Category: General Topics


09 - 19

For three years now, the government has been hosting earthquake drills all over the country to spread awareness and encourage defensive responses in the event of an earthquake.  The drill is headed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) and this year, it will be held at the Strike Gymnasium in Bacoor City, Cavite.  Although the activities are focused in Metro Manila and nearby areas, the entire country is encouraged to participate whether they are in their offices, homes, and even while on the road.

For most of us, our response during the earthquake drill (and during an earthquake!) should be to “duck, cover, and hold”.  But how about if you are driving a vehicle when an earthquake strikes?  How do you protect yourself from the damaging effects of this anticipated disaster while inside a moving car?

We are sharing the following article below to help drivers and commuters be aware of the safest, most defensive response when caught on the road by an earthquake.  Share this to all your friends and families whose jobs require them to be behind the wheel most of the time.

Step 1: Be aware of the intensity of the earthquake.

Drivers will not feel tremors as fast as people in buildings would.  A good indicator that an earthquake is happening is when you feel your vehicle wobble like it has a flat tire.  Pay attention to hanging streetlights and road signs too; any unusual swinging and shaking could mean a strong quake is happening.

Step 2: Pull to the side of the road.

Do not just stop in the middle of the street to avoid getting in other drivers’ way.  Do your best to pull to the side of the road, avoiding tall structures, poles, and lamp posts.  This means that even in the middle of the emergency, you have to remain calm and composed to make sure you and your car are secured and safe.

Step 3: Switch off your engine and put your handbrake on.

This gives you a bit of time to collect your belongings in case you’d need to flee from your car (which is most likely if the quake is at intensity 5 or higher).  Be prepared to exit and leave your vehicle.

Step 4: Proceed to the nearest open area you can find.

When it is safe to leave your car, head to an open area.  Avoid seeking refuge under flyovers, footbridges, and near lamp posts or hanging streetlights as these structures could give way anytime.

Step 5: Check for internet access to get the latest news on situations on the road, your destination, and nearby areas. 

After a strong quake, people are most likely to conjure up the worst scenarios through hearsays and well, superstitious beliefs.  These are the last things you need to hear as it will waste your time and may cause you to panic.  If you have your mobile phone with you, check for internet access and get the latest news from reliable sources.  Call your family at home, locate your children, and ensure everyone’s safety while you still have batteries on your phone.  Plan a meeting place that is accessible to your family and start moving.

We hope the NDRRMC and the MMDA would also conduct earthquake drills that are designed for motorists, private, and public vehicle drivers.  This will help save a lot of commuters’ lives when an earthquake strikes while they are in major thoroughfares such as EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, NLEX, SLEX, and the like.

Most people take earthquake drills for granted; this is sad news.  We all know that earthquakes are unpredictable disasters, unlike typhoons and volcanic eruptions, and the only way you can get a fighting chance to survive is to be aware of what must be done while the ground is shaking and causing damages and panic all around you.  If your company is participating in the drill, take it as a chance to be familiar with your building’s entry and exit points, safe hiding places, and escape routes.  If you are at home during the drill, encourage all family members to join in as well.

If you are joining the earthquake drill on Thursday (and we hope you will!), you can share your stories with us right here at the Master Citizen blog page!

References:

www.ndrrmc.gov.ph

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09 - 14

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is mandated by the government to investigate all forms of human rights violation in our country, whether civil or political in nature.  It is headed by a Chairperson and four members; majority of the members must be lawyers.

The CHR was created under the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

But what exactly does the CHR do and when do we seek their assistance?  How different is their role from that of a police who responds during crimes and other types of emergencies?

We are sharing the following information from the CHR Facebook page to help us understand and appreciate the role of the CHR.  This should also help us determine whether a violation is considered against human rights, or if it should already be considered a crime.

ABUSER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION CRIME WHERE TO FILE YOUR COMPLAIN
1. If the abuser is art of the government such as the Police, Military, Trial Courts, and other similar branches of the government.

