Supplier review: Flowers of May

We already had Vatel Manila for my bridal bouquet and entourage flowers. But we still need a florist to prettify Caleruega some more.

I inquired on some other florists but, creative as they are, we just can’t afford them anymore as we’ve already splurged in a lot of stuff and we were already running out of budget.

Then I came across Flowers of May.

Liza was really nice to talk to. The packages they offer doesn’t include the red carpet but she agreed with my request to include it in our package in exchange for the flower arch at the entrance. She also was very nice in accepting my very risky requirement: to use only certain kinds of flowers that I’ve chosen for their symbology and that if she’s gonna use one that isn’t on my list, to check if it has a good meaning. This requirement is VERY RISKY as I run the danger of limiting the creativity of the florist as well as not having certain beautiful flowers on our wedding because of their not so nice symbology. But good vibes is what I really want hence with every difficult request to our florists, I also pray that they receive it positively and without much complaint. And Liza certainly didn’t complain.

What also made the deal just perfect was that the quotation Liza gave me was just right within the total cost we had budgeted for our flowers, for both entourage and Church. With Liza being very accommodating, I followed my instincts. We had Flowers of May for our wedding.

And certainly, I wasn’t disappointed.

I was nice to see these gerberas as I walked down the aisle.



Happy colors!


The altar was so abundant with flowers, our sponsor candles seemed like they were set in a garden.


Thank you so much Liza!! ūüôā

Supplier: Flowers of May
Rating: 5/5
Contact info: +639189369438, +639189366750,

All photos by Dino Lara; purely unedited save for the text to show our wedsite.

6th month

We’ve been married for six months now, and living together for 2.5 weeks in our apato. In exactly 38 days, we’ll have our Church wedding. Although it’s becoming quite a trend lately (and it’s also quite the norm here in Japan), still, I find that it’s quite unconventional, living together and prepping up your new home and at the same time preparing for your wedding. But I ain’t complaining. In fact, I love the novelty of it.

I miss my work, terribly. But I love keeping home and arranging home as well. I love cooking for Atsushi, although it’s just in the evenings. I am ashamed to admit that I still am¬†asleep when Atsushi goes out to work.

But I love how he wakes me up to kiss and hug me goodbye and wish me  a good day, as I in turn wish him the same thing. And I love how he allows me to go back to sleep. And I love how he puts the blanket back on me, in the middle of the night. Those, and other things besides.

There are a lot of adjustments to be made, that’s for sure, especially since we both have different nationalities; grew up in different cultures and backgrounds. But considering all the good things we have and are experiencing, getting married is indeed the best decision I ever made.

And of course, this comes with a prayer: That I hope we continue to be the loving couple that we are now, even after 50 years.

Haha, call it fate, but Journey’s “Faithfully” is playing in Accuradio as I wrote this blog.

Yep, Atsushi, i’m forever yours, faithfully and i’m sure you’re mine as well. And I can’t wait for us to finally make our vows this time, in the Church.

Chancery and Canonical Interviews

Timing was the key for these series of interviews for us. The Pre-Cana and wedding banns are requisites for the interviews hence we attended the Pre-Cana during our Christmas vacation in Tagum and announced our wedding banns from end of November and well into December. We were just in time then to visit the churches for our interviews come early January, just right before Hubbie flies back to Japan.

And what a roadtrip it was. Chancery interview was to be in Lipa Cathedral (or in the seminary of the Chancery Lawyer Fr. Dong Rosales). Canonical interview was to be in St. Francis Xavier Church, Nasugbu Batangas. Both Lipa and Nasugbu are on the edges of Batangas battery limits and would take you some 2 to 3 hours to travel from one to the other. Whew! We actually had to have the Chancery interview on Jan 4 and have the Canonical interview the following day. In between, we visited Caleruega and Ville Sommet and Yellow Coco for Hubbie to see the sites personally. And of course we just have to stay at Sonya’s to check on the place before actually booking our guests.

Chancery interview was so fruitful in that we also found the priest we’ve been looking for to officiate our wedding. I’ve no priest friend and although Mama has a couple or so, flying him to Tagaytay is so out of the question. But both Hubbie and I liked Fr. Dong when we had our interview and he was most kind to show us around Lipa in that we decided to have Fr. Dong for our wedding.

