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Philippines: Honoring the departed

Most Catholic Filipinos celebrate November 1 as the day for honoring both the saints and the dead. Since many Filipinos visit their departed loved ones in cemeteries, November 1 is a holiday in the Philippines.

Touched by an Angel describes the typical November 1 scenery in cemeteries:

“All Saints Day seems more like a school fair to me except there are gravestones, tents, picnic tables all over the cemetery. The mood at the cemetery is festive with children running around, the ice cream man ringing his bell, the taho vendor yelling taho, kids playing with melting candle, teens surfing at the SMART BRO internet booth, food vendors raking in some sales from the crowd. It’s a yearly ritual for our loved one whom we love, miss and remember always. Once a year, we share that common bond with families with a similar loss.”

Confessions of an Expat’s Wife, who now lives in Istanbul, longs for this Filipino family tradition:

“My family and I usually go to the cemetery in the morning and there we meet up with all our relatives. I usually look forward to this because this means I will be meeting up with my cousins and be able to play with them. Normally, for the play part, we wait and collect all the melted candles and sell it to the nearby vendor. The elders would reminisce on the good ol’ times with the departed and at the end of the day, we would pray the rosary for the spirits of our friends and family who passed away.”


Captain’s Log on how he blogged in a cemetery. Bikoy posted pictures of how November 1 is celebrated in rural Philippines.

Filipino librarian links stories about the history of Halloween and where to find haunted places in the Philippines. Nostalgia Manila features a popular urban ghost story about the white lady in Balete Drive. According from folklores, Balete tree is a favorite spot of wandering spirits and other paranormal entities. Iloilo City Boy recounts an encounter with ghosts during the 2004 presidential election campaign.

Feisty Momma is annoyed over seeing parents staying in their car while their kids go knock on everybody’s door during Halloween. Scribbles is proud of her Halloween dress at work. Cathy Chronicles on how Manila is adopting Western practices during Halloween:

“As a child in the 70s, Halloween wasn't really such a big deal. Trick or treat was something we just read about in books and Halloween parties were confined to the movies or television. Well, times have certainly changed and Manila has become very western in its practice of Halloween traditions.”

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