YES

NO

CHR

2. If the abuser is a private individual or civilian who raped, murdered, robbed, and other similar acts.                NO

YES

Police

3. Government offices, elected officials, employed staff, abusing their position and violating the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), committing crimes against humanity.

YES

YES

Police and CHR

4. Non-state actors or armed groups during armed conflicts or wars

YES

YES

Police and CHR

If the victim is a woman, a child, a member of the LGBTQIA, a senior citizen, or a member of the vulnerable sector (marginalized, disadvantaged)

YES

YES

Police and CHR

If a government agency’s act (or failed to act on) resulted to the violation of an individual’s human rights, it is considered a crime and human rights’ violation.

YES

YES

Police and CHR

Notice that in all of the cases mentioned above, the CHR must always be involved.  It is best that you and your family are made familiar with the address and contact information of the CHR in your area.

You may visit the CHR’s website at http://198.23.173.74/chr/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/chrgovph/

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09 - 05

Filipinos who wish to tour the beautiful city-state of Dubai now have the option to apply for their visas online.  The process is really simple and offers so much convenience especially to DIY (do-it-yourself) travelers, or those who opt not to hire the services of a travel agency.

If you are planning to visit Dubai soon, read and save this blog.  The following is a summary of the steps and processes when applying for a Dubai visa online via http://www.dubaivisa.net

Step 1: Know your visa type.

There are 7 kinds of visas offered online by http://www.emirates.com and it is important that you know the type of visa you would like to apply for:

  1. 30-day Tourist Visa

Visa validity is 58 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is limited to 300 days from the date of entry.

  1. 96-hour Transit Visa

Visa validity is 30 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is limited to 96 hours from the time of entry.

  1. 90-day Visit Visa

Visa validity is 58 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is 90 days from the date of entry.

  1. Multi-entry long-term visa: 90 days

Visa validity is 58 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is limited to 90 days from the date of first entry into the UAE.

  1. Multi-entry short-term visa: 30 days

Visa validity is 58 days from the date of issue and the duration of stay is limited to 30 days from the date of first entry into the UAE.

  1. 30-day GCC Resident Visa

GCC Residents Entry Permit can be used for entry within 60 days from the date the visa is issued.  The stay period is 30 days from date of entry, and the visa can be extended for a further 30 days.

  1. 30-day GCC Accompanied Visa

GCC Accompanied Entry Permit can be used for entry within 60 days from the date the visa is issued.  The stay period is 60 days from date of entry, and the visa can be extended once for a further 60 days.

Step 2: How to Apply

All clients who wish to use this facility to apply for their UAE visas need to follow the steps below:

  1. Visit www.emirates.com
  2. Retrieve your booking using the “Manage an existing booking” link.
  3. Click on the “Apply for UAE visa” link.
  4. You will be directed to the VFS Page.
  5. Read and agree to the “terms and conditions” and proceed.
  6. You will be asked to select the itinerary for which you require the visa for and the names of the passengers who require the visa. Other information needed are passport details, your current nationality, and current country of residence.
  7. On the next page you need to enter an email ID along with the relationship of the applicants. Please ensure that the email ID is correct and accessible because all correspondence with regards to the application will be sent to this email, including a copy of the visa.
  8. The applicant will receive an email with the hyperlink to the visa application form.
  9. Fill out the electronic form and submit together with scanned copies of required documents. If there are more than one client applying for a visa, uploading and submission of documents must be done one name at a time. Do not send all documents in one go under one name.
  10. After documents have been uploaded, you may now proceed with the online payment through VISA and MasterCard debit and credit card, whichever is applicable.
  11. After payment has been confirmed by the system, the applicant will receive an email advising that the payment went through successfully.

Step 3: After Submission

You have the option to track your application after you have submitted all documents and paid for your application.

  1. Visit www.emirates.com
  2. Retrieve your booking using the “Manage an existing booking” link.
  3. Click on the “Apply for UAE visa” link.
  4. You will be directed to the VFS Page where you have to enter your Emirates booking reference and your visa application number to know the current status of your application.

