A Filipino Tradition for the Beloved Dead

Remembering the departed loved ones is always a part of the Filipino culture. We Filipinos have deep respect for those who died. We keep their earthly belongings and sometimes still consider them part of our family here on earth. The Filipino trait of remembering the dead is made manifest during the Halloween Season, which is locally known as Undas. During this season, Filipinos flock cemeteries just to visit their departed love ones. Many people take this opportunity to go to the provinces to visit the graves of their love ones there.

The Filipino trait of remembering the dead is worthy of praise. The only sad thing is that it is being quickly forgotten as the time wore on. Instead of solemnly remembering the dead, many Filipinos use this season as another opportunity to take a long vacation or have a party. Just like what happened to Christmas and Valentines Day, the true meaning of Halloween was secularized and is just another way for businessmen to earn money from those who are riding on the bastardized version of the Halloween Season.
Undas candle

The traditional way of remembering the dead is more solemn. Here is what I read from Filipino Catholicism blog about the old Undas of Filipinos:
“An old Christian customs bids us to visit the graves of our dead on All Souls’ Day or even already on the afternoon of All Saints’ Day.

In Manila this day is solemnly celebrated, yes, even very solemnly, with an oriental gaiety and colorful bustle seemingly quite irreverent and improper to occidental minds.

On All Saints Day special traffic regulations have to be put in force on the streets and lanes leading to the cemeteries…

Early in the afternoon the migration to the cemeteries already begins, but the main traffic sets in the evening after sunset, and continues throughout the entire night. The Filipinos are holding their vigil of the dead.

To be sure, they do not pray the ecclesiastical nocturns. They provide themselves with food and drink, with cakes and cookies and ice cream, and thus, by flickering candlelight, they watch the whole night at the graves of their beloved dead.”

This was the description of Undas written in the archives of SVD. Notice that the Filipinos back then doesn't just visit the departed ones in cemeteries. They hold a night vigil as one family. They stay from night of November 1 to morning of November 2. Instead of attending Halloween parties, Filipinos in the old times prefer to stay with the departed loved ones.

Another thing to notice is that visiting the graves of the dead is done in the afternoon or evening of November 1. They do not go there in the morning because November 1 All Saints' Day. November 1 is for celebrating the victory of saints against the Satan during their sojourn here on Earth.

Today, people just visit the grave of the departed love ones for few minutes or hours and then leave so they can go back to the comfort of their homes or visit the mall. Another sad thing to note is that people nowadays prefer to celebrate the secularized version of Halloween that focuses on witches, monsters, and other occult ideas. Halloween came from the word hallow  that means holy and it signifies the holiness of the season. Sadly, people nowadays prefer to celebrate the demonic symbols and the occult instead celebrating holiness.

We Filipinos believe that the departed love ones are not gone forever. They may be placed in purgatory and are paying for every sins that they made while they are living. Some of them are already with God in heaven and serving Him as His saints. It is sad that many people ignore this truth. It is sad that they can't even give just one day to pray for their dead to aid them in being pulled out of purgatory. It is sad that the focus of Halloween is business and the occult and not the holiness that God bestowed on this season.

Online Casinos

The first time that I visited a casino was about two years ago when I went to Cebu City. The casino that I visited is located inside the Waterfront Hotel, which is just within the premises Cebu – Mactan International Airport. I noticed that many people are playing at the Waterfront Casino and most of them are hotel guests.

In Metro Manila, I noticed that all casinos are located inside luxury hotels. Well, it seems like casinos are one of the preferred ways for hotel guests to unwind and relax. I just discovered that the real – life casinos are not the only casino in the world. There are also online casinos, especially the US online casinos, that are gaining popularity.

Online casinos real bring the thrills of a true casino for those who can not leave their homes or the place where they work. It is like playing casino at the comfort of your homes. Playing online casinos is enjoyed by many people, especially those who are good in gambling black jack.

So, if you are into casinos, then maybe you should take a look at online casinos.

Stranded for a Day at Danao Pier

Typhoons are great inconveniences especially if you are traveling. Typhoons have the ability to paralyze most of human activities and people have no choice but to bow down to the might of these weather disturbances. I experienced one great hassle caused by a typhoon when I visited Cebu last week.

My timing is wrong when I visited Cebu last week because it coincided at the time when Typhoon Ramon is entering the Philippines. I just discovered my wrong decision when I reached Danao City pier. I found out that no vessels are allowed to travel from Danao City to Camotes Islands because of the Typhoon Ramon. Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel in the area said that Typhoon Signal Number 1 was raised over Camotes Island. Vessels are prohibited from traveling once a typhoon signal a raised.
View of Danao Pier at Danao City.
Danao Pier. Where are the angry waves?
I can’t accept the fact that no vessels are allowed to travel because there are no strong winds. The sea is somewhat calm even though there is a typhoon. The decision of PCG, however, is understandable because the agency is always blamed whenever there is a sea accident. Prohibiting the vessels to sail is a wise decision on the part of PCG. The only problem is that it is a hassle for passengers, some of whom were forced to sleep in the port terminal.
Stranded passengers at Danao Pier terminal.
Benches inside the Danao Pier terminal became
temporary bed for stranded passengers.
My travel schedule was affected because of Typhoon Ramon. I have no choice but to stay in Danao City until the typhoon is gone. My only consolation is that I am safe even though Typhoon Ramon is at a rampage. So, instead of getting too disappointed, I decided to have a stroll around Danao City.

