NOVELETA, Cavite – Hundreds of unmarried couples, many of whom have been living together for years, can finally tie the knot in the most auspicious of days, Valentine's Day, thanks to the efforts of local government officials of Cavite.

In this town, Mayor Dino Reyes Chua, will seal the deal by officiating civil marriage ceremonies at the newly-improved Long Beach Resort in Barangay San Rafael IV on Thursday.

Chua said that aside from putting together the mass beach wedding, the local government will also shoulder the reception, bouquet of flowers, wedding cakes, and souvenirs for the soon-to-be newly-weds.

The mayor himself with Vice Mayor Donnie Torres, Councilor Davey Chua and other town councilors will stand as godparents of all the couples.

In the adjacent Rosario town, Mayor Voltaire Ricafrente and his father Vice-Mayor Nonong Ricafrente will also lead the annual wedding en masse at the famed local government-managed public beachfront “La Isla Bonita de Salinas Resort” early morning on Valentine’s Day.

Owing to tradition, the “beachfront-styled” nuptial rites will see the wedding entourages in dramatic processions with some couples arriving aboard colorful bancas while others aboard tricycles.

Meanwhile, Mayor Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City and wife Cavite (1st District) Rep. Jenny Barzaga will themselves solemnize the marriage of around 500 couples at the Dasmariñas National High School campus.

Once the knots have been tied, the newlyweds are scheduled to take part in a competition for the “Best in Attire” for a chance to win cash that they may use in their honeymoon.

The best dressed couples will win PHP10,000 cash, PHP5,000 as second prize and PHP3,000 for third Prize.

Meantime, in the nearby city of Bacoor, Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla will be both “ninang” (godmother) and officiating official to the hundred couples who will exchange “I Do’s" before well-wishers composed of family members as well as city councilors and city hall employees, in civil ceremonies at the Bacoor Government Center Strike Gym, also on February 14.

The “Kasalang Bayan” has also been a yearly tradition in this city as part of local officials' drive to legitimize the so-called “unions of convenience” of usually financially-strapped couples.

Not to be outdone, Tagaytay City, Cavite’s popular highland destination during the “Love Month,” will be holding its “Pista ng Pag-ibig” (Feast of Love) in honor of the city’s patroness, “Our Mother of Fair Love.”

City Mayor Agnes Tolentino and husband Cavite (7th District) Rep. Abraham Tolentino are expected to lead the Valentine’s Day celebration, which will also include the 'Kasalang Bayan’ (mass wedding) of some 45 couples at Sigtuna Hall, Tagaytay International Convention Center. (Dennis Abrina/PNA)