Easy and convenient, isn’t it?  Of course, you still have the option to have your travel agent do everything for you but keep in mind that they may also be using the same site to accomplish your application.  Save yourself some travel agent talent fees and try applying for a Dubai visa online!

Have a safe and happy trip!

Source: http://www.dubaivisa.net

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08 - 31

They say the greatest gift your father can give you is his name.  However for women, their father’s names get replaced with their husband’s when they marry.  They embrace the heritage that comes with their new last name and become associated with the husbands’ family tree.

Do women have the option to keep their father’s names after they get married?

The answer is yes.  In reality, marriage only requires a woman to change her civil status, not her name.

You can find the answer in Article 370 of the Civil Code, where a married woman’s options regarding using her husband’s last name are enumerated:

A married woman may use:

  1. Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s surname, or
  2. Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname or
  3. Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as “Mrs.”

The law does not mandate women to change their last name to their husband’s after getting married.  She just has to be consistent with the choice she makes, whether to keep her maiden name, her husband’s last name, or as a Mrs. Husband’s First and Last Name.

Updating your civil status is a different matter and is something you have to accomplish a few weeks or months after your wedding.  Most women prefer to wait until they have a copy of their marriage certificate, which is released by the PSA (formerly NSO) three to six months after the wedding.  Nonetheless, it is an errand that every newly married lady must accomplish.

The government IDs and forms that you need to update with your married civil status are:

  1. BIR Records
    • Secure a BIR Form 2305 – If there’s one document that you need to update, it is your tax documents because then, you get to enjoy certain incentives that are available only to married citizens.
  2. Social Security System
    1. Go to the SSS website and download a copy of the Member’s Data Change Request.
    2. Fill out the downloaded document and submit this personally at any SSS office.
    3. You may also update your list of beneficiaries.
  3. Philhealth
  4. Pag-IBIG
    • Click on Update Registration Information using the Pag-IBIG Membership ID Number (MID Number).

Passports, Voter’s IDs, and Postal IDs may be updated at a later time as these do not require you to declare your civil status.  Just be consistent with the name that you use in all of your IDs to avoid confusion and ineligibility in your future claims from these government agencies.

Again remember, changing your name after getting married is an option, not a requirement.  Only your civil status has to be updated.

Sources and References:

http://pcw.gov.ph/law/republic-act-386www.gmanetwork.com

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08 - 08

The bill granting free tuition fees for students of state universities and colleges was signed into law and announced to the public last Friday, August 4, 2017.  It is now known as Republic Act 10931 or the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act”.

To help the public better appreciate this good news, we are sharing the following summary to identify who are eligible for free tuition and other fees of` state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs), and technical-vocational institutions (TVIs).

Who are qualified?

  1. Students in SUCs and LUCs who passed the entrance examination and other admission and retention requirements.
  2. Students in state-run technical-vocational institutions (TVIs) under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).  TVIs provide non-degree programs aimed at preparing technicians, paraprofessionals, and other categories of middle-level workers.

Who are not qualified?

  1. In SUCs and LUCs:
    • Students who have already attained a bachelor’s degree or comparable undergraduate degree from any higher education institution whether public or private.
    • Students who fail to comply with the admission and retention policies of the SUC or LUC.
    • Students who fail to complete their bachelor’s degree or comparable undergraduate degree within a year after the period prescribed in their program.
  2. In state-run TVIs:
    • Students who have obtained a bachelor’s degree as well as those who have received a certificate or diploma for a technical-vocational course equivalent to at least National Certificate III and above.
    • Students who fail in any course enrolled in during the course of the program.

Can private school enrollees avail of the free tuition fee program?

Yes, they can.

Section 7 of the RA states that a tertiary education subsidy shall be established for Filipino students enrolled or intend to enroll in an undergraduate post-secondary program of an SUC, LUC, private higher education institution, and private and state-run technical-vocational institution.

What are covered by the subsidy?