One thing though: he doesn’t allow the Unity Candle on the ceremony. But he allows personal vows¬†so I can settle with that. ūüėÄ

Chancery interview certificate! I had to brushout some names though, for privacy and security purposes

Canonical interview was suprisingly really fast! We had to make a queue with the other couples who got there ahead of us (we arrived in St Francis at 8am, left Sonya’s at a quarter to 6 but we were already couple number 11!) but the interview itself was only 2 minutes max each for me and Hubbie. Too bad though I wasn’t able to take a picture of the canonical interview certificate.

Anyways, that’s it, Church documents preps are¬†done! We’re all set for our Church wedding! ūüėÄ

PS: Chancery interview is only required for couples where one of the marrying party is non-Catholic, non-Filipino.


The search for our wedding rings started as early as June. Like my usual SOP and probably like most brides, I always go for my first loves. Hence when I came across MokumeGaneya I just couldn’t stop daydreaming about it until we could get to meet with their jeweller. Their rings are just so pretty!! I can’t stop gushing about it.

Mind you,¬†it’s only¬†the mokume gane rings of Mokumeganeya¬†that I love¬†because I find the mokume gane make of other jewellers a tad scary. The jeweller in Mokumeganeya said that this is because of the silver component of the ring which is the main reason for the “black streak” on the ring. Even from before, I don’t want silver wedding rings and having known this new piece of info from the jeweller, I told him I don’t want silver in our wedding ring.

Oh yes, you couldn’t go as customized as you could get with Mokume gane rings. With this kind of ring, couples can choose what metals they’d like to have their rings be composed of. These metals are then melded together and pounded into one sheet about¬†8 inches length, cut into two (one¬†for the guy, the other for the lady – this fact is quite romantic¬†don’t you think?) and then made into a ring. Since it originally is a sheet of alloy, naturally there is an obvious line on your ring where the two ends met.

This was the main reason why I decided not to go for mokume gane. I would like our ring to be a seamless and continuous one, endless, without beginning and end.

One other reason though was that our rings would cost around 550,000yen. Gulp. Because I didn’t want the silver component (silver is usually the base material) in our rings, the jeweller said the other alternative for base material is white gold. To achieve the colors, pink, green and¬†yellow gold will then be tossed in. Platinum is added on the inlay of our rings and diamonds added to my ring. Hence, 550k yen.

I was floored with the amount. Although I know Hubbie thinks it’s expensive, he gave me the choice whether to go for the ring or not because he knew how I wanted mokume gane for our wedding ring.

Boy was it difficult! I know that we have major expenses our way, what with the wedding and starting our new home hence splurging is impractical.¬†I asked myself if I can wear that expensive a ring knowing there are other¬†important things to attend to.¬†Of course the answer was NO.¬†And mainly, there was this breakline that I don’t want to see in our wedding ring.

Problem was that I didn’t see a ring that I fell for. We looked at Mikimoto, Michel Klein, 4C (I don’t know how to add the degree sign haha) shops but no “it” factor for me. I browsed Tiffany website but I wasn’t enamored with it. Probably because it seems¬†I am just considering Tiffany because of its name/brand and not because of its designs. So I decided to visit the Tiffany store in Minato Mirai.

But I got intercepted in the way by Lazare Diamond in Motomachi. And there, I fell for our wedding rings. They beckoed towards me and sparkled before me way more brilliantly than Mikimoto did. This is it.

Originally though,¬†I opted for the leaf design of the diamond inlay. But I decided against it because it looked like¬†the shape of a wound. The Virtue wedding band was another choice but I didn’t like the grooves. Ultimately I decided to go for a continuous Pt1000 platinum ring wherein¬†diamonds¬†were simply yet seamlessly¬†inserted that it almost looked¬†as¬†if¬†it was molded together with the platinum band. Of course Hubbie opted for¬†my ring’s partner, a Pt1000 platinum ring without the diamonds. We both agree that diamonds are for women haha.

I don’t think I was able to get a good picture of our rings to give it some justice but for now, this’ll do. Rings, please wait for Dino Lara okay? Then, you’ll have the pictures you deserve.

By the way, since we already had our civil wedding and our church wedding is still months away, we exchanged our rings on Christmas Eve in¬†the old Christ the King Cathedral Church in my hometown in Tagum were I had fond memories of my childhood. Our little private¬†ceremony was so sweet and special that I wouldn’t do¬†our “exchange¬†rings”¬†any other way.

