Pre-Valentine’s Day: Filipino couples tie up in mass civil wedding in Dubai

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Dubai: A small group of Filipino couples exchanged vows just two days before Valentine’s Day at a civil wedding held at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai.

Ten couples expressed their joy and happiness on Thursday after finally receiving their marriage certificates at the consulate, in what they described as “a faster and easier way to cut costs and other preparations needed to get married in a church in the United Arab Emirates “.

Witnesses and friends of couples gathered in the room while a consular officer took charge of officiating the marriages of the couples, who had registered their names at the consulate a month ago.

“We have mass weddings at the consulate every Thursday because it would take time and would be difficult to marry them individually,” said Frank Cimafranca, consul general in Dubai.

With nearly 500,000 Filipinos living in the United Arab Emirates, Cimafranca said the number of marriages has increased dramatically over the years, with as many as 10 to 15 Filipinos getting married at the consulate each week.

“In the Philippines, we are authorized by law to perform these marriages. For those who prefer to be done in a church, by an imam or in the courts of Dubai, they only send us the papers to have them registered.

Maria Rona Balleser, in charge of applications received by the consulate, said that one of the reasons many Filipinos opt for a civil marriage in Dubai is that the process of obtaining the marriage certificate is faster.

“Since they are residents of the United Arab Emirates and their vacation periods are short, it makes more sense to get married here, as they won’t have time to get their marriage license within a month when of their visit to the Philippines. “

“They can qualify for marriage in just 15 days here if there are no legal hurdles,” she added.

Maria Rona said civil marriages are usually a choice when couples are from different Christian sects or when they want to come back and get married in church in the Philippines.

“Many Filipinos choose to marry civilly here and then travel to the Philippines for a religious wedding. It’s a personal choice, but it’s also because it’s easier to get married in church there when they already have a marriage certificate from here, ”she said.

A couple at the ceremony said they had not been able to get married in the Philippines before because they had to fly to work here. However, they still want and “must” end a church marriage after that.

Explaining one of the reasons they chose to get married at the consulate and not at the church, Modesto Bugarin said: to be very eventful. There are five marriage counseling seminars that we have to attend, unlike the consulate where they had just requested one.

Marriage counseling is taken very seriously, he said, because by law divorce is not allowed in the Philippines.

This is why the consul spent time explaining that it was a lifelong choice for them and that couples can only divorce if they get an annulment, which can be extremely costly and difficult for them. Philippines.

Another couple, who also said they had a church wedding in mind when they returned to the Philippines, explained that they were in a hurry to be legalized here because they wanted to move in together, and that is why they chose to get married. at the consulate.

“We heard that religious weddings in Dubai are quite expensive and the preparations are long, so we decided to wait and do it. [church wedding] in the Philippines instead, ”said John Michael.

After completing the ceremony, the newlyweds received gift certificates in the name of Villa, Rihab and Rimal Rotana, who sponsored the occasion for the first time on Thursday.

Kinan Al Ghraoui, Managing Director of Villa, Rihab and Rimal Rotana said: “We believe that lovers should never be denied the chance to marry their soul mate, and we are proud to have taken this opportunity to support this nice event here at the Philippine Consulate.

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