"Sa harap ng judge sa Toronto, Canada,"
he confirmed finally.
Jon Santos and partner, West Stewart, sealed their
love in civil rites on August 24, 2005 at the North York Family Court in Toronto, Ontario.
Ontario is one of the eight provinces in Canada that
allows same-sex marriages.
"Nagulat na lamang kami na hindi kailangang maging
resident ka ng Toronto
para magkaroon ng commitment ceremony sa harap ng judge," Jon related. "Kahit
siya, hindi naman Canadian."
West Stewart is actually half-American and half-Italian,
"but 100 percent Vilmanian!" Jon emphasized. "Kaibigan din siya ni Ate Vi,
kaibigan ni Edu [Manzano]. Kapitbahay ni Edu." Jon's 53-year old industrialist-spouse "na madalas
nasa mga environment projects, is based and very happy here, and I'm very happy
that his company [ay] nagke-create ng mga trabaho para sa mga Pinoy. Madalas
nga lang [siya] nasa Visayas, Mindanao para sa
"January 2005 kami nagkakilala sa dinner ni Tessie
Tomas. Kaibigan [siya] ni Tessie at ni Roger [Tessie's husband]. Tessie is a
friend of his and parehong may kinalaman sila sa science and environment ni ka
Although it wasn't love at first sight, the meeting
was enough to start a solid friendship that developed into a serious
In July 2005, West proposed. "On one knee," Jon relayed, reliving the
moment and revealing that though there were no tears, he had felt certain West
was the One and he gave him his,
"Yes, I will."
when you are very, very sure of something, you heave a sigh and, ‘Oh my
goodness, I've never been so sure about anything."
His and West's certainty translated to an exchange
of vows, with the spouses both wearing suits and exchanging rings they bought
for each other. "'Yung rings, KKB (kanya-kanyang bayad). Binili ko yung kanya,
binili niya yung akin."
And not even a locally believed bad omen was able to
stop the rite from happening. "Nung araw
mismo ng [exchange of vows], di namin naiwasang magkita ulit... nagkita kami sa
gym... di ba, di dapat magkita bago ‘yun?"
But nothing untoward happened. The couple
honeymooned in San Francisco
"I'm very happy to be alive at a decade na nagkaroon
ng pagakakataon, ng kahit sino, na ma-unite kahit sa harap ng isang huwes," Jon
enthused. "It was really something... kasi
wala naman [gano'n] sa Pilipinas."
The civil union that took place in Canada gives the spouses a list of legal privileges
with each other, "I think kung nakatira ka sa Canada, puwede kang magdugtong ng
apelyido. I think kung sinuman ang gustong mahuli ang apelyido, like siguro Jon
Santos Stewart or Jon Stewart... ay, pero meron nang Jon Stewart..."
Other than in Canada,
specifically in the Philippines
and the laws governing the country, the civil union is not binding and null.
"Lahat po ito icing on the cake," he stressed. "Ang
pagkaka-describe niya [West sa civil rites], parang may regalo ka na linagyan
mo lang ng ribbon. 'Tsaka alam namin na
may nagtataas ng kilay.