Short Stop at San Agustin Museum

Our office had a foreign visitor and after visiting our office, he asked the bosses for a tour around some interesting places in Manila before he go back to the USA. Fortunately, my boss appointed me as the visitor's tour guide. I brought him in Intramuros and the first place that we visited is the Manila Cathedral, where we were awed of its magnificent pipe organ.

The next place that we visited is the San Agustin Museum located right beside the San Agustin Church. I already visited San Agustin Church during my previous tours inside Intramuros. I can't remember what the interior of San Agustin looks like because I just saw it briefly during my second visit. What I do recall is the outside of San Agustin Church, with its stone statues of lions.
Front of San Agustin Church.

I brought our visitor to San Agsutin Museum to show the Philippines' rich Catholic heritage. Just like my visitor, it is my first time to enter the museum. Entrance fee to San Agustin Museum is 100 pesos per person. There are few people during our visit so there is no queue at the ticket booth.

We were greeted by a giant bell when we passed through the main entrance of San Agustin Museum. The giant bell is similar to the one I saw at Puerta Real and Revellin de Real during my first visit to Intramuros.
Very old bell at San Agustin Museum
Giant bell of San Agustin Museum.
Embossed on the bell is the year 1829. It may mean that the bell was made in 1829, which made the bell about 182 years old.

We then entered a room that is full of Catholic religious items that were obviously crafted hundred or so years ago. We saw statues of Mama Mary that is made of ivory. We saw crosses that are made of precious metals like gold. Most of the religious items we saw were made of ivory or gold that will make thieves drool. I am awed by the fact that people during those times venerated Mama Mary and the saints so much that they are willing to offer up their ivory and gold to make images in their honor. The fact that many old images of Mama Mary and saints are of precious items made them the favorite targets of thieves who just want to sell them at the black market at high prices.

Taking photos is not allowed inside the room where the precious religious items are located.

We just walked inside the San Agustin Museum where we saw few interesting things like a painting of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi's landing on the Philippines:
San Agustin Museum: painting of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi's landing

What caught the attention of our visitor is this painting:
Painting of a nun saint at San Agustin Museum

He thought that the lady in the painting is a Muslim woman because of her dress. I told him that the lady is a nun and it is one of the usual garbs of some nuns up until now. His is reaction is not surprising because it is very rare, nowadays, to see a nun in public wearing a dress that is similar with the one in the painting.
Back of San Agustin Museum
The area at the back of San Agustin Church.
We decided to get out of the museum when we reached the garden at the back of San Agustin Church. Too bad that we didn't know that the San Agustin Museum has a second floor and there are other areas worth visiting.

The next time I visit San Agustin museum, I will make sure that I will look at its every nook and crannies.

The next place we visited is the walls of Intramuros and Fort Santiago. I have no new blog post about those two places. So if you are interested, just read my first visit to Intramuros.

You can contact the San Agustin Museum at telephone numbers 527-4060 and 527-4061 for more information.


Manila Cathedral's Pipe Organ

I have have visited Manila Cathedral a couple of times in the past but I did not venture inside of the majestic church. It is unfortunate for me that I did not saw the interesting things inside Manila Cathedral in my past visits. What I only saw in my past visits are the front of cathedral and the beautifully engraved church doors.
Manila Cathedral door
One of the doors of Manila Cathedral depicting the history of the church.
I only made a full tour of the interior of Manila Cathedral when I accompanied an American visitor of our office in his tour around Intramuros. Thanks to our foreign visitor, I got the chance to see the altar, retablos, stained glass windows and other works of art inside the cathedral. What made our visitor totally amazed, however, is the pipe organ that he saw when he happened to look up the cathedral's ceiling. He was amazed with large size of Manila Cathedral's pipe organ.
Manila Cathedral pipe organ
Manila Cathedral's pipe organ.
A much better photo of the pipe organ can be seen in Flickr site of Cealwyn.

The pipe organ was made by Pels and Sohn, a Flemish organ-building company, in 1958. It was in state of disrepair for 15 years. Restoration work was done on Manila Cathedral's pipe organ and it was relaunched in December 2006.

Manila Cathedral's pipe organ is considered the biggest pipe organ in Southeast Asia. It has 5,500 pipes, which are either flutes or trumpets, placed on seven major chests

I am glad that I saw Manila Cathedral's pipe organ. My only wish now is to hear it being played.

The next stop of our tour is the San Agustin Museum.

Read my first tour around Intramuros.


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Information about Manila Cathedral's pipe organ was obtained from CBCP News.