  1. Tuition and other school fees in private HEIs and private or LGU-operated TVIs which shall be equivalent to the tuition and other school fees of the nearest SUC or state-run TVI in their respective areas.
  2. Allowance for books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses, including a reasonable allowance for documented rental or purchase of personal computer or laptop and other education-related expenses.
  3. Allowance for room and board costs incurred by the student.  Allowance for expenses related to the disability of a disabled student.
  4. One-time cost of obtaining the first professional credentials or qualifications.

If you have questions about this brand new law, send us a message and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

Source:

http://www.officialgazette.gov.ph

http://news.abs-cbn.com

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07 - 24 -1 (1)

It has been more than a year since we featured House Bill No. 5060 or the Philippine Identification System Act.  This is the bill that will require all Filipinos to be issued a national identification card that will serve as their main identification for all government transactions, claims, use of government-mandated benefits, and applying for clearances from the NBI and PNP.   At that time, the said bill has just been signed and approved by the House of Representatives and was passed on to the Senate for deliberation.

While the country is eagerly awaiting the finality the National ID System Act, the Department of Finance (DOF) came up with an additional proposal to tap the ID as a means to determine an individual’s privilege to certain subsidies, discounts, and tax exemptions under the law.

How do these additional parameters affect the National ID System’s initial purpose?

Apart from the National ID being an all-in-one valid ID (except as a Driver’s License and Passport), the DOF is proposing that it contain biometrics data to determine a citizen’s entitlement to certain subsidies and benefits provided by the government.

For example, if a PWD is entitled to discounts on medicines, fare, and education, his (national) ID alone should be enough to determine his eligibility for such discounts.  Another possibility that the DOF is looking at is to activate an EMV (Europay-Mastercard-Visa) chip in the card.  Through this chip, the card can double as an ATM card where the owner may receive cash subsidies from the government, if he or she is legally entitled to such benefits.  It simplifies the identification and benefits disbursement process, both for the government and the recipient.

Do these new proposals affect the anticipated release and distribution of the IDs?

It does.

The issuance of the IDs will be done in batches.  Since the DOF has expressed its intention of tapping the National ID to address the long process of applying and claiming benefits for individuals with special needs, senior citizens and persons with disabilities are seen to be the first recipients of these IDs.  Soon after, members of the 5.2 million poor households that are not yet covered by the conditional cash transfer program of the DSWD will follow.

All in all, the government plans to provide IDs to the more than 100 million Filipinos in two years’ time, after the bill is enacted into law.

Who will issue the IDs?

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shall be responsible for the proper issuance of the ID cards.

We will keep this thread updated on the progress of the proposed National ID System.  If you have any questions or related information you would like to share, please feel free to send us a message.  We will do our best to find the answers for you.

Sources:

www.psa.gov.ph

www.dof.gov.ph

www.philstar.com

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07 - 24 -2 (2)

Executive Order 26, or the Establishment of Smoke-free Environment in Public and Enclosed Places has been in effect since midnight of July 23, 2017.  The Philippines is now a No Smoking Country!

Below is a quick summary of the places and conveyances covered by this law and what awaits those that will be caught violating this much-anticipated and badly-needed ordinance:

You can no longer smoke in:

  • Schools, Colleges, and Universities (yes, even and especially in State Universities!)
  • Playgrounds
  • Restaurants and food preparation areas
  • Elevators
  • Basketball courts
  • Stairwells
  • Fire hazard risk areas such as gas stations, health centers, clinics, public and private hospitals.
  • Hotels
  • Malls
  • Jeepneys, taxis, trains, tricycles, buses, and planes.

Adults should no longer send minors to buy cigarettes for them; more importantly, minors should not be made to “light” cigarettes for their elders, sell cigarettes, distribute, or promote tobacco products in any way.

Sari-sari stores and other retail establishments are no longer allowed to showcase tobacco advertisements at points-of-sale.

How will violators be penalized?

