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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Undas. All Saints' day, All Soul's Day, and sometimes a touch of Halloween? - by Nanay Jo

The Philippines is known for its traditional Christian values. This is shown in many ways around the country in everyday life. Churches are filled with worshippers, the people trust in God, and our family values are placed above most other things. Among our most important religious holidays are Christmas, Holy Week and 'Undas', which is All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day and is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November each year, and because it coincides with the celebration of halloween in the USA and other places, it is not unsual to find some spooky themes happening around the place. But in the Philippines it is really not about spooks and witches.

It is the celebration of religious holidays that brings even more of the family aspect of our lives to light. Visitors from other countries who happen to be here during the Undas celebration are amazed by the colour and happiness everywhere they go. Instead of just making a quiet, reserved visit to the cemetery to show respect for deceased relatives by cleaning around the graves and placing a few flowers, many Filipinos use the occasion for a big family get together with a party atmosphere. Of course, there will be visits to church and prayers said for the departed souls, but somehow all this combines into what might look like an oversized family picnic to someone from a western culture.

(Photo is borrowed from various sites on the web)
If you can imagine a whole nation holding a rock concert in cemeteries all across the country at one time, well, that's Undas! But without the bands.  It is a time for reunions with family members, music and fun, and one of the Filipino's favourite obsessions – food. Because much of the celebration goes on into the night and by candlelight it is sometimes described like being a big family camping trip, because people very often sleep overnight.

Just as it is during Holy Week, travel around the Philippines is very congested with so many people trying to visit the graves of loved ones by land, sea and evenby air. Flower sellers do a busy trade as do food vendors.

This occasion isn't confined strictly to November 1st and 2nd however. It is not uncommon for people to visit the graves of beloved family members over several days before hand, to clean and tidy and make the place ready for visitors who may not have an opportunity to visit the cemetery at any other time of the year.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Jeuel and Friends at Isla Verde Tropical Friendly Resort - by Nanay Jo

 Jeuel came back to isla for an overnight stay, not with her family but with her rriends.  They came across from Tabangao aboard St Paul and because the Habagat weather made the sea rough in front of the resort, the St Paul dropped them at the beach at Mahabang Buhangin.  My worker Leo met them there ant they enjoyed the pleasant walk back to the resort.

In the group of guests were Jeuels's best friend Lei, who is the tallest, Loie, a pretty girl with black hair and Cheska, who is the wackiest girl in the group and is great fun to be with, and Ce, a quiet girl, but cheerful.

Loie enjoyed dipping in our Oguro, Chesca made me laugh a lot with her stories and is great fun to be with.  Ce may be quiet, but when she smiles, her smile is good enough to be on a toothpaste commercial.

After lunch, they decided to relax and have a few drinks, I sat with them a while and listened to their interesting stories, then Ce, Lei and Chesca decided to go swimmiing.  Loie decided to stay and relax at the resort, but the others asked Jeuel to go with them to take photos.

After they headed off to Sawang Beach for swimming, Loie and I chatted a while then she decided to take a bath.  I told her after her bath if she wanted she could take a relaxing dip in the japanese tub. Loie enjoyed the warm soothing waters scented with citrus leaves.

Jeuel and the other girls returned after a while with some scratches and cuts on their legs.  The water was a bit rough at Sawang and they got too close to the coral.  When the waves made them lose their balance, they bumped into some rocks and corals and got some scratches and cuts.  Guava leaves are a good remedy for cuts and abrasions to stop any bleeding.  After they washed off the sand and had bathed they ate dinner.  When they finished dinner they aasked us to make a bonfire, and had a fun night sitting aroudn the bonfire, sipping our local Emperador brandy.

They said they had fun that night, enjoying the bonfire and the sea breeze, and watching the moon through our telescope.  When it got late, they set up their tent and slept.

Loie was up early next morning.  Ce woke up, then decided to go back to sleep in the stone garden.  Once everyone was awake, they had breakfast and chatted together as one by one they took their baths.

Since the sea was still too rough for the boat to come to the resort side, we walked back to mahabang Buhangin,  We took the short cut from teh resort, by the back road and passed the forest that leads to the main road.  It is not far, but it is very beautiful and they liked walking thorugh the forest, stopping often to take photos.

When we arrived at Mahabang Buhangin Beach they gave me a hug and said they will be back again for another adventure.  Then they left on the boat to return to Tabangao, and life in the city.