Monday, October 29, 2007


Recalling our early days in remembering the passed away love ones in peace, the practices in our village is quite unusual compared to other parts of the Philippines. Although we may say that it is almost pass'e, its cultural feature is of real worth and signifies our unique identity as people of the world. A vivid example goes like this: the parading of a look alike, live statue of a saint painted with gray clay all over his body -resembling a soul wandering in purgatory before being admitted to the Kingdom of Heaven, as in the belief of the Roman Catholics- is carried by four men in a makeshift support and presented house to house. The four men represent the relatives of the soul begging for prayers so that their dead will be finally forgiven and gain entrance to heaven. In return the householder will give donations or a form of prayer. This is done a day before "All Saints' Day". Another is, the serenading of the houses by reciting a repetitive lines of verse in a Filipino dialect as follows: "Pispis ng pikoy, talisaying bulik; Humapon sa kahoy, ang hingi ay barek. . . . .Barek!" This will start at the middle of the night until dawn of "All Saints' Day". There are chances, however, that when the householder refused to acknowledge the serenaders, they will steal the fruits, vegetables, or even chicken raised at the backyard. They will cook it and invite the owner to eat with them at daytime. When they finished eating, it's the time they will tell the truth that . . . "The fried chicken you ate is your fighting cock," and laughters will follow or they scampered to safety to avoid reprisals. Going to the village cemetery which is located near the river -there is a sayings that you should not fish near the site as you might caught a wandering soul- our elders selected the place for accessibility so they can visit, by boat or by foot, their dead anytime they wish. During this time people troops to the cemetery -in urban towns, congestion of traffic is in the worst and too much irritating- and it is also an occasion where relocated relatives, either abroad or to any other place, met and got together after a long time of absence. To some of our folks, it is the time where they engaged in conversation, gossip, and everything to talk about. However, upon reaching the respective niches or tomb sites, they exercised strict movement and silence. . . the immediate relative of the dead will light a candle and all the members of the clan will solemnly offer prayers for the eternal repose of the soul in heaven. They remain in the graveyard until sunset. As they do not practice eating at the cemetery, they prepare native foods at home such as: "biko", "suman sa ibos", "kalamay," and others. (These are foods consisting mostly of starchy rice, mascuvado sugar, coconut milk, and "pandan" leaves as taste enhancer; they differ only in the preparation and cooking systems.) . . . And they partook it with laughters! These practices and traditions are now vanishing. The western style of Halloween predominates the activities of the youth, though they still bring flowers as offering to their departed love ones in the cemetery. Rmagin

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