Church interviews galore – Pre Cana

I admit. OVERWHELMED was what I felt at the time that I was able to summarize all that needs to be done to secure Church approval for our wedding. I was overwhelmed to the point that I questioned the necessity of it, specially for some documents which I found redundant considering we were already civilly married (i.e. procurement of CENOMAR for me and certificate of singleness for Hubbie).

But grumble as I may, we still have to go through the process because it is required by the Church. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be allowed to have our Church wedding. However, as we went from one seminar to the next interview, somehow I felt¬†that not only do I “have” to do this but that I “WANT” to do this.

As we hopped from one seminar to the next interview, I realized that not only is this process a preparation for our wedding ceremony but a preparation for our marriage as well. In that during the course of our interviews and the preparation thereof, we came across situations that are actually issues that Atsushi and I may have to face as husband and wife.

Looking back, it is indeed a helpful process in preparing us for our married life.

First installment: PRE-CANA SEMINAR

We¬†planned to celebrate Christmas with my family in Davao. Since Hubbie’s visit is a holiday season and that it may be difficult to¬†find Manila churches that give Precana seminar over the holidays, we¬†decided to have our Pre-cana in Tagum (Davao) as well. It was a good thing really that they schedule special and exclusive Pre-canas whenever the couple requests so (except Sundays and Church Feasts); but of course at twice the usual fee. Thanks to Mama, our schedule was set (including an interview with our village’s GKK chairperson).

The first obstacle we had was that the woman who scheduled us got us together with another couple and appointed a lecturer that albeit good is not too keen and comfortable with English. We had a dilemma as how best to proceed since the other couple would also be disturbed as I translate the seminar’s topic to Atsushi. I had to strongly request for an exclusive seminar because first, it was what we paid for and more importantly, it would be senseless to have the seminar and yet my Hubbie couldn’t understand a thing about the Seminar. Thankfully, the lecturer arranged for a separate lecture for the other couple, thinking that this will be beneficial to everyone.

First speaker was certainly loads of fun and information. The second speaker was entirely a different story. Aside from only gossiping with us, she had us stereotyped. When she learned the couple she was about to give lecture to has a Japanese groom, even before seeing us she assumed Atsushi was an old guy and I…uhm…wear super sexy clothes. Hence when she learned that I am an engineer, she was terribly surprised. She was even more surprised when she learned both me and Atsushi are engineers.

I don’t blame her really because the old Japanese guy and sexy Filipina tandem is really common here in the Philippines. Our Pre-Cana seminar experience opened our (mine and Atsushi’s) eyes some more on this issue and that probably, in our married life, we would have a lot of encounters regarding this stereotyping. I still get affected with it up to now. As thus Hubbie. I find it heartbreaking, this sterotyping. But I guess it is a call for us to rise to the occasion and meet the public’s prejudiced attitude headon. And emerge victorious.

Updated: Church Requirements

Called both Lipa Chancery and Xavier Parish this morning and finally steps have been nailed down.

What the Lipa Chancery needs is for us to submit copies of the following:

  1. my Baptismal Certificate
  2. my Confirmation Certificate
  3. Marriage Contract – translated copy attached
  4. Copy of my CENOMAR (certificate of no marriage)
  5. Groom‚Äôs Certificate of Singleness ‚Äď Koseki Tohon (Family Register) and the translated copy will suffice
  6. Certificate of Freedom to Marry for the Groom ‚Äď Item 5 will suffice since Hubbie is non-practicing Christian
  7. Photocopy of the Groom’s passport

Since I’m now in Manila, they agreed that I can send the copies to them via LBC. They will then assess our papers and if cleared, and granting availability of the priest, they will schedule us for an interview on January 4 (to be confirmed) . Depending on the interview results, they will issue a clearance certificate to Xavier Parish, informing the Parish of the “go signal” for us to marry.

At the same time, I will also send copies of the following to Xavier Parish via LBC:

  1. Marriage Certificate
  2. New Copy of Baptismal Certificate
  3. New Copy of Confirmation Certificate
  4. Name/License No. of Officiating Priest
  5. Name of Sponsors
  6. Wallet size picture

If in case I still don’t have with me Items 4 and 5, no problem with them, says Sally. They will then issue the request for the publication of the wedding banns which I will publish in my hometown in Davao.

