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I see Bob recently had an anniversary which reminded me that I had one last week too. Ours was for 12 years so I have a way to go to catch Bob which was 26 I think. It all reminded me of my first trip to Davao to get married 12 years ago. Things have maybe changed since then but it was an interesting time.
I arrived in Davao just after lunch and was met at the airport by my soon to be wife. It was the first time we had met face to face so an exciting time. Previously I had sent her return tickets to Australia, arranged the wedding celebrant and the honeymoon suite but her visa was knocked back as an unacceptable risk of non return. So here I was in Davao to get married. We taxied to her house in Pampanga and I had trouble dividing my attention between my soon wife to be and the fascinating scenery of this strange land going past the taxi window.
On arriving at her house and a quick hello to her family, I dropped my overnight bag and we were back in a taxi heading into town. We had an appointment at a government office where I had to fill in a form with some basic family questions. I must have passed as we were granted admission into a seminar for engaged couples happening the next day. A full day at the seminar with some other local couples where topics such as finance and babies was discussed. I lot of it was in Tagalog so was not much good to me. Having attended the seminar we were giving a certificate enabling us to go to city hall and apply for our wedding.
We made city hall that same day and went into the wedding approval area. I remember a pool of typists, maybe 20/30 all in rows sitting at typewriters, not computers. Funny there was not one working, all texting or having coffee. Must have been afternoon tea time. We did the necessary paper work and now had to wait ten days before the actual wedding. No rest yet as we had to, next day, have an interview with the pastor of my wife to be’s church and arrange a date for the wedding in 10 days time.
Now we had a little break to explore the city and each other. What an exciting place for a first time visitor. I spent the first week laughing at the traffic and the driving of the locals. So completely different till you get used to it. Every day was a mall visit and coffee and tried to get know each other. Communication was difficult as she could not understand my accent and I had trouble with her style of English. I remember once we were having lunch and she was telling me she was going to take me some where in the afternoon. When I pressed for more information she just said, “We are here and we will go there.” I had to be satisfied with that till we went to where she was going.
The wedding day arrived which was on a Saturday and we just had a few family and friends present. Her family are musical so we had keyboard and vocals which was very nice. Afterwards we all went to a buffet restaurant in the city which had a separate room for functions which was very nice. The lady next door had offered to make our wedding cake which was on display when we arrived. Amazing creation which stood about 5 feet tall.
When we were done I went to pay the bill which worked out to about $2.50 a head. That was amazing too. I only had another week off work so we spent that getting the visa application ready and it took the whole week with so much paper work from so many departments. That was picked by courier and sent to the embassy at Manila for processing which took about six months.
Then it was back on the plane and home after some very teary good buys. I has now been 12 wonderful years.