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All Saints Day in the Philippines

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It was a quiet Saturday morning last week, as I say at my computer sending my Nap story to Sir Bob. I heard scurrying throughout the house, as preparation were being made to head off to the bone yards to observe the “Day of the Dead, All Souls Day, All Saints Day which it is based upon the Spanish “El Día de los Muertos” I first learned of the way it was conducted while in Spain, and saw it again in Puerto Rico, many Caribbean Islands and in Central and South America, plus the US South West and Florida, and anywhere with a good sized Latino population, and of course here in the Philippines.

In each section of the World that I have been, it is celebrated in many and varying ways according to local customs. In Puerto Rico and South America, it is first of course a religious day. But the night before, it is treated as a Holiday with music, dancing and strong drink. Here in the Philippines it is far more subdued and more of a family day held in reverence for their dear departed.

Survival Cebuano

There is the cleaning of the grave yards, the repainting of the “Grave Signs” (head stones), plus the maintenance of the crypts. It was pointed out to me that drink was forbidden; albeit it does happen sometimes, but a far cry from my memories of the day from long ago, Halloween in the US is the substitute for this day. For reasons I don’t understand.

So my wife and daughter are preparing themselves with the rest of the family to make the trek to the two cemeteries where their dear departed are interned. The old one in Olongapo City on the Zig Zag heading to the Barrio, and the one within walking distance here in Tipo Bataan. The Olongapo is reserved for the morning visit, in the afternoon  the car will be parked and a procession to the Grave Yard will take place on foot bring vast quantities of food and (SOFT) drink, this will last until sunset, when the Grave yard will be returned to the domain of the “White Ladies”.

Paul the Kano will choose to remain at Casa Mayang, to read and sleep the day away, I was raised Catholic but this day belongs to my family and not me. Yes other Kanos will choose to attend and I say that is well and good, a decision best left up to them and theirs. Now if I was in Puerto Rico… that would be a horse of a different color…

I have always considered this the real beginning of Filipino Christmas as the following week the preparations really get started. The merchants started back in July but they are only in it for the Pesos.

It’s well over now let the Christmas Season begin. Oh I have permission from the US Senate to refer to it as Christmas once more I was so tired of the term, “Holiday trees” anyway. It’s funny how the other side believes in unicorns and rainbows but nor reindeer.

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Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Ah, my mess up! Sorry about that! I just fixed the problem.

Bill
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Reminds me of the movie Beverly Hills Cop when Axel Foley was lying through his teeth to the Chief to cover for his buddies and the other ones were being as noble and stepped up!

Good stuff by all of you! You both provided me something to chuckle about – thanks!

Bill

Ed
Ed
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Interesting comment Paul.
I’ve intuitively applied that principle with my kids all along.
In short, yes we all make mistakes. That’s life. What’s important is to recognize them, fix them, learn, and then we can go on to make _new_ mistakes. 🙂

Ed
Ed
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

You’re absolutely right Paul. Problem is that it’s virtually impossible to prevent loved ones from repeating existing mistakes until they eventually learn for themselves – at our expense.

James Speight
James Speight
5 years ago

Hey Bob/Paul LOL I loved All Saints day there in the Philippines. It really gave me the whole “things are a little bit different here then in the US” but maybe in a good way too. Recently I gave the “All Saints day” a real thought. Three weeks ago at Halloween, a few blocks from my house here in the US there was about 3000 College Kid’s converged on my neighborhood and even though I think it started out innocent, it turned into a full fledged riot. They destroyed cars and a college bus, The police had to clear the… Read more »

Hey Joe
5 years ago

As Nov 1st was rapidly approaching < gave some thought to my wife's annual visit to he cemetery. I was planning to go with her but then along came Little Stephane. She is such a joy and and happy addition to my little family and I considered that at age two she was not really old enough to understand what November 1st and 2nd were all about so I told my wife Susan that instead of dragging her to the cemetery for an extended period of boredom and restlessness, that I would stay at home with my little girl and… Read more »

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
5 years ago

Mr. Paul T. You spoke a lot about Puerto Rico (Borinquen), may I suggest you write something about the “Paranda” when you were stationed at Roosie Roads. For me, even though I am of different faith, Puerto Rico has one of the best christmas celebrations (even though I skipped the “lechon asao” but not the “alcapurias” ..and como siempre, Ron Llave (not Bacardi.) Stay healthy there and enjoy your Cerveza San Miguel..even though I prefer Corona Extra. Salud, Compa. 🙂

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Good choice of rum. Yes, there are lots of similarities between PR (Puerto Rico) and RP (Republic of the Philippines.) There are also lots of Pinoys married to Boricua women. They are around Ceiba and Naguabo . Glad you enjoyed your tour of duty in Borinquen..land of the Tainos and Coquís.