Xavier Parish will adjust our Canonical interview schedule depending on our interview schedule with Lipa Chancery, granting availability of Parish Priest. So if our schedule with Lipa Chancery is morning of January 4, they can schedule us on the afternoon of January 4 (to be confirmed).

So happy!

At the time of publication, the following are the helpful contact details of both Lipa Chancery and Xavier Parish:

Lipa Chancery: 6343.7562572; 63917.3545163; Archdiocesan Chancery, Archdiocese of Lipa, Cathedral Site, Lipa City, Batangas; Contact: Ivy P. Vilela

Xavier Parish: 6343.4160564; St. Francis Xavier Parish JP Laurel St. Nasugbu, Batangas 4231; Contact: Sally Dastas

Church Requirements

NB: Please read as well updated Church Requirements post here.

Getting married in the Church here in the Philippines¬†certainly just doesn’t only¬†involve getting a priest to bless your marriage – although I think it would mean more meaningful that way. It doesn’t only involve gathering around and saying our prayers and asking (and receiving) the blessing. How I so wish¬†it’s as easy as¬†that! But no, there are a lot of bureaucracies involved and we have to comply with it all so that we will be allowed to get married in the Church.

Normally, for couples who are both Filipinos and are both Catholics and haven’t been married yet, below are the documents you need to submit to the Church and the process you need to go through:

  1. Marriage License – can be obtained from the municipal hall of either the bride or groom
  2. New Copy of Baptismal Certificate – secured from the Parish where the person received the Sacrament of Baptism and¬†annotated with “For Marriage Purposes”. Must be requested no longer than 6 months before the wedding.
  3. New Copy of Confirmation Certificate – secured from the Parish where the person received the Sacrament of¬†Confirmation and annotated with “For Marriage Purposes”. Must be requested no longer than 6 months before the wedding. I had Mama request for Items 2 and 3.
  4. Name/License No. of Officiating Priest
  5. Name of Sponsors
  6. Certificate of Freedom to Marry Рfor those who stayed abroad for more than 6 months
  7. Wallet size picture
  8. Pre-cana seminar – For Caleruega weddings, the pre-cana seminar can be taken from any parish anywhere in the Philippines. The couple just need to secure a certificate of attendance. This may not hold true for other Churches though.
  9. Wedding Banns
  10. Canonical Interviews

Once you have Items 1 ~ 7, submit the documents to the Chancery (in our case Lipa Chancery).¬†Lipa Chancery¬†will then issue us a letter of endorsement for Xavier Parish (parish incharge of Caleruega).¬†Xavier Parish¬†will then issue the letter for the request¬†of the publication of wedding banns. The wedding banns¬†need to¬†be published in the couple’s hometown or place of current residence for 3 consecutive Sundays.

Once done with Items 8 and 9,¬†a copy of the signed publication of the wedding banns and the certificate of attendance in the pre-cana seminar has to be presented to the church you’re marrying in to have a schedule for the Canonical interview which shall be conducted by the parish priest of the Church you are marrying in. For our case, Xavier Parish (in behalf of Caleruega) will only schedule¬†us for canonical interview after we’ve had the pre-cana seminar.¬†¬†¬†

It doesn’t end with the Canonical Interview. After the Canonical interview, the (1) signed publication of Wedding banns, (2) certificate of attendance in pre-cana seminar and¬†(3) result ot canonical interview has to be submitted to the Chancery Office. Depending on results of the Canonical interview, the Chancery may schedule the couple for an interview with the Canon Lawyer.

Once done with the Chancery, the couple has to wait for a 3-day processing period before the couple can receive the signed Clearance from the Chancery Office together with all the original documents submitted (NB: couple must make sure to secure photocopies of all the original documents you submitted just in case such documents might be asked for by other entities). Once all documents has been received from the Chancery, the couple must then submit all the documents to the Church the couple is marrying in. Done.

BUT oh! Didn’t¬†I say above process is only for couples who are both Filipinos and are both Catholics and haven’t been married yet? Yes, even when you’re civilly married, it still doesn’t save you from needing to submit the documents required by the Church. More so, it still doesn’t save you from needing to undergo seminars. Hence the only requirement we need not submit in above list is Item 1.

