will find that things happen without much notice sometimes. If, you like spontaneous happenings, you will love the Philippines, because the feeling of never really knowing what’s going on, adds to the excitement of it all. Relax and enjoy yourself, and as far as your fiancé or wife coming to your home country, just picture her as the person adjusting to a new place and show your support by letting her know everyday that you understand.

The thing that I probably hear most from many men who visit the Philippines and return home after three weeks or so, is how much people stared at them. Well, I can tell you from living all over Asia, that people are naturally curious everywhere and staring although not particularly polite in most Western Societies, is common just about everywhere else on the Planet. You’ll get use to the staring and if, you are outside as much as you should be, you’ll find yourself staring too!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Direct Deposit in the Philippines

Is there a reliable bank in the Philippines that will accept direct deposit of your funds from the United States?

Most of the banks in the Philippines will accept direct deposit of your funds once you get to the Philippines, but you need to specify in advance when you set your account up in the Philippines, if you are going to have a Peso Account or a Dollar Account or both.

Which account you decide to set up is your personal preference, but there is an advantage to having your account set-up as a Dollar Account, so that you can best take advantage of the exchange rates.

If, you do decide to open a Peso Account, you will twice as many banks to choose from because nearly all the banks in the Philippines will open an account for you.

Whatever account you decide to set-up be aware of the fees associated with each account.

If, you have questions or concerns about Social Security Direct Deposits and would like more information about it, you can contact the Social Security Attaché at U.S. Embassy in Manila by clicking here. You can also contact the Department of Veteran Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Manila by clicking here.

Philippines Banks that accept direct deposits are:

Banco de Oro

Bank of the Philippine Islands

Citibank Philippines

Equitable PCI

HSBC Philippines


Philippine National Bank

RCBC (Rizal Commercial Bank Corporation)

UCPB (United Coconut Planters Bank)

If, you are not yet in the Philippines and wish to set up a direct deposit and a veteran, you might want to have a look at Wells Fargo’s Military Banking Section. Here’s the link for Wells Fargo. One of the benefits of Wells Fargo’s Military Banking is that they allow you up to six free withdrawals from any ATM in the world. Just be sure to see if that is still in effect, as corporations change things without prior notice. If, you aren’t prior military, and you’re still in the States or your home country, just about any of the mega banks will be more than happy to set you up with a direct deposit arrangement until you get to the Philippines.