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul T. Not only hurricanes such as Hugo but those pesky “mee-mees” . By the way, a bottle of Barrilito Rum would cost you a whopping 25 dollars here in Southeastern New England (the 3- star kind) and will cost you more somewhere else here on the mainland. Enjoy your Tanduay. 🙂

Ed
Ed
5 years ago
Reply to  Jose Porfirio

$25 is a bargain compared to Canada.
Reminds me of Cuba in the mid 90’s. I said “you have good beer”. She said “we have good rum too and it’s $1 a bottle”. I handed her $2 and said “go get some”.
Tanduay was about $1/bottle in Phils 2001. Taxes and Inflation since then. $2 now. Grabe!

Ed
Ed
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul, actually I personally enjoy the occasional 8-year-oid “Primero” Tanduay. Huge difference from the variety you mention that’s marginally suitable for pouring over open wounds. Unfortunately Primero has now disappeared from all the local groceries.

John Reyes
5 years ago

Paul, I’m probably one of those rare Pinoys who find eating at the boneyard on All Soul’s Day unpleasant to say the least. I know I would not be able to disassociate from my mind the bones of the dead with the bone marrow soup, or any kind of beef dish with bones in it that are set on top of the dead person’s tomb, no less. As you suggested, I will be bringing my redundant calculator at Texas Joe’s for Randy to count the number of rum and cokes you consume after the SMB LOL at around lunchtime on… Read more »

John Reyes
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul –

Excellent! I’ll have Texas Joe’s T-bone steak then without having to worry about word associations! LOL

Is there anything I can bring you in the way of pasalubong that is “genuine Stateside” (not a colorum, I mean) LOL that you can’t find at the Subic Freeport?

Ed
Ed
5 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

Presumably “Texas Joe’s” is no where remotely within walking distance of the middle of Cotabato? T-bone steaks! ?!? Nothing remotely resembling such in any restaurant around here. I have had my ‘baka tindero’ provide me a rack, but around here “aging” (of beef) is strictly the few *hours* between when it was moo-ing and when you pick it up. Obviously around you want to pick it up fast because it doesn’t keep particularily well in the heat; if you’re not sure, try leaving it in the daytime heat for just a few extra *hours*. Your dog might be happy but… Read more »

John Reyes
5 years ago
Reply to  Ed

For you out there in the middle of nowhere, Texas Joe’s is just an imaginary watering hole. Move in closer to civilization, and you might find that “edible” T-bone steak.

Ed
Ed
5 years ago
Reply to  John Reyes

Ah! Ok John, thanks for the clarification. Strange that we moved away from where all that was readily available, to the middle of nowhere. Lose some amenities, gain a bit better or at lease ‘different’ life from the NCA. Another 10 years here and this place will sport a McDo too! 🙂 Real steak … well, I’m cogitating on how to make that happen. I can however ‘arrange’ tenderloin at 180/kg – just pick it up fast and don’t even dream about NA-style “aging”; learn the limitations, prepare as best possible and have a great meal at home. It’s a… Read more »

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Mr. Paul T. I was rolling on the floor here laughing about the “big spoon” and “little spoon” .. That kind of measurements I could easily follow. From New England, Happy Thanksgiving Day to you and to your family. ( We’re having a Nor’easter right now…still remember what a Nor’eastah’ is?) 🙂

Ed
Ed
5 years ago

Bob, all well said and written, including your comment:
“It’s funny how the other side believes in unicorns and rainbows but nor reindeer.”
Though we still must be tolerant of such here, all that ‘back there’ is yet another good reason to be where we now live.

Scott
Scott
5 years ago

Hi Bob,

Do your books cover the topic of how to start an import/ export business out of the P.I.?
Have a Happy Thanksgiving. May it be fun filled and peaceful with all the trafional favors of both countries. God bless.

Scott…

MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  Scott

Hi Scott,

No, that is not something I have done, and would not have the expertise to write about it. If it were me, my recommendation would be that import/export is a tough business, and I would avoid it, but that is a personal choice.

Jay
Jay
5 years ago

Hi Paul,

Nice article! I like your point that just because The Day of the Dead graveyard visitation is not for you personally that does not mean you don’t respect those who engage in it. I think a lot of people think that if someone says something is not for them that they are sayng it is a bad thing. You made yourself crystal clear and I like your attitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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