Our case is a little extra special. We have been civilly married already and my groom is a non-practicing Christian and of a different nationality with Nihongo as a national language (to which it follows that all documents issued by his government is in Nihongo). Hence as expected, we have to submit ADDITIONAL requirements on top of those listed above.

  1. Marriage Contract – true, we eliminated Item 1 in above list but then it got replaced with this. Our Marriage Contract is in Japanese hence it has to be translated first. The Japanese priest who usually helps Japanese nationals with their marriages here in Philippines¬†recently died last August. At the moment, they haven’t found any replacement for his post hence¬†the Chancery can’t advise us yet their accredited¬†translator. At the moment though, they would accept Hubbie’s translation (whew! yey!). We need to provide the official translation from the accredited agency¬†later, though.
  2. Copy of my CENOMAR (certificate of no marriage) – the one used during your application for civil marriage. For my case, the Philippine embassy in Tokyo required it be authenticated by the DFA here hence my CENOMAR has got a DFA red-ribbon with it.
  3. Groom’s Certificate of Singleness – the one used during application for civil marriage. For our case, this is Hubbie’s Koseki Tohon (Family Register).Thankfully, the Phil. embassy required us to pay for the translation of this and also gave us the original copy after our CNO application so I already have this.
  4. Certificate of Freedom to Marry for the Groom – this is a letter or certificate signed by¬†the groom’s¬†pastor that says that the pastor knows that the groom is free to marry, and has no record of previous marriage in his church. Yes, even when we’re already married, they still requested for this since, as they say,¬†“in the eyes of the church, we’re still not married”.¬† This got me scratching my head.¬†Aren’t government papers enough? Anyways, since Hubbie is non-practicing Christian, Item 3 will have to suffice (thankfully!!).
  5. Photocopy of the Groom’s passport

Depending on Fr. Nishimoto’s replacement, there may be additional requirements on top of above 5 requirements.

¬†Quite a tall order eh? In any case, as it is said, when you’ve worked really hard to get something, then that something will be of more value to you once you have it. Getting past the obstacle will make a sweet victory. Gambatte to us Hubbie! =)


2 hours after:

Thanks to Erika, my question on why our processing is more complicated than usual was answered. To quote her:

The Clearance at the Chancery Office is only required for couples where one of the marrying party is either of the following:
1. Non-Filipino citizens
2. Filipino citizens who have lived abroad for more than 6 years
3. Non-catholic individuals
4. Individuals who were previously married and whose marriage was dissolved

Otherwise, if you are both single, Filipino and Catholic, there is no need to seek clearance at the Chancery Office. All requirements will be processed by the parish where the marriage will take place – or in your case, the parish who handles the Chapel.

Thanks Erika! =)


Choosing the best wedding church location was quite a challenge for us. Atsushi’s family will come from Japan and mine from Davao hence we want a venue that would be most convenient for our guests. Fernbrooks was originally considered but my choice reception room was already booked and our company will be having our Christmas party there so somehow, the place has lost its magic for me. I was already considering some churches in Makati and Quezon City and Manila. But if truth be told, for safety reasons, I hesitate to have our wedding in the thick of Metro Manila.

When Maha and I met during my Japan visit last September, I told her about my dream wedding locations – beach wedding in an Island in Bohol and a solemn one in Caleruega – both of which I considered impossible because of the travel. But then Maha pointed out that Caleruega is actually the practical choice since guests can just directly drive from the airport to Tagaytay. Plus, it’s safer as compared to Manila area. The idea then got stuck on my imagination. Hence, when Hubby agreed, I was really happy!

Last Saturday, Kat, Rey and I then went to Tagaytay to do our ocular visits of the place as well as other possible reception venues and guests’ accommodations. The day started out as a rainy one hence the mist and fog were so thick we had difficulty seeing the car ahead of us. It was quite a dangerous drive and so I am really grateful to Rey and Kat for still pushing through with our trip.

When we got to Caleruega, it was like being in heaven after that foggy and dangerous trip haha.

Suffice it to say, I fell in love with the place.

(the back of the church)

(church grounds)

(the church front)

(the church altar)

(wifey by the church door)

Contact details:

Caleruega Philippines,, +63921.270.9890 ; +63921.830.4226;  (+6343)706.0348

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