When July rolled in, I revisited my timeline and saw the note "6 months before - fix Church requirements". So M and I decided to dedicate a day to doing just that.
Here are some of the things I learned in the process:
1. It helps to call ahead.
In today's day and age, the landline is something anyone hardly ever uses anymore. But it was super helpful in this process.
Since I was baptized in the hospital's chapel, I had to call the hospital to find out where I could claim my baptismal certificate. Then, I also had to call St. Francis of Assisi and Sta. Maria dela Strada to find out if the confirmation certificates of those confirmed in Poveda and Ateneo (respectively) could be claimed there.
By calling these Churches ahead, not only was I able to verify that our records were indeed there, but I was also to get information that would help them track down these records quickly-- when I called Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Sta. Mesa for my baptismal certificate, the guy I spoke to gave me the exact book number, page number, and even line number where my record could be found.
After all the verification, we were ready to set our itinerary for the day. Which leads me to the second lesson.
2. Download Waze app and believe in its power to get you to places.
From old-school to modern! With my phone plugged into a car charger and armed with unlidata, we set out for Sta. Mesa, completely reliant on the directions given by Waze.
Even if both M and I drive and are knowledgeable of how to get around, Waze helped us navigate through side streets that got us from Sta. Mesa to Cubao in no time! But we arrived in Cubao only to find out that we would have to abort our mission, all because of the third lesson.
3. Learn how to count backwards properly.
As it turns out, I had only counted by month. So yes, July is six months away from January 2015. But what I failed to realize is that we're getting married on January 31, which means that six months before our wedding date is still... July 31.
It was explained to us in Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao that our certificates would only be valid for six months. So if they released M's baptismal certificate to us today, it would only be valid until January 8.
4. Take note of the parish's office hours and days off.
While in Cubao, we kept trying to call our church to ask if they were super-strict about the validity period. But no one was picking up, so we decided to abort the mission and head to Eastwood to ask in person. Only to discover that the reason why no one was picking up was because the office was closed.
Some parish offices are closed on Mondays, others on Tuesdays. Some are open as early as 7:30am, others open at 8am. Some lunch breaks are only until 1pm, others are until 2pm. When I called Sta. Maria dela Strada for M's confirmation certificate, I was told that we should drop by after lunch because the priest who would be signing the certificates would be in by then. Knowing the office hours of each church you need to visit helps you make a more efficient and realistic itinerary.
5. Always look on the bright side.
Aborting the mission left me feeling very frustrated and disappointed in myself because, really, how simple is it to count backwards?!
We visited Eastwood and I tried to get a hold of myself by praying, releasing my tears of frustration, and basically trying to focus on this image:
It was here, in front of the altar we would eventually stand before by next year, that I realized how truly blessed I am to be marrying M. He wouldn't tolerate my little pity-party. He said, "That's the way it is. We'll do it in August. It's nothing life-threatening; no one has died. Now if our church tells us that they've messed up our dates, that's a problem. This is nothing."
So now, I'm just thankful that we had found out about the validity issue when we had gotten just my baptismal certificate, rather than when we had gotten all four certificates already. Imagine my meltdown if we find out that ALL certificates are invalid and we have to do everything all over again! So at least it's just one potential do-over. And now we know how to get to the churches, so it'll be easier to find them when we do Church-hopping 2.0 in August!
At the end of the day, we're still getting married. Like M always likes to say, don't worry because things will always fall into place. :)