Violators will be fined for breaking the law.  Penalties range from Php500 to Php10,000 and possible imprisonment.  Establishment owners, building managers, and other individuals authorized in managing specific places, offices, and businesses shall be held liable for violations done within their premises.  The public is encouraged to report violations to the DOH hotline (02) 711 1002.

Where then can smokers smoke?

Smoking is allowed only in designated smoking areas (DSA).  These areas should be properly marked and identified in an area or a building.  These could be open spaces within an area or a separate room with proper ventilation, with ample visual warnings on the effects of smoking, and has passed the provisions of non-smoking buffer zones.

The Executive Order does not cover vapes and e-cigarettes.

Sources:

www.doh.gov.ph

www.news.abs-cbn.com

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06 - 20 (1)

After getting married, the next thing the couple needs to attend to are the updating of their IDs and other public documents, from their old civil status to that of married.  For women, they also have the option to change their maiden last name and begin using their husband’s last name in their IDs and government documents.  Take note that changing the woman’s last name is not mandatory; women have the option to keep their maiden last name for as long as they want.

To help newlyweds get started on this rather daunting task, we are sharing the following information, requirements, and processes involved in updating your marital status and changing your last name:

I. PHILHEALTH

  1. Bring a photocopy of your PSA Marriage Certificate and the original for verification.
  2. Advise the customer service personnel that you wish to change your marital status; you should be given a blank Membership Form.
  3. Your marital status should be accomplished while you wait; you will also be issued a new Philhealth ID.
  4. This can be done at any Philhealth office or satellite office.
  5. Updating of status and changing of name is free of charge.

II. Bank Records

  1. Bring a copy of your PSA Marriage Certificate; bank personnel normally photocopy the documents within bank premises.
  2. Bring valid IDs.  Banks like BDO and Eastwest prefer IDs that already bear your married name.
  3. Advise bank teller that you want to update your marital status and change your last name.  Most banks do not charge any fees for such updates.

III. Pag-IBIG

  1. Bring the original and photocopies of your PSA Marriage Certificate and valid IDs.
  2. Advise frontline personnel that you wish to update your marital status and last name.  You will be given an MCIF (Members Change of Information Form) for you to fill out.
  3. This can be done at any Pag-IBIG branch office near you.
  4. Updating your information is free of charge but if you wish to get a Loyalty Card, prepare Php 100.00.
  5. Updating of member’s information can be accomplished while you wait.

IV. SSS

  1. If you are employed, advise your employer that you wish to update your SSS data.  You will be given a Member’s Data Amendment Form (E4).  Fill it out and submit to your HR.
  2. Attach a photocopy of your PSA Marriage Certificate, SSS, ID, and an authorization letter for your employer to process this on your behalf.
  3. Updating your SSS details is free of charge but requesting for a new ID (UMID) will cost you Php 300.00.  The new ID may take a two to three months before it is issued to you.

V. Passport

  1. Confirmed appointment date and time; you may secure an appointment online at www.dfa.gov.ph
  2. Download a copy of the form online, accomplish it in your handwriting, but do not sign until you are in front of a DFA personnel.
  3. Get a complete list of required documents and IDs from the DFA website; double-check that you have all requirements on the day of your appointment.

VI. Driver’s License

  1. Bring the original and photocopy of your PSA Marriage Certificate and your current or expired license.
  2. Submit a duly accomplished Application for Driver’s License.
  3. This may be done at any LTO branch and should be accomplished within the day.  Be at the office early.

Sources:

www.lto.gov.ph

www.dfa.gov.ph

www.sss.gov.ph

www.pagibigfund.gov.ph

www.philhealth.gov.ph

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06 - 19

A common requirement in most government and private transactions is a copy of a Barangay Clearance and or a Barangay Certificate  Most people think these two are one and the same so they end up submitting a Certificate when they are required to submit a Clearance, and vice versa.

To help address this common confusion among Filipino citizens, we did a research and found out that these two documents are completely different from each other and are issued for different purposes.  Here is a summary of how  Barangay Clearances and Barangay Certificates are secured, and when these two are needed.  Read on!

