To begin with, we were both required to obtain legal capacity documents, which is essentially an official document to say that you are not already married and are legally able to be married. In my wife's case, this meant a trip to the National Statistics Office (NSO) to obtain the letter.
I've been there with her on a few different occassions, and it's always a dreadful experience, at least if you are an impatient person like I am. Basically what happens is that you stand in line for an hour just to get inside, then you stand in another line for 30 minutes to have some guy look at your paperwork so that he can tell you what line to get in. Two hours later you present your papers at the window, and are instructed to get in another line for the cashier, who tells you to come back on X day to pick up your items. I've never seen a more inefficient system in my life, and if I was the one in charge of the NSO, I'd be very ashamed of myself and view it as a complete embarrassment.
A Tricycle. You can ride these things around like a taxi for just a few cents
For me, obtaining the Legal Capacity meant a trip to the embassy in Manila. I could have also went to the Consular in Cebu, which is closer, but we thought it would be nice to see her brother again, so we chose Manila.
Since there is no centralized record of marriage and divorce in the United States (it is left up to individual States), they can not issue this legal capacity document. What you obtain is a letter/affadavit in leu of the Legal Capacity document, which basically has a consular sign a document saying that it is ok for you to marry. It is a much quicker process than the NSO. We got to the embassy gate at 6:45am and we were back out again by 8am.
The main thing was that it was a bit of an inconvenience to track all the way back to Manila only a couple of weeks after we were last there. If we had known about this in advance, I could have gotten the letter when I was already in Manila the first time. So take notice, and if you're getting married in the Philippines, make sure to swing by the embassy to get this letter at your earliest convenience. I can't recall what the exact fee for it was, but believe it was something like $20.
The Jeepney, also called The King of the Road, is a Philippine invention. This one is very old and plain. They are usually highly decorated.
Having obtained the legal capacity documents, we next had to obtain proof that we had attended some family planning consultation. This was the biggest joke I've ever seen. Basically, we had a consultation with a health care worker, who taught us the male and female reproductive systems, and discussed different forms of birth control. I felt like I was in a Junior High health class. I had to pay the equivelant of $30 USD for this 30 minute crash course on safe sex. I suspect that is the real motivation behind this requirement - that it has less to do with population control and more to do with finding extra ways to pull a little more money from your wallet.
Having completed these steps, we put the paperwork together with a lengthy form (each) listing all of our personal information, parents personal information, and a signed request for a marriage contract. Since my wife is from the Philippines, she also had to include a photocopy of her birth certificate and a couple of more documents. We took this packet to the city hall in the city of Panabo, which is where her family is from and where we intended to marry. They submitted it and a week later the contract came through, the one that is presented at the time of the ceremony. You get a more formal one later from the NSO.
Finally, now we're ready to get married so that we can get on with the visa application...