At this exact time of the year, we Filipino’s, being culturally ‘close-knit families’, demonstrate this trait by remembering our dead with a Holiday. To confirm the importance of this day, the holiday is usually extended for another day or two to give all of us ample time to visit and give respect to our departed loved one’s, wherever they lay rest.
For this entry, I am sharing with you a culture different from us, Filipinos. I am featuring this day, the Chinese Temple in Malabon, Metro Manila.
Here is am image of the Temple I am talking about:
On both sides of the Temple are two buildings where the remains (it is more common to have the remains of their loved ones’ cremated) are kept. They are actually columbary but for them, they plainly refer to it as ‘temple.” (See image on the next page):
In these “temples” are yet different forms of how they keep the ashes of their dearly departed. Here is an example of the most simple which I can only describe as ‘box-like storage’ (for lack of better description):
Below is another, which appears to me as a ‘tiny version’ of the (Main) Temple. (Some trivia: I was informed that these run for a Million Pesos each and they even do pre-selling):
The names of their dead are engraved in gold or black ink in the marble seal (lapida) and their corresponding pictures laminated. I was informed that for some, and for reasons of ‘practicality,’ the name of (i.e. living spouse) may already be engraved beside the name of the departed. It may sound morbid but to ‘counter’ any untimely demise or untoward incident involving the leaving, his/her name is engraved in red ink, instead of gold or black.
Here is another form of remembering their dead who may not have been cremated but buried somewhere else, not in the Temple. These ‘gold-painted intricate wood carvings’ are representatives of the departed spirits. For some, instead of going to the where they are buried, which we usually refer to as cemetery, they just pray for them in the Temple.
To end, I am sharing with you the image below where they burn one form of offering representing ‘money’ with the intention that they (the departed) may use it as if still living in the material world.
**At this point, I would like to pay a simple tribute to my Dad, who died a simple man, and aspired nothing but a simple life. His sudden demise in the early morning of 28 February 2004 shocked us all, and until now, my beloved Mother is still “unaccepting” of his death, which we, her children, fully understand.
I may not be able to be at my Dad’s grave in Ilocos today but my prayers are with him. When I go home next week, visiting him will be the first thing that I will do. We love you, Dading!
Above, is an image of Jordan, his first grandchild, lighting a candle on his grave, two years after his untimely death. Jordan was only four when his Lolo Pitong died but he has very vivid memories of their times together. Now at six, Jordan still remember’s, everynow and then, what they talked about and where they went for their morning and afternoon walk.
Dading, wherever you are, we hope that you are in peace with the Lord and continue to guide us always…