Barangay Certificate

  • Otherwise known as Barangay Certificate of Residency.
  • This document proves that you are a resident of a particular barangay.
  • You can be issued a copy of this certificate if you have been residing in a particular barangay for at least 6 months or more.
  • This can be secured at the barangay hall that covers the applicant’s place of residence.

Barangay Clearance

  • A Barangay Clearance is a common requirement for business permits and license applications.
  • This can be secured at the barangay hall that covers the place where the business will operate.

The requirements needed for such certifications and clearances to be issued are detailed in the barangay’s Citizen’s Charter.  Common requirements are:

  • Documents pertaining to the business’ establishment
  • Community Tax Certificate
  • Valid IDs such as Driver’s License, Company ID, GSIS or SSS IDs, Voter’s ID, etc.

Note that a Voter’s ID is just one of the many IDs that may be required from an applicant.  It should not serve as the sole basis for granting a person’s request for a Certificate of Residency.

Next time you are required to submit a certification or clearance from your barangay, clarify which among the two should you submit.  Keep this as your reference in differentiating the documents you are applying for.

Source: www.dilg.gov.ph

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06- 16

Getting married is a once-in-a-lifetime event and all brides-to-be want nothing less than a perfect wedding day.  From the weather, to the place of ceremony, to the littlest of details in the bride’s wedding gown, everything should be flawless.  All because in the Philippines, you’re only supposed to marry once.

Over the years, weddings have become more and more elaborate, more detailed, and more personal.  From the basic white and ecru color motifs, couples have learned to be more bold and creative with their choices in colors, clothing, and quite recently, even the look and feel of the ceremony and reception areas.  Yes, weddings have become more fun and meaningful, yet it has also elevated the costs involved in achieving the desired “themes and motifs”, as wedding organizers would often say.

So how exactly do you plan, organize, and celebrate the perfect dream wedding without breaking the bank?  We researched on this topic and found quite a handful of information from wedding suppliers, organizers, and even brides themselves!  We are sharing everything that we’ve gathered so far and hope these could help you plan the perfect, yet not too expensive, wedding day for you.

  1. Choose the date and time.

According to wedding bloggers, you actually need to decide on the date and time before you even decide on the budget.  A wedding in June could be cheaper than a wedding in December or February since the latter months are considered by most businesses as peak months.

  1. Draft your entourage and guest list.

After you’ve confirmed the date, it is easier to list down the people you wish to be present on your wedding day, including and most importantly, your wedding entourage.  Save up on call toll charges by creating an online group chat or call them through the internet.

  1. Budget. Budget. Budget.

Now that you have a pretty good idea how many people will attend your big day, it is time to work on the wedding budget.  Before deciding how much you intend to spend, you would need to first discuss who will shoulder which expenses.

Filipino wedding traditions are very different from Western culture where the father of the bride shoulders majority, if not all, of the wedding expenses.  Filipino parents seldom shoulder their kids’ weddings unless extremely necessary.  If at all, it is the groom’s parents who share more in the wedding expenses than the bride’s.  Case in point: if you can’t afford your wedding yet, how do you plan to manage a lifelong marriage?

You will have to create a long list of items that need to be purchased, built, and sewn.  Keep in mind too that expenses do not end when you’ve made your way to the altar and exchanged “I dos”.  Your suppliers, drivers, relatives, and other people who will be helping out in your celebration need to be fed, sheltered, and dressed up too.  Prepare your petty cash for incidental expenses that are sure to crop up during the day itself.

  1. Finalize your booking for the ceremony and reception venue.

Weddings are commonly held during the dry months, beginning in December to the early weeks of June.  Top wedding destinations are the cool cities of Tagaytay, Batangas, and Baguio, while more adventurous couples are also keen on celebrating their union by the seashores of La Union, Boracay, Cebu, and Bohol.  The choices are endless and choosing could be fun except you have a budget and guests to consider.  Choose a venue that is not too far from where most of your guests will be coming from.  If you are on a tight budget, we suggest that you hold your ceremony and reception in the same place.  This cuts your expenses on rental fees, decorations, and travel by more than half.

