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. 😀

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! 😀

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

Marriage Certificate

For some time, I had been confused on how will the National Statistics Office (NSO) get to have in their records that I’m already married. We were married in Japan and our marriage certificate is in Japanese. Now, if I were a different kind of person, if we didn’t report our marriage in Japan, I could very well get married again here in the Philippines, with another person!

So, how does the information trickle down to our government statistics office here? As I am worried over the confusion that might happen when I renew my passport in the DFA tomorrow, I asked the NSO a couple of days ago on how and when can they have a copy of my marriage certificate.

Says NSO and I quote:


Dear Ma’am:

Thank you for your e-mail.

For events that occurred outside the Philippines, registration is done at the
office of the Philippine Consulate located in the country where the event took

Thereafter, the said office will forward the copy of the civil registry record
to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) here in Manila.  In turn, it will
be DFA-Manila who will be providing a copy to the National Statistics Office

Upon forwarding of the DFA to the NSO, the record is assigned reference
numbers. Please provide us the following information in order to assist the
NSO in the search and retrieval of your marriage certificate:


The above information can be obtained from the DFA in Manila. It is also
suggested that you verify first with DFA-Manila if the marriage record, sent
by the Philippine Consulate, had already been received by the  Records
Management Division, and if DFA-Manila has already forwarded a copy to  the
NSO.   Kindly get in touch with DFA-Manila at (632) 834-4000.

Thereafter, you may submit your request for marriage certificate through our
website (

Thank you.

Yours truly,

e-Census Operations


So there. First step is made by the couple which is the ROM (Report of Marriage) in our case which was applied by Hubbie more than two weeks ago. We’re still waiting for the ROM certificate up to now though. Albeit the question is if at this time, when all documents are in transit, I’d be able to get a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) from NSO if I request for one. 

Anyways, if there’d be some election on the BEST PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT AGENCY, I would highly and proudly vote for the NSO’s e-census. So far, they’re the only government office that I am really impressed with the service. Superb customer service, they have. I wish all other government agencies would emulate them.


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’s Certificate of Singleness – Koseki Tohon (Family Register) and the translated copy will suffice
  6. Certificate of Freedom to Marry for the Groom – 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 – for 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! =)

Report of Marriage (ROM)

We had to wait till the revised Koseki Tohon (Family Register) was issued before we had to report our marriage to the Philippine embassy in Japan. NB: Revised Koseki Tohon will already reflect my name as hubby’s wifey on their family tree. As such, hubby was only able to apply for our ROM last Oct 25 – more than a month after our civil marriage. In any case, kudos hubby for successfully getting through the maze in Philippine Embassy in Tokyo! =)

Now, as usual, ROM is not just “reporting”. It has a lot of documentation required.

  1. Duly accomplished Report of Marriage (ROM) application form available at the Consular Information Counter, or downloadable from the official Embassy website at It would be helpful if you try to secure ahead of time a blank copy of the form. Forms are forms and there might be additional requirements that are indicated on the form which wasn’t stated on the website nor was informed by the government official when you had your inquiry. This was our lessons learned for the civil marriage application form in Minami Ward Office.
  2. One original and 2 copies of Certified true copy of the Marriage Notification Report to City Hall (Konintodoke no Kisai Jiko Shomeisho). This one is the equivalent of the Marriage certificate here in Philippines.
  3. One Original and 2 copies of the following, whichever is applicable, to be obtained from the City Hall:
    • If spouse is Japanese, latest Family Registry (Koseki Tohon) reflecting the couple’s place and date of marriage. (Koseki Shohon, Certificate of Acceptance of Marriage is NOT acceptable)
    • If spouse is a Foreign National other than Japanese:
      1. Certificate of Acceptance of Marriage (Juri Shomeisho) showing the couple’s place and date of marriage.
      2. Two (2) Passport copies of foreign national
  4. Certificate of No Objection (CNO)  (2 copies)
  5. Birth Certificate of the Filipino spouse in security paper issued by the NSO (Original & 2 copies). The Philippine Embassy required that the birth certificate I give them has to be further authenticated by the DFA. I got several copies hence the one we submitted was not only NSO authenticated but DFA authenticated as well.


  • The Koseki Tohon can usually be obtained after one week (or more) from the City Hall which accepted the marriage of the couple. In our case, it was “or more”.
  • The original of the CNO goes to the City Hall while the photocopy is retained by the Filipino applicant for future reference.  An applicant is reminded to secure and retain a photocopy of all important documents submitted to the City Hall, such as CNO and authenticated Birth Certficate, etc., in case they are required for submission to the Embassy.


Basic Fee : US$25
Translation Fee (of Koseki Tohon) : US$25

Above full information was taken from The Philippine Embassy Consular Section ROM webpage.

Oh by the way, it would take 2 weeks before we can obtain the certificate of ROM which we will use in our other applications. And yes, we still have more documentations and applications our way. Both in Japan, and here, for the Church wedding. Goodluck to us hubby! =)

dresses and docs!

It has been quite a productive day for both me and Hubby.

I had a great morning with Richie nailing down the specifics of my gown. I so wonder how Richie will turn her magic wand on my gown. Can’t wait for the first fitting!! And as always, Richie was great to talk with. Met her charming and pretty daughter Olivia as well. =)

Kat, Cindy and I also met with Rey’s mom and aunts who will be doing the entourage’s (women) dresses to nail down as well their gown designs. I am so kilig as well thinking how their dresses would be like and how beautiful they would be!

As for Hubby, he was able to have a headstart with our marriage documents.

And oh, I got my ento invites now as well! Better start punching holes and attaching the pony garters. I’m excited to distribute them tomorrow! I just hope though I know how to make a beautiful knot. haha! goodluck to me!

