The State Of Marriage In The Philippines

Marriage is the ultimate manifestation of your commitment you can give to your partner. And in Filipino societal mores, a wedding could not simply be a small affair—it’s an affair celebrated not only by the couple, but also of the unison of both families as well.

However, it appears fewer Filipinos are tying the knot in the past decade as marriage seems to lost its shine for most courting couples.

A report released by Philippine Statistics in 2017 reveals that there was a 3.6 percent marriage decline between 2014 and 2015. In the span of a decade, marriages decreased by a whopping 20.1 percent.

The statistics, released in 2017 looked at vital data on registered local marriages from the year 2005 to 2015.

NCR Consistently Had The Most Number Of Marriages
In 2015, the National Capital Region (NCR) accounted for the 14.0 percent of the total marriages, topping all the cities and municipalities in the country. It was followed by Region IV-A at 13.0 percent  and Region III at 11.6 percent. These regions maintained the top three ranking, in the same order for the past five years.

“May” Brides
Contrary to the “June bride” tradition, most couples prefered to get married in May with 12.2 percent or 50,469 of the total marriages. It was followed by February with 11.1 percent and April with 10.4 percent.

Meanwhile, November got the least number of marriages with 5.2% of the total marriages or equivalent to 21,352. On a daily average, a total of 1,135 couples marry in 2015.

Women Marry Earlier Than Men
The median age at marriage for brides is 26 while it’s 28 for grooms. Teenage brides are five times more than teenage grooms. It is also interesting to note that there were marriages recorded involving those under the age of 15.

Four Out Of Ten Marriages Were Solemnized Through Civil Rites
There were 1,135 marriages solemnized daily through different ceremonies in 2015. Of the total 1,135 marriages solemnized daily through various ceremonies, 42.7 percent were done through civil rites. Other matrimonial ceremonies were officiated in Roman Catholic churches (36.2%), other religious sect rites (19.1%), Muslim tradition (1.2%) and tribal wedding rite (0.8%).

Filipina Brides With Foreign Grooms Prefer American Nationals
3.6 percent of total marriages in 2015 is  involved with foreigners. Topping the preference of Filipinas were American nationals at 0.75 percent and Australians at 0.07 percent by Filipino grooms.

Included in the topmost commonly prefered nationalities of the groom are Japanese at 0.39 percent,  Australian at 0.23 percent  and Korean at 0.22 percent. Also, Filipino grooms also preferred to marry American at 0.06 percent  and Canadian at 0.04 percent.

The Increasing Practice Of “Live-Ins” Has Offset The Decrease In Marriage
Some couples who are legally qualified to wed have  their various reasons not to give their vows –some say they can’t afford a  wedding while others say  they are not yet emotionally ready, while others can or cannot honestly tell you that they are comfortable with  their present  set-up ,which is cohabitation.

Historically, non-marital cohabitation has been present in the Philippines even before the Spanish colonization, so it’s a relatively old practice.

In a study by Midea M. Kabamalan, entitled New Path to Marriage: The Significance of Increasing Cohabitation in the Philippines states that “the increase of cohabitation as an alternative family form has given rise to the belief that the institution of marriage has weakened.”

In another research  by Bernice Kuang et. al,  published in 2016 , entitled: The Unexpected Rise of Cohabitation in the Philippines: Evidence for a Negative Educational Gradient , states that  “while marriage is widely viewed as ideal, especially for women, financial reasons (such as the economic burden of hosting a wedding reception and the costs of filing the necessary paperwork) and pregnancy are often cited as motivations behind cohabiting.”

Another reason for cynicism toward marriages  exemplified in the study was the influence of parents’ marital difficulties, hence the preference for cohabitation, especially in a country where divorce is illegal.

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Spotlighting the growth, development, and progression of the Philippines since 2009. Balikbayan Magazine is a publication of the Asian Journal Media Group.