  1. Book your wedding suppliers.

When choosing wedding suppliers, gather as much information from other newlyweds, relatives, and friends as you can.  This gives you first-hand information on the suppliers’ quality of service, negotiable rates, and other important details.  Remember, you do not need to “outsource” everything.  You can borrow, ask for, and create things on your own.  Wedding organizers were non-existent in the ‘80s and ‘90s but are now virtually indispensable.  If they were able to hold grand weddings in the past without the expensive services of a coordinator, why can’t you now?  Ask for your friends’ assistance and delegate assignments to your bride’s maids.  You’d be surprised to find out how much your “squad” wants to be part of your wedding preparations!

If you should spend (or splurge!) on suppliers, you’d be wise to focus on your caterer and photographers.  Your guests will remember your wedding more from the kind and quality of food you served and the candid and wacky photos they will be posting in social media.

And then again, if you have a brother who cooks mean dishes and friends who like to take beautiful photos, you can consider yourself one blessed woman!

  1. Save-the-dates and Wedding Invitations

If you can tap the limitless reach of social media to let everyone know when you’re getting married, use that.  Save-the-date cards add to your expenses and do not do much in ensuring that your guests will show up, so why bother?

While there are hundreds of wedding invitation suppliers who undoubtedly could come up with the most creative invitations for you, remember, you can easily copy a design online and print these yourself!  Invitations end up in people’s waste baskets or filed in a long forgotten shelf anyway, so why spend so much on these stuff?  Take a trip to the bookstore and channel the Martha Stewart in you.  Creating your wedding invitations could also be a good bonding opportunity with your mom, your sisters, and friends.

  1. Buying your wedding apparel.

Divisoria and Baclaran boast of designer quality fabrics that you can send to your trusty seamstress who can create lovely pieces for you and your groom.  If you are paying for your entourage’s gowns, then these two places in Manila are your best bets.  Buying off the rack is convenient but can be too pricey.  Also, expect to lose some weight (or gain some if you’re the type who eats when stressed) after all the stressful wedding preparations so having your gown done by a seamstress will prove to be more convenient when you need some adjustments  done before the big day (because having your gowns altered by designer stores cost money!).

  1. Wedding Permits, Licenses, and Seminars

Now these are the things your wedding suppliers, not even your expensive wedding coordinators, will remind you to accomplish.  Ironically, all your pricey wedding preparations will go to waste if you fail to secure the necessary documents for getting married.

First, you need to secure a Marriage License.  Keep in mind that a marriage license is only valid for 120 days.

Also, secure copies of your PSA birth certificates and CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage).  Check your documents for spelling errors and other inaccuracies.

Attend required seminars and retreats (required by either your parish or your municipality) and secure the necessary certifications.  These requirements vary per municipality and parish.

Word of the wise: Accomplish all permits, documents, and seminars yourselves, do not hire the services of fixers no matter how busy you think you are.

  1. Account your expenses

Keep a journal of your expenses and mark off all items that have been paid off and those that will be settled at a later date.  Keep track of your checks, receipts, acknowledgments, and other proofs of payment to avoid confusion and unnecessary expenses.

  1. Hold a pre-wedding gathering of your entourage and suppliers.

It does not have to be fancy; you just need to get them together to ease any tension and encourage coordination.  This is best done a week before the big day.  Include a rehearsal of sorts just to fine tune each person’s responsibility and involvement in the occasion.

Remember, you cannot achieve perfection so leave room for last-minute emergencies and allow your team some errors and oversights.  No matter how hard you prepare, something is bound to go wayward and it’s all part of the fun and excitement.

So enjoy the moment while it lasts.  You will soon realize that preparing for a wedding that lasts for a day pales in comparison to preparing for the marriage that is expected to last a lifetime.

Best wishes!

Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen

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