Civilly married!

Finally, after some ups and starts, Atsushi and I are civilly married already! 

To get officially married, we had to submit the following to Minami Ward (the Ward office closest to where Atsushi is staying now – Nakazato Dormitory):

  1. Atsushi’s Koseki Tohon
  2. my CNO
  3. my Birth Certificate
  4. photocopies of the pages of my passport
  5. application form which includes hanko and details of our two witnesses who should be 20 years old and above. We had Inoue-san and Tomoko-san, both of which are Atsushi’s batchmates, as our witnesses.

I look forward to our Church wedding; a wedding that would be very special.

We also had a couple of achievements yesterday:

1. got our CNO from the Philippine embassy which of course  is one of the requirements for our civil marriage.

2. we finally selected, ordered and paid for our wedding rings!!! Oh how lovely were they! Too bad I wasn’t able to take a picture of them as I ran out of cp batteries already. Both Atsushi’s and my ring are platinum with mine encrusted with five diamonds. Can’t wait till we pick them up come January 18, 2011!!

Count thy blessings yes. And I thank you Lord. And oh yes, I hope to post soon my great experience with Atsushi’s family last weekend.


Applied for our Certificate of No Objection (CNO) at the Philippine Embassy today (Sept 14), yey! It was quite chaotic in the area, what with all the crowd at such a small space and with all the screaming and crying children but we got all our requirements done right:

  1. Atsushi’s Koseki Tohon
  2. Atsushi’s Juminhyo
  3. Marjorie’ s Birth Certificate (DFA authenticated)
  4. Marjorie’s CENOMAR which indicated “Marriage” as the purpose (DFA authenticated)
  5. photocopies of the above (thankfully there’s a photocopying machine in the area)
  6. 2 copies each of passport sized picture.

Our CNO will be released on Sept 21 (5 days after), afterwich we can then go to the ward office to register our marriage civilly.

CNO Basic Fee : US$25
Affidavit of Civil Status : US$25
English Translation(of Koseki Tohon or Juri Shomeisho x 2): US$50
TOTAL  : US$100

After the Philippine Embassy chaos, we relaxed a bit in Starbucks Roponggi and at 5pm, headed to Funabashi to meet with Maha and incidentally, Kawauchi-san (who just arrived yesterday with his family from the United States after staying there for almost three years). We had such a great dinner with them! =)

at Starbucks near Roponggi station

Japan Visa

The moment I received the agent’s text, telling me my passport is ready for pickup and that I was granted a 30-day tourist visa, my mind was echoing “yey!!” over and over again. I was in the bus at that time so of course I can’t scream my happiness so I just emailed H2B Atsushi about the good news and informed Kat & Rey that I need to go pick up my passport hence we need to change our meeting venue (we planned to watch Despicable Me which was really funny!). Aside from “yey” though, “thank you” was also prevalent in my mind and I so sent my thanks to the heavens above.

It seemed like a pretty long three weeks for us. Atsushi and I are quite new with processing government documents, and with no assistance (immigration lawyer and the like) we solely relied on the internet for guidance. Also, it was the first time for Reli Tours Southmall (the agency who assisted us in our application – all Japan visa applications, except for those government related ones, are now coursed through select agencies) to handle an application for tourist visa for the purpose of marriage. Hence, when we submitted our papers, we just based it on what was posted on the Embassy website and based on Reli Tour’s checklist which includes the following:

  1. Passport (of course! haha)
  2. Birth Certificate (for this I am exempted already because I have used Japan visas)
  3. Itinerary of Japan visit (for this, since purpose is marriage, our marriage itinerary should be indicated)
  4. Documents to prove relationship with the guarantor (this includes our photos, emails)
  5. Invitation letter from Atsushi
  6. my bank certificate 
  7. my Income Tax Return
  8. Atsushi’s Residence Certificate Juminhyo
  9. Guarantee letter by Atsushi
  10. Atsushi’s Income Certificate (Shotoku Shomeisho), Tax Return Certificate (Nouzei Shomeisho) KAKUTEISHINKOKUSHO HIKAE or Bank Certificate (YOKIN ZANDAKA SHOMEISHO).

Of course, prior to application, I had to inquire in the embassy if it was legal to use tourist visa for the purpose of getting married. We received a positive reply that it was indeed legal – a happy thing.

After submitting to the Embassy though, the Embassy required for additional documents which included:

11. my CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage or Certificate of Singleness)

12. Atsushi’s Koseki Tohon (Family Register)

13. Further proof of our relationship (I printed more emails, hotel vouchers in Vietnam, flight itineraries, more pictures. I even printed out our Skype conversations)

14. Invitation letter from Atsushi’s dad including his Certificate of Seal (Inkan Shomei)

15. a letter recounting our love story which had to include when, where and how Atsushi and I met; our love story from the time we met up to now; when, where and time of proposal.

16. a copy of Atsushi’s passport including pages showing his departure and arrival stamp here in Philippines (as additional document, we showed the stamps in Vietnam as well).

Obtaining the documents required a lot of effort and time. Plus, Atsushi has to send the documents to me from Japan. There was also a time when we had to wait for the documents from Oto-san to arrive. Hence, waiting was quite a challenge. But truly, seeing my sakura-themed visa and thinking of imminent reunion with Atsushi, all the work and effort are all worth it.

This is just the first step as we still have a number of steps to comply before being legible to a spouse visa. But, one step at a time, and with prayers and God’s grace, we can make it through.


Wow, NSO has really upgraded now! E-Census website  says I can have my requested birth certificate copy and CENOMAR by next week. But lo and behold, I already received my requested copies today.

Hurray! ^_^

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: