"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 mga projects."
"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 Roger."
Although it wasn't love at first sight, the meeting was enough to start a solid friendship that developed into a serious relationship.
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."
"Sometimes 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 right after.
"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.