Monthly Archives: October 2016

“Halloween-ed” (for Filipinos, it’s our Day of the Dead holiday celebration)

Halloween is coming!  And it’s probably one of my secret favorite holiday.  Why?  Because I’m naturally drawn to all things morbid or downright spooky!graveyard-1417871_640

But seriously, some of you might argue why it shouldn’t be observed because of its pagan origins, but really do we need to drive that wedge between us?   And debate what’s Pagan vs. Christian practices?

From where I come from, the experience is mainly focused in remembering those who went ahead. Especially in my family, it’s that once a year get together of relatives – from different parts of the archipelago (even those relatives living abroad).

It’s that once-a-year-family-time to gather and celebrate the lives of those we’ve loved and lost.

You see, in the Philippines, we celebrate Halloween in a unique way. It’s more like a 3-day celebration.  Starting off, on the eve of October 31st.  Then on November 1, we celebrate the “All Saints Day”, followed by the celebration of “All Souls Day/Day of the Dead” or for us, we call it “Undas” or “Araw ng mga Patay”.

It’s probably one of the festive (that sounds downright wrong) family gathering.  But in reality, we Filipinos celebrate these dates as a “pause button”,  to take a break from our busy lives to spare some time to remember our departed loved ones.

The celebration is usually started off by visiting our dearly departed’s resting places where we take time to light some candles, clean their graves, plant fresh flowers, re-paint the crosses or tombstones. cemetery-1543543_640

And it’s usually a family affair.  From the oldest to the youngest member, everyone is present.  Armed with paint brushes, and cleaning tools, everyone is ready to do their part.

And speaking from experience, it’s not morbid as you may think it is.  The cemeteries all throughout the  country comes alive, with the sheer number of people visiting their loved ones.  It’s very normal to see food, drinks (maybe a bit of alcohol to some) on top of tombs (not very hygienic – but who cares!) and for those richer folks, they will even hire a caterer to be set up at their family’s mausoleum.  Then of course you’ll hear blasting music all around and maybe some dancing – especially when you have sipped one too many vino 😉

It may sound weird to some, but the Philippines’ Day of the Dead is a celebration for the entire family.

Filipinos value family’s strong bonds.  Even in death, our dearly beloved members will never truly leave us….we celebrate their lives – once a year we all gather as a family, to remember their lives, swap stories of the happy memories they have left us.

And to borrow my mom’s wise words, when someone passes in our family “…till we meet again…”

It’s never goodbye, for us…’s only, till that one sweet day….

Happy Halloween to all my loves back home!

Happy 12th Birthday, Kate (an open letter to my ate katekate)

12348096_10153143067355178_6609938315721958094_nTo my angel cake….as you celebrate your birthday tomorrow, I would like to take a moment to sit, reflect and thank God for His gift.

You are truly every mother’s dream daughter and I can’t even begin to imagine what I have done to deserve you.

I understand that you won’t be my little angel cake forever…but while your hand still fits in mine and you still call me Mommy, I will relish every second of our journey together.

Before I know it, time will come when you think that all I have to say is annoying or cheesy.  But for now, while you’re still not too embarrassed to hug me like you mean it….here are 12 things I want you to remember on your 12th birthday:

  1. You can always talk to mommy.
  2. Always love your sister. Love each other. I can’t emphasize this enough, but having a sister is probably one of the best things in life. You have each other, life-long BFF.
  3. Write. The best coach you’ll ever have is yourself.  Your thoughts are precious, write them down and read them.  It will give you a better perspective about yourself and where you are at a particular time in your life.
  4. Don’t be a people pleaser. Period
  5. Don’t take yourself seriously. Learn to laugh at your own quirks.
  6. Keep your personal space clean. The state of your place reflects the state of your mind.  It’s impossible to think straight in a cluttered room.
  7. Beauty is a state of mind. Love yourself at no matter what size or condition.
  8. Speak up. Don’t begrudge the world with your point of views.
  9. Nothing on social media is private.Before you post it, imagine it plastered across the billboards. Nationwide.  See what I mean?
  10. You don’t need a significant other to be significant. I wish I’d spent less time thinking I “needed” someone. Enjoy friendships. They usually last longer, anyway.
  11. Rejection is part of life, and sometimes it’s a really good thing. How you handle it is the important part.
  12. Find one true friend. You don’t need lots of friends…one is enough to last you a lifetime.

Just remember anak, that I love you and Paopao so very much…

and as much as I wish to spare you from hardships and pain,  you will have your own journey to make.

My only prayer, is that when you pass those difficult paths alone you’ll come out of it with grace and strength.

Happy Birthday, Kate.